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Do You Charge Extra To Use Your Specialized Tools?


hausdok
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I'm going to compare this question with my soon to be former career of auto repair.

As a quality oriented individual, I feel compelled to own everything that may make my diagnosis of any problem more accurate and faster for the client. Their benefit is a faster, more effective repair. My benefit is I'm able to fix more cars. The dilemma is I have at least 6 different tools that each were seven to ten thousand dollars and one big spacecraft looking thing that was the price of a nice home in my area. If I'm fixing the cars faster, I bill less time. If I bill less time on each job, I need to fix more cars to make the same money. The problem with that is I still have to pay for the tools, so in effect, if I don't charge more to use the tool, I lose money. Period.

The solution for me was, whenever I use one of these tools, I bill its time like it was an employee and MY time too. That way everyone wins. The customer gets their car faster, I can help more people with their problems and I'll even have enough to buy the next round of equipment when mine goes obsolete. If you're going to be in business, charge for your time and your tools. All we have to sell ...any of us.. is our time on Earth. Even our knowledge took time. Get paid when you sell your life.

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To clarify my vote for #3:

Moisture meter, CO test, Tif 8800, and Inspector II circuit testing are all part of my basic package. I do one inspection per day so my time to the customer is open ended.

Because it is seasonal, for the A/C ...IF it is not cooling properly, and IF the compressor is running, I charge extra ($25) to connect a set of gauges to determine whether it is a low charge or compressor problem. The difference to the buyer is to know if it needs a $100 re-charge or a $1500 compressor.

George

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Originally posted by Scottpat

Keep in mind that if you charge for an "Extra" service you have just become an expert in that field!

That is why I don't charge extra for pools.

I use the normal controls, and perform a visual inspection of the surface and equipment. ANY problems get referred to an expert.

I can see someone charging $XX.00 extra for a pool inspection and not testing the water that the seller just dumped 5 gallons of chlorine into to make the water clear again. Buyer jumps in the next day and WHAMO they are blind for the next ten minutes and there hair and suit are now white.

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I charge extra for pools, but that doesn't make me an expert. I charge extra for older houses too, does that mean I'm an "old house" expert?

Some guys charge more if there are two heat/ac systems, for pools or spas, for extra sq foootage, travel time, etc... it's all about time. It takes me longer to inspect a pool than if I don't, so I charge more.

The water analogy doesn't work, unless you test the drinking water as SOP. My contract states that I don't test water.

Just my opinion, shoot me if you must!

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Scott,

I don't think charging for an additional service allows a client to hold an inspector to the standard of an expert.

I charge extra to inspect outbuildings. Not because I'm an expert on outbuildings, but because they take more time.

I charge extra for Radon tests too. But I make it clear I'm not an expert in Radon.

I occassionally charge extra for travel. I'd love to be an expert on travelling, but I don't charge that much extra.

Some guys charge extra for crawl spaces too.

I'm curious to know where a statement like that came from. An inspector who got burned? An attorney with experience in HI litigation? Sommeone else?

Jim

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Originally posted by Jim Morrison, in part

Scott,

I'm curious to know where a statement like that came from. An inspector who got burned? An attorney with experience in HI litigation? Sommeone else?

Jim

That's what makes this business fun; there is so little history, and even less legal case history, that everyone imagines all sorts of things as gospel truth, such as "using special tools will make us expert", or somesuch goofiness. We're making this thing up as we go along; anyone that doesn't realize this is missing something.

Think about it; it's only within the recent past that there are even published Standards of Practice for this profession. I realize that it has been a few years, but a few years isn't squat.

Someday, these ideas will become more consistent across the board, but for the time being, it's still the Wild West; that's one of the greatest things about the job.

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"That is why I don't charge extra for pools.

I use the normal controls, and perform a visual inspection of the surface and equipment. ANY problems get referred to an expert.

I can see someone charging $XX.00 extra for a pool inspection and not testing the water that the seller just dumped 5 gallons of chlorine into to make the water clear again. Buyer jumps in the next day and WHAMO they are blind for the next ten minutes and there hair and suit are now white."

Boy, I screwed that quote up[:-banghead]

I do the same and charge extra because it's extra time on the job. I don't test the water, tell'em I don't test the water and tell'em to get the water tested. All on the report.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Guys:

I'm old fashioned, so I charge more for almost everything except the Basic HI. My basic HI fee is just that - a fee for the basic HI on a typical house up to 1500sf. After 1500sf the cost goes up every 500sf until 4000sf. From there on its just 10 cents p/sf. That is the basic HI - what are some extra cost services?

(1) If the house has a crawlspace (where I really have to get suited up and crawl);

(2) If the house is over 50 years old I charge more and I have another fee if over 100 years old (I do more of these than anybody around me);

(3) CO Testing with my monoxor II;

(4) Floor slab level surveys with my Stanley Compu-Level (predessor to Zip Levels);

(5) Moisture Analysis by probing;

(6) Radon Testing;

(7) Termite Inspections;

(8) Code Compliance;

(9) Asbestos Testing;

(10) Lead Based Paint Testing;

(11) Mold/Air Sampling;

(12) Pool Inspections;

(13) Sprinkler Inspections;

(14) EIFS Inspections;

(15) Foundation Crack Monitoring;

(16) Outbuilding if not the main garage;

(17) A 2nd kitchen;

(18) More than 2 copies of the report;

(19) Digital photos;

(20) Fed Ex or UPS if regular mail is too slow.

These are a few of my added services, what I consider the fairly typical stuff.

I want them to use ME because they WANT ME, not because I give them everything free. I recently saw a local franchised ASHI Inspector offering to do a HI on any house up to 3000 sf, with a Radon Test, a Termite Inspection, offering a free 90 day warranty, a free CO Test, a free TIFF-8800 check on the gas lines; a free home maintenance video, and using a computerized report with digital photos - all for $310.

I'm sure he's popular with some realestators wanting to get "a really good deal" for their buyers. Thats not my style - OLD GUY ETHIC - Do Less, Make More. Let newbies do lots of the smaller houses with higher liability.

Dan Bowers, CRI

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Originally posted by DLRambo

Guys:

I recently saw a local franchised ASHI Inspector offering to do a HI on any house up to 3000 sf, with a Radon Test, a Termite Inspection, offering a free 90 day warranty, a free CO Test, a free TIFF-8800 check on the gas lines; a free home maintenance video, and using a computerized report with digital photos - all for $310.

Dan Bowers, CRI

Dan,

According to my attorney, if I advertise any thing as "free", I have to provide it to ANYONE who asks, whether they pay for an inspection or not. If the laws are the same in your state, call this franchise guy and ask him for your free stuff.

George

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