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How feasible is it to start a home inspection business after online training?


Jbrow327
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I don’t have any construction type experience. What training do you recommend that will provide me with all of the knowledge I’ll need including some business training? I plan on starting a business right after training. The start up cost is fairly low and I figure worst case scenario is that I fail and then just go work for someone else for a while. I'm assuming I'll need an LLC, liability, and E and O insurance, correct?

Also, how often do real estate agents graduate the school that they go to? What’s a good way to meet them? Would offering them 2 or 3 free inspections or discounted inspections be a good idea to get business from agents?

Thanks guys.

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Seriously - why do you think you can do the job?  Where are you located?  To do "it"  halfway right cost more than you think.  Why would anyone hire you with no experience or background?  

Don't hitch your star to agents, ask Marc LaBanc.

Have you taken the nhie?

etc.

 

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The most valuable training, after having learned the basics in classes, is experience in the field.  Go out with many very experienced inspectors.  It's probably going to be difficult as few may be willing to allow ride-alongs.  It's best to meet and ask them in person, not texts or emails.  Visit the local home inspector association chapter meetings and conferences.   Also, read as much as you can of what's discussed here at TIJ.  You'll find answers to so many questions you would never think to ask.

I lost count of folks I mentored, but most decide it's not for them after a couple days to a few weeks.  I know of only 2 that actually succeeded and have a business survive more than a year.

A smart guy we know put together some excellent resources here: https://b4uclose.com/author/erbycrofuttjr/

Folks here aren't keen on marketing to agents - they're not the client.

Good luck and monitor the real estate market trends in your area for timing.

 

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It's a long road if you're construction savvy, an even longer one if you're not. Consider a career in an area where's you've got more assets.

Throughout much of the country, the home inspection business is hi-jacked by agents. The client pays you, but you must appease his/her agent instead if you want the job. The client is oblivious to what's going on. Problem is that what agents want and what clients want from the home inspector are two very different things. If you get into this business, you'll likely survive only by making yourself more attractive to agents than your competition is. I'm consideration quitting this business next year, which will be 20 years in this business, on account of it. I always serve who's paying me, and agents hate me for it. They hate my guts.

 

Edited by Marc
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2 minutes ago, Marc said:

It's a long road if you're construction savvy, an even longer one if you're not. Consider a career in an area where's you've got more assets.

Throughout much of the country, the home inspection business is hi-jacked by agents. The client pays you, but you must appease his/her agent instead if you want the job. What agents want and what clients want are two very different things. If you get into this business, you'll likely survive only by making yourself more attractive to agents than your competition is. I'm consideration quitting this business next year, which will be 20 years in this business, on account of it. I always serve who's paying me, and agents hate me for it.

 

What exactly do these agents want?

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A report that won't jeopardize their commission. They're in this for the money, not the house. The buyer sits alone, on the other side of the table, in wanting the truth about the house. It's the buyer's money that pays all of the other parties involved in these transactions. It's a big transaction too, where much damage can result from not knowing the truth about the house.

Edited by Marc
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4 minutes ago, Marc said:

A report that won't jeopardize their commission. They're in this for the money, not the house. The buyer sits alone, on the other side of the table, in wanting the truth about the house. It's the buyer's money that pays all of the other parties involved in these transactions. It's a big transaction too, where much damage can result from not knowing the truth about the house.

Couldn't you get more business from marketing to clients than marketing to agents? If you do what the client wants every time, wouldn't they refer you to everyone they know with your business card, etc? It seems like putting the client first would be the best business policy.

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Only if you can get your foot in the door. When the purchase process reaches the point where an inspector is needed, the agent is quick to jump in and offer the buyer the name of an inspector who they'll say is the best in the business. At that precise moment, 5 seconds after a buyer's search for an inspector begins, the search is already over. And every other inspector in the area has no chance to solicit for the sale.

