What is the future of the industry?

I apologize in advance because I have a feeling this post is going to be rather long-winded. I suffer from insomnia at times and find it difficult to sleep. My mind begins to wander and race and they think of many things maybe some are important, maybe some aren’t so important.

But in reflection of all the controversy and negativity that has been presented in our professional forum it makes me reflect and think about many aspects of our profession.
I will digress a bit…. I went to the dentist today and when all was said and done in about an hour and 45 min. I had to pay a bill of $1832. I paid the bill without thinking about it too much and when I day for a little bit. I then thought, what made me pay that amount of money without question? The answer came rather fast, well he’s a dentist! That’s what Dentists charge.

So then I tried to compare his profession to my profession. Granted he has a ton more formal education but what really are the differences? His liability is if somebody gets injured, they get an infection, he does the wrong treatment, and I guess someone could die.

I then thought about my profession. In my profession, should I be negligent, it can cause personal injury, significant injury and possible death. Yet, I get paid nowhere near the amount of money he gets paid. Why is that? Please understand that I am not thinking we should get paid what professional doctors make, but we should be making a whole lot more than we are.

So then, I ask myself why not? Why in the hell are we not charging at least $1200 for a basic home inspection? Once again the answer came very quickly to me, because we have set a standard so low that the general public does not feel we are worth that fee. So then you must ask yourself, why does the general public not have a positive professional aspect of what we do and feel that we deserve professional wages? For that, I have no answer. But I do have a cause. The cause is simply, we do not project a professional image to the rest of the world. Who is at fault for that? I would have to say, the majority of the seasoned inspectors (me included). We sit back and we wonder and bicker and argue like children, call each other morons, chubby and every other silly name and then think we demand professionalism from the general public. How can they give respect when we don’t even respect our own organization, fellow inspector and profession?

We keep listening to the “experts” telling us what to do. And yet how many of the experts are actually experts? How many of them perform 6 figures a year? How many perform 7 figures a year? If you think income is not a good measuring device for business success, well we strongly disagree. If I say I have 100% customer satisfaction for 10 years running and only performed 10 home inspections, its not really an accomplishment is it?

But then most people look at successful people like Dale Duffy, Jeff Pope and they see these people as the standard within our profession. I hate to tell you, they are far from standard. They are exceptional. I think it was maybe Chris Currins or Gary Farnsworth stating that they actually made MORE money 10 years ago per inspection, then they do now. Think about it, that is not even taking into account for inflation!

So the “experts” in all their infinite wisdom have lead us down a path of less money! And now we listen to them. Really? To me it is very very evident that what we are presently doing SUCKS. Unless your into philanthropy and doing more for less. This proves the saying ‘Doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results is INSANE’, and it is. And yet it is what they preach. Why?
Things have to change and they must change in a huge way. Forget about the way things are done. We have to think way outside the box and get consumer confidence and the image of professionalism. How do we do that? Well there is the question; I do not have the answer to. But I do know what works in certain areas (for me anyways).

As I have been reading the negative posts, there are several areas not talked about. Be aware without this ONE thing not a single one of us would make a thin dime. What every single business in the entire world needs to survive is a CLIENT. I see all the talk about, OUR aspect, OUR liability, what WE want, what WE feel is good. Does any of that even matter, at all? To me, what I want is NOTHING. What the client desires is EVERYTHING.

I am NOT pushing a 90 day warranty, just using it as an example because of the all the controversy.

How many people actually ask their client “Would you prefer to have a 90 day warranty or not? Hell I go to Costco and damn near buy everything I can from there. Why? The RETURN policy is the ONLY reason. Hell, I can find it cheaper online, but I like getting it now and if it sucks, take it back. I have been a shopper there for about 10 years and I don’t even price shop, if Costco has it, I buy it from there. Now here is the kicker, I have only returned ONE thing in 10 years. How crazy is that? But that ONE time made such an impression on me that they performed to obtain my consumer confidence.
So once again, ask your client, would you prefer a 90 day warranty with that or not? What do you think they would say? Really? I bet most would say, HELL YES! So if the client would want it, they why not? Are we not suppose to please and appeal to the client?

