What Challenges Are There?

What challenges are there in providing this ancillary service?

Home Energy Inspection

What do you need to make this service profitable for your business?

We love feedback.

A market for the service.

Ben maybe you and the gang can put together some marketing type brochures and or some good sales material to sell this added service to our new and old clients ?

Jim

more money

For me it’s not really valid. We have a ton of pools and pool heaters. Those can be power hogs and are not even in your formula.

Sounds interesting but how do you make money with it? How do you market it? The lifestyle and power consuming devices of the present owner are not indicative of the Client buying the property so a report based on conditions at inspection leave a big question mark; are they relative for your Client who is buying the property? Do you just build it into the HI report? People do not want to pay for what they can get for free. Locally many business’ “do it for free” so they can get the work to “do the upgrades”. Being done in cooperation with power companies who then put the monthly equipment payment into the monthly utility bill and “grants” through NYSERDA.

You are correct that the exact same Berkely Lab calculator used to generate this report is available free of chargeto anyone with internet access.

But then, if you think about it, they can do their own home inspection for free as well.

The biggest challenge that legitimate home inspectors wanting to provide a genuine service to their client will face in marketing this very general information to his client is his credibility.

It must be done in such a manner as to ensure that your client is truly aware of all of the limitations that exist and he should NOT USE THIS INFORMATION TO DETERMINE WHETHER OR NOT TO PURCHASE THE HOME. You don’t want that liabilityhinging on the results from this very basic and broad calculator.

If you are going to use this tool, I would suggest a disclaimer that the client signs acknowledging that he has not paid for or received an energy audit, should not use any information in the report to determine his purchase of the home and should consult with a certified building analyst who conducts diagnostic home performance analyses prior to taking any action to improve the comfort, air quality or energy efficiency of his home.

With that, it could be a safe and legitimate way to make an extra $50. Without that, there is a potential for harm to both the client and his inspector.

A while back, people thought there wasn’t a market for radon and mold. That was also incorrect.

I suggest prospective homeowners might be thinking:
How much will my monthly utility bills will be after moving in?
Is there anything in the house currently wasting energy and therefore would cost me money?
Is there any room for improving the energy-use of the house?
What basics can I do? How much would that cost? And how much would I save?

We all know pools, pumps and heaters waste energy. It’s fairly self-evident.
And there’s little a homeowner can do about those components to save energy.

What most prospective homebuyers don’t know is what’s not so obvious.

The typical American home wastes energy. We know that out of the 130 million homes in the U.S., 80 million were built before 1980 (they pre-date modern energy standards and are associated with higher energy use and operating costs per square foot). We also know that Americans spend about $2,000 per household on energy every year. But what most homeowners don’t know is that about 30% of that energy (30% of that money) is wasted.

Even if they did know, they don’t know what to do about it that’s most cost-effective for them.

Hard to sell something that can be had for FREE.

The Home Energy Inspection works for home sellers AND home buyers.

For a homebuyer, the inspector enters data for the client moving in (including the number of people and their ages).

In relation to the “free” services out there. Research shows that current and prospective homeowners don’t trust information from free services.

They trust you. They’ve hired you (a true 3rd party neutral). And they want to know about “energy” … from you.

It must be done in such a manner as to ensure that your client is truly aware of all of the limitations that exist and he should NOT USE THIS INFORMATION TO DETERMINE WHETHER OR NOT TO PURCHASE THE HOME. You don’t want that liabilityhinging on the results from this very basic and broad calculator.

Doug, that’s not what recent energy research studies have shown.

Note that many states and counties offer free radon test kits, and yet it’s a profitable ancillary inspection for many home inspectors.

For example, the majority of homes in Colorado have elevated levels of radon; there are free and discounted kits readily available, yet most CO home inspectors perform (and successfully sell) radon testing services.

Research from DOE, EPA, Harvard, and more have all shown that current and prospective homeowners do not trust information from contractors and free services.

They trust you. And they want to know about “home energy.”

I frankly did not care whether the house was for sale.

I performed my inspections exclusive of a real estate transaction.

I recommend staying true, 3rd party neutral - providing unbiased information my client hired me to provide.

I don’t see how you could do a home’s energy audit without scanning the walls for insulation. That’s the area the average home inspector can’t see without an IR camera.

Couldn’t we just provide a free energy analysis with our home inspections? Jim, do you still offer this service for free with your home inspections? I would think an inspector could book more inspections if this was an incentive to get folks to call.

Linas, Why do you think Bushart is so opposed to this, and other similar, programs. He found a niche, and doesn’t want his competitors to steal it away. If you recall, a year or so ago he changed his entire strategy of his business model.

Obviously they did not take that survey here in the FL panhandle. That may be entirely true in some parts of the country but it has been mine and others experience here that the locals will often go for the cheap inspector and anything free (kind of like home inspectors who tell all their clients to hire a professional except when it comes to their own homes, then they want to have someone here tell them how to replace, repair system components). I find surveys unreliable (I used to give do them) because people will often tell you one thing because they want to appear smart or informed, while doing another (because they are neither smart nor informed).

If this puts the kibosh on his plans he can always fall back on his prior vocation. Looks better that diagnostic home performance analysis business.:wink:

You should care … particularly if you are contracting to perform your inspection in accordance with the same standard of practice that disclaims everything that your “energy report” includes.

Are you suggesting that a home inspector is somehow immune from liability from the information he provides in his “energy report” to a home buyer, unlike his inspection report? Have you discussed this with any insurance carriers?