Jump to content

Do I need to buy truck or van?


Recommended Posts

I just downsized from a full size conversion van to a Chevy Trailblazer. (See Tools & Equipment forum "Inspectormobile") It took some getting used to, but everything fits. I added higher racks so I don't smack my head on the ladders. I like to keep a 6' stepladder inside the vehicle to keep it dry and clean, so I had to get one of those compact ones. www.cbsperformance.com/foldingladder.shtml

I think the fold-up ladders are 22' max height. I need my 32' often and carry up a 24' for leap frogging to even higher roofs.

20051023211051_tb.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally posted by Reality

I'm taking a HI class in January(the next date available)and am reading all I can on HI's. I drive a mid-size car. Will I need to buy a truck or van? Can't you buy fold-up ladders? How much space is needed for the average equipment (whatever that is)?

You don't need a truck or a van. Lots of seasoned inspectors do fine with smaller vehicles.

If you have a sedan, you will need a good roof rack for ladders. Beyond that, you should be able to fit everything you'll need to haul around in a standard car trunk. At a later point, as your business grows, you can refine your ride.

I think it's important, especially if you're starting out, to drive an attractive late model car that's clean and in good condition. That aside, I wouldn't sink a ton of dough into a vehicle. When you're starting up, there are better things to invest in.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have used my Lumina and folding ladder (in the backseat) several times while my Ranger was being serviced, and I could get by with this arrangement pretty well if I had to. I'm new at this (1 yr in business), but I would put my resources into tools, training, reference materials, marketing and business equipment before I spent on a vehicle. Good luck.

Tim

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Reality....

When I chose the vehicle I was going to use a number of factors came into play......

1. Ease of Storage and retrival of egupment and tools.

2. Condition of your current health (my back is not as good as it use to be) So I wanted a vehicle that I could enter and exit easily.

3. Ability to accessorize vehicle- add a ram mount for laptop, PDA, Printer, Minor office equipment, cell phone, inverters, storage boxes (for Mini-vacs, million candel flashlights, bunny suits, Roof walking shoes, knee pads) etc.,etc.

4. The vehicles apperance/condition(this is how my clients and associates will get their first impression of me/my company.

5. Ease of maintenance.

6. The vehicles ability for me to advertise via magnetic signs, Lettering, Window Stickers, etc.

7. Last but not least, it's security to lock and have an alarm (including the ability to) keep my equipment and tools secured and out of sight.

I started with an old 94 Explorer 4x4. When the Transmission gave out, I invested in a 04 F-150 Pick-up with a locking ARE Lid thats tied into the locking/alarm system.

I went with the Largest Little Giant Laddar (that would fit in my 6'bed) and Pelican Boxes for all my tools and equipment. As mentioned above, I used Ram for all my computer stuff in the cab, as well as installed two inverters to supply 120vac for electronic power need.

I hope this helps......[:-graduatBest of luck to you!!!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I started out using my T-100 pickup but went a similar route to MIke a year ago. Except I took the concept of downsizing even further.

Download Attachment: icon_photo.gif signed003s2.jpg

45.8 KB

Download Attachment: icon_photo.gif signed005s.jpg

45.16 KB

Real 21 LG on the roof rack and Telesteps (which I love) in the boot...er...trunk. I just sold the pick-up this Monday as this has been working great.

I should note that I can go around corners faster than Mike! Of course we do have to use the family wagon when we want to get anyone with legs in the back.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

What vehicle to use in the HI business:

Let us for a moment assume that home inspectors are "professionals". Not part time laborers that look at homes. Most Realtors drive cadilacs, bmw's, etc.etc. They consider themselves "professionals" and they consider home inspectors a necessary evil and not on their professional level.

I hold myself out as a "professional home inspector" on a par with anyone that is a party to the home buying process and I present myself as such in the way I dress, the type vehicle I drive and the tools I use. Let's face it. It is not what we are it is what they think we are. We achieve professional respect by the way we present ourselves.

Anyone that drives a "car" with a ladder on top and dresses like a laborer is telling the party,s involved they are on the bottom of the wrung. However I understand that a newbie just starting will have to do what it takes to get started. But when success is achieved the cars are out.

This post may make me a few enemies but I must put forth that home inspectors are professional business men/ladies and should present as such.

Paul Burrell

Lawrenceville, Ga.

Professional home inspector

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally posted by Richard Moore

I should note that I can go around corners faster than Mike! Of course we do have to use the family wagon when we want to get anyone with legs in the back.

Hi Rich,

I absolutely love minis. Always have, and think the new minis are ultra-kewl. However, until you've tried to lose me or stay with me over a road course, you'll never know how wrong that statement really is.

It ain't always the car that wins the race.[:-eyebrow

So, Paul,

Exactly what type of "professional" vehicle do you drive anyway?

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

Link to comment
Share on other sites

There's a little regionality to the mix. What is acceptable in Boca Raton doesn't mean squat in Chicago.

