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How long to establish business?

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I'm guessing this has been asked before but about how many years does it take to fully establish a home inspection business? By this I mean having regular work each week. I started mine late spring and have had some success but some weeks have been realy slow - like this week with only ONE inspection. Several other weeks I've had 3.

I guess this also depends on the real estate market and number of inspectors. We have a saturation of inspectors in my area now so that does not help. Thanks for your input!

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My first year began on April 15th. By the end of that year, I'd done 127. The following full year I did 327. The next year, slightly less. I hit 1,000 in my third full year. After that, I stopped counting. Some years have been more and some less - like when I fell off the roof in 2000 and was out of works for months, and the year I sold my franchise and had a 1-year non-compete to wait out, wherin I wasn't permitted do any inspections within 25 miles of Seattle.

It depends on the strength of home sales going on in your area, the acceptance of home inspectors in your area, how much you want to hustle, and what kind of inspector you want to be. If you schmooze the realtors, bring them gifts, let on like you'll do whatever it takes for their sale to go through, and generally conduct your inspections like you're a half-blind dimwit, you can expect that you'll garner a whole lot more referrals from the real estate side than you will from past clients. You'll make more money faster, but the amount of liability that you carry will be substantially increased. Under those circumstances, expect that if you screw up that the folks who're referring you will cut you adrift the first time they hear you made an error and will leave you to the sharks.

On the other hand, you can do every job slowly and carefully, make sure that your clients are thoroughly informed, and assume the attitude, "To hell with what the 'zoids think," and you'll have more happy clients and will garner more work from the friends and relatives of those happy clients, as well as from the honest real estate professionals that don't refer half-blind dim-witted inspectors who're always kissing their butts to their clients. It'll take a lot longer to do it that way, but you'll sleep better.

Since you're new, you'll no doubt be on here in a few weeks or months wondering how long you should be taking to do an inspection, because some zoid will say something to you like, "Well, my inspector never takes more than 1-1/2 to 2 hours to do an inspection and you're taking too long." When that happens, remember that most of the experienced inspectors in this business, who really know their stuff are rarely done inspecting a home in less than 3 hours, and often take longer. You should be letting this profession dictate how long you take to do the job - not the real estate folks.



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I would have to say that by your 3rd year, a solo inspector should average around 300-350 jobs a year. This is a good number to maintain and will provide you with a good income, if you charge a decent fee.

You will also have very slow times when the phone will not ring and other times that the phone will not stop ringing. The roller coaster ride is never ending. You can balance out the ride a little with what I call "fill-in" work. Other types of inspections that fill in the slow times can really make the difference.

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Mitch would you rather I said they took half an hour.

When I leave it is because I'm being dragged out with armed escort.

I truly enjoy inspecting and there is always that one item you could have missed.

Every customer I have had is pleased with how thorough I am.

I do not charge for a final walk through either so it is a good thing I'm not charging by the hour or they could never afford me.

But you are right it might scare some of the agents or developers who promise everything has been done.

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Originally posted by chicago

Mitch would you rather I said they took half an hour. . .

From my understanding of Mitchell's sense of humor, I believe he was making a joke based on a prurient interpretation of your "actually enjoying myself" phrase.

Locker-room banter and all that, eh?

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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