Trying to get an idea of the industry.

Okay, this is my first post here on this site so if I don’t get a lot of response that is understandable. I’ve been looking into home inspections as a career for a month or so now, but I’m not sure about it quite yet. I have been framing custom homes for the last five years working for somebody else other than myself. I don’t like working for somebody else making them tons of money, while my check stays the same. I’m looking for a change of pace and some new directions. I know this is a loaded question with tons of variables, but hows the money? Am I up in the night thinking I should be making $25-$30 an hour on average after expenses? I would like to hear about the first couple of years that you were in business. Did your family’s starve or were you successful? How about franchise vs. independant? I would appriciate any info that you fine folks could give me. I want to make as educated of a decision as I possibly can for me and more importantly my family.

The money can vary widely in the different geographic areas. Where are you located? You may get some responses that mean a little more than from someone all the way across the county.

Good luck.

Its wonderful. Most of the new guys average about 200-250 inspections their 1st full year, and then over the next 2-3 years work their way up till they’re doing a normal 450-600 inspections a year. Most experienced inspectors with 5 or more yrs experience average about $160k - $190k per year.

Don’t kid yourself. Being self employed doesn’t mean that you don’t work for someone else. You work for your client.

Yes, you do get a bigger piece of the pie, but you also have more expenses to absorb that you wouldn’t have had if you worked for someone else directly. You’ll have to get your own insurance, pay for your own equipment, marketing, Social Security, etc. You’ll also find that you don’t really work a 8 to 5 job schedule anymore. I work 7 days a week.

I’ve been in this business for about 2 years now. I live in Northern California where we have plenty of home inspectors and multi-inspector companies working the area. By the best estimates, a new inspector will have to endure at least 2 to 4 years of just getting the business up and running in my area. That’s assuming that you can market your business effectively. No one is willing to give up their piece of the home inspection business to you just because you show up. You’re going to have to earn it.

As for the franchises, I thought about it seriously and decided that being an independent was a better proposition. With a franchise, you’re given a particular area where no one else with the same franchise can get business in. The opposite is true for you, you can’t touch business in another guy’s area.

A non-franchise inspector will get his business where ever he can find it. He will cross the boundaries of a franchise operation like it never existed.

In my area, an inspection for a 2,000 sf house will be about $400 to $450. Figure that you’ll spend 3 hours on site, maybe 1 or 2 hours doing the report that night. Throw in something like $50 for expenses for insurance, gas, marketing, etc. That will make your net before taxes somewhere in the $70 to $80 per hour range. Then deduct your taxes and Social Security, that’s put you somewhere in the $40 to $50 bracket.

Making $40 to $50 an hour sounds pretty good. But remember that the odds are that you won’t be working 8 hours a day. If you’re lucky in the beginning, you’re get 4 to 5 inspections a month. Also figure that you really only have a 10 month work year given the holidays and the slowdown in winter. If you do the math, that’s 40 to 50 inspections the 1st year. The number of inspections will vary from state to state.

I guess what I’m saying is that you really need to sit down and do a business plan and figure what it will take to start a home inspection business. Being technically qualified is only one facet of running a business. Doing the marketing, bookeeping, etc. are equally if not more important. The key is getting accurate information for the area you plan to work in. Good luck.

What he said was true of most of the country. In the midwest things are slow and have been that way for almost a year. In Dec and Jan there is little business. You wont make as much for a inspection as in Cali. cut off at least a $100 or more. Houses don’t cost as much, wages are much lower. The failure rate is 90-95% for the 1st two years. If you can hold a full time Job and get on with a inspection company part time for a few years to gain experience, you might make it, but you wont make a profit during that time. All this is true. Don’t quit your job. The grass looks greener than it is. If you want to make it you will, you just wont make anything for a few years.

Not sure where you are getting those figures from. I think those are pretty high for the norm. Look at this link from a previous discussion.

Dan was being sarcastic!!

Dwight’s comments were right on. I would try to work with someone before jumping in, just to get experience. I would also agree with the mortality rate on 90% especially in a slowdown such as we are seeing now. However like going for the big wave in surfing once you committ, you need to give it 110% to have a chance of success. If your part time you will have a hard time building a referral base.

How well you do in your first year is more dependent on marketing and the ability to get into offices and build mindshare than it is on how well you inspect. Don’t get me wrong, if you screw up, word will travel like wildfire and no one will want to try you. On the other hand you could be a great inspector but no one knows about you. If I had to make a guess, a realistic goal could be 100 inspections the first year and doubling that the second. Realistically the upper limit of a single person’s ability is 350 to 400 inspections a year but that is pushing it because the business is never linear. I would be really happy if I got 8 inspections a week, 50 weeks a year!!!