Starting a home inspection business can be a great way to make money while helping people. It may seem a little daunting at first glance to create your own business, but with the right tools and information, you can easily make it happen. In addition, with a booming housing market and new technologies for writing inspection reports and sending them, the obstacles to entry for home inspectors are lower now than they’ve ever been.
This article outlines the basics of starting your own home inspection company, including licensing requirements and what services to offer.
What is a Home Inspection Business?
A home inspection business is a company that provides thorough inspections of the interior and exterior of homes for potential buyers, sellers or homeowners. In addition, they may examine the condition of a property and look for any problems that may need repair. These companies also provide customers with detailed written reports of issues they find and advise how to fix them.
Why You Should Consider Starting a Home Inspection Business
There are many reasons why you should consider starting a home inspection company. Here are some of the benefits:
- You can work from home: Home inspection is a perfect business to start if you want to work from home. You don’t need a lot of space, and you can set your own hours.
- There is a growing demand for home inspectors: Home inspections are important. With home sales increasing, and roughly 90% of these homes requiring a home inspection, there’s a growing demand for home inspectors and home inspection companies.
- You don’t need a lot of experience: Although you do need professional inspection licensing in most states, you don’t need to have a lot of experience to start a home inspection company. There are also many resources available to help you learn the ropes.
- It is a relatively easy business to start: Starting a home inspection company is relatively easy. You don’t need a lot of money or space, and you can begin offering services right away.
How Much Does it Cost to Start a Home Inspection Business?
The cost to start a home inspection business varies, depending on the type of business you want to set up. Here are some approximate startup costs:
- Licensing and certification: Varies by state but usually runs around $200-$300. Click here to see the licensing requirements, including costs by state: https://www.spectora.com/r/home-inspector-license-requirements-map/
- Home inspection software: Around $800 a year
- Equipment: $300 for basic and $1,000+ for more specialized equipment
- Marketing: $50 – $200, although you can easily exceed $1,000 if you purchase a custom website and use marketing strategies such as SEO.
- Home inspection school: $400 to $1,000
Generally, you can expect startup costs for your business to come in at around $1,300 on the low end and approximately $5,000+ on the high end.
Is a Home Inspection Business Profitable?
Yes, the home inspection trade can be profitable, with many inspectors earning $47,600 (part-time) to $97,000 (full-time) a year on average. Many home inspection businesses that are considered multi-inspector companies can earn even more, bringing home anywhere from $500,000 to $3 million annually.
Before you say, “Sign me up!” though, bear in mind that building a business from the ground up can be a challenge. It’s a surprising statistic, but around 60% of home inspection businesses fail. Most of this failure rate stems from the “harsh reality of building a business from scratch,” according to Dan Bowers, a professional inspector and educator. So, be ready for some hard work and expense, especially in the beginning. The financial rewards look pretty enticing if you are prepared to roll up your sleeves and do it, however.
20 Steps to Start a Home Inspection Business
Now that you know the basics of starting a home inspection business, it’s time to get started. Here are 20 steps you can take to get your new business off the ground and be well on your way to being a professional home inspector.
1. Make Sure You Have the Necessary Qualifications and Certification
Before you get into the business of home inspections, you need to make sure you have the necessary qualifications and certification. Most states require inspectors to have the proper training and be certified.
To become certified, you’ll need to complete an accredited training program. Many programs are available, including online courses and in-person continuing education classes. You can also find certification programs through organizations like the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI).
If you’re still not sure what qualifications and certification you need to be a licensed home inspector, contact your state’s licensing board or department of consumer affairs. The requirements may change by state, and they can help you determine what is required in yours.
2. Research Nearby Home Inspectors
Before you start your business, it’s always a good idea to research the competition. Find out what services they offer and how much they charge. This will help you determine what services to offer and how to price your services. You can also find out what training courses nearby inspectors have taken and whether they are licensed or certified.
3. Know Your Target Market
Who is your target market? For instance, are you targeting home buyers, sellers, or homeowners? Knowing your target market will help you focus your marketing efforts and determine which services to offer.
- Homebuyers: Homebuyers are people who are looking for a new home. They usually have a budget and are looking for the best deal possible. Homebuyers are interested in the condition of the property and may ask for a home inspection before making an offer.
- Home sellers: Home sellers are people who are selling their homes. They usually want to get the best price possible and may hire a home inspector to give them an idea of what needs to be fixed.
- Homeowners: Homeowners are people who own their homes and are not looking to sell. They may hire a home inspector to check for problems or give them an idea of what needs to be fixed.
