Hi Eric, LLC or S-Corp. My Accountant recommends S-corp for taxation purposes. Apparently with an LLC your taxed when you make money vs taxed when you “draw” the money to pay yourself. Probably not a big deal, but it may help at tax time. In California it’s $800 a year to start and maintain your corporation. Not sure in your state.
You can go sole proprieter but there are some pretty big tax implications, but it’s all how you juggle the money so to speak.
Easy way to start is get a Google website and go. The internachi recommended web guys are seeming to do a good job for me. But it takes time to get your name out there.
Advertising can get expensive. I’m lucky and got some cash from retiring at 50 years old from Chevron and have been using that to advertise on Google and Yelp. Yelp seems to be working the best at the moment.
Try not to be too much of a kiss ass to real estate agents but don’t be mean or disrespectful to them either. The job of the inspector is to make sure the client gets what they are wanting…an honest opinion about the property in question. Your not there to please agents, if you know what I mean. Only one person will be held responsible for the report you create. YOU.
Insurance is a must and I use the Internachi recommended. Around $1000 a year for me…plus startup costs of around $300 (if I remember correctly)so around $1300 to start.
I use a home office, but (in California anyway) you may have to pay a Home Use Tax if you conduct business out of your home. It $100 one time fee here. I recommend a nice newer laptop or desktop to write reports if you’re going to use Spectora or some other report writing software. They’re a little CPU intensive when you browsing photos and putting them in the report. You can also just use the internachi handwritten report and just hand it to your clients when you’re done, but…
Thermal imaging isn’t all that in my opinion, it’s just another tool. I’d recommend getting a nicer moisture meter first off, if you even get these tools to start. All you really need is a nice camera and you can go from there.
Sorry, just realized I was writing a manual for you.
Email me if you want more info and I’m more than happy to share my experience.