I will be adding thermal camera inspections to my services and I was hoping someone can help me with pricing. How much should I charge for this service? I am based in southern California. I appreciate any feedback.
Thank you, Justin
@dandersen is our resident expert. Hopefully he can assist you.
How much is your time worth?
Two approaches. You can increase the cost of your home inspections and include thermal with all inspections, or treat thermal as an ancillary service and charge extra. I opted for the first scenario. If you opt for the second, it is very hard to resist the temptation to turn on your camera. I firmly believe that thermal imaging reduces your liability while also creating happier clients. For me it’s a no brainer to include the service and up my fees.
That is what I do.
So who has the balls to disclose how much you’ve raised your fee to include it with your HI’s?
It depends on the size of the home.
However, When some on ask me how much… I usually jack it up between $50 to 100 more.
It depends on how greedy I feel at the moment.
Well, that’s not the same as including it with the HI, is it?
I never market just IR inspections. It is included, but I tell them it comes with the inspection at no cost…
I’ll just give you my opinion here:
I have a huge spreadsheet to price my services.
I have the results of several hundred thermographers polled for each IR service they perform.
None of this will help you when your doing IR with a Home Inspection. First your already there to do another job (no mobilization fees). The client probably has no specific defect they need IR for, your just adding the use of a high performance flashlight to look at the house. I always ask a potential client if they have any specific issued they are concerned about to warrant a HI. When they say “none”, I ask why they are spending money on a HI. You can always get them to think about it and come up with something they have experienced in the past, or stories of issues they heard about and want to avoid. If any of these fall in the IR preview, I break down the cost of everything they want out of the HI and add it to the cost of my inflated HI fee (I’m going to use the IR regardless, for my advantage and a subsequent advantage to the client). So I may be adding $200 or more if the issue warrants it. If they opt out (which is unlikely after I get done educating them), I just go with the inflated HI fee.
Let me tell you why I started with IR.
I had to deal with a law suit that had nothing to do with me. The judge threw everything out and the termite company offered to repair their things. I bought a camera just for my peace of mind.
The cost of the IR Camera was less than legal fees on a bogus complaint. I used it as a flashlight, saw stuff and went and investigated further. I put IR Pic’s in the report for advertising. When Realtors told their clients to use me because I do IR stuff, I jacked up my HI prices to cover it. When I got more training and experience, I did just IR inspections and threw in a cheap home inspection to go with it (I had to inspect the house anyway). Most of my clients were corporate executives (because of the Realtors I worked with). I inspected their houses and they called back for their company/corporation needs). Now I sit at the office in retirement and analyze drone scans.
Do not get into IR thinking “If you have it, they will come”.
It is big investment in equipment, training, and time.
Adding “additional time” ($$$) to your home inspection does not work because IR will speed up your inspection not delay it. It prevents the need for “further evaluation by…” and the Agent will pick up on this and the client will perceive a better inspection. And leaving the camera in the truck because they didn’t pay extra, is a shot in your foot! How are you going to gain experience in IR if you don’t use it on every inspection?
Cheap cameras do not work either. Without thousands of dollars in training, you can’t analyze data the camera can not record. Blue is not water. Red is not always hot. When you look at cameras, turn off the MSX and see if you can recognize what you just took the scan of.
You work in southern Cal. There is not much rain there, I’ve been told. Water issues are the biggest issue that damage buildings. It doesn’t get overly hot/cold there compared to other places. Does your geo location support the need for IR during home inspections? Consider your market area. Does the need justify the cost? Doing Radon testing in a location that has little or no Radon is hard to sell. But people move from states that glow in the dark with Radon and don’t want to deal with that issue regardless. Can you market to these clients?
You will not be able to sell your IR to a client if they do not perceive a “need” for it. No one buys anything without justifying the purchase to themselves. Many get buyers remorse when they have time to think about what they just purchased. It’s your job to help them realize what they need.
There is a lot more than price involved in your decision. Call if you want to discuss this further.