Your target market will determine the type of marketing you need to do and the services you offer.
4. Differentiate Your Business
When starting a home inspection company, it’s important to differentiate yourself from the competition. Why should people hire you instead of another inspector? What makes your business unique? You can differentiate your business by specializing in a particular type of inspection. For instance, you can offer additional services, such as energy audits or radon testing. You can also offer lower prices than your competitors—but don’t go so low that your quality dips.
Finding a niche is important too. Home inspection is a broad industry, so finding a specific niche can help you stand out from the competition. For example, you could specialize in inspecting new construction homes or foreclosed properties.
5. Choose a Name for Your Own Home Inspection Business
The name of your business is an important decision, as it will be the first thing people see when they search for home inspection businesses in their area. So, make sure it’s catchy and easy to remember. You can also use your name to create a slogan that describes what you do. For example, “A Complete Home Inspection from A to Z.”
Other tips for choosing a business name:
- Make sure the name is available as a domain name and social media handles.
- Check to see if the name is trademarked.
- Include your location in the business name, such as “Home Inspection of Cincinnati.”
- Choose a unique name that’s easy to remember.
- Use keywords related to home inspection in your business name.
6. Write a Home Inspection Business Plan
A business plan is a document that outlines your business goals, how you plan to achieve them and how long it will take you to accomplish them. It’s your roadmap to creating your company, in other words. It includes information about your business, such as its history, mission statement and target market. A good business plan can also help you get bank loans or attract investors who may want to partner with you.
Your business plan should also include detailed financial information, such as your startup costs, projected profits, and methods of financing. The Small Business Association (SBA) has online resources to help you create a comprehensive business plan. You can also use templates or online tools to help you write your plan.
7. Brand Your Business
When starting a home inspection company, it’s crucial to create a strong brand that people will remember. Your brand should be consistent across all marketing materials, including your website, social media pages and brochures. Make sure all marketing materials are consistent and reflect your brand well.
With branding, it’s also important to differentiate your business and find your niche. This simple act will help you attract customers that are specifically looking for your services. In addition, establishing niches is important for setting your brand apart. Good niches to consider when it comes to branding include new construction homes, foreclosed properties and commercial buildings.
Another example could be that your company is the only one who recommends experts who give clients a more detailed opinion on mold, termite or structural damage. Another unique niche could be consulting with a home or commercial business owner to help them go green.
8. Form a Legal Entity and Register with the State
To start a home inspection company, you’ll need to form a legal entity. This process involves creating a business name and filing paperwork with your state’s Secretary of State office. It also involves filing paperwork and paying a fee. In most states, the registration process is pretty straightforward.
It’s important to do this early on to protect your business from any legal issues down the road. And do you know what niche comes into play here? You guessed it—real estate law. So, at this stage, you will want to consult an attorney who specializes in this area, and more specifically, in-home inspection businesses.
There are a few different types of legal entities you can choose from, and each type has its benefits and drawbacks. So you’ll need to weigh the pros and cons before making a decision.
The main types of business entities for home inspection companies are:
- Sole proprietorship
- Limited liability company (LLC)
You can learn more about each type of entity on the SBA website.
9. Open a Business Bank Account
When starting any business, it’s important to open a business bank account. This act will help you keep your finances organized and separate from your personal accounts. It also makes tax filing easier at the end of the year. It will also be a good idea to get a business credit card and start building a credit history for your company.
10. Purchase the Necessary Tools
You’ll also need to purchase the right tools to start your inspection company. Additionally, certain home inspection equipment may be required as part of professional licensing requirements in your state. The good news is that most of the tools you’ll need are fairly affordable, and some can even be rented.
Some of the essential tools for this type of business include:
- A digital camera or video camera
- Laptop or tablet
- Moisture meters
- Infrared thermometer
- Safety glasses
You can find a more comprehensive list of tools on the National Association of Home Inspectors (NAHI) website.
11. Consider Home Inspection Software
To make the inspection process more efficient, you may want to consider using home inspection software. This software helps you track your inspections, create reports and store client information. There are several different programs available, and we’ve listed a few of the more popular ones below:
- Home Inspector Pro
- Inspector Nexus
12. Create a Business Website
In order to market your business and attract new clients, it’s important to create a website. This approach will give potential customers information about your company, services, and rates. It will also allow them to contact you directly if they have any questions. Many home inspection companies use WordPress.org to power their website since it’s easy to use and inexpensive. Plus, there are many plugins available to extend its functionality.
