The biggest problem for this industry is Main Home Inspection Pricing!

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?

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I think that there are a couple of key factors from my experience: 1) The perception that a home inspection is a commodity and therefore the cheapest deal is the best value, which couldn’t be farther from the truth. This is easily perpetuated by agents who don’t understand or care about the difference. 2) The perception of home inspectors as trades people who aren’t all that bright vs professional consultants.

Home inspectors own and perpetuate both of these in our marketing, presentation and interaction with clients and agents.

A home inspection is an investment. The best value investment is the one that returns the highest return on that investment, not the one with the cheapest fee. Inspectors would do well to advertise value and ROI rather than price. The price of an investment is irrelevant if it produces a positive return.

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With charging 500, how long does it take you to complete a inspection? I get judged a lot by how much time I spend in the home and they think of that as the value.

100% agree.

For the liability we take on, a HI should cost double or triple what it does.

But marketing on price is so engrained in our society, and os many are willing to jump on the pricing bandwagon. For every inspector who charges $600, there are 10 willing to charge $199, keeping the average stuck in the middle.

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As Chuck pointed out the people who most often perpetuate the myth of the insignificance of Home Inspections is Realtors and their agents who invariably see Home inspection as an impediment to the sale.

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Josh, typical average inspection time is 3 to 4 hours in the field and 30-60 minutes of report finalizing afterwards. I try to use as many pre-made comments as I can, and these can usually handle 70-80% of common issues and I spend the remaining reporting time on issues specific to that property. I don’t rush through, and take my time. I can understand clients equating time to value, but most of them only have the attention span for the first hour of the inspection anyway.

Chuck, Ian, and Bob,

Thanks for the input. I guess what I am really asking is how do we change these perceptions as an industry. I think it needs be a part of the InterNACHI platform to change these perceptions, make our customers understand the value and ROI, and ultimately increase everyone’s inspection pricing.

I know that the low-ballers and big inspection factories will be there churning out cookie cutter reports that favor agents over clients, but I think the rest of us who are trying to serve our clients to the best of our ability need a way to unify our message.

I know that becoming a CMI is a way to add some value and some price increase, and I will do that as soon as I am eligible, but what else can we do to change perceptions and increase value?

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I would say three hours is a good value. I am usually between 3-4 hours with my inspections and I usually get a “wow you are thorough” comment. I hear lot of times of inspectors taking only an hour and people paying them 300 usually feel scammed. So the next time they hire they are usually thinking of that bad experience.

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Well that’s a question I don’t have the answer to. I was more focused on carving out my own niche and reputation so it didn’t matter how low the low-ballers went, because we weren’t competing for the same customers. There was a segment of the market that I wanted and a segment that I was perfectly happy to let someone else service.

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Not a popular answer, but some blame goes to InterNACHI AND ASHI, both who make it sound like being a home inspector is an easy way to make money. As well as all the other schools, fly by night classes, and websites, etc that make it sound simple.

Some of it just comes from perception:

OK, so you say 3-4 hours on site, and 30 to 60 minutes off site: Avg time is 4 hours

The average person: You spent 4 hours and made $400, or $100 per hr.

Now, the next guy under cuts you at $300, his perception is he is making $75 hr

To someone making $15-$20 an hour working a typical job, that sounds fantastic. They think you got it make and want to be just like you.

A recent thread on another forum brought up employee pay for an employee. One person said they pay $32/hr. Someone else said “That sucks, that’s only $128 per house avg”

But what no one factors in
E&O insurance
Gas
Wear and tear on your vehicle
Car insurance
Workman’s comp insurance (when applicable)
Cost of tools
Cost of software
time setting up software/templates/reports formats, etc
Marketing materials (Cards, brochures, pens, whatever…)
Website build/, maintenance
The sheer cost of marketing (I.e. usually the inspector spending countless hours marketing for $0 per hour, hoping it will pay off later).
No one, not even other inspectors, really factor all this in.

And this doesn’t even touch on training.

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Yep, something for nothing a lot of times. The phone rings … Let’s cut to the chase. How much? Silence. You are almost twice as high as the other guys that I talked to, and I was trying to get you some work. All of those guys are Certified too. Phone call ends and dial tone.

A few will say contract, I’m not signing no contract. You get to the jobsite and you get rushed and asked a million different things. Out of state clients that want to tell you how to do your job and flat out refuse to pay by cash, PayPal or square and demanding that you take a check or use some other credit card processor.

