Home Inspectors: What to Expect Your First Year (2023)

Many people aspire to become a home inspector, and for good reason. The work is exciting and rewarding, and many inspectors have the opportunity to be their own boss. However, potential inspectors may misunderstand the job and what it entails during the first year of inspection.

There is no better person to explain what it's like to break into the industry than the surveyors themselves. So we interviewed your peers to find out about common misconceptions and what it's really like to be a new inspector.

Want to start a home inspection business? Check out our infographic!

industry experience

A common question among aspiring inspectors is whether prior industry experience is necessary for success. Make no mistake, many surveyors have prior experience in construction, repair and real estate. But such training is not necessary to have a thriving inspection business.

Check out some of the inspectors we've interviewed. by Paul SullivanVolingspekion Wrigleyin Virginia started as a social worker. Michael AshburnAshburn Inspections, LLCin Pennsylvania he had a spa. and Garrett Scott fromhousing solutionsin Alabama, worked in food service with his family.

Many people join the industry from all kinds of backgrounds. The common traits that home inspectors share: a passion for helping others and learning.

Bruce Barker, 2021 President of the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASI), says that while it's useful to have some background knowledge, it's more important to know how to communicate your findings.

"You can learn the technical skills in some classes, some practices and then experience. But it's people and communication skills – written and interpersonal – that are really the key to success or not,” Barker said.

In fact, Nick Gromicko, founder of the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (Trainee), says that sometimes being too specialized in one area can put you at a disadvantage.

"Most experiences are helpful, but some are really harmful. If you have a lot of experience in a certain area, you have to be careful that your experiences don't push you one way or the other."

For example, a licensed plumber may focus more on the property's plumbing and neglect other components.

If you think your inexperience might be a barrier, luckily the industry is full of great resources. For example, joining a national or local organization will help you learn and network. The industry is full of people who want to help others succeed.

startup cost

Another factor that can greatly affect how quickly your business reviewsthey come from the earthis the initial cost.

When you go into any business, Gromicko says you have to invest and spend money up front.

"This is the time to invest in your business if you're launching one," Gromicko said.

Compared to other industries, the start-up costs for a new inspection business are minimal. According to Gromicko, you can start a successful inspection business for less than $15,000. After doing some basic research on what it takes to start a home inspection business, we found estimates ranging from less than $3,500 to over $25,000. The exact amount depends on how much you are willing and able to spend on training, memberships, equipment, marketing, software, legal fees and insurance. Below we outline typical costs for each of these investment categories.

Not to be dazzled by the initial cost during the first year of his review, Jameson Malgeri ofAnother level inspectionsin Massachusetts recommends the budget.

"The more planning you can do, the better," Mulgeri said. "I had everything in the budget, even an emergency budget, and I was more conservative than I thought I should be."

Number of inspections

Many new inspectors make the mistake of immediately planning to do several inspections per week.

Unfortunately, getting a significant flow of leads can be a slow process. In fact, almost all surveyors we interviewed advised that new surveyors should not expect the business to be fully operational until two or three years after starting their business.

"Realistically, it takes two to three years to really get going," Barker said. "And [it takes] about five [years] to start getting referrals from past clients."

But what does "getting rolling" mean? How many inspections can you expect to carry out in the first year and beyond?

To answer these questions, we analyzed the data we collected from our insured home inspectors. When inspectors request a quote or renew your contract, they give us an estimate of the average number of inspections they carry out per year. policy period. (In our case, insurance periods are one year.) Below is the average number of inspections designed by new inspectors (or inspectors in service one year or less) compared to those designed by all our other inspectors (or inspectors in service for one year) or more).

Since we insure inspectors and part-time and full-time companies with one or more inspectors, the data is not a perfect representation of what a home inspector can expect to earn in a year. However, the numbers can give you a rough number to work with.


As any seasoned surveyor can tell you, many prospects enter the industry thinking it will immediately bring in a steady stream of income. However, those who want longevity as a home inspector should wait to work before earning a steady salary.

Home inspectors can earn a substantial income, especially if they have their own inspection company. But starting a business can be difficult.

“[My first year of revenue] was a very small number,” Ashburn said. “But I was working part-time at three different jobs. So [my income] just doubled over the next year and kept going up. Now I've parked it because I can't do more than seven or eight [inspections] a week."

So, how much income can a new inspector plan to make in their first year of inspection? We analyze our app data to find out. Please note that we insure companies with both single and multiple inspectors, which may skew the data.

