A Home Inspector’s Weblog by Frank Schulte-Ladbeck

exploring homes and the lives in them around Houston

Further Thoughts on Becoming an Inspector

Since I posted a look into becoming an inspector, I noticed that there was more interest in the topic, so I thought I would follow it up with a bit more.

I know many inspectors who will paint a rosy picture of our lives, and others who will do their best to dissuade you from pursuing them into competition. The amount of effort you put into marketing yourself will drive business your way, so I cannot provide any new insights into your earnings. I did want to mention the fact that most inspectors that I know earn incomes from other sources. I think it would not be unreasonable to say that between 66% to 75% have some means of earning income to help support them. Those who do not have other jobs or enterprises have found work by associating with other firms as contractors. Working for another inspector is frequently not profitable to you, but there are other firms that want inspectors. Engineers who work with residential buildings will have inspectors on hand to provide this service to their clients. Since the main work brings clients in, suggestive selling to use their inspectors is easy. The engineers obtain a percentage of the fee from the inspectors, and the inspectors obtain steady work. Insurance companies also hire inspectors to examine homes for applications. This is usually just examining the roof. Lenders hire inspectors to examine foreclosures, but this work is not often regular. This work has to be sought out, since large firms go to other firms to locate inspectors for them. Independent operators have to be diligent in their pursuit of this work.

Another group of inspectors who do not often have other income producing ventures are those working as franchise owners of a nationwide inspection company. The firm will be specific as to where you can perform inspections, so you are not invading another affiliates turf. This can be good or bad. If your area does not have a great many homes being sold, you will not earn much income, so you want a popular section to earn enough money to cover the costs of the franchise. The tactics that you learn and assistance of being part of a franchise can be truly beneficial.

Some inspectors earn extra income by working on the homes that they inspect, but Texas is making this harder to do, since it presents a conflict of interest. Did you tell your client the framing was wrong, just so you can fix it? Some states have similar policies to Texas in this regard, and more inspectors have moved away from this income, because of concerns over their objectivity. Pest Control has been one field that has seen inspectors joining. Fields that offer other services outside of repair to homeowners have seen an increase in inspector representation. Several inspectors have Realtor licenses. The idea is to have multiple streams of income, that popular phrase of our day. I do some home staging, business consulting, and investing. I actually started out as a business consultant when I left a senior management position. Some of my clients, who were small retail store owners, asked me to look at their homes, which were undergoing renovations, which led me to inspecting. With the current market, I am looking into property management and real estate investing. Even when the housing market is doing well, you will have slow periods, where you will need to find other income sources, when you go this route.

You may hear about inspecting for the VA or FHA, but these agencies require you to have some experience under your belt, before they will use you, but this can be lucrative work, once it is available to you. There may be inspectors in your area, who could give you a better idea of what to expect in your locale, but I would speak to a few to get a reasonable picture.

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