out of state client

I’m sure this has been covered. My search wasnt effective though.
I have an out of state client (CA) who hired me for an inspection. I did the inspection yesterday and am working on the report. He claims to have sent the check the day he ordered the inspection.

Would you send him the report (email) before receiving payment? He is requesting I send the report, but I am having second thoughts.

If he doesnt pay, would I have some recourse with the closing? I know who the realtor is and he is closing on the 1st.


I always make out of town clients pay up front via credit card before I leave the house. It feels good to get paid.

Do what you agreed to do. Live and learn.

I dont have credit card capability…
He actually asked if I could take a credit card, so I suppose that may be a good indication of his willingness to pay.

Do most home inspectors have merchant accounts?

I concur.

I had one client (two years ago) who worked at the American Embassy in Russia and it took over two months for me to receive my check.

From there on in, I’ll always get paid before I perform an inspection for clients that are not on-site.

Set up a PayPal account to accept your credit card business.

I recommend opening a PayPal account. Simple, effective and cheap. They typically get 3% of the transaction and that is it. All done through emails, makes you appear more professional for having a way to take CC. One thing I tell the customer is that I never see their CC number and they like that. No machines, hidden fees, maintenance fees, etc. plus you can track payments for the whole year and at tax time.

I agree. Client not on site requires signed contract and payment 2 hours before scheduled inspection time.

Sure you do. www.paypal.com :wink:

I did one for the out of state owner of a large house that had been rented out.

He had the neighbor follow me around the house which basically got the information he needed. I held the report until the check came, it was late and he tried a few times to get the report but I have a policy that applies to everyone.

As with everything else associated with a home inspection It’s expectation. If the client knows upfront “No payment No report” they will be sure payment is there.
I have a PayPal account and most out of town clients prefer that. If they want to sent a check I recommend FedEx, UPS, or USPS to be sure check is received before inspection.

Wait for the check.

Next time have them pay by CC. You can use Paypal for no setup or continuing fee.

Chasing them after they get the report is a lot of work for which you will not get compensated.

In case you do give them the report and don’t get paid draft a letter cancelling the report and send it to the agent, the seller, the buyer , the bank and anyone elese you can think of.

Good Luck.

Well, it’s hindsight now… suggestions are all good.

I’ve done the same things.

I had an out of state client send me a check a day or two before I was to go out and he emailed me the tracking number for the package/carrier.

I thought, not a bad idea. At the very minimum it’s a good indication that a parcel was on the way. If I dealt with the same thing again and couldn’t get it paid via CC, a tracking number may be best at minimum.

In these situations I e-mail them the inspection agreement and ask them to sign it and fax it back to me. I tell them that will be sufficient for me to go ahead and do the inspection. I also tell them to go ahead and put the original with their payment in the mail to me, and I will send them the report as soon as I receive the payment. That puts them in rush mode, because I just told them very nicely that they don’t get the report until I get paid. While this doesn’t happen every day, the longest I’ve had to wait after completing the inspection was two days, and that’s because I did the inspection on Saturday, and the check was in the mail on Monday.

Some realtors ask me if I will take the payment at the closing and I say no. If someone does not want to pay me, then I don’t mess with them.


I was stiffed once by an out-of-stater and my attorney advised getting paid first before the inspection. What a concept! :smiley: I’ve not had a problem since. :smiley:

Had one realtor say he needed the report right away but the client hadn’t paid yet. (He said the check was in the mail.) :roll:

I said I could give it out if the realtor would pay me. So he did.

He ended up waiting two months or so for his payment from the client at closing. :smiley: The check that was coming to me never came. :shock:

Get paid first.

He seems to be in a hurry for me to send the report.

I asked via email what his due date for the due diligence is. Reason being, I went out to do the inspection the day after he called, so I would think he still has several days before he must make a decision.

When he called me originally, I told him I need to collect payment before releasing the report.

I guess there is no recourse with adding the inspection fee onto the closing paperwork if he doesnt pay?

Ask to include it with closing, or to come out of the earnest money (I think that can be done ?)
Include an additional carrying fee, too.

As president of the New Hampshire state chapter of NACHI I hear all kinds of “War stories” about our inspectors get ripped off.

Some of the stories are:

  1. The check is in the mail!
  2. I left my checkbook at home so I will mail you the check.
  3. I will mail you the check after I receive the report "
  4. I will pay you at closing!

I have seen some inspectors who agreed to “get paid at closing” not get paid at all when the customer:

  1. could not get financing or
  2. changed their mind at the last minute.
  3. or found a “better house”

The bottom line is you are running a business and not a paid finance company and we certainly are not a charity!
Many of us will not even start an inspection unless we are paid in full as soon as we arrive at the house.

I never conduct an inspection without a signed contract and payment in full.
If the contract is not signed* you* have no legal protection and if you have not been paid in full all I can say is good luck:p