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These are not in any particular order and I appreciate any and all answers

In North Carolina an associate home inspector must pass the state test and I'm wondering is it better to take classes in person (Kaplan or local community/Tech college) or is home study on computer better.

Any recommendations

I've read on the Kaplan site that if you sign up with them they will assist you in getting in with an existing inspector. Any thoughts/comments on that

Upon becoming a full-fledged inspector what is the most important thing to do to build your business.

Is belonging to an organization (ASHI etc...) important and any recommendations.

Is this career more about doing quality inspections or about selling myself & networking

What is a reasonable number of inspections per year for someone in the business:

0-3 years

4+ years

does anyone have a guess on how much an associate HI makes on an inspection or is it whatever is worked out between the HI and the AHI

What is the most important thing to do to protect from litigation.

Thanks for any help

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Wow!

*Class for training.

*Do not depend on them to find a person for you to work with.

*A good website will help you to build your business

*Check out the local chapters in your area. As a new person it can be a invaluable resource.

*Quality inspections will keep you in business and out of trouble

*The number of inspections depends on the area you are working in. For your first year shoot for 100 and if you hit 50 be happy. By your third year you should be around 250-300 or looking for another line of work.

* I have no idea what a AHI is or does

*Do good inspections and write clear and easy to read reports.

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Originally posted by RobFV

does anyone have a guess on how much an associate HI makes on an inspection or is it whatever is worked out between the HI and the AHI

Hi Rob,

Welcome to TIJ.

The AHJ is the Authority Having Jurisdiction and essentially means the municipal inspector. The AHJ has absolutely nothing to do with how a private home inspector conducts his business or what he charges his clients.

The questions that you ask have all been asked and answered on this board dozens of times. If you go to the menu bar above, click on the home page, and then search TIJ's archives and do some reading you'll find that every one of your questions has been answered. I sure wish I'd had a resource like this when I began this journey; if I had I wouldn't have made so many mistakes.

Oh, and this is very important, when you are doing your research don't forget to check out TIJ's file downloads in the TIJ Library on the menu bar above. I've uploaded some excellent Army documents and correspondence courses that will get you started on understanding construction, electrical systems, plumbing, and heating systems and there are a whole series of basic how-to-do-an-inspection guides in there. You'll find that those titles begin with "Res-142."

Put on a coffee pot, turn the volume down low on your hi-fi and start exploring. We'll wait a week or two for you to come up for air to see whether your head has exploded yet. [;)]

ONE TEAM -ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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OK,

Yeah, I see it now; I misread it and thought he'd written AHJ.

I guess the answer depends on whether the Associate Inspector is on the payroll or is just riding along and doing parallel inspections with an established company, in order to garner sufficient credit to become a fully-licensed inspector. I can't imagine that there is any kind of set fee schedule - in fact I'd be surprised if there are inspectors who are allowing Associate Inspectors to ride along with them without charging the AHI a fee to do so.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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Originally posted by RobFV

These are not in any particular order and I appreciate any and all answers

In North Carolina an associate home inspector must pass the state test and I'm wondering is it better to take classes in person (Kaplan or local community/Tech college) or is home study on computer better.

Any recommendations

They all suck. Kaplan probably sucks the least. A class where you're face to face with the instructor and the other students is way better than any online learning experience.

I've read on the Kaplan site that if you sign up with them they will assist you in getting in with an existing inspector. Any thoughts/comments on that

If you end up with a good inspector, it'll be a good experience. If you end up with a dope, you'll regret it.

Upon becoming a full-fledged inspector what is the most important thing to do to build your business.

Do better than your competition at inspecting, report writing and marketing.

Is belonging to an organization (ASHI etc...) important and any recommendations.

It's important because it makes you part of something that's bigger than yourself. It provides you with access to advice, education and perspective.

Is this career more about doing quality inspections or about selling myself & networking

Both. You can do the best inspection in the world but it won't help your career unless you know how to sell it. In my opinion, most new inspectors fail because they don't have the slightest idea about how to run a business.

What is a reasonable number of inspections per year for someone in the business:

0-3 years

50-100

4+ years

200-500

does anyone have a guess on how much an associate HI makes on an inspection or is it whatever is worked out between the HI and the AHI

I don't know. We don't have HI/AHI relationships like that in my state. Is that a North Carolina thing? Around here, people accrue points, pass a test, then call themselves home inspectors for about a year or two while they slowly fail to thrive and eventually quit.

What is the most important thing to do to protect from litigation.

