Thermal Imaging

As I get ready to earn my IR certification I have been paying attention to threads on IR inspections. What I find contrary to being in business is the large number of inspectors who pay for training, buy an expensive camera and give the service away. I was asked by a buyer if I would do IR during my inspection and although I didn’t have a camera or even know what IR was about I said if I did it would be $150.00 more, they declined and all went well.

For you guys that give it away, how do you feel this is helping your business, plus if for free do you consider the camera a cost that you eat and what do you tell your buddies who charge for the service?

I think you’re going to see it as the standard in the future. It will be expected.

Frank, I think you are right. And if enough do it, it will eventually be expected of us… and if you do not perform at that point then could have liabilities.

Unfortunately it is the same anywhere we stretch beyond the SOP.

I do not charge my clients an extra fee for the service. It is expected in my area to the point if you do not have one you will not get hired. What I do though is add it into my cost. My competition has a base fee of about $400.00. My fee starts at 450.00. I would like to get more but I will price myself out of the market if I do.

I think its crazy to go beyond the SOP and not get paid, I understand the need to compete but most people shop price and then maybe consider value.

Like free estimates from contractors. I still do estimates and sell remodeling on a will call basis for a couple of guys and I tell the people an estimate is $200.00. Many say forget it but enough say ok, its enough to keep me charging for estimates. Free estimates keep contractors from being perceived as professionals as real professionals charge for their time and experience.

So I’m guessing free thermography does not include a report, or a short report at best. I understand offering it, I just don’t get buying a $5000 camera and not having the client pay for it.

By the way, I have a home inspection coming up for a thermographer, should be a good opportunity to ask a couple of questions like “how much do you charge for services.”

Do not even pay attention to the morons that give it away. (Other than to watch for their camera to come up on eBay).

They should not be your competition, nor should you wast your time on what they do.

You should easily make $500 for an initial site assessment and $1,600/day (site and report work) or stick with your day job.

Most thermographers (like you find at Infraspection when you go) will not get in the car for less than $2,000.00. Ask Jim his opinion.

A Thermographer and a Home Inspector with a Thermal Camera are not the same thing.
It’s up to you to decide which one you want to be.

Let the Homies with cameras spread the word about IR and you focus on doing the job right. Your clients (willing to pay the invoice) will know the difference. This is not 2001 any more.

Truer words were never spoken!! Listen to Mr. Andersen he knows what he is talking about!

Paul first ask yourself why you are doing it .
Bear in mind your answers here will all be from enthusiasts.

Easy Bob, I am doing thermography because when I get good at it I will be offering a value added service. Another reason is why be average? An inspector who offers more than the average service will be in higher demand than the “Shake and Bake” guys, you might be marketing to a smaller group but still be likely to make more money.

Mercedes automobiles didn’t worry when the Yugo came out, wasn’t their customer base.

Easy Bob ?..I was simply asking you to ask yourself.
I am not that excitable…lol

Personally I am busy as I want to be and offer zero aux services.
Do not even market anymore.

Just sayin.

Had a guy ask me this morning if I do Mold testing and IR but that happens maybe two or three times a year and to be honest they usually use me anyway as specialty offerings are just that and gadgets do not make the Inspection …the Inspector does.IMO

The above being said most clients only ask about aux services because other sites make them think they are needed and if they actually are needed I refer one of my buddies that can do them same as a Plumber or other Contractor.

Bear in mind in Chicago people love exposed walls so toss out r value automatically.

Mold testing is actually advised against by the state we have all had that debate ].

Radon in Chicago is rare as we have clay based soil near the lake. its when you go into the burbs ]

Yeah, easy in that I wanted to do IR.

When I was a contractor I earned a few certs and did it for me as I rarely brought it up but IR is interesting to me and I wanted to learn about it.

Naw, didn’t see you as excitable, specially not after I watched the video of you strolling round the Chicago landscape, Mr Mellow is how you appear. :wink:

That’s my thought as well. So many are doing it, at least in my area, it seems silly to not take the class and get into a good camera.

And once I took the initial class, I found the science behind it just completely fascinating.

Sure it’s an added expense, and the ROI is going to take a while longer than if I was a plain home inspector, but man, compared to the cost of opening a restaurant, or retail store, or any other of a myriad of self-employed job possibilities, the class and camera is relatively cheap.

Great post!!

Professionals are sought out for their knowledge and skill and get paid for their services.

I’m a professional Home Inspector and I’m a professional Thermographer. I get paid to perform home inspections and I get paid to perform infrared thermography. Often times I get paid to do both at the same house on the same day, for the same client, but it is a separate service. Thermography is not a subset of the home inspection SOP.

Those that do not get paid for their services are amateurs. There are plenty of home inspectors who are amateur infrared camera owners and they charge the appropriate fee for what they do with their equipment.

If you probe a bit, you will find a marked difference in how a professional Thermographer goes about performing a paid thermography inspection of a residential property from what an amateur infrared camera owner does in their inspection.

Just as buying a point and shoot digital camera does not make one a professional photographer, simply buying a cheap infrared imager does not make one a professional thermographer. Nobody seeks out the neighborhood kid with a point and shoot digital camera to photograph their wedding, they seek out a professional photographer.

Home inspectors who are amateur infrared camera owners and perform their service for free are not our competitors. I have absolutely no problem marketing paid thermography services against free “thermal scans” by amateur imager owners.

Those inspectors who treat their infrared imager as just another tool in the bag that helps them be better home inspectors (a perfectly valid approach IMO), should just go about quietly using it as another tool, without hoopla and fanfare. They really shouldn’t advertise infrared thermography services for the same reason that they don’t advertise that they perform photography services because they happen to use a digital camera in the course of performing their home inspection.

If you advertise a service, you owe it to your clients to have the equipment, competence and methodology deliver a professional level of service.

Well said.

Another great post!!!

One thing to keep in mind is that the time of day we schedule for a home inspection may not be the ideal time or climatic condition to do thermal imaging of the building envelope. Thermal loads on the structure vary throughout the day making building envelope, air infiltration/ex filtration, and moisture intrusion issues either more difficult or easier to spot. There is some liability that will be inherent because of that. I also think that the scope and limitations of thermal imaging should be clearly defined in the home inspection contract. I have spoken with some inspectors that include thermal imaging as part of their inspection, but make no mention of it in their contract.

Well said!

Another good post!

Agreed. Very good and valid points.