13. Make Sure You Have the Licenses Required in Your State
Before you can start performing home inspections, you need to see if you live in a state that requires you to have certain licenses or permits. Even if you aren’t required to get them, states like Georgia regulate the home inspection profession. You can find out what’s needed in your state by contacting your local licensing agency.
14. Get Your Taxes in Order
When starting a business, it’s crucial to set up a system for tracking your expenses and income. Taking proactive measures like this will make tax filing much easier at the end of the year. You may want to speak with an accountant or tax specialist to get started. Many businesses also use Intuit Turbotax since it integrates with Quickbooks.
The main taxes you need to pay as a home inspector are income tax and self-employment taxes. Bear in mind that taxes may vary by state too.
15. Purchase Business Insurance
When starting a business, it’s critical to buy insurance to protect yourself and your employees. Insurance policies help cover any costs associated with accidents or injuries that may occur while you’re working. Some of the most common types of business insurance include:
- General liability insurance
- Professional liability insurance
- Property damage insurance
- Automobile insurance
16. Know How to Write an Inspection Report
One of the most important things you need to know to run a successful business is how to write an inspection report. This expertise will allow you to document your findings and provide them to your clients in a clear and concise manner. When you create inspection reports, they should be easy to read, understandable and include photos of any issues found during the inspection.
You can refer to Home Inspectors: Report Writing 101 written by the real estate experts at the Organization of Real Estate Professionals to write your home inspection reports.
17. Market Your Business
In order to attract new clients, it’s essential to market your business effectively. This fact is especially true for small businesses that are just starting out. It’s also good to design your website with SEO optimization for your own firm. Also, business cards, flyers, brochures, online presence and word-of-mouth are all excellent ways to get the word out there about your home inspection company.
How do I Market Myself as a Home Inspector?
There are a number of different ways you can use your marketing skills to make potential clients aware of your new business and your skills as a home inspector, including:
- Posting ads in local newspapers or online classifieds
- Developing relationships with real estate agents and contractors
- Attending trade shows and conventions
- Networking with other professionals
- Attending home shows and trade shows
- Offering free inspections to potential clients
- Giving presentations at community events
18. Generate Leads and Take on Clients
Once you’ve started marketing your home inspection company, it’s time to start generating leads and taking on clients. When you have a few leads, it’s critical to follow up with them as soon as possible.
Make sure you are prepared to give potential clients a brief overview of your home inspection services and be ready to answer any questions they may have. Then, once you’ve booked an appointment, be sure to show up on time and ready to work.
It’s important to remember that not all leads will turn into clients. You may need to go through several leads before you find one interested in using your services. So don’t get discouraged; just keep working hard and continue marketing your business.
How do I Generate Home Inspection Leads?
Without leads, your inspection company will struggle to grow. So, how do you generate leads? There are a number of ways to go about it, including:
- Posting flyers in local businesses and online
- Sending emails to potential clients
- Calling or visiting local real estate agents
- Creating a landing page on your website for leads
- Getting listed on a home inspection directory like Hire an Inspector
19. Start Inspecting
Once you have all the necessary knowledge and skills, it’s time to start inspecting homes. When you inspect a home, be sure to document everything in your inspection report. Doing this will allow you to provide your clients with a detailed overview of the property they are considering purchasing.
It’s important to inspect both the interior and exterior of the home, as well as the property’s surrounding area. Make sure to pay close attention to any potential issues and document them in your report.
When inspecting a home, some issues to look for include:
- Structural damage
- Water damage
- Mold or mildew
- Termite damage
- Lead paint
- Gas leaks
- Bad roof
- Damaged air conditioning units
When inspecting commercial buildings and schools, especially when it comes to older structures, look for the following culprits:
- Fire damage
- Electrical problems
- Structural damage
- Asbestos in floor tiles, ceilings and roof tiles
20. Scale Your Successful Home Inspection Business
As your business for home inspecting grows, you may find that you need to hire additional staff or subcontractors. This process can help you manage your growing client base and ensure that all inspections are completed on time.
It’s also important to keep track of personal assets and make sure you have adequate insurance coverage. As your business grows, it’s likely that you will be dealing with more expensive equipment and property. Additionally, keep a close eye on your finances to ensure you are charging enough for your services. Finally, as your business becomes more successful, you may also want to consider expanding into new markets. Establishing a home inspection franchise to do this is a great way to scale.
The best way to scale your home inspection business is by continuing to provide excellent service and maintaining a high level of professionalism. Make sure you stay up-to-date on the latest industry trends and technologies and always put the needs of your clients first.
This article, “How to Start a Home Inspection Business” was first published on Small Business Trends