At each home you inspect, find all of the important defects (even the ones you can't see) and disclose them to your customer in a way that the customer can't misunderstand. If you don't do this each day -- every day -- you will be sued. If you're sued for a big problem, and you don't have E&O insurance, the court will give the plaintiff the modest contents of your bank account, your car, your house, your eyeglasses and your wedding ring.

Read the archives in this forum. There's another fellow who was just starting out a few months ago who asked dozens of good questions and got hundreds of good answers about training, testing, startup, etc, etc. You'll find some gold in there.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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Other folks answered adequately & correctly in my opinion, so I'll focus on a few hot button......

Originally posted by RobFV

I've read on the Kaplan site that if you sign up with them they will assist you in getting in with an existing inspector. Any thoughts/comments on that

I hate Kaplan. I'll make that clear right off the bat. Their classroom information is not bad, nor is it anything particularly good. It will teach you how much you don't know more than anything.

At one time, they had some of the best instructors in the country (when still ITA). Now, they bring in warm bodies in a lot of cases. If you could take a class from Chad Fabry up in NY, it would be worthwhile. In my area, they're big on hiring retired types that like to pontificate, or have other credentials that sound good but don't really mean squat in this business.

Their "ride along" campaign is where I really part ways w/them. They approached me years ago to take their students on, but, and this is a really big but, I had to use their extremely lousy ITA Matrix report system for my jobs w/their students. There were downright cocky & self-righteous about it; they really didn't care what the heck I did, they just wanted me to train you to use their system. In other words, the whole ride along thing is just another way to get you indoctrinated into their crappy system.

They are a measly quality "diploma" mill, cranking out wannabes that think they're going to get something for their time w/Kaplan. Honestly, if you have good discipline and self-study ability, you do not need Kaplan. The download library right here in TIJ could get you going better than paying for Kaplan.

Did I mention I hate Kaplan?

Upon becoming a full-fledged inspector what is the most important thing to do to build your business.

This is going to sound flip & smartass, but..... stay alive & keep doing good jobs. There is no easy way into this business. The jobs you want don't come from any referral source that you can actively market to effectively. If you think you're going to get jobs through realtors, you will, but they will be the low payers, and the realtors will think they own you. As soon as you blow one of their deals, and you will sooner or later, they'll drop you like a dead rat.

Is belonging to an organization (ASHI etc...) important and any recommendations.

I'm not touching that one; if you hang around here long enough, you'll understand why.

Is this career more about doing quality inspections or about selling myself & networking?

Reread the answer 2 questions up. It's a long slow slog to get viable, and even then it's a tough shot. Selling yourself is a nice idea, but who are you going to sell yourself to? The realtors?

Networking is a great idea, but the network you want is referrals from past customers, and that takes time. There is no easy pathway.

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Hey Rob, I'm new to the business myself. It's hard starting up by yourself but it can be done. There are a lot of little things that you have to look at too

business license

Corporation? LLC? Other?

insurance, E&O and general liability. Buy a years worth or in groups of 10 inspections at a time?

is your truck insured now as a private vehicle? Gotta change it to a business vehicle.

Also had to change my truck from private to business for tax purposes

Need a tool box on your truck? Ladder rack?

Zoning, even though I run it out of the house, I had to get zoning approval

Then the business cards, brochures and pamphlets?

Company name

Company logo

Company motto

The web page

The tools

Inspection software or format, even if you buy one in a box, it won't be Rob ready, you'll have to change lots of little things in it to make it yours

Inspection routine, I've done it maybe 50 times now and the only thing the 50th had in common with the 1st was that I was at a house. Fine tune it now before you get a customer, don't practice on a paid inspection.

READ EVERY THREAD ON THESE FORUMS, then post thoughts and ideas, awesome feedback, again use these guys to practice not a paying customer

The hardest for me has been to find someone local to bounce ideas off off. But I just kept asking and now I'm having lunch tomorrow with a guy that has over 30 years of HI experience in this area. He's retired now but I asked nice (and offered to buy lunch) and he said he'd love to help me with my business plan.

Time and lots of it. If you examine each item you need, you'll see some of it takes a lot of time. For example, I went LLC. That took almost 6 weeks to come back from the state. I couldn't confirm my business name or logo till I was sure I had the name registered. Then after I got the LLC paperwork back, it takes time to get the business cards made, shirts with your logo maybe? magnetics for your truck? They all take time.

Plan on 2-3 months to get everything setup right. During that time read everything you can about HI.

I took the AHIT course and I thought it went very well. I'm still in contact with both instructors asking advice and such. Maybe I was lucky because they two were opposites of each other. One very conservative the other very bold. Like has been said before, no matter what class you go to, it's just a starter course, it does NOT make you an inspector, but it gets you to start thinking like one.

