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What vehicles are the best for home inspectors?


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I use my personal vehicle, a 2002 Dodge Ram 2500 Cummins diesel. 16' extension ladder fits perfectly in the 8' bed, as well as a 6' and smaller ladder. I've a rack for carrying my 28' extension if needed. I can't justify the expense of a separate work vehicle.

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16 minutes ago, Marc said:

I use my personal vehicle, a 2002 Dodge Ram 2500 Cummins diesel. 16' extension ladder fits perfectly in the 8' bed, as well as a 6' and smaller ladder. I've a rack for carrying my 28' extension if needed. I can't justify the expense of a separate work vehicle.

Nice! Has it been reliable?

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Reliable? 13 months ago I drove it to Boise ID, 2000 miles away, to inspect, purchase and bring home a 27' travel trailer. Only trouble was the water pump and I fixed that in 20 minutes with a new one picked up from a store and with tools I had with me. It just passed 388K an hour ago. Engine hasn't been opened yet. I come from a family of self-taught mechanics. Went black sheep and chose electrical because my ears didn't work.

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Had a variety of vehicles over the years.  I liked the Chev Tahoe the best.  Used it for everything;  work/play.  I never worried too much about the mileage if the truck was dependable.  One summer used a Harley and a telesteps.  Be comfortable with what you drive.  Today I likely would look at a F150 electric.

 

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I have inspected out of:

Subaru Outback

KIA Sorento

GMC Sierra Crew

Honda Accord Hybrid Touring

Ford F150 Super Crew Powerboost (hybrid)

I like my tools under cover, but I never really liked them "in" the car with me. 

The Honda was surprisingly spacious. All my tools, including a folding ladder, fit in the trunk with luggage for three for a long weekend when I drove 380 miles to Midland, MI to inspect baby brother's house.

My current setup has all my tools in waterproof boxes, under a tonneau cover. My folding ladders fit in the bed of the truck. My 24' extension sticks out far enough to need a flag. Anything bigger goes on my trailer. Not as convenient as an SUV or a wagon, but cleaner and quieter. 

 

 

 

 

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19 minutes ago, Tom Raymond said:

I have inspected out of:

Subaru Outback

KIA Sorento

GMC Sierra Crew

Honda Accord Hybrid Touring

Ford F150 Super Crew Powerboost (hybrid)

I like my tools under cover, but I never really liked them "in" the car with me. 

The Honda was surprisingly spacious. All my tools, including a folding ladder, fit in the trunk with luggage for three for a long weekend when I drove 380 miles to Midland, MI to inspect baby brother's house.

My current setup has all my tools in waterproof boxes, under a tonneau cover. My folding ladders fit in the bed of the truck. My 24' extension sticks out far enough to need a flag. Anything bigger goes on my trailer. Not as convenient as an SUV or a wagon, but cleaner and quieter. 

 

 

 

 

Nice! Was the ladder you put in the honda accord just for attics or was it big enough to access the roof?

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On the Michigan trip the ladder was my 15' folder. It got me both in the attic and on the roof, but I knew that it was big enough before I left. A 17' would easily fit without all the luggage, but I'm not a fan of that size. It's too big to be a small ladder and too short to be a big one. My 22' will go if one of the seats are down.

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10 minutes ago, Tom Raymond said:

On the Michigan trip the ladder was my 15' folder. It got me both in the attic and on the roof, but I knew that it was big enough before I left. A 17' would easily fit without all the luggage, but I'm not a fan of that size. It's too big to be a small ladder and too short to be a big one. My 22' will go if one of the seats are down.

Awesome to hear! My honda insight has the exact same trunk size as the accord. Do you think it seems unprofessional to show up in a car though? Wouldn't the truck or suv/ crossover be better?

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A new guy, new company, needs to have a dedicated inspection vehicle. Show them you're all in and going for it, even if you have to wash dishes or pump gas for a while.

My favorite was a Toyota Tacoma with a low cap and a ladder rack. Advertising on the windows of the cap. When the frame rusted out on that, I got a payback from Toyota, amazing as it was a 2nd or 3rd hand truck. Bought a white Ford Ranger and found a guy to paint the cap to match. Rangers didn't change much so few people could tell the truck was 10 years old. It has to look good, Pictures on your website. Later on I got a Ford Escape with only 5 feet of space behind the front seats. My 22' folding Jaws ladder folds down to 6', but fits when propped up on a tote full of junk and tools. I always carried a clean Telesteps for the attic, but I'm a relative lightweight, 155 lbs max. Also had an extendable paint pole with a camera tripod for inaccessible roofs and chimney pictures. All fit in the 5 foot space.

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3 hours ago, John Kogel said:

A new guy, new company, needs to have a dedicated inspection vehicle. Show them you're all in and going for it, even if you have to wash dishes or pump gas for a while.

My favorite was a Toyota Tacoma with a low cap and a ladder rack. Advertising on the windows of the cap. When the frame rusted out on that, I got a payback from Toyota, amazing as it was a 2nd or 3rd hand truck. Bought a white Ford Ranger and found a guy to paint the cap to match. Rangers didn't change much so few people could tell the truck was 10 years old. It has to look good, Pictures on your website. Later on I got a Ford Escape with only 5 feet of space behind the front seats. My 22' folding Jaws ladder folds down to 6', but fits when propped up on a tote full of junk and tools. I always carried a clean Telesteps for the attic, but I'm a relative lightweight, 155 lbs max. Also had an extendable paint pole with a camera tripod for inaccessible roofs and chimney pictures. All fit in the 5 foot space.

