Took my level one, now what??

Two weeks ago I took my level one course with Scott Wood. Very intelligent man and blew me away with his knowledge. I am the proud owner of a FLIR E40BX and have been using it on my inspections the last week. Now I am at a cross roads, do I charge more per inspection or do I market it seperatly and hope people find it as a valuble tool. I have spoken to a few people about it and they all feel they just want an inspection and would leave out the infrared as an add on service. How is everyone else doing it?? Any marketing ideas would be great.

Level 1 just like every other certification course is not cheap. Don’t give your knowledge away for free. Charge accordingly.

I definitly agree Yuri, I guess the real question is do I up my rates or use it as an ancillary Inspection. What are other guys doing. I am the highest price right now and don’t want to price my self out of the market.

Your market and marketing will determine your best approach. I charge separately for infrared inspection as an add-on or a stand-alone service. I market it that way and most people who contact me either by referral or from the web are looking for IR. I do infrared on about 80% of my home inspections. I can certainly charge more for it as an optional service than I can rolled into the basic inspection fee. I think it’s funny that people will charge extra to inspect an irrigation system, which requires no special equipment, no special training, very little time (comparatively) and pretty low liability and then turn around and charge nothing for their infrared services. It makes no sense to me, but I have to believe that these people know what their service is worth and are charging accordingly.

When prospects ask why I charge additional for infrared while others give it away, I can easily address it from the perspective of qualifications, methodology and quality of equipment used. When I explain what I have invested in my infrared capability vs others, it’s easy for them to understand why they are better off paying me vs getting something less for free elsewhere. It actually becomes a selling point.

Qualified professionals get paid for their work and their opinions. Does your doctor throw in free MRIs or CAT scans with a physical?

Others feel their market better supports increasing their basic rate and including IR in the basic service.

Also consider how IR fits in with your basic HI SOP. I treat it as a separate, optional service with it’s own SOP. The NACHI SOP provides no framework or standard for your IR services. You want to be able to state what standards you apply when providing your IR service. Someday you might be asked why you did or did not do something.

My area dictates my business plan based on sq miles and population chuck has more population in Houston than I have in my whole state how he markets IR does not work for me. Some say I give it away not the case. I include it in every inspection which in turn has increased my bottom line that is the only thing that matters and that is what your bank deposit at the end of the month reads.

BTW congrads on level 1 you have just begun your journey hurry and get to level ll and start doing commercial electrical your eyes will really open

Curious Greg what do they charge for level 1 in your area?

They charge about 1800 here. I took mine in Omaha NE so I could train with Scott Wood. He really gets down and dirty with building science. He teaches the Flir class of 32 hours but goes beyond that by another 10 hours on building science. Really educational. I will be taking my level 2 but have to wait and generate some funds first!

Just curious Greg.
Before you spent money on the level one what were you thinking about doing with the thermal camera as far as extra income or did you simply want to use it as a moisture meter check point finder for use during general Home Inspection ?

Very well said, Chuck. I market IR exactly the same way. This is not a part of the general home inspection and never will be. If someone wants to know details rather than general opinion they have to pay for it separately.

I sure hope I don’t see your camera in the classifieds for sale for lack of business I hope your population supports your thought process:D BTW one day if you stay in this business long enough you will come to see every home inspector worth his salt will have IR in his bag as a normal tool as it will be a normal home inspection process

My thought process was to give my clients another level of service while making some extra money. I would like to use it for commercial applications as well. What motivated me was I lost a commercial inspection because I did’nt have a camera. My competitor got the job!! I did laugh a little when I saw him up there at 1 o’clock in the afternoon with his camera though. That is when I decided to take my level one instead of other courses offered.

Charley, is 12 years long enough? That’s as of now. Hopefully I will be around a little longer but… as I was told during my level 1 course, its not difficult to learn how to use the camera. Its an ability to interpret what you see that makes it difficult. So either every home inspector will need to take Level 1 as a minimum and buy a decent camera or it will not become a normal tool as a moisture meter or electrical tester IMHO.

I’m sure he’ll be fine. You just need to know how to market it.

I do just fine also you need to understand a lack of population we don’t grow them under ever rock

Yes I hope your around for along time just don’t get tunnel vision look at the complete picture

Greg, it is great that you took your Level 1 class. I would not be so anxious to get your Level II until you have spent some time scanning everything you see and then interpreting the images. I am sure that is what you intended to do.

If you want to do commercial work, imho, you need to upgrade your camera to a 320x240 or better.

My only issue is the price tag that goes with the higher resolution cameras. Not sure if you will ever pay off a 20,000 dollar camera. Charley and I are in the same boat, low population. 28,000 people live in my home town and the next town comparible is 100 miles away.

When I bought mine (T400) about 5 years ago it was 24K for camera and software. Commercial work is where the large money is and yes you can pay the camera off. It then becomes a decision of how far you will travel for the money. How far away is Edmonton? Any one around you have solar panels? Thermal is an easy way to check on them. You can find the business in commercial electrical, roofs and such but you might have to travel for it.

Edmonton is 2 1/2- 3 hours away.

A used T400 should go for about $5K or less now. You can cover that in a single commercial job. The privately owned units are typically pretty well cared for and they do last a long time. There is no need to buy new to get an excellent imager. Make sure you know how to check calibration and keep a log. Take it to Level-II class and check calibration there. Calibration won’t matter before you take level-II anyway.