Related services?

As a newbie, I have pondered many questions while trying to start-up my new HI biz. I have visited MANY of nachi members websites for ideas and such to help me with my web design, pricing, and layouts(thanks BTW). In doing so I have not seen anyone that offers related services. Now, I’ve been reading on here for about two years, so I know you all will put me in my place which is the reason I’m asking the following questions. First, I want to say that I know it is not ethical to do an ispection then offer to repair/fix the problem areas. I’m not going there - I would never do that. But, why don’t I see people doing related services like: Moving/relocating services, carpet cleaning, Chiminey Cleaning, Landscaping, yard maintenance, pool/spa maintenance, interior/exterior painting, and I can think of more. When it comes to business, I am from the “leave no stone unturned” philosophy. Not that I would offer all the services listed above but I am qualified to do most. Does doing related service minimalize the professionalism of home inspectors? Please give me some feedback on this. This has been on my mind for months now.
Thanks in advanced (maybe).

Hi Brian,

the issue is one of conflict of interest, also potential liabilities, I know some inspectors that do offer other services, but they keep those very seperate from their Home inspection businesses and won’t advertise those services at all to their HI clients.



Thanks for the response but I still don’t see a conflict of interest. Lets use a dirty swimming pool for example. I just inspected it and it functions really well. It is obvious that the pool isn’t in the condition to be swam in due to green algae on the walls, leaves and dirt, etc. Someone is going to clean that pool. Chances are, someone will be hired to clean the pool. Well, I’m your guy. Where is there a conflict in interest? Please don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to argue, I’m just having a hard time comparing this type service with something like “you need a new roof” and just so happens I’m a roofer. I think there is a difference. You can have a perfectly functioning swimming pool that needs a good cleaning and chemicals.
Another example: client hires me to do an inspection, and buys the house. She’s a happy camper, except the living room floor has pink carpet and the walls are painted deep purple. None of that info would be in my report. What would be wrong with me leaving a card saying I have a crew that paints interiors? Seems to me in these cases it is an “early bird gets the worm” scenario? I just don’t see a conflict of interest but I’m honestly trying here, I swear.

There are those here that would say that’s a conflict of interest, so don’t bother asking. There are a lot of people on the board that think that if they don’t do it, it is somehow unethical. (Present company posting so far excluded.) There is nothing in the COE that would preclude you from doing this. I know of several inspectors who do just that. They typically have an “affiliate” company that they work under do offer these services, that’s why you don’t see it on their web sites. Technically they are different companies owned and run by the same person.

Thanks Mark. I sincerely want to understand how it could be a conflict of interest. If someone here thinks this, then maybe a real estate agent in my area would think the same and I don’t want that. Could it be just a HI issue among the industry members or is it universally thought of in a negative way among all affiliates to real estate?

Although my original question isn’t resolved in my head, I now wonder how having an affiliate company to do such related services could benifit the owner. Is it for legal purposes? …for image? …for tax purposes?
When I formed my LLC for my inspection biz I was anticipating doing related services under the same umbrella to be more protected.

I want to do what is respectful in both the industry and among my peers and coleagues (especially in my area). At the same time, I want to capitalize on every opportunity.

As long as you aren’t fixing deficiencies listed in your report, I don’t see the problem with it. I’m curious to hear from others that disagree. Gerry, can you be mores specific for your reasoning?

Personally, even though I don’t do repairs myself, I fail to see how that is a conflict of interest. When I go to the dentist to have my teeth “inspected” and he finds a problem, he fixes is for me too. In my opinion, it’s only a conflict if you are inspecting and finding things with the sole intention of finding things to fix. If you are inspecting for a client in an ethical manner and the client needs to have them fixed and trusts you, then there is no conflict. Just one business man, meeting the needs of the client.

PS. For those of you who would rip me or attempt to kick me out of NACHI for this opinion, I do NOT do repairs. I simply don’t agree with the COE on this particular issue although I do abide by it.

I agree, too bad we all belong to an association where we have agreed not to perform work on homes we have inspected. Unfortunately, in these days of reduced inspection opportunities this notion may have to be revisited so we all can continue to earn a living and not become a ward of the state.

As you say… It all comes down to ethics and I don’t see the conflict either. As an electrical contractor, if I was called out to perform troubleshooting on a system (an inspection) in almost all cases I was the guy who performed the repairs.

The conflict of interest comes in to play, when suspicious people will say, “hmmm?..I wonder if he reported that bad breaker in order to get more work out of me?” Was it really bad? It is an issue, to keep the unethical inspectors from giving the industry a black eye. Your E&O provider probably would not like it either. In my opinion, it would look worse to do the work under an affiliate name. JMO

I’m referring more specifically to what Brian is talking about. When the contract work doesn’t have anything to do with the findings in the report. Is this a conflict of interest?

Inspectors are held to a higher perceived standard than contractors.

When I find dirty pools I recommend that they be cleaned by a pool contractor.:smiley:

When my pool is dirty I recommend that my wife call a pool contractor… then I duck. :smiley:

Really? Then why is it ok for the termite inspector to leave a quote for treatment?

Or the pool inspector to leave a quote for repairs?

Or the mechanic doing a state inspection to give a quote for repairs?

Or the dentist to fill the hole he found?

All are “inspecting” to find defects for the client. All are providing a service to not only locate a defect, but to at least offer to repair it too.

It’s only unethical if one is finding defects that don’t exist, and then “doing” unneeded repairs. There’s bad apples in every barrel, that’s doesn’t mean you need to throw out the whole bunch.

I couldn’t agree more.

Termite inspectors work directly for the termite company, hence they are pest control contractors.

Never seen a seperate pool inspector here, I have seen pool contractors.

You want to be dentist, go to dental school. :smiley:

Home Inspectors are considered Third Party inspectors working for the client with no financial ties to the transaction.

Biungo! We are supposed to be the only party without a financial interest in the deal, after the purchase. If we are allowed to sell repair services, then it could be in our interest to give a soft report, with the hope of getting more work out of the deal. The man from Arizona, nailed it on the head!

Regardless of if the “pest control contractor” or the “pool contractor” or whoever do the inspection, they can still offer to do repairs.

Where is the financial tie to the transaction? If I inspect for the buyer and leave a quote that the buyer uses to negotiate with the seller. The seller may call to have the repairs done. Or the the buyer may buy the house and call to have the repairs done. Or neither call to have the repairs done. Or the deal falls through. Or whatever… No ties to the transaction. Even if there were ties to the transaction, as long as it is disclosed, then there is still no conflict of interest as long as everyone is informed and agree.

Traditionally, Inspectors, do just that, inspect, period. Traditionally, inspectors do not devise fixes, do not repair things, do not do anything but inspect to the design criteria/plans/specs/codes etc, and report their findings.

That is the model that Home Inspections Associations have chosen to follow.

So… Traditionally electricians used to think Knob-N-Tube wiring practices of the 1940’s were safe, effective and state of the art.

Tradition does not equal ethical. Two totally different concepts. Tradition means that the way things have usually been done. Ethical means its ok versus it’s not ok.

Mark, if you do not want to be a Professional Home Inspector, I have no problem with that.:smiley: