Paul, welcome to the world of NACHI, I read this once and kept it to share with others, a lot of truth in it!!:shock:
I think this is a very frustrating and difficult career to get into. Wonder they the colleges are not cranking out more inspectors?
Let me see if I can sum up the ideal requirements:
You need to have years of experience in the construction business or in one of the trades, which would take, well… years! Hard to get that coming out of a college!
You need to complete a ton of specialized courses that will cost you 4,000 to 6,000 or more, and take about 2 years of a lot of night school, while, presumably, you try to hold down a day job to pay for all this.
You need some equipment, ie: truck or van, ladders, and as many tools as you are foolish enough to use.
You need a reporting system - either computerized ( more bucks) or check off with comments, or… written. I forgot, most folks coming out of the school system would have to take a course on writing… and spelling … and maths…
Then once you have survived all of this cash outflow, you need to get some on the job training - lets say about 50 ride alongs with an experienced HI. Thats a trick, most are one man shops in an area where they do not want further competition, and live in fear of you stealing their contacts and future business, so that should really make this step a challenge, and take …well, years to complete 50 ride alongs!
You can join an association - preferably a professional one that will put you through a lot of hoops and steps and take months before you are allowed to practice inspections. Or, I suppose you could join some mail order group and have instant certification, which will likely be as recognizable to clients and Real Estate agents as any other “certification”.
Then you need insurance … if you can find a company that will insure a “newbie” and have still some money saved up to pay for the first year = lets say 5,000 to 6,000. Of course, you can decide to go without since by now, you probably will not have any assets left, and are highly unlikely to be able to afford any assets for the next several years if you survive in business as a home inspector.
Now, at last, 3 or 4 years later, you are ready to do inspections. Except that expensive cell phone and business line, are not ringing. So, you have to pound on doors, try to get by the pit bull at the front desk of most real estate firms, actually find an agent in the office, and willing to meet with you. You live in hope, that, once they recognize your lack of experience at inspections, but admire your young eagerness(?!) they will actually put you on their referral list - with all of the other inspectors they have used for years. Of course you will not see instances of agents pushing their “preferred” inspector since they are not allowed to do that!
So, once you are in business doing inspections, then the fall and winter arrive, and you are shocked to find out there is next to no inspection business due to the “slow” season in the Real Estate world. So, you have to face several months of no or negligible income with ongoing steady cash drains to support being in business. Opps, forgot all that money you have to find in order to advertize.
By now you have had to undercut all of the competition with the lowest rates in town in hopes that you will pull some business away from the more experienced inspectors out there, who, mysteriously are no longer talking to you. Suddenly you realize that you still do not have enough coming in to cover the costs. Should you have the misfortune of having to pay for an unhappy client, or worse yet, litigation - then you are really up the creek.
Suddenly, by year two or three, if you have made it that far, you wonder why did you even bother to spend all that time and money to get into a business, that, for many, is very stressful with constant concerns of litigation … and bankruptcy, especially when you realize that many experienced inspectors seem to last less than 7 years in this business, before burn out …or bankruptcy beats them down.
I forgot a couple of other ideal prerequisites, 1) independently wealthy - opps that probably means your assets are at risk
2) very understanding spouse who has a great career and is willing to support you, pay all the bills, watch the savings erode, while you struggle to make a go of this business.
3) a healthy retirement income, so you can enjoy this advocation without worry about making ends meet.
Since 1) and 2) are very hard to find these days, then, many inspectors likely fit into category 3)!
Gee, I wonder why so many are in the 50 to 60 age group?
Fear not, many baby boomers will be retiring so our ranks should continue to grow = with 50 to 60 year olds!
A very interesting statistic. Almost half of us are in the 50-60 age group with none under 30. Do you think this is because colleges aren’t promoting home inspection enough to entry level students.