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Ummmm......no. Not even close. I build stuff. All my friends build stuff. We understand what it costs to do business, and to stay in business.

We talk about our fees as home inspectors, yet folks seem completely unaware of the economic realities of building stuff.

We complain about why all the stuff is getting built so crappy. Ever wonder why? Maybe because we don't respect tradespeople enough to pay them a fee that will support a business run like a business should be. So, the good guys bail out and the bucketheads fill the void.

Someone charges a fee that will support a middle class lifestyle. Then we claim they are robbers.

Let me propose that this is head in the ass thinking.

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I was going to break it down via spreadsheet, but didn't want to be overbearing.....not.

Who are these people charging $500 to install a Lally column? It costs $200-250 just to drive over to figure out what the job is. Do people keep a stash of lally columns in their truck and when called, run over like it's a pizza delivery, slam a column in place and then go do it another 6 or 7 times each day? The column is cheap, going to get it, deliver it, and install it is not.

Health insurance, other insurance, retirement accounts, office administration, phones, computers, a truck that costs about $30,000-37,000 (or more) full of approximately $15-20k in tools, capitalization of the truck and all those tools, one's own time......shit, I couldn't do a column for less than a couple grand, and even then I'd be eating part of the job.

Who knows an actual skilled trade person that's killing it so bad they got money to burn? I don't know any.

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My experience is if you get 5 estimates to do a job the top estimate will be triple the low estimate. The cheapest may not be best and the highest is usually the guy who is super busy.

My rates jump when I get busy.

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Actually I am a fanatic about standard prices. I do not hesitate to charge what I know will give me a profit. So, I agree with Kurt while disagreeing with Kurt. Most of us think the trades work the same way that a supermarket does; volume at low margin. Not true. One inspection per week at a fair profit is more better than two inspections for a small profit.

Inspectors are of the mindset that success is being busy regardless of profit.

Brian Hannigan started writing about prices a couple of decades ago and was met with all kinds of flak because he wanted to price our work like a professional. Eventually we started to really understand what he was telling us and now there are lots of gurus espousing the same ideas. Our numbers (of inspectors) have increased nationally and the tradespeople numbers have decreased. I am not saying there are fewer plumbers today than a decade ago, just that the plumbers today work in an entirely different way. Different materials, safe conditions, etc. However, you can still go get a roll of pex and do it yourself. (from big box store).

more later

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........ just that the plumbers today work in an entirely different way.

Not in Chicago. Pretty much the same way now as 50 years ago, although now we can use PVC for DWV (limited in scope, though) and we use copper for main water service. Resistance to change is as strong as ever.

Every other business establishes prices by supply and demand. Why can't we? Most every HI I've ever met is baseline hard thumping Constitutional Right to do whatever I want free enterprise is sacred kind of person, yet confront them with something so basic as S&D pricing and they go hissy fit.

Agree while disagreeing? I don't understand all the way. Most HI's disagree with me just because it's me, but I know you actually think about this stuff.

What's the disagreement part?

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Kurt, I disagree with "surge" pricing. Supply and demand is not unique to the individual inspector. If you, individually, get busy that is not an automatic reason to raise the fee. If you get busy the first thing is to look at your product to see if what you are offering is something good at a fair price. Likely you will find the reason for being busy is you do a good job delivering a product at a fair price. Raise the price and leave the product alone and you may find a decrease in volume. Of course, there are exceptions. You must raise your fee to make a reasonable profit and there really is no limit to the amount of profit you could generate.

If you want to make really big bucks; sell drugs or rob banks. If that does not seem reasonable, then try to find a good product to sell. Sales is the prime wealth generator for capitalistic society.

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OK then, I get it. Engage me, if you will, in a small debate.....

#1 Ghent made a point in another thread that by raising prices, I'm finally getting fees up to where they should have already been. The idea that any of us involved in HI work, and by extension the building trades, are charging "too much" is fatuous. We crawl around in ratshit delivering a necessary service that allows us (me anyway) to achieve only a very modest middle class lifestyle. We are not gouging; we are merely trying get things up to where they should be, and even once fees are where they should be, it's nothing to get all that excited about.

#2 I'm a product guy. Always have been. My list of 1st's in Chicago.....first guy to use a laptop on site, first guy to deliver reports .pdf, only guy (until Jamie D.) to use an extension ladder and insist on roof access, first guy to use CO testing equipment (Draeger tubes, 1988), first guy to have a Protimeter, first to use digital pics and include them in report, and only guy to have developed their own report software system built around the use of digital pics. Yup.

I'm not a sales guy. Those are the one's claiming in their advertising of being the "best in a particular neighborhood", pounding their ratings on Angie's List or Yelp (which are humorously easy to achieve) or some similar silliness. I'm not a sales guy, and more's the pity....maybe I'd be retired by now if I was a sales guy.

I try to charge more because I've got the best service. All the other folks claim it, I actually got it. After 28 years of doing it, I'm finally getting the "clout" to jack my prices where they should have been years ago. Charging a "fair" price for a good service.....what's it mean? What's fair?

So, I am entirely in favor of "surge pricing" although as I said in the other thread, "surge" is overblowing it. It's just getting my due for doing a really good job for nearly 3 decades. And, "my due" is pretty ****ing anemic compared to most other professions, but I'm not complaining because after 3 decades, I still like the gig.

