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Should I let a newbie ride along for free?


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I got a call this morning from a newly licensed guy wanting to go on a couple ride alongs for free. I'm caught between wanting to help and worried that I'm helping train someone who might become future competition. Realistically, though, a lot of new guys don't make it past the first year here. What do you guys think?

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I got a call this morning from a newly licensed guy wanting to go on a couple ride alongs for free. I'm caught between wanting to help and worried that I'm helping train someone who might become future competition. Realistically, though, a lot of new guys don't make it past the first year here. What do you guys think?

I've done dozens of free ride alongs over the years. I stopped a few years ago, mostly because its a distraction for me. It was also kind of irritating because the vast majority were dilettantes and I felt like I was hosting a "career day" for these guys.

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Here they pay $150 to tag along and perform their own inspection which is later verified by the inspector before they get approved by an association. Depending on prior experience, it goes from a few inspections to a few dozens tag along.

Verify with your insurance carrier, that might cost you if the new guy steps through the ceiling, electrocute himself or breaks the Tiffany lamp.

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I've done quite a few, though none in the last couple of years. I made sure to take them to an old house with a nasty crawl space for them to go through with me. Only two of them are still in business and I consider both of them good inspectors. Competition, well yeah, but the one of them that's close to me is now a friend and has sent me more inspections than I can count when he goes to Florida for a vacation or other times he's out of town. I've sent him quite a few when I'm busy.

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I've done quite a few, though none in the last couple of years. I made sure to take them to an old house with a nasty crawl space for them to go through with me. Only two of them are still in business and I consider both of them good inspectors. Competition, well yeah, but the one of them that's close to me is now a friend and has sent me more inspections than I can count when he goes to Florida for a vacation or other times he's out of town. I've sent him quite a few when I'm busy.

You showed him the big screwdriver, right? He knows not to cross swords with Erby. [:)]

Ridealongs are valuable training exercises. They are worth paying for.

You are within your rights to tell new guys they should go out of their area for help. That way they aren't stepping on your toes.

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I have done many free ride-a-longs for folks over the years but I stopped about 6 years ago. It just became too difficult and time consuming on my end so I stopped. I would say it added an hour or more to the average inspection. I would say that 90% of the folks that did a ride-a-long with me never made it to their 50th inspection and many never past their 10th!

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I have had several dozen ride alongs over the years.

The one thing that never bothered me was the competition aspect. Like Scott, most never made it past 25+- inspections and only two actually survived.

One left my company and went out on his own and did ok for two years or so and then tried to come back. It never worked out.

I do not do many ride alongs now because of my bad attitude. I show/teach inspectors how to be ornery and independant.

Never hurts to know the competition.

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I only did a few ride alongs. Those that went with me did not have enough patience to really look things over nor did they want to take the time to build their knowledge. Part of the problem is that the H.I. "schools" do a less than adequate job of preparing wannabes for the job.

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A follow up:

When the fellow called to ask if he could shadow me, I told him I needed to check with my insurance agent first. I asked him to call me back after a couple of days. His reply was "You've got my number; call me and let me know." That's not gonna happen. I politely told him that I had enough things to deal with that it would be better if he called me back. That was part of my hesitation anyway. If he wasn't interested/motivated/just plain courteous enough to follow up with me I certainly wasn't going to bend over backwards to help him. So he called back today. After nicely telling him that my insurance agent said there could be problems since he wasn't on my policy he became defensive, stating that he was a licensed inspector. Next thing I know he had hung up on me. Now I'm confident that I shouldn't have spent my time helping him.

Thanks for the input.

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I've done several ride along inspections, apparently for free. The owner the Inspection 21 institute charges the student up front with the tuition for the ride alongs. Then when the inspector (me) sends the owner an invoice for the inspections, he never pays it. What a racket. NJ inspectors, steer clear of the owner of Inspection 21 or his students looking for training.

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I've done many ride-alongs & parallel inspections for 25+ years. They were for free before the licensing thing. After the license law, I get paid by one of the HI schools - when I remember to send an invoice.

Most were fine. I only had 1 real idiot. All have to sign an agreement to not do something stupid. I only know of 2 still in the gig.

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