Little kids climbing on your truck, other people showing up that get in your way and ends up slowing you down. People coughing and sneezing in your face. Certain agents and clients getting just a little to close, when you’re married. Jealous husbands.

Yep, even people trying to do your job for you. Countless times of sitting back and keeping your mouth shut and hearing why something is the way that it is. Squirrels jumping out of the gutter scaring the stuff right out of you, having other vehicles block you in so you can’t get out, etc. Being on a roof and a couple of military jets thunder by really low. Hearing … Hey aren’t you the same guy that inspected my cousin Marcie’s place 3 or 4 years ago?

Competition:
Got 1 company with 3 inspectors, who have been inspecting for around 25 years. All ASHI members. One of the inspector’s has been inspecting for 14 years and states that he has inspected somewhere in excess of 20,000 homes in an area that has somewhere around 80,000 people. I’m like Dude, really?

Got another guy with 2 inspector’s who is an InterNACHI member in Roanoke, inspecting at $225.00. I’m like Dude, really?

Oh man, I could go on for hours about this stuff. Wishing you the best. Stay safe.

  • Michael
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Buying a home? It is probably the most expensive purchase you will ever make. This is no time to shop for a cheap inspection. The cost of a home inspection is very small relative to the value of the home being inspected. The additional cost of hiring a Certified Master Inspector® is almost insignificant by comparison.
You have recently been crunching the numbers — negotiating offers, adding up closing costs, shopping for mortgages — and trying to get the best deals. Don’t stop now. Don’t let your real estate agent, a “patty-cake” inspector, or anyone else talk you into skimping on the home inspection. Certified Master Inspectors® perform the best inspections by far.
Certified Master Inspectors® earn their fees many times over. As the most qualified inspectors, they do more, they deserve more, and — yes — they generally charge a little more. Do yourself a favor and pay a little more for the quality inspection you deserve.

RESIDENTIAL AND COMMERCIAL INSPECTION SERVICE PRICES

ALTIZER PROPERTY SERVICES BELIEVES IN FULL TRANSPARENCY. TO THAT END, WE’VE BUILT AN EXTENSIVE PRICE LIST THAT WILL HELP YOU MAKE AN INFORMED DECISION. TO FIND OUT WHAT EACH SERVICE ENTAILS, PLEASE VISIT OUR SERVICES PAGE.

PRICING MAY VARY DEPENDING ON THE EXACT SIZE, LOCATION, AND STYLE OF THE PROPERTY. PLEASE CALL IF YOU HAVE QUESTIONS. TRAVEL FEES AND AGED HOME FEES MAY ALSO APPLY

STANDARD HOME INSPECTION PRICE LIST

  • Up to 1250 SF Standard Home $410.00
  • Up to 1500 SF Standard Home $420.00
  • Up to 2000 SF Standard Home $430.00
  • Up to 2500 SF Standard Home $440.00
  • Up to 2750 SF Standard Home $450.00
  • Up to 3000 SF Standard Home $460.00
  • Up to 3500 SF Standard Home $475.00
  • Up to 4000 SF Standard Home $495.00
  • Up to 4500 SF Standard Home $525.00
  • 4500+ SF Begins at $575.00. Call for quote

APARTMENT STYLE CONDOMINIUM INSPECTIONS PRICE LIST

  • Up to 999 SF Condominium (apartment style) $350.00
  • Up to 1500 SF Condominium (apartment style) $385.00
  • Up to 2,000 SF Condominium (apartment style) $400.00

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TOWNHOME INSPECTIONS PRICE LIST

  • Up to 1500 SF Townhome $400.00

  • Up to 2000 SF Townhome $415.00

  • Up to 2,500 SF Townhome $425.00

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MOBILE HOME INSPECTIONS PRICE LIST

  • Up to 1500 SF Singlewide Mobile $395.00

  • Up to 2000 SF Doublewide $425.00

  • Up to 3000 SF Triplewide Mobile Home $440.00

DUPLEX INSPECTIONS PRICE LIST

  • Up to 2000 SF Duplex $595.00

  • Up to 3000 SF Duplex $650.00

  • Up to 4000 (total) SF Duplex $700.00

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SPECIAL REQUEST INSPECTIONS

​PRICE LIST

  • $625.00 Base Price to Start

(Please call for quote)

OUTBUILDING INSPECTIONS PRICE LIST

  • Outbuilding Inspection/Mother-In Law/Shop up to 1500 SF $60.00 (More than 1500 SF, please call for quote)

AGED HOME FEE

Older properties typically have many deferred maintenance problems and require a more time and labor-inspection and report. Therefore, we utilize the following price list for older homes. These prices are in addition to the standard price of the service, as listed above.

