Salary Progression

Good afternoon,

I am working as an independent contractor for a successful Home Inspection Business in Charleston SC. I am interested in getting some figures from you guys who have experience working as an independent contractor, or have employed one in the past, as to what the salary progression should be based on percentage of inspection costs.

My situation:
Company pays for E&O insurance, software lease, and does scheduling for me.
I get paid either 45% or 50% depending on if it is overflow from main inspector, or if it is recurring business from my own networking.
I pay for gas, tools, wear and tear on vehicle, etc.
I pay for membership dues, and any other certification classes I want to take. (getting ready to take IR class)

I have approximately 60 or 70 inspections under my belt, and growing weekly. I am a lot of times traveling 60 + miles round trip for inspections, and am starting to think that I should be compensated a little more for inspections outside of a certain radius.

So, any info on what you guys think would be fair in terms of payment for experience would be helpful as we get closer to negotiations.

Is there an industry norm for where employers cap their split?


Hey Blake,
As the guy on the other side who has had to pay the sub contractor I think your compensation is where it needs to be. You might want to discuss with the company if you are getting an unfair amount of long distance travel compared to other guys. Remember that the owner or company has the risk; they cover advertizing, web sites, marketing, printed materials, your insurance and probably have to eat any deductible if you make a mistake. Scheduling and overhead cost money. Don’t forget that the company/owner needs to make a profit for taking the risk of having employees. With that said get all the training you can; get more experience (a lot more) and then go out on your own if you want to dramatically increase your income. Make sure you are keeping track of all expenses related to your “business” such as mileage and tools so you can write them off and recoup some of the expense. Have a sit down with the owner…discuss your feelings in the open and perhaps you can get a little more of a split. Good luck

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i dont think it would be unreasonable to get paid .50 / mile for travenling outside a certain radius. its not a lot of money but covers the gas and some of the maintenance and beats nothing. I actually think the employer should pass that expense on to the client. just my 2 cents

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Thanks Mark,
I appreciate the response. I agree that I am doing pretty well right now, I guess it just gets to the point that we all feel that our time is money, and the more experience we get, the more its worth. I know that the business has to make a profit in order for it to be worth the risk, but how much is legit? If I do 15 inspections in a month, and they take 55% at approximately 300 per, they are making pretty good money ($2475) a month. Their overhead for me cant be more than a couple hundred a month for E&O and software. I think its $30 a month for my software license. Whereas, I am doing the work, writing the report, driving the miles there and back, and then possibly having to go back out for a free repair check that we offer, buying tools, maintenance on truck etc. It just gets to the point sometimes that its almost not worth my time. When you break down the cut to time ratio.

Going out on my own is one of my main goals, I guess its just knowing that its the right time to do so. Any advice on that? What time is the right time? If you don’t mind sharing, what kind of cost are we looking at in terms of overhead? I know the software isn’t too bad (homegauge), E&O insurance is a couple hundred a month. What is a good number for marketing costs? The rest of the costs seem to be what I am paying for now, with fuel, tools, car etc.

Feel free to send me an email if you would rather discuss off the thread.

Thanks again for everything.

Offer ancillary inspections; radon, termite, etc.

I used to get 80% and a company truck and benefits…

Just kidding…Look if your not comfortable with your pay, then ask for a raise or find out how you can make more money or a bigger piece of the pie.

But will you ever feel that its fair? Did these people train you? Did they teach you the software? Did they show you the ropes?

\Don’t they get a ROI?..just asking.

I had several employees like you that thought they can make more on their own. All three of them failed and asked for thier jobs back, which I refused of course. Not saying your that kinda guy or that caliber of person. But as an employer in that postion before, I wished them luck and told them I did not need notice they can leave immediately.

NOW, I do it totally different. No one learns the whole puzzle…keeps em in check…

Great feedback, russell. I totally get it. The grass is always greener on the other side. We, the company owners (husband and wife), and myself have open dialogue about all of these topics. Just trying to gain some insight so that I know all is fair. They did train me which definitely deserves return on investment. And I have loyalty to them as I was offered a job with the biggest firm here, for way more immediate opportunity but turned them down.

I guess my biggest reason for asking these questions is that I have a full time job with benefits, ret., etc. and the Inspection company would love for me to go out full time as an inspector for them. However, the benefit needs to exceed the risk in order for me to make that decision, and more of a cut would help.

There’s risk everywhere. Your fulltime job may lay you off or close its doors at any time. Now is defineately the time to negotiate. see how they feel about 50/50 with .50 / mile. if you are a good employee I bet you would get it. If not, at least you know what your direction of travel will be. “When” is a whole other question. did they pay you during training?


You have a good deal!
I used to do sub-contracting work for 46% I paid the outrageous E&O
and all other costs ( all deductible) They did all the other stuff like advertising, scheduling etc.

There were times when I was doing 10-15 inspections /week


Full time educator (middle school) so Really no chance of doors closing and I have time to do an inspection after school and then full time during summer. So, the million dollar question is would it be worth giving up that situation, teaching with benefits, vacation, sick days, retirement etc, and doing inspections to just do inspections full time? I’m leaning towards no unless the pay was more significant.

How much do you enjoy or hate the teaching is probably the more important question to figure out.

Giving up full time pay, pensions, benefits THAT is the question:neutral:


I would stick with teaching while growing your own business instead of making someone else money. It is a lot better to make 100% of the inspection fee (minus operating costs of course).

Keep the teaching Gig

Anyone who would work for you gets whatever he has coming to him.

Assholes like you who think they have a right to profit from the labors of others make throw up in my throat a little.

You and your buddy Thornberry make me ashamed to be a home inspector, if there is anything I can do to make your life more miserable then what you’ve have already accomplished… Please, don’t hesitate to call.

Frankly, I’m astonished your ex-employees haven’t already taken you fishing off shore for sharks.