Hi all, long time lurker, first time poster.
I have been looking at getting into home inspection for a little while now and have been trying to do as much research as I can (and this forum has been a major part of that already so thank you all who post here). I have been a machine operator for the past 11 years, and worked in several trade jobs before that (roofing, drywall, painting, framing) and have helped to build several houses from the ground up with family (father was a contractor, brother an electrician, plumber and concrete worker for cousins, so we tend to keep most trade work in the family instead of hiring out) along with many remodels, home extensions, roofs and the like. I have passed the online exam and I am looking at joining InterNACHI soon and completing the education and mock inspections. After I have done that I am planning on doing inspections part time while continuing to work my current job until I am at the point that I am getting enough work to go full time.
My question to those who started out part time is at what point did you feel secure enough in the amount of work coming in to make that switch? I have read several people say that starting part time it took them a couple of months to get their first jobs, after the first few they got referred a few more and it built up fairly quickly after the first 6-12 months. My feeling at this point is that I should expect losses and slow business the first year, hopefully break even and be on the upward move during the second and by the end of the third year I should be able to get the business through reputation and referrals along with marketing to be able to seriously look at going full time and if not, then look at whether this is the right career for me. Does that sound right or have other inspectors actual experiences been drastically different.
For reference, I am in Eastern Iowa, there is about 250,000 people in my metro area, 400,000 within 30 miles and 600,000 within 60 miles. Currently about 18 other inspectors listed, but it looks like several of those are not very active, or possibly no longer in business. I know I would be better off asking local inspectors, but no InterNachi local chapter; the ASHI Iowa chapter is located in my city, but they have not been overly eager to help out a new guy and most of the inspectors are not affiliated with either group and since Iowa has no requirements, I don’t want to risk learning bad habits from some guy who just decided out of the blue to call himself an inspector and may not be doing things the correct way (not saying everybody unaffiliated is like that, but I know from home inspections I have had that some are and it’s hard to know until it’s too late sometimes).
Sorry for the long post and thank you for any help/advice given here and that I have already gleamed from past posts.
Hi all, long time lurker, first time poster.
James I worked my day job for 5 years before going full time only because I liked the double pay. I felt comfortable after about 2 years working both jobs and could of went full time but chose not to. Its a decision that no one can make for you.
I started out working “part-time” even though I was doing little else!
After 22 years as a GC I’d had enough and just closed that business.
I started the inspection business in 2009 as the recession was still going strong. So it was a slow start to be sure but just kept plugging away with marketing, meeting agents at open houses etc.
Every year was an improvement so now I’m doing well over 400 a year by myself and bringing another inspector on board shortly to help lighten the load.
I know not everyone can just quit their other job that easily but I keep my expenses low and I don’t have a family to support.
Just be as realistic as possible about the phone not ringing much at first and market, market, market.
I started part time and am still part time. I define part time as working my normal job 40-50 hours a week, and inspecting 40-50 hours a week. It is exhausting but I am only 34 so I have a few years of this life style in the tank.
When I started I was hitting 1-2 per week for a couple months and I am currently running at about 4-6 per week. I started 15ish months ago. I have never stepped foot in a Realtors office and my marketing has been little to none. I had visions and ideas for marketing but I have barely even built my website let alone had time for anything else. The business just came organically.
I will not be quitting my other job since it is running major electrical projects for a company I have a vested interest in and frankly if forced to choose I would choose the electrical business.
I like the double duty and like Charley said, the dual income is pretty awesome.
I began my career as a part time home inspector a little over 21 years ago (January 1996). I was working full time as an orderly, CNA, CGNA in the medical/surgical and ICU units and getting called back to the emergency room for codes. Prior to that I had started working at the age of 14 (1987-1996) for Cook’s Remodeling and that’s what led me into being a home inspector. That and buying a house with my first wife (our bank recommended that we get a home inspection and so we did). I use to carry my first stepson on my shoulders (he was 4 years old) and take him around different buildings and explain what we was looking at. I averaged around 30 to 40 inspections a year when I owned my first inspection business Top Notch Home Inspections, Inc. To make a long story short, I got a divorce from my first wife and she took me for a ride as she said. She actually took me for everything (she took my tools, copies of my inspection reports, everything man and had me pay a lot of money and insurance to her and for my stepson: Phillip Michael).