Let me guess, what if the warranty doesn’t pay? You look like crap and your reputation is RUINED, you will be tar and feathered and run out of town. OR, maybe just maybe….You can make it right. My reputation is in my hands and I am in control of it. If someone calls me totally upset, I try to make it right, even if they are wrong. Why? Its basic numbers to me. Happy clients lead to more money. Many hear talk about the liability. What liability? If the claim doesn’t get paid? Who cares? Make it right yourself and YOU deal with the warranty company on your terms.

Any added service comes with liability. Warranties and thermal cameras are the exact same thing. They have a fee and they open you up to liability. But does it COST you anything if you make money from it? Meaning if I increase my revenue by $10,000 a year by having a thermal infrared camera, but it costs me $1500 a year to maintain is it financially beneficial to me? I would say yes. So now everything is the SAME. If I can get 100 more people singing my praises and exponentially increasing my volume at a higher fee, but costs me $2000 one time every 5 years, is it worth it? I would say YES. So instead of liability, liability, liability, look at it from a PROFESSIONAL businessman’s eyes and determine if the gains far outweigh the actual costs. Not the perceived costs, the actual costs. To live a life of “what if’s and negative scenarios you will amount to nothing, in ANYTHING you do”.

Things will not improve by themselves, they must improve as an effort of a few, some, many. We are NOT a profession. Want me to prove it? We make far less than we should given the liability we have. What YOU as an individual think we are is NOTHING, it is what the general public or the “client” perceives you as. As I said before, do not look at Dale Duffy and Jeff Pope as the norm, they are not. They are exception businessmen with a insight and portray a professional presence and command a professional fee.

So now, I have proven what we are doing doesn’t work, where we are is not working, and we have no real direction after what, 30 years? It is not what I can do about it, its what can WE do about it? That is not for me to decide, but these are the ranting and thoughts of an old, fat guy with insomnia. Food for thought and maybe, just maybe professional dialogue can begin and progress to professionalism can begin with this very thread…Who knows?


Isn’t it only 730 in Cali?? :slight_smile:

Russell from one old fat guy to another (both with insomnia) your post actually makes sense. :wink: I also love the word you used a few times “Professionalism” if you have ever visited my site look at the tag line under my header. That has been my company motto for 30 years.:cool:

I won’t name names but I have had this same conversation with many inspectors here regarding the overall image of our profession. You are correct that it will take the effort from ALL to upgrade our status in the public’s eye. Once this is don’t we will all be able to get paid what we deserve as very important professionals who provide extremely important services to the world.

Good post Russ.


NVM. I thought you lived in Cali.

Actually I wrote that at 3 am on Thursday/Friday…

Thanks Jim, I appreciate the kind words

But the question is, how do we solve the problem? How do we take steps forward in making the job a profession? Is there a way to accomplish the task?

Seems like the way would be

One way would have been for NACHI to charge a $7500 initiation fee up front. Would stop all the people who want to dabble in our profession and see what comes of it. But since that is not going to happen, any other ideas?

Well you are correct there has to be a way, well it will take many things to happen. As far as NACHI charging that type of fee, well I don’t think that will really work to change public perception. There are some good inspectors that simply couldn’t or wouldn’t pay that just to be a member, but at least it is an idea.

I think one start would be a price increase, but this only work if done unilaterally by all. When there are low ballers still out ther they are counter productive to legitimizing our profession.

Another idea I actually discussed with a few inspectors here a few months ago was a public awareness campaign. I am talking about TV and Radio ads, not for any individual company but for the profession as a whole. Like with Nick helping with a little funding, as well as all of us. Kind of like his world tour, but using the mass media as the mechanism to get out to the world?

I have other thoughts as well.


Thought this was going to be good till I realized it was just another “Insurance Ad”
Needs to go in the vendor section.

I am all for TV ads, but not organization related. Lets not cheapen the profession, by saying one organization is better than the other. Lets just keep it PROFESSION based.

Agree or disagree? I don’t think you will ever see a dime from Nick and it may have to do with many things. The people in Australia will complain their money is being used for US advertising, then the people in Guam will complain, Puerto Rico, Canada, etc… and I really can’t blame them.

So now we need a professional awareness message. I can go along with that, what would that message be? You will NEVER ever get lowballers out of the profession, but thats just IT. You have to portray the lowballers and JOB fillers and NOT professionals.

You have a choice, you can have last weeks 7-11 employee or a long time professional home inspector, the choice is yours.

