There are a lot of factors that go into determining the salary that can be made from being a home inspector and being in the home inspection industry. A home inspector’s salary can be depend on:
- Number of home inspections you perform each year
- Will you be working part-time as a home inspector
- Will you be working as a full-time home inspector
- How much you make per inspection
- If you are working for another established home inspection company
- If you own the home inspection company
- Your salary will also depend on
- your experience as a home inspector and
- level of knowledge as a home inspector
- your reputation both your online reputation and a verbal reputation as a home inspector in your area
- how well you market both online marketing and direct marketing in your area
- How well you communicate with your clients & agents
Become A Home Inspector That is in High Demand Will Directly Impact Your Salary
If you’re just starting out and are working for yourself, you will find that the business can be difficult to break into. However it is very possible to be in high demand, depending on your marketing and your technical expertise and reputation. In any market trend or economic trend, there are always clients buying homes and needing home inspections. For your home inspection services to be in high demand, always continue to build your reputation as a thorough & knowledgeable home inspector, to write detailed informative & high quality reports in a timely fashion and become skilled in providing great non-alarming written and verbal communication with your clients and their real estate agents. Continual focus on making your home inspection skills and services in high demand will increase your salary potential oftentimes exponentially.
Entry Level Home Inspector Salary
Typically, a first-year home inspector working for himself will do approximately 100 inspections. The cost of each inspection can vary depending on your geographic location, urban density and types of homes. Typical cost for a home inspection can range from $300 to $700 or $800 depending on factors of the house. If you do the math, performing 100 inspections in your first year that an average of $400 per inspection would yield $40,000 gross income. However, your net income will be reduced by the amount of operating & marketing expenses, licensing, insurance, equipment and numerous other factors.
If you work for another home inspector company as a full time or part-time home inspector, your salary may be a set fee per inspection or a percentage of the home inspection fee. If your salary is $125 per home inspection and you perform 100 home inspections in your first year, you will make $12,500. So when you start out as a home inspector, you may consider having multiple sources for your total household income. If, however, your salary is 50% of the home inspection fee and the average home inspection fee in your area is $400, then your first year income may be $20,000.
Also you may consider a written commitment from your employer of a guaranteed number of weekly home inspections such as 8 inspections per week which is 400 home inspections annually. In this scenario, 8 inspections a week at $125 would yield an annual salary of $50,000.
Working For an Established Home Inspection Company
If you are just beginning as a home inspector and you do make the decision to work for another home inspection company, your income can be dependent on your experience and the ability of the inspection company to provide you with inspection appointments.
When working for an established home inspection company, your payment for each inspection can range from approximately $125 per inspection to perhaps 50% of the inspection fee. Your full time or part time salary would be dependent upon experience, your reputation and your ability to provide quality service in a timely fashion. When clients and real estate agents request you, the busier you will become and the more potential you have for making a higher salary, ie, making good money.
Starting out working for an established company can have benefits which can help you to build your reputation. More than likely the home inspection company will have a surplus of clients requesting home inspections. These can be sent in your direction.
Many times, clients and agents will request a particular inspector if they have knowledge of and have done previous home inspections with the company or with the home inspector. It takes time to gain that type of reputation where people are requesting you.
However, working for an established company can definitely allow you to get your foot in the home inspection industry door and display your ability to perform a thorough inspection in a timely manner.
Obviously, when working for an established home inspection company, the company will absorb all of the overhead and operating costs. The company will also reduce the number of headaches which you may experience as a beginning home inspector operating your own business. This can allow you to focus directly on doing the home inspections, providing a quality report and helping you to establish yourself as a reputable and well sought after home inspector.
When working for an established company, you may need to be mindful of:
- how large the company is and what the home inspection company’s reputation is,
- what their marketing plan is and
- how steady the flow of work might be for you.
Some established companies may only have two or three home inspectors and other companies may have 20 or more inspectors.
The very large home inspection companies can provide you with a lot of different opinions on how to inspect and how to report the findings. This can be beneficial to you. However, the downside of a large company is:
- you will be a new kid on the block and
- you will get the crumbs of the inspections which means
- you may not get that many inspections or
- you may get the less desirable inspections.
Working with a established company that is smaller and only has several inspectors can give you
- an opportunity for closer mentoring by established reputable inspectors.
- may be able to provide you with a more stable stream of inspection appointments that can grow over time.
In thinking about how you want to start to become a home inspector, here are a number of things you may want to look at:
- Is this a post retirement type of venture
- Are looking to supplement your income possibly on a part-time salary basis or
- Enjoy income on a full-time salary basis
- Do you have a family to support
- Do you need to have some income stability.