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Originally posted by sepefrio

. . . Inspection software or format, even if you buy one in a box, it won't be Rob ready, you'll have to change lots of little things in it to make it yours

From what I've seen on that front, you'll have to change nearly everything to really make it yours. The three or four new inspectors on this forum seem to be able to write pretty well -- certainly better than whoever wrote most of the boilerplate in most HI software. Do wholesale rewriting of the software to make it sound like you.

. . . and now I'm having lunch tomorrow with a guy that has over 30 years of HI experience in this area. He's retired now but I asked nice (and offered to buy lunch) and he said he'd love to help me with my business plan.

I'll bet that a new inspector could get an excellent education by paying a guy that that the money that would otherwise go to Kaplan or AHIT. Just a thought.

Plan on 2-3 months to get everything setup right. During that time read everything you can about HI.

Took me 2 years.

. . . Maybe I was lucky because they two were opposites of each other. One very conservative the other very bold. . .

That's an excellent point. You can often learn more from a spirited debate than from a dry lecture. At least that's true for me. Try arguing one side of a debate in your mind then turn it around and argue the other side with equal passion.

It's a crime that rhetoric is no longer taught in public schools.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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ASHI (American Society of Home Inspectors) has implemented a ride along program for those new to the industry. Seasoned HIs volunteer to participate in this program. If you join ASHI, you will have access to the members only section of the web site and will be able to look up inspectors, in your area, that have volunteered. The other HI organizations may have the same type of program however I can only speak for ASHI.

Personally, I think it's a good idea to tag along on a few inspections to learn the ropes. In Ohio there are no licensing requirements to become a HI. Those new to the field are allowed to go out there and cut their teeth without any supervision. The person that can get hurt is the person we're trying to protect, the client. IMO it's not fair to the client, to expose them to a brand new HI without any experience and it really isn't fair to the new HI either. This is why I have volunteered to provide a ride along, for those that belong to ASHI and live in my area. I went through ITA training when I was getting into the field, had a construction background but I was still a nervous wreck on my first 100+ inspections.

Ask the HI, that has 30 years experience, if he could come with you on your first few inspections (offer to pay for his time). Short of that, ask him to inspect your house so you can watch and learn (offer to pay again).

Good luck.

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Ask the HI, that has 30 years experience, if he could come with you on your first few inspections (offer to pay for his time). Short of that, ask him to inspect your house so you can watch and learn (offer to pay again).

Good luck.

Heck, I'm gonna ask/beg him for everything I can. But so far we've had a 10 minute talk on the phone, not the best place for such. Right now I to earn his respect so he would be willing to help further. Because if he doubted me, even if I payed him, I doubt I would get those little things that add up to so much.

One of the things I am going to talk to him about is local associations. I don't want to join any organization that is not active locally.

I'll let you guys know how it goes.

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Upon becoming a full-fledged inspector what is the most important thing to do to build your business.

Learn to build and then build good relationships with everybody. That relationship is key and swamps any amount of advertising you could possibly afford to do.

Is belonging to an organization (ASHI etc...) important and any recommendations.

Absolutely. I think I have learned more in the last year from the TIJ crew and attending the ASHI chapter meetings in my area then the prior 8 years I spent in a vaccum. Which association you join is up to you. Check them all out and choose your favorite.

Is this career more about doing quality inspections or about selling myself & networking

You can be successful just doing quality inspections but you will achieve success more quickly if you learn to build and maintain good relationships with your clients etc.

What is a reasonable number of inspections per year for someone in the business:

0-3 years

4+ years

Depends on the area. In my area I think it's pretty tough right now. I would say the same as Jim K.

What is the most important thing to do to protect from litigation.
Create and maintain a good relationship with your client. In my opinion there is no contract out there that will stop a claim from being initiated.

Chris, Oregon

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Rob - I had my meeting today and all I can say is I'm awake now. Not that I wasn't doing good so far, but I now have a lot more options available in my area thanks to Kenny Hart, the guy I met today. A better way to state it maybe is before I was in a small book store, and Kenny showed me the library of congress. Contacts, resources, local schools, organizations and ride along's. I'm also very glad to have had someone, face to face. If I had met him a few months ago I would have accomplished what I did solo faster and easier and I surely would have accomplished more. But thats yesterday now, I'm charging into tomorrow.

So, I suggest that you hook up with some local HI's. One way to do that, and for free, is to attend a local HI organization meeting. Most are free for the first meeting. Just go there, say who you are and what you want to do. Odds are people will more readily accept you at the meeting vice just getting an Email from some unknown.

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