I used to dress in a white shirt, tie, dockers, & deck shoes. One day I had a customer (buying a >4 million dollar home) if I was going to be able to do my job the way he expected it to be done dressed like that.

Ever since then, it's clean Old Navy cargo pants (the cargo pockets hold lots of tools), a clean T shirt w/pocket protector to hold notes & Salomon cross training shoes (they stick to roofing really well). Clean is imperative @ the start of the day, but after the first hour, hell, I'm dirty.

I've polled customers for years about their expectations for my dress; I have never had anyone expect me to dress like anything other than how I dress. Ever once & a while, I run into one of these old engineer types who are in semi-retirement & thinking they do excellent home inspections by wearing chinos, blazer, tie, & penny loafers. OK. If that's what they think, more power to them. I don't know about anywhere else, but being a HI in Chicago is about getting dirty, whether one likes it or not.

Basically, I dress like a "laborer", because I am one. I make about 12 times more per hour than the hod humper, but quite honestly, I look @ folks doing honest labor as my brothers & sisters.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally posted by kurt

Richard's auto shows you everything you need in a home inspectors business vehicle; it's clean, it's cool, and his NAME IS ON THE SIDE.

When I got my new ride, I did the same; I've gotten more good advertising mileage out of me ride than I'd ever have imagined.

Download Attachment: icon_photo.gif xterra.JPG

42.29 KB

Kurt nice looking work truck. Looks good with ladder on top and sign on door. Looks very professional.

Paul Burrell

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally posted by hausdok

Originally posted by Richard Moore

I should note that I can go around corners faster than Mike! Of course we do have to use the family wagon when we want to get anyone with legs in the back.

Hi Rich,

I absolutely love minis. Always have, and think the new minis are ultra-kewl. However, until you've tried to lose me or stay with me over a road course, you'll never know how wrong that statement really is.

It ain't always the car that wins the race.[:-eyebrow

So, Paul,

Exactly what type of "professional" vehicle do you drive anyway?

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally posted by paul burrell

Originally posted by hausdok

Originally posted by Richard Moore

I should note that I can go around corners faster than Mike! Of course we do have to use the family wagon when we want to get anyone with legs in the back.

Hi Rich,

I absolutely love minis. Always have, and think the new minis are ultra-kewl. However, until you've tried to lose me or stay with me over a road course, you'll never know how wrong that statement really is.

It ain't always the car that wins the race.[:-eyebrow

So, Paul,

Exactly what type of "professional" vehicle do you drive anyway?

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

Mike'

I currently use a 2003 Ford Windstar LX long wheel base. It is roomy and has racks on top if I need a long ladder but my step ladder and little giant 17' fold up fits nicely inside. I have been using long wheel base mini vans quite a while and for me they are excellent home inspection vehicles. I totaled my 95 Aerostar a couple years ago which was in top condition. Insurance gave me nothing but salvage value which was not much and it was not even my fault. But that is another story.

Paul Burrell

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally posted by kurt

There's a little regionality to the mix. What is acceptable in Boca Raton doesn't mean squat in Chicago.

I used to dress in a white shirt, tie, dockers, & deck shoes. One day I had a customer (buying a >4 million dollar home) if I was going to be able to do my job the way he expected it to be done dressed like that.

Ever since then, it's clean Old Navy cargo pants (the cargo pockets hold lots of tools), a clean T shirt w/pocket protector to hold notes & Salomon cross training shoes (they stick to roofing really well). Clean is imperative @ the start of the day, but after the first hour, hell, I'm dirty.

I've polled customers for years about their expectations for my dress; I have never had anyone expect me to dress like anything other than how I dress. Ever once & a while, I run into one of these old engineer types who are in semi-retirement & thinking they do excellent home inspections by wearing chinos, blazer, tie, & penny loafers. OK. If that's what they think, more power to them. I don't know about anywhere else, but being a HI in Chicago is about getting dirty, whether one likes it or not.

Basically, I dress like a "laborer", because I am one. I make about 12 times more per hour than the hod humper, but quite honestly, I look @ folks doing honest labor as my brothers & sisters.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think your vehicle is important for image, but most important to me is comfort. I spend about 4 hours a day in my vehicle (Honda Element)traveling and writing reports and consider it my most important tool. I think I could do an acceptable home inspection with no tools, but need my vehicle. Also, it is pretty unprofessional to arrive late or not at all due to car trouble.

I can stretch out in the back, turn on the XM radio, run the A/C. It's more comfortable than working at home and costs less per month than my E&O insurance.

I didn't put signs on this vehicle, I like to travel incognito.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally posted by paul burrell

Originally posted by kurt

There's a little regionality to the mix. What is acceptable in Boca Raton doesn't mean squat in Chicago.

I used to dress in a white shirt, tie, dockers, & deck shoes. One day I had a customer (buying a >4 million dollar home) if I was going to be able to do my job the way he expected it to be done dressed like that.

