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When Do you collect?

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A. At the signing of the agreement ie. beginning of the inspection.


B. At the end.

I'm not trying to incite a long ethical debate on what is right or wrong. But if you want to discuss the reasoning behind your choice it would be helpful.

I'ts something that happened a few inspections ago that prompts me ask the question.

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Originally posted by RobC

A. At the signing of the agreement ie. beginning of the inspection.


B. At the end.

I always used to collect at the end. However a few months ago, I began sending out my pre-inspection contract right after booking the inspection. Usually, I e-mail or fax it out with a cover letter that explains, among other things, that they can either pay me with a check at the time of the inspection or via Paypal. Since then, if they dont't pay with Paypal, most people arrive at the beginning of the inspection with a signed agreement in one hand and a check in the other. It's rather nice.

I'm not trying to incite a long ethical debate on what is right or wrong.

Too late. My way is the only right way. Anyone who disagrees with me is itchin' for a fight.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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When I finish up with the preinspection I tell 'em, "I'll be putting your inspection together tonight and e-mailing it to you tomorrow. Payment is by cash or check. You can pay me now, but you're better off to wait until the inspection is over. Then, if you don't think you've gotten your money's worth and my inspection was way more thorough than you'd expected, just don't pay me."

It get's a chuckle every time and nobody has ever refused to pay me.



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I usually get a "little something" from the realtor before the ispection starts. This incentive is based on the apparent condition of house. The full fee at the end of inspection. If I do a good inspection, the realtor usually asks for a refund and mutters "I'll never use you again"! That is why I get the bribe up-front.

On a serious note, I have always collected at the end and have a loss percentage abt .25% over the years. Also, last year we were paid in CASH dozens of times. Maybe a sign of the times in Michigan.

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Our operation runs a lot like Mr. Katens, we fax or email the agreement after booking the inspection. I prefer to have the agreement faxed back to us with a date stamp on it. It has been amazing how many people are using PayPal to pay us. I'd say it's around 30 to 40%.

Anyway, if they don't pay by PayPal, we get the loot at the end of the inspection.

C'mon Rob, spill the beans. What's the story behind the question? Have someone take off on you?

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OK! I'll come clean

I usually start off by introducing my client to the reporting system (Report +) and then I get them to sign my agreement. While they're doing all that reading I head for the roof.

And at the end of the inspection I get a cheque and warm thank you.

Well, a few months ago, I had a client insist that he pay me before the inspection. I refused and told him I usually collect after the inspection. Then the realtor commented that his regular inspector has always insisted on payment prior to the start of his inspection.

So, this lead me to think that there was a trend developing with time of payment, something I didn't know about.

Personally, I'm comfortable with collecting at the end and never had ANY problems with payments.

Brief History:

As a renovator/contractor I've had to spend many nights with prospective clients discussing their needs, solving problems and evaluating the site and spending hours back at the office etc, some of you might know the story. If uncle Bill doesn't get the job then your'e in a project for 10, 20 or 30k in material and trades. There always an element of uncertainty a sense of vulnerability...Greater Exposure. A lot of sleepless nights.

This business is different.

It's one phone call

One drive to the house - cost of vehicle

3 hours of time - no subtrade cost

A bit of material - paper, coffee at Second Cup

What have you lost if the client refuses to pay? NOT 30k that's for sure.

That's the reason I never worry about payment. One time I drove off and noticed my client in my rear view mirror waving a cheque at me. DUH

Now, I'm not saying prepayment is a bad thing, it's whatever your'e comfortable with and how it handled.

Thanks for your input and putting up with my rambling, I'll[:-taped]

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