What to charge...

Hi All,

I got a call from a guy I’ve worked with before and he’s purchasing a 30-unit apartment building and wants me to do the inspection. It was built in 1915, has central (hot water) heating to all units, and is composed of studio, one bedroom, and two bedroom apartments…This type of building falls outside the parameters of the system I have been using to price inspections…What would you guys think is a fair price to charge this fella for the inspection, figuring it will probably take at least 2 days, possibly 3.


Only you know what your time is worth. A lot inspectors undercharge on this kind of job thinking they will lose it if they are too high, only to find out later they ended up stiffing themselves. The amount of work involved it pretty high for writing the report for a 30 unit complex. Be reasonable and fair but don’t shortchange yourself in the process. I personally would do it as a per unit charge with a flat fee for a base price to cover the common areas, grounds, parking, etc. Some one is going to have to take pictures of all that plus do the report writing. Sounds like a great opportunity for you. I think 2 days may be a littel ambitious but I don’t know your protocols and procedures, only mine.

Sorry, I mis-typed in my dates (stubby fingers on the wrong keys) I was thinking 3 days plus, figuring at max I could probably only do 10 units per day, plus common areas, lots and grounds, boiler, roof, etc. I’m figuring price should start minimum $1600 or so and go up from there?

I would consider a limited inspection that does not include dishwashers.

Actually this type of inspection would not even be covered by the state SOP’s, NACHI or your insurance company unless specifically included.

You can create your own SOP for this one but make sure the client agrees to the limitations.

I would figure 4 1/2 to 5 days on that one if you are going to report all problems. Figure access/key problems etc. Price should be around 3 to 5k for that old building.

I have handled these in two different ways depending on what i sentailed (how many interior units are there, or do they all have roofs? Does each unit have a spearate elec panel, water heater, etc? What is the size of the typical unit of each type?

Once I establish the style of complex, I either go with:
A) total square footage at typical rates, plus an additional charge ($25-75 each) for each unit inspected (for buildings where most units have no roofs or additional systems to check) …build in a “volume discount” if it seems like it is needed to land the job but not until after quoting the “standard price”

or B) a flat rate per unit (probably around $100) with additional add ons for common areas.

From the sound of it, I would not charge less than $3000 (3 days on site plus the reports would block up most of my week…

I think you would not have a problem inspecting to SOPs, but if you are going to exclude items make sure the contract specifically states this.

I completed a 22 unit condo structure (conversion from a motel) late last year and found that each unit took me about 30-45 minutes. The key was viewing the building before signing the final contract and looking at a typical unit to establish a routine and create a report template prior to inspection. Saved me a ton of time and the reports were great…

I charged $100 per unit plus $399 for the (few) common areas. It took me two full days, and a 1 hour pre-inspection meeting a week prior.