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I am trying to start my own independent Home Inspection business in the Central Susquehanna Valley. I have a background in building and remodeling, and I have taken a 48 hr course on Home Inspection at Building Specs Inc. in Maryland. I am in the process of acquiring certificates for Radon, mold, and WDI, as well as looking for training on septic systems. I would like to work with someone to fill the required "100 supervised" inspection requirement. I understand that these could be ride-alongs with me using my own reports. I also expect that I will probably need to drive out of my area, and may need to pay a fee for the inconvenience. Any experienced inspectors out there who would be willing to have me tag along?

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Greg,

I am currently mentoring someone for their NJ requirements but he should be finished in early Spring.

I spend a majority of my days crawling under 200+ year old farmhouses, barns, mills and old commercial buildings. I don't (won't) do termite, septic, water or mold. I'm PA listed for radon, but I only place them and can't be bothered with retrieval.

I work in Southern Lehigh Valley, Upper Bucks County and Hunterdon County, NJ. If this isn't too far east, you are welcome to attend. If not, there are over 60 guys listed as potential mentors at: www.phic.info/mentors.htm

I'm guessing you read that you "need to pay a fee for the inconvenience" at the NACHI website. I don't believe in charging for mentoring. Some guys I have spoken to at PHIC also do not charge. Some charge 10 bucks and some make you buy lunch.

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Hi Mr. Cat,

I'm sorry, I can't help you from here - I'm in the Puget Sound area. However, with respect, I recommend you pack in some additional training besides what you got from Building Specs in that 48 hour course. A simple ride along doesn't allow you to ask questions and wait for answers during the inspection. And, unless the guy is mentoring you, he isn't going to want to spend hours afterward going over a list of questions that you compiled during the inspection.

I'm not speaking from a position of ignorance of the Building Specs course - I took the Building Specs 48-hour course a few years ago when they came to the Seattle area. I'd already had over 140 hours of formal initial training in the business, had been in the business for about 3-1/2 years and had sat through two complete days of training annually after that and had completed just under 1,000 inspections at the time. I took their course because I was curious as to how much actual usable content someone could squeeze into two days of lectures.

I have to say, I wasn't impressed. There were a lot of important aspects of the business that they never even touched upon, and the manual that they gave out was chock full of conflicting information and inaccuracies. To be fair, I think the course would have been just the ticket for someone to test the waters, just to see if he/she wanted to pursue home inspections as a career, but that's all. Regardless of your background in building and remodeling, it will not have given you anywhere near what you need to be technically proficient at this business.

With your background in construction, you're going to naturally feel that you are better qualified than the next fellow to get into this business. I know, because I was. However, you won't realize how much you don't know about heating systems, electrical systems, plumbing and building science issues like vapor diffusion and moisture,until you've painted yourself into a corner on an inspection and haven't got anyone available to bail you out.

Be that as it may, since the two days of training obviously hasn't scared you off, and you want to continue with home inspections as a career, I suggest you now look at getting yourself some more extensive training. Not fair you say - what about all of the guys who went before you and didn't bother to do that? Well, think about that for a second. Do you want those guys inspecting your home? And, if you follow suit, is it fair for you to learn most of what you need to know on your customers' nickel?

If I were you, I'd just write the cost of the two day course off and go from there. Consider now attending one of the formal 10 to 14 day courses at ITA, AHIT or one of the other reputable training providers. Invest in as many reference materials (All the CodeCheck books, building, heating, electrical and plumbing texts) as you can afford, and find someone who is willing to mentor you for 4 to 6 months before you go out on your own.

By mentoring, I'm talking about someone who, besides having you accompany him/her on the job, is going to actively train you. He or she needs to give you formalized reading assignments in various texts and test you on the content periodically. That person should also be willing, after the first couple of months, to allow you to do one component of each inspection while he or she oversees your performance. He or she should then formally critique you - show you where you are doing well, pointing out areas you're weak at, and insist that you bone up on those areas. Of course, formal critiquing needs to be done after they've collected the check and the client has left - not in front of clients.

In lieu of an additional in-residence training course, I think that the you could substitute the Carson-Dunlop distance learning course, while undergoing the mentoring process. That way, you could have your mentor coordinate those areas that he/she lets you do with those areas of study that you've just completed.

With ride alongs as well as mentoring, your challenge is going to be finding someone who doesn't view every new entrant into the profession as his/her competition, and is willing to help you. There are plenty of folks in this profession who talk a good game about qualifications, and insist on new entrants having all kinds of education and training, but they aren't willing to back up their words by helping the new folks as mentors. It's a shame, but it's fact.

However, there are some who will be willing to provide you good training, if you'll agree to follow their rules to the letter, and are willing to function as an unpaid helper for a set period of time. I've mentored three different fellows in this business. I can guarantee you that they probably knew more about inspecting homes when we finished, than some folks who'd been in the business for years and had learned on their clients' nickel. Others might simply agree to mentor you for a set fee. Either way, you need to hammer out a thorough and complete agreement with that person before you begin, so there won't be any misunderstandings and you'll be getting what you expect for the effort you put into it.

