Pricing by square footage.

For those of you who price inspections by size, do you go by the listed square footage or the actual square footage?

I’m finding the listed square footage is just above ground. I’m pricing by listed footage plus basement.

Feedback for the newguy appreciated.:smiley:

Listed, but I ask if there is a finished basement, and if so, I guesstimate the basement SQ footage and calculate that into the total.

Finished basements are included in my pricing of the listed square footage. Whether its finished or unfinished, the basement must get inspected, so why raise the price for finished. It doesn’t take any extra effort.

I inspect every room. A large unfinished basement takes about as much time as a single large room. If it is broken into lots of smaller rooms then that takes more time, effort, and inspecting. For example, an unfinished basement might have only 1-3 electrical outlets. A finished basement will have at least that many in each room, often times more. More time, more money.

Usually my guesstimate is will raise the inspection one category size at the most (about $30.)

I price based on total square footage, including garages. Add $25 extra for crawl spaces.

I think I’m tired and over-thinking this. The home I’m doing Monday is listed as 1146 square feet but that’s just the main floor and I don’t know yet if the basement is finished. Regardless if it’s finished, there is still a lot to look at down there.

Doesn’t the MLS break it down by “heated”, “unheated” and “total”?

That’s a pretty small home even doubled.

It won’t take too long…but if it’s a trashed repo…:shock:

If that is 1146 main floor sqft then I would double the sqft to cover the basement and charge at 2292 sqft.

For the most part around my area the MLS only list living sqft, and then even sometimes does not include sqft if the basement is finished.
Pay attention to how they have the sqft figured you can usually determine what the actual area that you are going to inspect will be.

My PIA states that the price quoted is based on SF and is subject to verification and I have modified the price once I arrived at the home and found a significant discrepancy between the actual and what I was told. I don’t get in pissing matches over 500 SF or so, but sometimes it’s obvious the house is 3000 SF and they told you it was 1600.

I only count the upstairs and add $25 for basement or crawl. i know others that do the basement free. i want my pricing to be upfront and on my website. I dont like the customer to feel like im a used car salesman trying for every penny i can squeeze out of them.

Thankfully my county assessors website allows me access to all the intricate details of the property so that I can give them an accurate price. It also allows me to verify that they gave me the correct Sq. footage.

I always verify this before e-mailing the Inspection Agreement. This way if there is a discrepancy I can call them and let them know.

So far, I’ve never had a case where I even perceived a client of under sizing for a cheaper price. Most people are honest. That’s how I see it anyway!

Never hurts to verify if you have the option.

You’re probably looking for the magic pricing answer. (I did that myself). Unfortunately pricing is as much art and science. As well as being very dependent on individual factors so that what works for one inspector as a shortcut doesn’t translate very well to another.

But the key to all home inspection pricing is time. (It’s all you really have to sell ). Any factor in the home that increases (or decreases) the time you have to spend from your finite time resource impacts what you need to charge to stay on track financially. So having an effective metric (SF, age, condition, features, etc) that lets you adjust prices for different conditions means you need to translate that metric into how it impacts the time you use to perform an inspection.

For example my advanced home inspection pricesare based on my estimations/experience on what I consider a typical 1500-2000 SF home. But a 4000 SF will not likely be priced at double a 2000. (But it might). Some other factors then SF might be multiple heating systems, more bathroom then typical, 2 kitchens, non-typical construction (log, old timber frame etc). Each of these factors effect time used so go into determining a profitable price for a particular home inspection.

So my question to you becomes how much will additional SF (of either sort) effect your time to do an inspection? And what is that time worth to your business in terms of a percentage of your fixed overhead costs and profit picture? If you know that (and which one is a better model) then it’s easy to apply to your core pricing.

In terms of SF. You might consider how easy it is to get a certain piece of information. Above ground SF is usually right there in the listing. Basement SF might not be as easy to acquire.

From my experience keeping pricing as simple as possible is the key - do not over complicate quotes as you will loose customers this way.
I conduct on average 3 inspections everyday and you get the good with the bad, which means that sometimes you have to work twice as hard for the same money and sometimes it is a breeze. This is the nature of inspection’s business. Value your work, but don’t get too greedy - it’s a fine line.

I agree that keeping pricing simple from the clients perspective is important. Folks hate complexity. Get them confused and you’ll likely lose the inspection.

Which is not to say you should ignore the factors that impact your time and therefore costs of an inspection. (Since time is all any of us have)

It is not an issue of being greedy. It is an issue of knowing what providing a service costs you in time and what that service needs to generate in revenue in order to cover all your Cost of Doing Business and make you a profit. That’s business 101.

I use various metrics to scale my prices as seems appropriate based on the house. But the client does not see these. If their house falls outside the generic published prices then I apply the adjustment factors as needed and give them a price. Simple for them and more likely to produce the needed revenue for me. As I said that’s Business 101.