Edited by Marc
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6 minutes ago, Marc said:

Only if you can get your foot in the door. When the purchase process reaches the point where an inspector is needed, the agent is quick to jump in and offer the buyer the name of an inspector who they'll say is the best in the business. At that precise moment, 5 seconds after a buyer's search for an inspector begins, the search is already over. And every other inspector in the area has no chance to solicit for the sale.

I see. So overall, with the client/agent dilemma you mentioned and the coming housing crash, would you say becoming a home inspector is a good idea or not?

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3 hours ago, Marc said:

If you do, move to Michigan where Les Van Alstine lives. He's a member here and I've heard that the agents are more ethical where he's at.

Unless you have some experience and understanding of the real estate business,, you will fail.  Like Bill K, I have mentored many folks and few survive.  I recently sold my multi-inspector company after decades of business.  Answer the questions i posted above and you may solicit more response. 

Fundamentally understand who/whom your client/customer is. 

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7 hours ago, Les said:

Seriously - why do you think you can do the job?  Where are you located?  To do "it"  halfway right cost more than you think.  Why would anyone hire you with no experience or background?  

Don't hitch your star to agents, ask Marc LaBanc.

Have you taken the nhie?

etc.

 

I don't think I can do the job because I haven't gone through the training program yet. After training, if it's a good program, I will probably feel 80 or 90ish percent confident doing inspections. That other 10 to 20 percent is probably stuff I will learn by doing inspections.

I'm in the SLC Utah area. 

I think someone would hire me because everyone has started somewhere and all it takes is 1 good home inspection with a happy client and agent then I could be on their list for future inspections. Conversely, it also only takes 1 bad inspection to lose a client or agent. 

No. I don't know what the NHIE is.

I feel like I don't have much to lose right now so I'm going to start a home inspection business, market 40+ hours a week, and see where it takes me. I think worst case scenario is I'm out of business and out a few grand. I'm assuming I'll need liability and E & O insurance along with my LLC?

Thanks for responding and sorry for not responding to your original comment. 

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On 7/21/2022 at 8:25 PM, Jbrow327 said:

I don't think I can do the job because I haven't gone through the training program yet. After training, if it's a good program, I will probably feel 80 or 90ish percent confident doing inspections. That other 10 to 20 percent is probably stuff I will learn by doing inspections.

There are no training programs on this planet that can take a person who has no experience in home construction and turn them into a competent inspector. None. The most you can expect is to discover what holes you need to fill in your knowledge - and from the sound of your posts, you need to fill *a lot* of knowledge. Without experience in construction, you need to apprentice yourself to an experienced inspector for at least a couple of years and really hit the books for that entire time. 

On 7/21/2022 at 8:25 PM, Jbrow327 said:

I think someone would hire me because everyone has started somewhere and all it takes is 1 good home inspection with a happy client and agent then I could be on their list for future inspections. Conversely, it also only takes 1 bad inspection to lose a client or agent.

Of course someone will hire you. Ignorant people hire incompetent people all the time. If you think that your paragraph, above, is pithy, you have a lot to learn. One good inspection will get you very little - it takes hundreds to make an impact. One bad inspection could get you sued out of existence. 

On 7/21/2022 at 8:25 PM, Jbrow327 said:

No. I don't know what the NHIE is.

It's the National Home Inspector Exam. The fact that you don't know this is quite disheartening. It's like someone saying that they want to become a lawyer but don't know what "the bar" is. 

On 7/21/2022 at 8:25 PM, Jbrow327 said:

I feel like I don't have much to lose right now so I'm going to start a home inspection business, market 40+ hours a week, and see where it takes me. I think worst case scenario is I'm out of business and out a few grand. I'm assuming I'll need liability and E & O insurance along with my LLC?

Gee, do you think? 

Right now, your biggest problem is that you don't have a clue, not the first inkling, about what you don't know. All you're going to achieve is to waste your time and money and the time of others around you. You might contribute some money to the economy via tuition to some inspector training school. They really rake it in from gullible fools. 