Self Employed Home Inspector Salary
Many times, home inspectors believe that, when they are in business for themselves, since they will have control over the entire inspection fee, there is potentially a lot more more money in their pocket at the end of the day. This may or may not be true.
This will depend on your business acumen to establish all the business framework that is necessary to establish your home inspection business as an ongoing concern.
Some of the items which may take some of the fee would be out of your pocket are:
- Initial and ongoing annual licensing fees,
- GL and E&O insurance (you do not want to do home inspections without insurance),
- equipment, including ladders, computers, mobile phones, cameras, flashlights, backup equipment, and more
- Scheduling software, reporting software
- Website & SEO concerns
- vehicle, gas, mileage, auto insurance
- marketing costs for both online & direct marketing strategies
- the potential for needing additional supporting office staff
- Ongoing yearly education requirements & overnight expenses in obtaining those educational requirements
- Association Fees, lockbox access fees
- and more
In addition, you may need a stash of available cash to carry you through the lean times without having you go hungry or have to close the business.
One item about the home inspection business is that it can tend to be very seasonal and cyclical. The spring and summer months are typically the busiest due to people relocating largely due to relationship with school districts for their children.
The business can also be dependent upon economic conditions and interest rates. In 2008, when there was a crash in the housing industry, there were thousands of home inspectors that went out of business and had to find other employment. The home inspectors that were able to hang on through the lean times were in a much better position when the economy returned and the market picked up.
The wintertime is typically the slowest time. It can also be slow in the late summer or early fall. When the slow times occurs, you need to have sufficient access to cash to tide you over and allow the business to continue marketing. By doing that you will be in a better position when the market does increase. Planning for the slow times with marketing strategies both online and direct often help keep your calendar full in the slow and cyclical times.
A big part of the decision to start on your own home inspection company may be dependent upon your personality and your drive to succeed. It’s typically noted that starting your own business is a much harder row to hoe than simply working for an established home inspection company. However persistence and consistent quality work and great market strategies can have big payoffs in the long-term plan.
Many home inspectors will start their own business after they have gained some experience working with another home inspection company. This can allow a beginning home inspector to gain experience and reputation as a thorough home inspector as well as learn the ropes of the owning your own home inspection company before going out on your own. Many times, home inspectors will take this approach with a vision of becoming a multi-inspector firm where there are home inspectors working for them as the owner.
Multi-Home Inspector Firm Increases Your Home Inspector Salary
In the home inspection industry, the real way to make a significant amount of money is to own a home inspection company with multiple home inspectors. By doing so you are being able to multiply the profit of each inspection leading to higher gross income and more profitable income for you as the owner.
Understand that there is a lot of additional work as an owner of a multi-home inspector company. The overhead and cost of doing business can also escalate ie additional marketing, insurance, office staff, ongoing education for each inspector, additional equipment, association fees, bonuses, employee benefits, training, vehicles, fielding complaints if any, etc. However, when you do find and train good-quality inspectors to work for your home inspection company, you can easily increase your income over time.
Do Home Inspectors Make Good Money? In Conclusion.
Just starting out as a home inspector, your income could likely be in the $25,000-$30,000 range. This may seem low for the amount of work that you would put in. However, when you start in a new industry, you start at the bottom and have to work your way up. The home inspection business is not a get rich quick type industry and is heavily dependent on building your reputation over time whether you’re working for yourself or for an established home inspection company.
As your number of years in the business increases and the number of home inspections completed grows, your income will also increase. As I mentioned before, a typical first-year home inspector will do approximately 100 inspections. At the opposite end of the scale, the most inspections that a home inspector can conceivably do in a year is around 600. At this level of inspections, you will be working a lot and you will be tired and you will also make a lot of money.
When starting out, a home inspector’s salary of $25,000-$30,000 is the norm. However, in several years, this can double or triple. The head of a multi-inspector firm can easily make it in excess of $150,000 per year.
If you’re thinking about the home inspection industry as a career, there are a lot of decisions to be made and there are a lot of factors which can impact your income level. The main reason to get into the home inspection industry is not to make a lot of money. However, it is the passion to provide good quality service for clients purchasing homes so that you can help them along their way on their goal of homeownership. If you have this passion and the desire to help people, this will translate into faster growing reputation and gain you a larger following more quickly.
One thing to keep in mind is that, if you are not doing inspections, you are not getting any income. It doesn’t matter if you’re working for yourself, working for another company, are just starting out or have been doing it for 20 years. Your salary is dependent upon the quantity of inspections that you have the ability to do every week, every month and every year.