From there … losing everything, I went into the United States Army as a Combat medic. I pulled my basic at Ft. Jackson, South Carolina and went from there to AIT at Ft. Sam Houston in San Antonio, Texas. I was ready for graduation again so I could go to Ft. Hood, Texas for continued training and then to be sent to the DMZ on the border between North Korea and South Korea. My buddy Neely and I were drunk in the streets of San Antonio and we ran into a bunch of Air Force guys who claimed to be from the special forces. One of their guys got into it with my buddy Neely and Neely got the best of him. Another guy jumps in and attacks Neely and I couldn’t have that, so I started fighting as well. Those Air Force guys had us outnumbered and beat the **** out of us both. I was medevacked to Walter Reed hospital in Baltimore Maryland and I had lost my site from repeated blows to the back of my head. From what I hear they drilled a hole in the back of my head and done an operation to prevent swelling of the brain. I was discharged back home to Roanoke Virginia and I had to go through speech therapy, so I could talk and physical therapy, so I could walk again.
From there I went into being a long haul truck driver for CRST (Courteous, Responsible, Safe Truckers). Several months had passed and I found out that my current wife was pregnant with my daughter Autumn. I left truck driving and returned to work for Cundiff Heating and Air. I was doing new construction and took a bad fall tearing my right leg up pretty bad. So I went into working at Radford University and from there I married my current wife and raised my other 3 stepchildren (Chris, Jazz and Dakota) and my biological daughter: Autumn. I went on the Maury Povich show to confirm that I was the Father. I wasn’t making a lot of money at the college and working the auto auction every Monday, so I left and went to work for LCJ Enterprises building foundations all over Southwest Virginia. I had then started my second business Professional Property Inspections.
Years passed and I had decided to join another home inspector organization … either ASHI or InterNACHI. My wife convinced me to go with InterNACHI and I’m sure glad that she did. That was the best decision that I’ve ever made. Inspection after Inspection had me to put in my 2 weeks notice with LCJ Enterprises. I started getting a lot of work and then more doing Foundation Certifications and working with companies like 5 Brothers, U.S. Inspect and a handful of others. A couple of years passed and while I was cutting down trees for firewood, I had a tree fall and it messed my back up really bad. Nick Gromicko was an angel and helped me out that year (Thank you Nick).
A couple of years after that I started The Home Inspector, LLC and I’ve had both success and failure with the business. There have been so many changes over the years that I can’t hardly keep up with them. On average around 200 inspections a year. I’m not the success story that you was wanting to hear but I’m being honest with you. I’ve came and I’ve went in this industry over the past 21 years. I’m getting older (Nick pointed that out years ago) and I can tell you that running a business, learning more and more material, paying for tools, marketing, etc. and trying to provide the best home inspection experience for your clients and being a father and husband, will take a toll on you.
There are many other inspectors way more successful than me and I respect every one of them. I wish you luck and success in your journey into Home Inspection. I sometimes wish that I could go back and change things but I’d never change joining InterNACHI for a lot of reasons. This message board is my home and InterNACHI staff and members are my family.
I’m a part timer.
I had Gastric Bypass surgery and as a way to keep skinny I started looking at things I could do in my part time so I wouldn’t come home after my “Other Job” and eat.
A good friend of mine is a Home Inspector here in VA and recommended I look into becoming a home inspector because of my background in Electric, Roofing and Grading/Foundations.
I do not advertise yet and have been doing about 15 to 20 a month for the last 6 months. My intention is to start doing inspections full time early next year.
Like the other replies above, I like the double income but because of work load increase I’m going to have to make the final decision and start marketing a bit so that I can eventually to go full time.
Part Time in 1975 / 1976 … Took about 3 years to get to Full Time.
Not me! I was born an inspector.
I started part time and felt that I was losing out on too many possible jobs.
I was unable to meet client timelines as I only had weekends and mornings to do inspections.
I remember that there were several times that I used vacation time to be able to do an inspection.
After 1.5 years I went full time. The first winter I thought I had made the biggest mistake and almost closed the business. I made it through the winter and have been running full time ever since.
Like previously stated nobody can really help you to determine if Part Time or Full Time is right for you at this moment.
I went straight into the home inspection business full-time in a town I had just moved to. Like an idiot, I turned down my first inspection because I didn’t realize it was only 10 miles away. I didn’t know it was in a neighboring town. Within a few months we had complete market domination. By the end of my first calendar year we had 4 inspection vehicles, each with a lead inspector and an assistant inspector. My summer assistant at the time was a 16-year old named Chris Morrell. One of the first questions he asked me as a teenager was about my membership in ASHI. He asked: “What are we paying them for?” Today, Chris is InterNACHI’s CEO.
In my area of the country, the typical home inspector will take about 2.5 to 3 yrs from a standing start to have a business capable of supporting himself.
SO unless he’s got a lotta $$$ OR a wifie with real good job the MAJORITY of inspectors start part time.