I’ve been a HI for about 2 years now. Prior to that I was a contractor and worked in construction for over 20 years, running my own business for a majority of that time. I am fortunate to have been very successful at the transition between the two industries and was able to jump right in to HI full time. I have been able to offer many ancillary services and I’m certified for a lot of additional inspections including roof inspections, mold testing, infrared, chimneys, septic and water quality, etc. Adding these additional services is a great way to make extra money. But one thing I have noticed is that many of these additional services are fairly priced and tend to have a higher perceived value than main home inspections. For example, I can easily get $350 for a mold inspection and testing. This typically takes about 45 minutes to do the inspection and testing, and about 20-30 minutes writing the report after the lab results come back. It costs on average about $75-100 per mold inspection for the lab fees and Fed-Ex. So basically I can make $250 an hour for these, less travel time. If I do this during a home inspection, it only adds about 15 minutes. Most homeowners/buyers don’t complain about the pricing and see it as a similar service to a plumber coming to fix a drain clog for example.
What I have also noticed is that main home inspections are priced and subsequently valued way less than these ancillary services, even though the main home inspection is the most valuable information to the client. The main home inspection requires a vast understanding of so many different areas of knowledge and experience, that it’s value is dramatically underpriced when compared to other services. If you had to bring in a roofer, electrician, plumber, HVAC guy, foundation contractor, etc to evaluate and inspect a home the way we do, it would cost thousands of dollars to do this, each one of them would be $300-400 each. Yet we are expected to do all of these inspections for the price of one of them!
Typically I am hearing price points for main home inspections around $350-400 in most areas of the country and while my price point starts at $500 for single family homes, I still think that this is undervalued and under priced. For the amount work we do, the risks we take, the vast knowledge that this industry requires for the main inspections, they are drastically undervalued.
There is also a huge discrepancy between the amount of $ realtors make now based on their commissions on inflated home pricing (at least in my area) compared to what we make. Most realtors still seem to think our pricing should remain static and from 25 years ago when the home prices in my area have increased 300% from 25 years ago, and their commissions have increased that much too.
I realize that I am relatively new to this, so I would like to hear so feedback about this from some of you who have been around longer. So my question for you is: Why are main home inspections so undervalued? And why shouldn’t we increase the price point nationwide as an industry?