Reality check

I have never figured out why so many home inspectors who are claiming to have become "financially successful" in this business are venturing out to create additional income sources.

Considering the relatively low inspection fees one can charge to stay competitive - a* “successful” *home inspector has to perform two inspections each weekday to earn a decent compensation for being self-employed.

Taking into account that a properly carried out inspection consumes about four to five hours including travelling each - I like to know how these single operators find the spare time to develop - promote and sell training courses - report systems - marketing advice and even franchise opportunities - as an additional sideline.

I suspect that the majority of home inspectors have a lot of spare time on their hands - because they have not to make a steady income from home inspections. The age of most home inspectors in Canada gives reason to suggest that these guys have finished one career with generous pension benefits already - and have become "hobby" home inspectors only to supplement their already secured income.

I can hardly wait to read the responses to prove me wrong.

**RUDOLF REUSSE **- Home Inspector since 1976 - **TORONTO

I can only speak for myself…

I am more than a home inspector. I am also a business owner, and an entrepreneur. As such, I try not to put myself into a financial box, whereas I rely solely upon one source of income.

It doesn’t matter how successful you become with a particular source, it will ebb and flow. Diversification is the key to consistency, and even then you encounter good and bad times. Therefore other sources of income are vital.

BTW, I have spoken with several, and studied many multimillionaires over the years. None of them had a single source of income. The only rich people I know of who are not diversified, are more or less retired and are going through the money they somehow came into, and are not increasing it. (i.e. lottery winners, inheritance, sold business, etc.)


It seems this profession has its fair share of embellishers! Make the numbers sound better than they actually are. Just look at some of the over the top claims from these inspection schools. Its all bull and false advertising. Sell, sell, sell.

I fail to understand the question. I guess it depends on your definition of “successful”

Home inspecting is the 4th business my wife and I have started, and we currently operate all of them. None of them are “successful” enough to fully support me, but all of them together are doing fine. I suppose I “branched” INTO home inspecting, rather than the other way around, so I may be a bad sampling.

A couple of guys from my state, Larry and Sergey, started a web based company in the late 90’s. They “branched” into advertising, and a bunch of other areas, does this mean they arnt successful? (their company is called Google)

Mark I couldn’t agree with you more. Diversification has literally saved my income. If i may quote Dave Ramsey, “investments are like manure… in a pile, all it does is stink. Spread it around and it begins to grow things.”

Then you could always “branch” into something else to pick up the gap in income. Here is what happens when someone does not prepare for their future. That 8th grade education will show up every time.

Rudolph , if a person looks at us as businesses rather than inspectors you will see where the good income will come from more than inspections. Home inspections are directly tied to the housing market, the market slows so then do the inspections. But an inspector who has ancilliary services such a training course , thermal imaging, mold assesments are no longer tied directly to the housing market. Thermal imaging has other applications on buildings and homes that aren’t tied to a sale for example a commercial flat roof inspection, these continue to be done on buildings that aren’t for sale and regular inspections are often insurance requirements for these buildings. Same for mold assesments, most of these are done on homes that are not for sale but occupied with residents who have a concern. So even though there is a slow down in housing sales these guys are able to keep income coming in with other services. The ones I mentioned are just a couple of many other services that can be offered , and I am not saying everybody should do it but if you are comfortable doing so go for it. If you tie your cart to one horse, if that horse gets sick or dies your cart won’t move anymore. Just some of my opinions.

We also have to assess successful for each individual, as I started this business to get out of my fulltime job because residential and commercial foundation construction is very hard on the body and come close to replacing the income I was earning there but I would be working for myself. I earn 50,000 a year in my fulltime job, after taxes, union dues and other deductions I take home a little over 30,000 a year and must pay for all my expenses with that gas , car maintenance, mortgage, utilities etc. with out being able to claim any income tax deductions. Home Inspection businesses do not have a lot of overhead to cover, you have initial purchases of tools, software , computer and such, insurance, marketing, office supplies. I am figuring that if I could produce a gross income of $60,000 to $65,000 a year I should be able to swing this fulltime. At the rate I charge, that is an average of just under 4 inspections per week. Seeing as tomorrow and Saturday I will be doing my 4th and 5th inspections in the last 8 days on a part-time basis it is not unrealistic. My wife works as well so it will help to supplement the slower weeks, and that to me would already be financially successful. To someone else $100,000 or $150,000 would be successful, it is all relative to the individual. All the best.

“spare time” is defined differently by different people. I work every spare second because I love to work. If you offered me a choice: tickets to the Super Bowl with Paris Hilton or plow your field… I’d choose the tractor.

When I di, if I’m sent to hell, for me it will be a place where I can only work 40 hours a week and forced to accept the rest as spare time.

Nick clearly you have not seen Paris’s video… trust me go to the ball game with her! : )

Rudolf, if you have been enjoying Home Inspections for 32 years, there is no reason why someone else couldn’t. :smiley:

My posting was actually meant to trigger a response from Canadian home inspectors to find out wether or not this business is still suited to support a wife - two kids and pay the mortgage and car payment monthly.

For about twenty years it was quite possible to make a decent living from home inspections in Toronto even as single operator. In the beginning there was even a kind of camaraderie between competitors.

This all changed when more and more people were lured into this business by conniving course providers and/or franchisors who promised unrealistically high income potential to unwary suckers. Now we have several hundreds of home inspectors in the Toronto area alone - all eager to somehow make a buck in a declining housing market.