Welcome to the profession and good luck in your quest. Remember that this board is a pretty good place to hang out and the folks on this board are always here to help you. TIJ isn't a very glitzy place, and we don't get as much traffic as other boards, but the folks here are knowledgable, generally friendly and respectful of others who show them respect. Some of the best inspectors in the business contribute to the give and take on this board regularly. if you really want to get honest and fortright answers, without someone blowing a lot of smoke up your butt, this is the place to come.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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Thanks for the replies. Bill, I may just give you a call. It's a bit of a drive, but I appreciate the offer. Mike, thanks for the advice and encouragement. I'm sorry that your experience with Building Specs was poor, my feeling was that they provided more info than I could absorb in 5 - 12 hour days.

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Greg, Mike is right. I don't think he was saying Building Specs is of no value. I think he is telling you there is a heck of alot of info and education necessary to be an inspector. It never ends. I have been around longer than most and have trained dozens of inspectors; some good - some bad.

Learn to learn and you will be fine. Stick to factual stuff and let others do the mold, water etc.. Call people like me or Mike or Bill, or e/mail or fax and you will find those that have been around awhile to be very helpful and friendly.

My company reviews hundreds of other inspector's reports and inspections every year and the most common problem is the inspector "extending" beyond his/her ability. Please utilize all the friendly knowledgeable people you will find on this board. Join a creditable national organization and read read read read.

Welcome to the profession, business, industry, etc..

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I have to admit that this site has already given me great advice and a new perspective. Les' comment on a "respectable organization" has struck a nerve. I joined NACHI because they advertised their PA compliance and I felt that was important with my startup here. However, I've seen and heard a few negative comments about NACHI. What are the perpectives of the viewers of this site....about NACHI, ASHI, NAHI, et.al. ?

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Senor' Gato,

I am mentoring 2 new inspectors right now as their schedules fit. I’m too far from you for a convent ride along but you certainly may contact me any time you like.

A bit of insight about Associations if I may. PA law compliant is the important thing. A copy of the PA law may be found at http://www.phic.info/SB1032P2140.pdf The organization definition is at the bottom of page 13 but read the entire law as it pertains to home inspection, it’s important.

There are those that will argue this point but a Common pleas court judge has ruled that NACHI is not compliant with the current law as an acceptable association. I belong to ASHI but I don’t recommend it to a new PA inspector because the minimum required inspections to be a full member as the law requires is 250. NAHI requires 100 to be a full member so that what I suggest to my new people.

I picked ASHI as my preference because I feel that it’s worth the extra money to belong. Every organization has it’s issues and you can gain a lot form any of them including NACHI.

Welcome to the profession, never stop learning!

Bruce Thomas

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Thanks Bruce. Very helpful comments, and while Greensburg is a bit of a drive, I appreciate your offer. I did read the law, and I am somewhat aware of the court ruling. I think it involves the determination of NACHI's non-profit status. I have been told by NACHI officers that the issue will be cleared up quickly. I hope that it is. NACHI has been very helpful for me. Their site and postings are very imformative. I am excited about joining the field. I have three inspectors who have agreed to allow me to tag along until I get my 100 complete. I'd like as many as possible to speed my journey. Each is about a 100 mile drive away. Which makes sense on a competition level. It is interesting to see different styles.

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el gato,

I am already taking you as a ride along. For the good of your future business, I would advise you to lose your current association in PA and join one of the 2 that are recognized by PHIC. Thanks for your company on the 2 inspections today. I will email you my schedule as soon as I solidify it.

Can some of you please educate " el gato" on his current organization and the perils of its membership.

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If you are in PA and you are having trouble with the ASHI 250 requirement for full membership and the PA law, contact ASHI HQ and they can help. A specially drafted letter for PA has been designed that the state is OK with and it satisfies this quark in this law. Just let them know that you are in PA when you contact them.

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Scott:

What does the letter say? Is ASHI waiving the 250 inspection requirement for Pennsylvania inspectors? I looked on the ASHI web site but couldn't find anything about it.

It is a tough situation for new inspectors in PA. A new inspector in PA has two legitimate organizations that he must choose between. You can't fault someone for going the NAHI route which would require only 100 ride alongs vs 250 that he would need to qualify for full ASHI membership. Still, I'd really hate to see ASHI relax its entry requirements to avoid losing potential members to NAHI (or to an organization that doesn't meet PA's definition of a qualified organization).

Joe Hancaviz

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No the 250 requirement is not being waived, this is still the requirement to become an ASHI Member. I do not have the exact wording in front of me, but it states something like the person has completed 100 inspections and satisfies the requirement for the state and is a state member or something like that. I apologize for bringing it up and not having the details, but I saw this post and felt I needed to inform those in PA. This just came about not long ago.

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