LOL…didn’t mean for it to come out as an advertisement and will keep that portion out of future discusions. Just wanted to make a point and using the latest and greatest debate was one way of getting A POINT across, maybe not the BEST or GREATEST point, but an opening for professional dialogue

Russell, why all the negativity?

Because there will always be some one with a 4 pages checklist, spending 1 hour on site and collecting $199 for his efforts.

You know the consumer is getting a lousy inspection by they don’t know any better.

Some used to think licensing would help to raise competence and prices.

We all know how that turned out.

The answer to the thread title is… consolidation. It is clear to me that our industry is dividing into two camps: Winners and losers.

The losers are still relying on association logo usage and hopes that the economy will pick up.

The winners aren’t really doing any one thing right… they are doing a lot of little things right.

In the future, InterNACHI is going to keep developing more of those things so that we can continue to provide them to members and deny them to non-members.

When I said Public awareness I wasn’t really referring to any specific organization. This idea is more towards (your last sentence). Try to get the public to see the importance of a Quality home inspection by a Skilled Professional, and NOT just some cheap schmuck doing it on the side for beer money.
There are some reasonable priced late night TV commercial spots always available. I have already been looking into doing a spot for my Radon services;) and see how it goes. The word needs to start somewhere and then spread like a weed.

I certainly don’t have all the answers, but I do have some ideas and agree with you that for this profession to continue to grow, and for all of us to get paid as a professional should we need to change our look in the public eye by doing all we can to become professionals.


Are there low baller dentists out there? If so, do they reflect badly on their profession? Do many people shop for dentists based upon lowest price?

You built something great Nick, but I think NACHI is part of the problem. Many MANY MANY, people think they can watch 10 videos and then go inspect a house competently. It is so much more than that, but NACHI portrays EXACTLY as that. I don’t want to get into this aspect and you do wonderful things for the profession.

NACHI is not in the business of limiting the amount of people, but trying to GROW that amount of people, which I think is counter productive. At the same time your classes are better than nothing and you do provide awesome education benefits.

If consilidation is the answer, how do we consolidate?

You can thank ASHI.

They promoted state licensing. They pushed basic, minimum standard laws, rules, and regulations. Now, you have basic, cheap, minimum inspections, all allowed by law. You have Texas, where inspections are regulated by the real estate commission, for example; a huge conflict of interest in itself.

I used to advertise heavily. In the last 12 months, I have not sent out any thank-you notes, fliers, or thrown business cards on driveways. All of my inspections come from referrals; not ads, not brochures in offices, not RE agents themselves. And my business is the best it has been since 2007.

My web site averages over 300 hits a day. And, I state how it is with the Kansas laws on my site. I tell it like it is. Most RE agents, office brokers hate the truth. I promote it. Perhaps when the republicans get their president in office, things may change.

The only way to raise your price is to raise your worth. We can only do that by raising our standards. However, we cannot, since state HI laws have been implemented.

Thank ASHI.

I would say YES. I have been blessed enough to afford the large bill my dentist gave me. But there was a time, where I just wanted the pain to go away and the cheapest price possible.

Disagree, I don’t blame anyone or anything except ourselves. Lets start there. Lets not look outside and look within. What happens in our profession is they get complacent and because Nick does many wonderful things, inspectors DO NOTHING, because someone else will do it for them. Then when they see the problem in hindsight, they beotch about it.

Lets not sling any one thing as the cause, in my opinion, its US who brought it on ourselves. How do we stop the bleeding and repair the damage.

I am waiting for one person to mention something, that NEVER ever gets mentioned and I think it is the absolute monumental aspect of total improvement.

One thing I know is that hiding behind SOP and disclaiming everything to avoid actually using any skill or having an opinion out of fear of liability makes the rest of us look incompetent.

I do not care what it is …radon…mold…estimates…commercial…ir,etc it is satisfying a need.
They pay for a real opinion looking to you as an expert so give the damn opinion and stop being a wimp by not committing to answers.

Stop using blood sucking middlemen like service magic thumbtack that are there for lowballers to bid on price and bring down the industry fee scale by allowing no nothing checklist guys to gain a foot hold in the industry and drive the average down with them before they leave us.

Wish it was against policy for members to even participate.

hmmmmmmm…great point and i agree