Thank you. Did you have any reliability problems with these vehicles? Did you drive them for a lot of miles?

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Nobody hires you for what you drive. Nobody is going to know what that is until you get there.

Start ups are confusing enough, no need to complicate the matter with unnecessary expenses. 

You need to get you and the tools necessary to do the job, to the house safely, on time, with repeatable reliable results.

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Reliable, yes, my vehicles were reliable. I chose them carefully and I maintained them, also maintained their appearance. If you don't think clients and agents will judge you by your appearance and your wheels, then do what you want but you will lose business from at least some of your potential clients. Most agents help "their clients" choose an inspector, and if you don't think they care about appearance, look at them, and look at what they drive. The vehicle is your biggest expense, expenses are tax deductible, but that just reduces your income tax. Get used to paying out money to stay in business. If you're not good with repairs, take your vehicle to a mechanic for oil changes, build a rapport, and he will help you keep it running.

If I needed to hire an inspector to share some of my workload, he'd better be driving a clean truck that can haul an extension ladder, maybe an HHR or SUV, but he needs to be able to get onto a 2 storey roof safely and quickly. If all he's got is his Mom's car on weekends, then he should go lease a truck. I want him to dress and look professional, like a professional engineer. He answers questions with an authoritative answer because he knows, or he will investigate and get back to you ASAP.  Just my opinion based on my experience here, not the same everywhere.

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18 minutes ago, John Kogel said:

Reliable, yes, my vehicles were reliable. I chose them carefully and I maintained them, also maintained their appearance. If you don't think clients and agents will judge you by your appearance and your wheels, then do what you want but you will lose business from at least some of your potential clients. Most agents help "their clients" choose an inspector, and if you don't think they care about appearance, look at them, and look at what they drive. The vehicle is your biggest expense, expenses are tax deductible, but that just reduces your income tax. Get used to paying out money to stay in business. If you're not good with repairs, take your vehicle to a mechanic for oil changes, build a rapport, and he will help you keep it running.

If I needed to hire an inspector to share some of my workload, he'd better be driving a clean truck that can haul an extension ladder, maybe an HHR or SUV, but he needs to be able to get onto a 2 storey roof safely and quickly. If all he's got is his Mom's car on weekends, then he should go lease a truck. I want him to dress and look professional, like a professional engineer. He answers questions with an authoritative answer because he knows, or he will investigate and get back to you ASAP.  Just my opinion based on my experience here, not the same everywhere.

Thanks. A guy on the internachi forum said he uses a 16.5 foot extend ladder. If he can't reach the roof with that then he either uses a drone, camera on pole, or recommends further inspection by a roofer.

Is that a good way to do it?

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He doesn't walk a roof that can be walked, I don't hire him to work for me.

Not asking anyone to break their neck, but someone with building savvy can walk a 2 storey roof safely in most cases. Or at least reach the lower edges with a 22 footer, go all around the house and check the lower edge where the rot starts. He takes a picture of that water-soaked sheathing, or a layer of old shingles under the new, he's done his job.

I wouldn't want him jerking around with a drone when he could be lifting shingles and checking that lower edge, which you can't see in pics from above. Drones waste time IMO.

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18 minutes ago, John Kogel said:

He doesn't walk a roof that can be walked, I don't hire him to work for me.

Not asking anyone to break their neck, but someone with building savvy can walk a 2 storey roof safely in most cases. Or at least reach the lower edges with a 22 footer, go all around the house and check the lower edge where the rot starts. He takes a picture of that water-soaked sheathing, or a layer of old shingles under the new, he's done his job.

I wouldn't want him jerking around with a drone when he could be lifting shingles and checking that lower edge, which you can't see in pics from above. Drones waste time IMO.

I see. So at a minimum, inspect from the eaves and get on in safe?

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I've gone through 3 vans, a mid sized van, 6 SUVs and 3 wagons.  They get replaced when they start showing wear.  Show up looking like maybe a professional consultant with the equipment to get everywhere needed.  At least 80% of mine need a 28' ladder. 5% taller and 15% shorter.

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...or recommend further inspection by a roofer.

That's horrible for the client for several reasons.

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3 hours ago, Bill Kibbel said:

I've gone through 3 vans, a mid sized van, 6 SUVs and 3 wagons.  They get replaced when they start showing wear.  Show up looking like maybe a professional consultant with the equipment to get everywhere needed.  At least 80% of mine need a 28' ladder. 5% taller and 15% shorter.

That's horrible for the client for several reasons.

Thanks for responding. Do you ever use a drone or camera pole?

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I used the camera pole once or twice a month to get pictures of a flat roof when there was no access from the top floor of a condo building. I'd find an opening window, set the 10 second timer and get a couple of snap shots for the report. This takes only a few minutes. I suppose you could try a selfie stick taped to a paint pole, but I used a camera.

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On 8/17/2022 at 10:05 PM, Marc said:

I use my personal vehicle, a 2002 Dodge Ram 2500 Cummins diesel. 16' extension ladder fits perfectly in the 8' bed, as well as a 6' and smaller ladder. I've a rack for carrying my 28' extension if needed. I can't justify the expense of a separate work vehicle.

your suggestion is very helpful

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I've loved the minivan.

Tools and ladders stay locked inside the vehicle. Don't get snow covered and are always clean and ready to go.

When I have to go and rent a tall extension ladder (three times in 10 years) I can just strap it to the built in roof rack.

Cheap to operate. cheap to maintain. And when I want to take 7 other friends for a mountain hiking trip we can all travel together.

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