"Surge Pricing".....do it if you can and let the moralists tsk tsk.

Your turn......

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What's a given house?

Rich people buy expensive houses, middling income people buy middling houses, poor people pay rent.

I charge more for one, as much as I can for the other, and try to help out the remaining group by offering a fine apartment for a fair price.

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My good buddy Steve ("RR Man") Hier had this to say years ago about HI's......

Look under the skin of any HI and one finds a boy desperately trying to live up to his Father's expectations.

IOW, we're all operating under self imposed ideas that we're not good enough for whatever, and never will be, therefore how dare I charge an amount that I think I'm worth. My father wouldn't think I was worth it, so why should I?

It's taken a long time for that to sink in, but if one is honest with oneself, they will find some truth in it on varying levels. I have.

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I was going to break it down via spreadsheet, but didn't want to be overbearing.....not.

Who are these people charging $500 to install a Lally column? It costs $200-250 just to drive over to figure out what the job is. Do people keep a stash of lally columns in their truck and when called, run over like it's a pizza delivery, slam a column in place and then go do it another 6 or 7 times each day? The column is cheap, going to get it, deliver it, and install it is not.

Health insurance, other insurance, retirement accounts, office administration, phones, computers, a truck that costs about $30,000-37,000 (or more) full of approximately $15-20k in tools, capitalization of the truck and all those tools, one's own time......shit, I couldn't do a column for less than a couple grand, and even then I'd be eating part of the job.

Who knows an actual skilled trade person that's killing it so bad they got money to burn? I don't know any.

Kurt, Are you saying you could not make a good living installing columns at a couple grand each?

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If it was a multi-week gig with several dozen or a few hundred columns, where logistics can be set up to justify that price.....sure. I could make a decent living, but not what one thinks.

I know guys and work with guys that have those gigs like putting up the OSHA required railings on top of Pepsi plants, or making fundamental alterations of primary structural components in large buildings, and all that sort of big ticket commercial stuff that's all around us but most folks don't see. They do OK, but they're not killing it. Raising families in comfortable lifestyle but nothing fancy and firmly in the middle somewhere.

Us setting up to change out just a couple columns? Shit, I'd better be getting $2500 per or I'm looking stupid.

Break points shift as the number of columns increases.

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OK then, I get it. Engage me, if you will, in a small debate.....

#1 Ghent made a point in another thread that by raising prices, I'm finally getting fees up to where they should have already been. The idea that any of us involved in HI work, and by extension the building trades, are charging "too much" is fatuous. We crawl around in ratshit delivering a necessary service that allows us (me anyway) to achieve only a very modest middle class lifestyle. We are not gouging; we are merely trying get things up to where they should be, and even once fees are where they should be, it's nothing to get all that excited about.

Nowhere did I say we are overpaid.

#2 I'm a product guy. Always have been. My list of 1st's in Chicago.....first guy to use a laptop on site, first guy to deliver reports .pdf, only guy (until Jamie D.) to use an extension ladder and insist on roof access, first guy to use CO testing equipment (Draeger tubes, 1988), first guy to have a Protimeter, first to use digital pics and include them in report, and only guy to have developed their own report software system built around the use of digital pics. Yup.

I'm not a sales guy. Those are the one's claiming in their advertising of being the "best in a particular neighborhood", pounding their ratings on Angie's List or Yelp (which are humorously easy to achieve) or some similar silliness. I'm not a sales guy, and more's the pity....maybe I'd be retired by now if I was a sales guy.

You are a sales guy, just don't want to admit that selling is providing a superior service (at a fair price).

I try to charge more because I've got the best service. All the other folks claim it, I actually got it. After 28 years of doing it, I'm finally getting the "clout" to jack my prices where they should have been years ago. Charging a "fair" price for a good service.....what's it mean? What's fair?

Seems I lost you when I disagree and used "fair". Of course "fair" is relative to knowledge and experience.

So, I am entirely in favor of "surge pricing" although as I said in the other thread, "surge" is overblowing it. It's just getting my due for doing a really good job for nearly 3 decades. And, "my due" is pretty ****ing anemic compared to most other professions, but I'm not complaining because after 3 decades, I still like the gig.

No one owes you for your past decisions.

"Surge Pricing".....do it if you can and let the moralists tsk tsk.

I like the idea of charging for the service. I have made a "fair" living from it for quite some time. Ghent is referring to days when a $100 inspection was usual.

Your turn......

It delights me that you engage. Where are the others?

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Ain't no such thing as a fair price for a service. We charge what we can get. That's capitalism and we're in it.

I keep my fees steady to a point so that clients have a chance to know that I don't operate like a used car salesman.

Just my two bits.

Marc

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We're all salesmen, selling a service.

Some of us have the ability to charge what we're worth.

Some of us don't.

Each of us do what we're happy with.

Since I quit being the cheap guy, many years ago, I do fewer inspections, get better clients and houses to inspect, and make more money.

I charge for the value I bring to the transaction.

It helps that I enjoy the hell out of all of it except the report writing, and I make that as simple as possible.

Thank you HomeGauge for that part.

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