What is the Survival Rate For Home Inspectors?

Per NAR, 42% of all Real Estate agents have been in the business less than 5 years.

Roughly 15% of all agents drop out every year, but replaced with a new 15%.

When I worked on the whole lending side, it was pretty similar story.

Regardless if one is a Real Estate Agent, Loan officer, or Home Inspector, real estate jobs have high turn over. People are lured by thinking it’s going to be an easy way to make a lot of money, but fail to realize how hard it is just to make any money and that is takes a long time to build a business.

And really, if you look at any start up business, the rate of fail is pretty high.


Most startups will fail.
It doesn’t matter what the actual business is.

Initial failures are almost always going to be due to lack of financial resources to survive the start up phase.

And very few business owners are brutally honest with themselves about the first year.
Most think they get their cards printed up and then the money will start pouring in the door.
You’ve gotten your training and have all the new tools and vehicle etc. but
the phone is probably not going to ring much.

And to be brutally honest,
No one cares that you just opened your business”. :shock:

You have to hit the bricks over and over and try to work every possible angle to get your name out there and persuade people to try you.

Hopefully once clients and agents have tried you they’ll pass your name on and use you again.
And that’s only if you actually do a better than decent job.

If you turn on the radio and hear a “decent” song by singer X will you want to hear more? Probably not as there will be another song coming on next that might be “decent” or better and you’ll have forgotten the one by singer X.

So it’s not surprising that 50% are gone in the first year.
What about the businesses that fold up after 3-5 years?

Obviously they made it that far but the numbers finally didn’t add up so they closed the business. Sometimes that can be due to an overall economic downturn like the last recession. The boom years ended and thousands of businesses of all types disappeared. Hopefully that won’t happen again for awhile. But it will happen.

IMHO the 3-5 year failures are mostly due to just being an average home inspector. They didn’t provide any real reason for clients or agents to continue using them. Business came in. The phone rang. But not often enough to sustain and grow.

-This is from The Small Business Administration-

“What is the survival rate for new

“About half of all new establishments
survive five years or more and about
one-third survive 10 years or more.
As one would expect, the probability
of survival increases with a firm’s age.
Survival rates have changed little over


When i was do my course work our instructor said out of 15 students maybe 3 are still performing home inspections after the first year. Of those 3 maybe 1 will still be in the business after 2 years. Time will tell but I’m feeling good about my chances to be that one and its a lot to do with how much I obsessively read this board.

Thanks message board participants, even those of you that taught me not to use the emergency forum.

1 Like

They went bust. You need time and money to start a business, even if it is only what you need to pay the bills while working for no pay setting things up.

You boys should come to Florida. Since licensing went into effect 6000 more have joined the ranks. They all go into insurance inspections for $75 each and do full home inspections for $200.00 The realtors and the inurance agents love them because everything passes. It will run its course, especially if we get a hurricane, but right now they are totally ruining our business

I think lack of ambition also plays a role in getting started and having the business evolve into what you want.

I trained a gentleman last year that was fresh out of the air force. He was drawing a pension and the air force was helping him with start up costs. he has been in business for 1 year now and has not spoken to half the realtors in his area. I know this because when I talk to them they have never heard of him. He whines and complains that he is getting no work but is not out there getting it. He figures it should be dropped on his lap.

Then there was me and my first year. I had broken my knee and could not go back to construction. I started my company and it was all I had. I was pretty broke and needed to work. I hustled my butt off and marketed to the point of harassment. I talked to anyone that would listen. Realtors, banks, lawyers, accountants…went to every open house and did presentations in the offices. When I wasn’t marketing I was working on my website trying to get to the #1 spot on all the major search engines. My net after the first year in business was just over $75,000.00. It has grown from there and after 6 years in the business I am still growing as a one man operation. I will say that because of oil prices I am way down from last year but I am busier then the other inspectors in my area. One of the inspectors has only completed a single inspection YTD.


Many think it is a great way to make big money
Many even now have no idea what their cost per inspection is .
My accountant did a break down for us many years ago and cost per inspection then was $128.00 per inspection .
I expect it is higher now , and we have people in Canada doing inspections for under $200;00 . I think they could make more money at Lowes .

Under promise and over deliver. Don’t make a promise you can’t keep.

My cost per inspection according to my accountant is $185.00 approximately. Charging $200.00 makes no sense. I guess if you drive a prius, do a paper report and have no insurance the cost would come down. LOL

Do you think other industries are any different? There are 10.5 million contractors in the U.S. 10.5 million! Most businesses don’t make it. The home inspection industry is no different. There are winners and losers in every industry.

Yep. I can’t begin to list how many new inspection associations are formed and don’t make it. Like I said, there are winners and losers in every industry. If 1,000 inspection associations were formed tonight, I wouldn’t care. I’d sleep like a baby. Who cares what the bottom is doing? I don’t even notice them.

Take the recent Dallas event I just returned home for. InterNACHI’s booth had piles of amazing stuff on it and boxes being delivered all week to replace what was being taken by inspectors. I had amazing announcements that I made from stage including our virtual 3D, see-through House of Horrors training for multi-inspector firms. I sponsored NFL Super Bowl quarterback Joe Thiesmann to give a business success talk and hand out autographed footballs. It was awesome! I also went to check out at the other two inspection association booths. One had only a few flyers out about their San Diego event that already took place. The other association didn’t have anyone man their booth the entire week. All they had was a bowl of lip balm with their name on it.

Got any pics of those booths!? :twisted:

if you are not a businessman, you will likely fail. I’m a business operator first, home inspector is just a skillset.

1 Like

Treat Home Inspection (or any other business venture) as a business. If you treat it as a hobby, you will fail.

I was hoping you would post the stats of how many new inspectors sign up then sign up for their second year, third year, fourth year & fifth year.

I don’t blame you for not posting those numbers as it would scare the hell out of most everyone with less than 5 years.

Also I know local economies play a large role in these stats.

As others have stated, regardless of how good of an inspector is, one must first possess business acumen before they can operate a successful home inspection business. On the other hand, if they’re not a good inspector, possessing business acumen may get them by for a while but it will eventually catch up with them.

Not necessarily. Many of these “businesspersons” simply become Multi-inspector firm owners, and hire others to do the inspections… you know the old saying… “those who inspect, inspect… those who can’t, teach”…

Maybe, maybe not.

I’ve seen some reports from inspectors who’ve been in business for 20-30 years that make me wonder how they didn’t go under a long time ago.

1 Like

The client I did an inspection for today told me his agents recommended inspector inspected the previous house he made an offer on (within the last month), he walked from that because of issues he found himself, not the inspector.

He wasn’t too happy with the inspector. The guy was too busy trying to sell him an alarm system, a deal on a cell phone service, and some other garbage, instead of performing a home inspection. The inspector didn’t appear to “inspect” much of anything, according to the client. He didn’t have any tools with him, the client loaned him His own screwdriver so he good open something up and look at it at the clients request. His agent said the guy had been in business as an inspector for about 30 years.

Also charged the client for radon testing that he didn’t do, but agent said she was getting a refund for that.

Most of our student members drop out before ever doing their first fee-paid inspection. Our free online courses deter them. Part way through our courses, they realize how much they have to know about so many different systems and components… and quit. I love it. And InterNACHI keeps their dues.


I remember the days in the nineties when there were about a dozen or so of us… :shock:

Uh… gotta go now & make my weekly rounds to fill up the insurance agency candy bowls with my cards! :shock:

Insurance agencies???
Don’t forget your cookies and candies!!!