Single and multiple inspection companies

Why is there a dividend difference between these two types of businesses? Inspectors who start with a multi-inspection company tend to earn more than those who start their own business. This is because they don't incur any initial costs and are likely to have steady work from the start.

"When you go down the path of working for a company with multiple [supervisors], you're probably looking at [earning] something in the $30,000 to $40,000 range, depending on whether they can keep you busy if the market is good." Barker said. . “If you're starting your own business, you probably have a good financial cushion under you, unless you're really good. If you bring in $20,000 in revenue the first year, you're doing pretty well.”

Joining a multi-inspection company allows you to gain experience and guidance. And it can be a good choice for inspectors who don't want the stress of starting their own company. However, before you decide to sign up with a multi-inspection company, you should check whether it is necessary to sign a non-compete agreement. If you want to start your own inspection business later, having non-compete clauses hanging over your head will be another obstacle to your success.

Regardless of whether or not they work for a multi-inspection company, new inspectors should consider the demand for inspection in their area. As demand depends on location, we recommend that you do extensive research on the real estate market in your area and how saturated it is with other inspectors.

Competitive underbid

New inspectors should expect to enter the market with knowledge and competitive prices. There will always be low cost inspectors for inferior inspections.

So how does an inspector get into the industry and get a job without having to negotiate the price of their inspections?

While it can be tempting to go the cheap route, every surveyor we spoke to said the same thing: Know your value and price accordingly.

"Honor without remorse," Sullivan said. "You are at work to make money, to live. I do not negotiate my price.

You will always find inspectors who will do inspections cheaper than you. But if you cut prices to compete, you might look desperate. Cheap inspection rates often come from inspectors who lack confidence or are overworked, according to Sullivan.

“If you're insecure, clients, real estate agents and potential clients can tell. Be comfortable with yourself and know why you're there,” Sullivan said. "Don't compromise [because you can] compromise the quality of your work."

By appreciating your time and skills, you add value to the inspection itself and therefore to your company.

You may not get as many inspections in the first inspection year, but you earn more per inspection. Plus, you won't feel pressured to rush through your inspection just to get to the next scheduled one to make up for lost time. This often leads to overbooking issues, which can cause inspectors to rush and therefore perform an inadequate inspection. Not only will this damage your reputation, but it will also increase your chance of receiving claims for defects you missed or misidentified.

they have insurance

Finally, errors and omissions (E&O) or professional liability and general liability (GL) insurance in the first year after the inspection can be risky.

The last thing you need is a requirement when starting out as a home inspector. Therefore, it is essential to have insurance before you even start the inspection.

During his first year, Matthew Query ofFreedom Home Services, LLCin North Carolina it was warranty only, which met the state's requirements. But in hindsight, would have bought E&O and GL insurance for better protection.

"I didn't have E&O right away and I wish I had," Query said. "I was scared when a guy threatened to follow me and I didn't have insurance. After that, I took out insurance right away."

Many states require insurance policies or bonds with specific limits to qualify for licensing. However, as Scott explains, the required limits may not be enough to adequately cover your business.

"Sometimes what your state requires isn't enough coverage for you [and your business]," Scott said. "Find out what your state requires, find out if it's enough, and find out what you need."

(To learn more about choosing your insurance limits, take a lookthis article.)

When a business is starting out, it is often at its most vulnerable. You can protect yourself and your business during the first year by setting the expectation that you have security and making it a priority.

Pass the first year inspection

Having adequate expectations for the first year of inspection is critical to the future success of your business. By having the right expectations, you can plan your inspection in advance with minimal failures.

Do you have more advice for first-year inspectors? Want to learn more about starting your own inspection business? Visitour facebook pageto discuss the article.

In InspectorPro

InspectorPro Insurance is the nation's leading home inspector insurance provider.Why; Above all, we recognize that acquiring or switching insurance companies can be stressful for you. Additionally, we understand that as a home inspector you have unique needs when it comes to adequate damage protection.

That's why with InspectorPro you get personalized insurance for your home inspection business at a reasonable price. And since thenour team of licensed professionalsspecializes in home inspector insurance, we can give you the personal attention you deserve. In addition, we offer benefits such asfree advance assistance, discount reduction,early reporting claims discounts;, it is onerisk management blog. In short, insuring with someone else is simply not worth the risk.

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