It is certainly not very encouraging.

RUDOLF REUSSE - Home Inspector since 1976 - TORONTO


I guess if you’re in Toronto you have a much higher cost of living then someone say like myself in St. Catharines. Interestingly enough we probably charge around the same amount. As such, for me to cover expenses and feel “successful” I would have to work considerably less. So you’re point is well taken regarding Canadians/Americans or even different demographic areas within Ontario.

Depends on what you consider success as. I could do 4 inspections a week and be happy as a pig in ****. That being said, my wife also has a very good job and excellent pension as she is a teacher. Also we have 0 debt. Even pay our credit cards off monthly. End up getting a lot more for your buck when you pay cash and don’t have heavy interest fees. rather put that money into buying something else!

Also while yes the housing market is somewhat declining… it has been at a peak. Also consider the fact that people are downsizing…people are still selling homes!


Your answer has confirmed my assumption that most home inspectors are obviously not be the only breadwinners to support their families. In your case your wife has a good and reliable income to cover the basic monthly expenses - and your additional income from home inspections becomes an opportunity to enjoy a better lifestyle.

However - your reply has not solved the question whether one single home inspector can generate sufficient income to support a family these days.

Even though they once started out as home inspectors - A. Carson & R. Dunlop are a convincing example that success in this business is not achieved by crawling through somebody’s basement or attic 24/7. Their elaborate website documents how to make real money in this business. Mr. Gromicko - who owns NACHI and this message board - is another example - how to benefit from the Canadian home inspection industry without performing any inspections personally.

RUDOLF REUSSE - Home Inspector since 1976 - **TORONTO **

As the home inspection service industry has matured, the need and opportunities to provide “other” and “additional” services has grown.

Whether it is through selling reporting systems, inspection software, or radon, thermal imaging or eco-energy type service - this has all helped expand the marketplace of services and support systems for the home inspection industry.

I first entered the home inspection market as an inspector, and later to compliment my “other job” - educator, and now as a vendor and building consultant. The larger question is why? We all have a variety of reasons for the answer to the 'why" question.

In my case, why compete with lower prices, and in some instances questionable inspectors that entered the market. In my case it was also paying attention to the shift in demographics of who was gaining the largest share of the market, and “why” I was not.

So in my opinion there is a need to pay attention to all those changes that impact a business, as well as the future direction of my business, and other business investments.

That’s me. I couldn’t ask for a more enjoyable post-retirement hobby.

The longer I stay in this business the more I’m convinced that we must expand our knowledge and broden our scope to cover all aspects of an inspection, To do that a geewizz two week course is not going to do it. To be fully trained and compedent the future inspector will have to take at lease a full time two, three, or even four year traing and internship to qualify as a professional.

Local to me I know of an inspector who fits the “hobby” inspector. Although he is one of the busiest guys in town. I was recently on an inspection with him where I witnessed him turn down 4 jobs not for any other reason than he already had two booked that day and his golfing schedule was more important than the money. He drives a Lincoln Navigator and lives in a nice home. I see this as successful.

I think one of the things I considered getting into this business is similar to the point of this thread… is there enough demand to enable me to make the kind of money I want or need to make. I answered that question with another question “what is it I can offer to someone that would have them call me rather than the next guy?” The answer for me was simple. Technology, energy, enthusiasm and customer service. I noticed recently that customer service as a whole in Canada has really deminished. When is the last time you really felt a company was grateful for your business? I noticed that when you go through a drive through they no longer say thank you have a nice day rather just “here’s your food”. They could care less if I come back tomorrow, tell a friend about the meal I had or even share a negative experience.

I think in many industries we can find people lose the enthusiasm for their work and for customer service. I noticed a comment “crawling through attics” or something to that effect. When I read it, I couldn’t help but feel this is something the writer isn’t passionate about, does excite them and as such probably comes across to customers that way.

Long story short, what I feel I can do to ensure I have steady business is demonstrate my enthusiasm for my work by continuing to educate myself, provide above average customer service and overall my genuine enthusiasm for this profession will be evident. I really think when the day comes that I no longer want to crawl through an attic (which I can appreciate isn’t always the most pleasant thing) or overall I lose the spark I have today I could only expect my business to decline and will look to diversify myself into perhaps a related field or even something completely different.

The one thing I can’t help but think of regarding this subject is that all the home inspectors I know are also entrepreneurs. As such the spirit of an entrepreneur is to seek out new business ventures and use their creative minds to satisfy a new demand in an industry.

Rudolf, the other thing to consider is: not everyone wants a single income family. I couldn’t imagine my wife not working. The accomplishments she has achieved through her education and through her work are a good part of what makes her so wonderful. She makes a meaningful impact with her grade 11 and 12 students and I know they are better off for having her as their teacher. I understand your question is “can HI income support your family” in my case the answer is I’m glad it doesn’t have to for not just financial reasons. As I said above my wifes job adds to her character and she enjoys it. Not everything is dollars and cents.

Sorry, I know I’m long winded… I’ll stop now

Put this in a personal Email to Nickey, Vern, and try to let him spin it!!

Good Morning Sean Corcoran:

I admire your enthusiasm about the choice of your new occupation - and your expressed philosophy regarding this matter. I wish you all the best - and hope that your strategies will bring you success.


Thanks Rudolf…

I know it’s easy for me to say… I guess only time will tell!