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12 minutes ago, Jim Katen said:

There are no training programs on this planet that can take a person who has no experience in home construction and turn them into a competent inspector. None. The most you can expect is to discover what holes you need to fill in your knowledge - and from the sound of your posts, you need to fill *a lot* of knowledge. Without experience in construction, you need to apprentice yourself to an experienced inspector for at least a couple of years and really hit the books for that entire time. 

Of course someone will hire you. Ignorant people hire incompetent people all the time. If you think that your paragraph, above, is pithy, you have a lot to learn. One good inspection will get you very little - it takes hundreds to make an impact. One bad inspection could get you sued out of existence. 

It's the National Home Inspector Exam. The fact that you don't know this is quite disheartening. It's like someone saying that they want to become a lawyer but don't know what "the bar" is. 

Gee, do you think? 

Right now, your biggest problem is that you don't have a clue, not the first inkling, about what you don't know. All you're going to achieve is to waste your time and money and the time of others around you. You might make contribute some money to the economy via tuition to some inspector training school. They really rake it in from gullible fools. 

So all you have is criticism but no answers?

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6 hours ago, Jbrow327 said:

So all you have is criticism but no answers?

Sadly, you didn't read the responses.  

I was an inspector for four decades and never achieved the level of understanding you seem to have of the profession.  Listen to me - it is hard to learn this business.  You likely will fail.  You do not know anything about it and are smuggly arrogant and ignorant.  Good luck. 

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7 hours ago, Jbrow327 said:

So all you have is criticism but no answers?

Contact Safe & Sound Home Inspections in South Sandy, south of SLC.  Ask them what you've asked here. After reviewing the sample report on his website, I can see that his competency is likely in the 80 percentile or higher but still far below the guy you just complained to about offering only criticism. Maybe they can give you the answer you're looking for, instead of the truth.

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3 hours ago, Jbrow327 said:

So how does it work when I'm working for someone? Do I learn the basic skills I need through a program and then contract to a company?

Typically you would get hired as an inspector in training by a multi-inspector firm. They would pay you a wage, this would allow you to just focus on being an inspector and not worry about running a business at first. I would try to avoid signing a non compete clause unless it's for a short time frame. 

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16 minutes ago, Trent Tarter said:

Typically you would get hired as an inspector in training by a multi-inspector firm. They would pay you a wage, this would allow you to just focus on being an inspector and not worry about running a business at first. I would try to avoid signing a non compete clause unless it's for a short time frame. 

Do they pay me hourly or per inspection? Can you elaborate more on non compete clause?

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1 hour ago, Jbrow327 said:

Do they pay me hourly or per inspection? Can you elaborate more on non compete clause?

They can pay however they choose, hourly or per inspection. 

Essentially, a non-compete agreement prohibits the employee from competing with the business directly or indirectly for a specific duration of time after their employment has ended.

Edited by Trent Tarter
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On 7/21/2022 at 10:24 PM, Jbrow327 said:

So all you have is criticism but no answers?

I gave you an answer, but you don't like it: Without experience in construction, you need to apprentice yourself to an experienced inspector for at least a couple of years and really hit the books for that entire time. 

The point of this business is to sell your knowledge. You don't have any knowledge to sell. Getting that knowledge - knowledge that someone should legitimately pay you for - will take years. 

 

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And one more thing that no one else mentioned... online training sucks. 

Get out of your basement, off the computer, and into a classroom. Odds are the training will still suck, but you'll gain a little experience interacting with people. On top of everything else you need to know, you need to be a people person.

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8 hours ago, Tom Raymond said:

And one more thing that no one else mentioned... online training sucks. 

Get out of your basement, off the computer, and into a classroom. Odds are the training will still suck, but you'll gain a little experience interacting with people. On top of everything else you need to know, you need to be a people person.

Agree. Online training is like online inspecting, like this guy is doing: diyhouseinspection(dot)com

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