Ever since then, it's clean Old Navy cargo pants (the cargo pockets hold lots of tools), a clean T shirt w/pocket protector to hold notes & Salomon cross training shoes (they stick to roofing really well). Clean is imperative @ the start of the day, but after the first hour, hell, I'm dirty.

I've polled customers for years about their expectations for my dress; I have never had anyone expect me to dress like anything other than how I dress. Ever once & a while, I run into one of these old engineer types who are in semi-retirement & thinking they do excellent home inspections by wearing chinos, blazer, tie, & penny loafers. OK. If that's what they think, more power to them. I don't know about anywhere else, but being a HI in Chicago is about getting dirty, whether one likes it or not.

Basically, I dress like a "laborer", because I am one. I make about 12 times more per hour than the hod humper, but quite honestly, I look @ folks doing honest labor as my brothers & sisters.

Nothing in the following post is meant to insult or ruffle feathers it is just one persons view point of many. So please don't be to hard on me.

I agree dress is a regional thing. Inspectors in Palm Springs Calif. do inspections in shorts, thongs and sport shirts. Upper north west and southern Canada one inspection Company wears dress suits including tie. Boca Raton don't really know dress code but it is probably somewhere in between.

Now as for me I prefer white buck shoes, silk black pegged slacks with long gold chain, pink silk shirt with purple bow tie. I get lot,s of attention but some of my customers laugh themselves to death and as a result I lose a fee every now and then [:-graduat [^].

Putting all seriousness aside I wear loafers, dockers and open collar cotton dress shirt usually beig in color.

Labor is an honorable way to support ones family or make a living I know because in the past I have done my share of it. however one cannot be an inspector and laborer at same time.

Webster,s Dictionary.

Inspector: Examine or look at very carefully for flaws; to examine or review officially.

Labor: Physical or manual work done for hire.

By the way I have friends in Chicago area (Kankakee). Youse guys have some of the worst roads I have seen. I realize it is caused by your 4' foot frost line with resulting heave but geese I had to have the tires on my station wagon balanced before coming back to Ga. Youse guys grow some of the best corn I have ever eaten, we call them roasting ears down south.

Best Regards,Whatever works for you that is what do.

Paul Burrell

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Dress code:

Brogans with no sox, overalls with galouses, no shirt and harry under arms shows the customer you mean business. Drive a short wheel base ford pick up with rebel flags attached and a cooler full of budweiser. Take a bath every friday night whether we need it or not. Now that is a real sho nuff home inspector.[:-crazy]

Paul Burrell

Georgia in the heart of dixie.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Paul, no insult taken or perceived; I just run on sometimes, & that's where my thin mind took me. I agree; can't be a laborer & inspector in the same day, but sometimes it seems like I do it anyway.

Yeah, pocket protector you Georgian you; keeps me from losing my thermometer's down the catch basin when I lean over to look.

The Honda Element is a very interesting vehicle; I really like them. A lot. Everything you need and nothing you don't. Very good quality to cost ratio; I was very impressed when I test drove one. Unfortuneately, due to the previously mentioned CRAPPY roads we have up here around the 42nd parallel, I need a frame & axel set on steroids, otherwise I'd be in the alignment shop about 10 times a month.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've said it before and I'll say it here again, the 'Best' inspection vehicle is one that fits you and one you like to drive. Doesn't really matter what it is as long as it is clean and can safely hold all your tools.

Since I'm a XXL sized HI, I drive a 2000 Chevy Silverado 4 door with 160k miles.

It gets 17 mpg on the hiways around here and with the V8 I have all the power I need to do battle with the Houston traffic. I can put everything I need behind the seat, including my LG Ladder. There are times when I may need my 28 ft ladder, for those rare times I just tie it in back and go on.

I'd love to have something a little smaller and more manuverable, but I wouldn't be as comfortable with all the windshield time I put in.

As for dress, I started out with a nice button up shirt and Dockers. After ruining a few pair of Dockers and realizing that people care more about the work you do rather than how you look, I switched to ASHI Polo's and tan Wrangler Rugged Wear Pants and Shorts. Since I'm in and out of a lot of new homes, I wear slip on shoes. This is what I wear whether I'm doing a 60k starter home or a 2.5 mil POS. I've never had anyone complain.

In fact, if someone did complain about my dress or drive, it would indicate that I need a new Client.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Paul,

I'm not sure. Just how do I fit Harry under my arms in order to show the customer I mean business? Is there some kind of a harness or special sling or is he supposed to, like, drape himself over my shoulders - in which case wouldn't it be Harry over my arms?[:-eyebrow

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally posted by hausdok

Paul,

I'm not sure. Just how do I fit Harry under my arms in order to show the customer I mean business? Is there some kind of a harness or special sling or is he supposed to, like, drape himself over my shoulders - in which case wouldn't it be Harry over my arms?[:-eyebrow

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

Mike you are very observant. By George I think you figured it out. Don't ask me who George is cause I don't know. [:-crazy]

Paul

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...