Hello everyone. My name is John and I live in Maryland. I was thinking of getting certified as an inspector. I was just wondering the type of income one can make in this type of career. Both working for someone or doing your own business.
I think it all depends upon the area you live in, education, marketing, services you provide and the amount of time you are willing to dedicate to the business.
There are lots of discussion threads on this topic in the “Members Only” areas.
From 1995 to 2000, working every waking hour, every day, except for Christmas, I pulled in no less than $1,000 a day for 5.5 years and saved almost a million dollars, then sold my home inspection company which put my net savings, after feeding my family of four, for that time period, in excess of a million dollars.
The more jobs you do, the more you profit per job. Additional inspections, after covering your overhead, are nearly all profit, so it really pays to give it hell. Furthermore, your travel time between inspection jobs, one of the few variable costs, goes down when you are busy because you can schedule inspections in clusters each day. You also get to be choosy when you are busy, and so get to take the gravy jobs. You also get to charge more when you are swamped, as raising prices is the only way to slow demand.
To get to this level, you have to be willing to market a lot, so that it really pays. Marketing a little hardly breaks even. In all my businesses, I either market heavily or not at all.
Things have changed a lot since 2005 (Obama ruined the economy in 2009). Most home inspectors are struggling compared to a few years ago.
Overall demand is irrelevant.
Yes, inspectors do better or worse temporarily when there is a shift in overall demand.
If overall demand increases abruptly, you will have more business simply because there are less inspectors per inspection… but that has nothing to do with your business acumen.
Market share is what matters. If there are 10 inspectors in your area, your marketing should be holding 1/2 the market for you, and let the other 9 inspectors fight over the other 1/2. When overall demand decreases, your marketing should cause your market share to increase.
If your success is reliant on you being in a freak time period where demand is abruptly increasing faster than supply (temporarily more inspections/inspector), you’re in trouble.
Yes, sales have leveled off… but inspectors have also gone out of business (or are not investing in marketing), which makes the number of inspections per seriously competing inspector about the same as always… so then… what is the determining factor?
You… and your market share.
You’ve heard of Coke and Pepsi. Do you really think these companies spend billions on advertising to let you know about Colas or to try to increase overall demand for Cola?
They are fighting for market share.
Anyway, if you are doing less the $150K, don’t put any energy into systems or efficiency (save that for when you are doing more than $150K). Put all your energy into increasing market share.
I think what Gary may be saying is the same theory of the freak time period, is working in reverse. The time period is of nill inspections, this will vary from area to area.
Many guys are just hanging on until some sales start to happen. Marketing takes capital, which may or may not be coming in…not an excuse, just reality.
My main site dominates my area on the web. My site hits are down so says Google Analytics. The phone hasn’t rung in a while. The only lead I am working on is possibly working with Halo America. Many inspectors in my area are in the same boat, I haven’t heard of anyone that’s busy.
Some inspectors are swamped.
Here, try this little exercise: Think of your local town. Let’s say you have 5 pizza shops in town. One is nearly going out of business, 3 are chuggin’ along, and the last is rockin’ and rollin’ and sells about as much pizza as the other 4 shops combined. The rockin’ and rollin’ shop is moving pizza so fast that the employees are winded, the cheese isn’t getting old, and they get their sauce at a volume discount.
Now, do you really think that the 5 owners of those 5 pizza shops (be they successful or unsuccessful) spend any time worrying about overall U.S. demand for pizza? Heck no. They are all fighting for local market share.
One other point.
Do a great job and marketing gets easier, do a poor job and marketing gets increasingly difficult.
Or you could be a new inspector in a new field in a slow area and not make $10k a year.
If you don’t have money to live on while establishing your business, you may or may not make it.
There is always the rare individual that will come out of the blocks running and do very well. But those are very few and far between. Just don’t believe the schools that say you can make $150k working part time. They are there to sell their school, nothing more. Without new gullible people filling their coffers, they may actually have to work for a living.
I have a reputation around KC of being the “toughest” inspector around. Since I am a CMI, that further proves the point, in the opinion of the RE’s. So, no used home commissioned sales person is suggesting me due to the fact that my chances of alarming the home buyer is greater. Most agents are so hungry that they are pushing us out of any real estate transaction, with the “as is” line anyway, or selling the unsuspecting home buyer into using the basic, soft report writing-$249-with-termite-on-any-size home inspection company.
Until lawsuits result, I have to wait for my business to come back around, but I may starve and get foreclosed on myself if I have to wait much longer. I have no other income, like others do. It is not just that I am complaining, it is just reality.
Wait? Are you just toying with me Gary? “Wait” isn’t even in my vocabulary.
Nope. Just the facts. Wife and I will be listing soon, but homes in our neighborhood are selling for less than what we built for in 2004. This economy better turn around soon. And snow is in the forecast. I have sent out hundreds of resumes to try to find a job of some kind. I turned down a job last fall to drive a school bus for $11 per hour, but they would only guarantee me 10 hours a week.
Signed, Over 55 and waiting for the phone to ring in Kansas.
Welcome, this business is what YOU make it…the good old days of 2003-2006 are long gone and will never see them again…however you can make some good $$ even in this down market. NIck is correct you have to get out there and put your name in front of everyone and make a name for your self…Dec 2010 was my best month in 5 years and this year is already starting off BIG! I do market to agents and when I get one I do not let them go…when you start getting emails like this then your off to the races:
So you know you are my new favorite home inspector right??
Can you fit an inspection in for me Friday afternoon?? The house is SUPER clean in Modesto. Let me know if possible. And I completely understand if it isn’t J
I had a radio show. I have delivered over 20,000 fliers to RE offices since last October. I have advertised in RE magazines. My web site is #1 on google. Good luck to anyone wishing to start a home inspection business. If you charge $99, you may be able to get some business.
Post the flier.
Nick, I sent it to your email. John, please surf this message board, take all of the InterNACHI online courses, check the business success strategies section several times, and always be professional in everything you do; to your family, relatives, everyone. Knowledge is only 20%; Business is 80%. Get your wife involved.
I use this phrase on inspections on occasion, taught to me by an inspector who has done 28,000 inspections:
“Behind every high maintenance woman, there is a successful man”.
Join the low ballers oncraigslist
$175.00— HOME INSPECTOR —$175.00
Hello my name is David Mc…, I am a License Illinois & Indiana Building Home Inspector. I have been inspecting home in this area for more than 7 years. …Approximately $175.00 for any size S. F. home insane
If I put out 20,000 flyers out here we be SLAMMED! Working on a few thousand now…