Top ten list..starting up new inspection business

I have 25+ years in the new home construction field. I know that gaining insight from pros in any field is an invaluable resource. What are in your opinion the top ten things I should do to break into this field?

Robert, in PA you need to have Errors & Omission insurance and belong to a national organization (like Internachi, Ashi, Nahi, or others). Then you can begin performing your first 100 supervised inspections to become a “full member” of one of those associations.

Issue number 1 should be to draw up a business plan and a marketing plan so you can set realistic expectations for your business growth and eventual success. Issues to consider are how many sales are there annually in your target market, how many inspectors are currently in your market, what is the average price for an inspection, what are your costs, etc. This is a vital, and often overlooked step - and many times separates those who succeed from those who scrape by or fail. You often hear about how 80% of small business fail in the first year (or some stat like that). I would wager that most of those failures are not bad at what they do, they are jut bad at business and fail to plan adequately.

2 is training, which it sounds like your background will cover pretty well, but perhaps take a course or brush up on your weak areas (be it HVAC, or plumbing, etc).

3 is joining an association.

4 is getting E & O

5 is getting the tools and equipment you will need to begin inspecting (this includes your coice of report format - checklist, written, or software).

6 is to get a website so people can find you.

7 is marketing realestaet agents, real estate attorneys, friends, family, and any other way you can tell people you are out there.

8 is to begin performing your 100 supervised inspections.

9 is to keep learning

10 is do great tracking of where your customers come from (so you know what marketing works) and to maintain contact to use them to generate new leads.

Good luck!

Find another profession! With home sales like they are, inspectors are getting out of the business daily. About the only ones who will survive this slowdown are the ones who have been established for a few years. Even then many of them are getting part-time jobs to pay the bills. Now is not a good time to start a home inspection business.

Thanks jmichalski for your insight. Great job out lining it for me. I am pretty good at marketing myself. I have been in business for 20+ years and know it takes time and persistance to obtain a foothold with someone who “feeds” you work. I am very persistant. Networking is a great thing. I’ll be writing you for more info if that is okay?

Sorry you are having a difficult time with it. But as jmichalski said…marketing…

Also, I will continue to wean to this my way in to profession as I keep working the business that I have.


I tend to agree with you at least in this neck of the woods you would be nuts to open up the inspection business. This area has over 6 months supply of homes listed just sitting. I am being told by a broker that 2 months is good. I will add we have not seen the remaining fall out of this. In this town alone I looked at the recent sales in the Sunday paper. Of all the homes, I took an intelligent guess at what could or may have been inspected (by the cost of the home). I came up with 6 homes and I inspected two of them. The math says 4 homes were left to split between the other 4 inspectors ( not to mention the ones located nearby). The three newest inspectors in this area are and have to be thinking they are toast. But then again when you see a constant drum beat in the newspaper ads saying “Be your own boss, make your own hours, become a home inspector in a fast growing field” some will go for it. I think its about a plan and equally about timing. I don’t care how much you know, or how good you are, you have to have a market.
Just a couple thoughts,

Sorry to hear the market is so bad in IL.

Funny, my number of inspections is already at 180% of last years, and I still have a month to go. My revenue is well over the 200%+ of last year, and unfortunately none of my competitors have dropped out yet:mrgreen:.

This is not an easy business, and I think it takes alot more business management and marketing efforts then most who come into it realize. That is why Joe’s advice to write a good business plan is key. I think most of those who are struggling are doing so because they have marketing plans that don’t work (or don’t include work).

Another piece of information you should read if you haven’t yet is, I would suggest you join iNACHI and take advantage of the members only forums, specifically the marketing forum which has extensive information and resources to help you in drawing up your marketing strategy and in writing your business plan.

No matter what you choose, good luck!

Good Advice! Would it be possble for me to take a look at your business plan? Or at least an outline of it. It seems to be working very good for you. I am gathering now as much info as I can to start up properly. What I could use from someone is an outline of complete start-up costs outling the cost and a brief description of why. I have found an additional couple things already from different pages on here. I don’t want to accidentally miss an expense.


For you ask such a thing, means to me you have no clue about a business plan. This isn’t apples to apples, you need to gather knowledge of what it takes, money, education, etc. and sit down and do your own plan, specific to your location, your focus, your marketing style/technique, etc. Plan out at least 5 years.

The idea is if you don’t have enough information to plan out a business, than you don’t have enough information to run it.

I’ve used “Business Plan Pro” to plan out work for both my past companies, dot-com, etc, and my church. I picked up an older version, and the big plus is that it comes with a book on how to put together a business plan, read it.


P.S. Why are you leaving the real estate construction field, don’t answer. Think of your answer when you ask yourself, why do you want to be a home inspector. Good luck.

Sent you an email.

I can help you get swamped with work in 30 days. But you have to have a belly to do what I’m going to tell you to do. Oh, and by the way, my advice works in bad markets and good markets and doesn’t rely on there ever being a single home sale in the world ever again.

O.K. Nick I’ll bite, I need and want to be swamped in thirty days, I will do exactly what you say if you care to share this with me.

Does this swamp extend to Canada ???:mrgreen:

Not all of Illinois just in this area and maybe some others. I don’t know how it is in Chicago for example. This is why I said this area.

Worth repeating!

Well, in this soft real estate market, you can’t rely on real estate transactions or real estate agents to carry your new business, unless you are Michael Pagoulatos

I have a bunch of plans for you, all of them will work. I’ll give you one now (based on only what you’ve told me):

  1. Buy a used cherry picker Yes it’s a marketing tool and a ladder will do fine, but you need outside-the-real-estate-industry marketing.

  2. Truck wrap it all geared toward annual inspections and promoting all the ancillary inspections in

  3. Sign up everyone in town for scheduled annual inspections and push it as a regular service. Works best in yuppie and high-end neighborhoods.

Every inspection you do leads to more inspections, leads to inspections when your clients buy a new home and when they sell and leads to inspections from their neighbors if you market to each of your customer’s neighbors using your customer on that street as a reference, and each of them has friends. They all lead to oversight work And everyone you get under contract is an inspection next year, and the year after. If you have any sort of personality and guts, you’ll succeed. I’ll help you. Here is my personal email

Nick what are the base charges used for OverSeeIt jobs?

Okay Nick! Hey what’s up with all the nay sayers. I believe you. I have run a pretty darn successful construction business for 20+ years. To the gentleman who said I have no clue…please don’t judge or presume to know what my background is or why I “need” to change fields.

Thanks for the link though.

Darren, Anti-Trust laws (and our attorneys) prevent me from ever mentioning pricing. Sorry.