  • Home built on or before 2008, Over 10 years $10.00
  • Home built on or before 1998, Over 20 years $20.00
  • Home built on or before 1983, Over 35 years $35.00
  • Home Built on or before 1968, Over 50 years $50.00
  • Home built on or before 1943, Over 75 years $60.00

COMMERCIAL BUILDINGS/PROPERTIES

  • We inspect all types of Commercial and Industrial Properties.
  • COMMERICAL INSPECTIONS ARE QUOTED ON AN INDIVIDUAL BASIS: STARTIMG FROM A MINIMUM OF $500.00

  • COMMERICAL WITH THERMOGRAPHY IMAGING: STARTING FEES:$750.00 MIMIMUM

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TRAVEL FEES

Mileage trip fee:

  • Mileage is based at $1.00 per mile round trip or $75 per hour of drive time.
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Read this: https://inspectortoolbelt.com/how-to-price-your-services/

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I have to agree with you Ryan. I am a HI but I dumped that to be mold certified. I find that in my area home inspectors are like StarBucks (one on every corner) and that keeps the price for a 3-4 hour inspection around $250. I make way better money on mold. Maybe when real estate agents use a mold inspector like they do Home inspectors the my prices will drop too.

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Make sure you consider the following as factors in our “hourly wage”
We do not receive paid vacation - figure 4-10% of a salaried persons wage is earned while they are on vacation or sick leave.
We pay self employment tax (U.S.) at a rate of 7.5%. Salaried & hourly people have this paid by their employer.
No medical benefits - pick a percentage anywhere from 3-20% with too many variables to consider individually…thanks Obama
No 401k match - 3-6%
I would conservatively say a self employed person needs to make 20-30% more just to break even with a salaried/hourly employee.

Also, if you spend 3 hours on site for an inspection and 1 hour writing the report you haven’t factored anything in for the time spent scheduling (or the cost of paying an administrative assistant) and taking follow up phone calls after the inspection.

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The real question gets back to how do we as a group work to show real estate agents, lenders and clients that our knowledge and experience has more value than the price of a home inspection fee. I have found that one thing you can do is to get to know your competition and work WITH them.

Real estate agents have associations dedicated to doing exactly this. They collaborate with their competition on a daily basis. I know its been too long since I last reached out to a competitor and asked if they are free for a beer or lunch.

Working with your competition to make sure that inspectors in your region are educated and doing things properly will only make the inspector industry more respected. More respect = justified higher fees.

I should mention that collusion and price setting are illegal and I would never encourage it. I would never tell somebody they should charge more or tell them whether or not I am increasing my prices in the future.

I have been inspecting for about 7 months and this is my first post. I sold my landscaping company after over 25 years for many reasons. My goal was to go into an industry with educated licensed individuals that should know better than to give there services away. I am very disappointed about the low prices in this industry similar to my last one. My friend told me today he got charged 400 dollars to change the wax ring on his toilet by a licensed plumber. PLEASE FOR GODS SAKE LETS ALL RAISE OUR PRICES AND GET COMPENSATED PROPERLY…the liability and work involved while doing a great inspection is a lot of effort and we deserve to be treated like licensed professionals…

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A lot of you guys are getting off topic but Joseph understands what I’m saying: “PLEASE FOR GODS SAKE LETS ALL RAISE OUR PRICES AND GET COMPENSATED PROPERLY…the liability and work involved while doing a great inspection is a lot of effort and we deserve to be treated like licensed professionals…”

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I think it’s time for this again! :wink:

“A home inspection is a high-liability, in-depth, multi-disciplined technical analysis of the home conducted under adverse circumstances in front of a demanding audience, requiring the generation of an incredibly detailed written report prepared in an unrealistically short time frame for an inconceivably low fee.”

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Its to easy to be called an Home Inspector so there is no or little value. When a person can come from any other field and be considered a Professional Inspector in less than a year is not qualification. If I would have known that I didn’t need experience in the construction industry I might have 25 years ago at 30 (when the market wasn’t so saturated) become an inspector and learn as I went like most of them seem to do possibly in the past and definately today. I might be retired by now.