Tips When Hiring a Home Inspector

Tips When Hiring a Home Inspector

 

All-Pro Tips When Hiring a Home Inspector Nashville TNAre you selling a home or are you buying one? You certainly need the services of a qualified home inspector. In most states and cities in the US, and in other countries, there is actually no requirement for home inspection. However, most homebuyers need to make sure the homes they would acquire meet standard criteria in safety and durability. No one would definitely want to buy or live in a house that is about to explode or tear down.

You should not be surprised that most states and cities do not implement stringent regulations covering the home inspection sector. Thus, you may have a hard time finding and hiring qualified home inspectors. The task may me further difficult because surprisingly, there are just too many home inspection service providers operating in many communities. How could you be sure you are dealing with the right, qualified and reliable inspector? Here are several guidelines.

Ask for credible opinions. You might start the search by asking your relatives, friends, or colleagues if they could recommend any home inspector. Nothing beats actual experience. You may know if a friend in the past encountered a problem about home inspection. Likewise, you may hear about good inspectors, who did not cause any problem eventually. From the list you may get, go and conduct a background or satisfaction check.

You could also ask the opinion of a trustworthy real estate agent. Property agents of course work closely with home inspectors. Every day, agents and inspectors meet, in different cases and homes. That is why it is just logical that real estate agents know who among the home inspectors are good and who are not. Ask for at least three recommendations or references from an agent.

You may start asking yourself questions the moment you do a background and professional check on any inspector. First, where was the home inspector trained? Stay away from inspectors who could not tell about his training. He might just be a poser or a con artist. Is the inspector attending continuing education classes? Is he a member of any professional organization? If he is, what are the membership requirements? Is the inspector carrying an Errors and Omissions insurance? If the answer is affirmative to all the questions, then you have found the right and qualified home inspector.

Another way to find a qualified and good inspector is to look at the inspection coverage. You should ask for a copy of a sample inspection report. It should be about 20 to 50 pages long, including colored photographs to show actual home defects. Find out what systems the inspection covers. You should beware about inspectors who exclude too many services. Are there specific and important services that would require additional charges? There are specific areas that general inspectors normally should not cover like sewerage, septic tanks, molds, foundation, electrical system, air conditioning and heating, soil tests, and chimney, among others.

Lastly, before hiring any home inspector, determine the requirements of your lender or the local government. You surely would not want to spend another few dollars for a different home inspection that is not covered by your general home inspector. It is best to avoid hiring specialists to do specific inspection, but if there really is a need, then go ahead (especially if the home to be inspected is really old).

Call All-Pro Home Inspection at (615) 338-8277 or Schedule Online for Hiring an Inspector.

Choosing the Right Home Inspector

Choosing the Right Home Inspector

 

All-Pro Choosing the Right Home InspectorIf you are selling or buying a home, then getting a home inspector would be to your great advantage. A home inspector checks and evaluates a home if it has met the requirements of local codes and ordinances regarding housing and infrastructure. Aside from that, a home inspector also evaluates the different utility system in the house you would purchase or sell.

Inspectors would then make a comprehensive report of the structural status of a house; sometimes realtors would base the selling price of homes in these reports. Buyers on the other hand would prefer to get home inspectors to make sure that they would be getting a good deal out of the purchase.

About 77 % of homeowners and home buyers are said to get home inspector assistance in 2001. If getting a home inspector is this crucial in buying or selling a house, then what should we consider when choosing the best home inspector out there?

Of course, inspector qualification is important. You would have to be sure that the home inspector you are getting would meet all the certification requirements stated by the laws and regulations of your state or province. Getting good training and certification are not only the assurances that you would need when looking for a home inspector. They may have gotten top training, but they may lack experience. Experience is also a very important factor.

You could ask for some of their sample home inspection report. There are differ home inspection services offered which you can check about their experiences. You can check on their reports if they are reporting facts or are actually reporting useless information which is not valuable in home evaluation.

Checking references or past clients would also provide you an insight or understanding on how the home inspectors would operate. You could also take a look in their background like home inspection business history, availability and flexibility, length of inspection, references of previous inspection, and other ancillary services offered.

Home inspectors would also use several equipments when evaluating the house. Make sure that you would have a basic idea on what these equipments would be. Home inspectors would check the inside and outside of the house. So make sure that you are prepared for that, they could check plumbing, heating and cooling systems, roofs, electrical wiring, and the basement.

If inspectors would just bring a flashlight during the inspection, then consider getting them. Home inspectors should be taking advantage of the new technologies and equipments.

After considering the qualifications, experiences, and other aspects, the last thing that you would have to consider is the price. There are home inspectors who would actually be offering lower service fees than others. Usually, the best inspectors are not the most cost-efficient. If you really want to have the best service, you would usually have to pay thousands of dollars. To get the better end of the bargain, make sure that you analyze the weak and strong points of each home inspector.

Average fee for a home inspector would be between $350 to $500, there would be times when the service would cost $1,000. But take in mind that the information that the home inspector would be providing you can be the turning point in selling you home in a good price.

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Helping Out Home Inspector

Things You Can Do to Help Out the Home Inspector

 

All-Pro Helping Out Home Inspector Nashville TNIf you plan to have a home inspection for your home, whether for your personal satisfaction or if you are planning to offer your house in the market try to ponder on the things you can do to help out the home inspector.

The value of a good home inspector is far more important than what people actually think our enemies who are out to get at you. Rather, home inspectors may turn out to your partner in ensuring you have a safe and secured home in tip top condition. The primary task of home inspectors is to determine the present condition of a house or real estate property, which is intended to make sure that a client is satisfied with a property for sale or one that is planned to be sold.

Basically this process is conducted to ensure the protection and reliability of a house or property prior to being bought or sold in the market.

The home inspection process is a thorough examination or assessment on the current condition of a house, which can be done to give the current status of a house either to the home seller or prospective buyer if there is a need to repair or upgrade a house or none at all.

The home inspection process can also be beneficial in determining if proper construction or repair standards have been observed.

Here are some pre-inspection preparations you can do to also help cut cost in terms of maintenance, as well as to allow the home inspector to have a good glimpse of the house for the examination process.

Firstly, you may begin by trimming trees and removing brush or other plant growth appearing from the house’s foundation, siding, roof and chimney. You can also clean out dirty gutters or debris from the roof, which will make the gutter structures more visible to the home inspector for scrutiny.

Also remove rotting wood that comes in contact with the house, since it can exacerbate stress areas in the house making the structure more vulnerable. Try to place caulk around exterior windows and wall penetrations, to prevent water from seeping in and absorb water, especially those made of wood, which could start causing decay for wooden materials in the house.

Also try to ensure that all plumbing fixtures are in proper working order and to also make sure that waterlines and plumbing system is in good condition.

Another simple thing that one can do, even women can do on their own, is to fix any falling mortar joints in brick or block. Test all smoke detectors to ensure they are in safe working condition and seal masonry walls in the basement.

Have clear access to the attic, crawl spaces, heating system, garage, and any other area that needs to be inspected as well as ensure that all doors and windows are in proper working condition, including repairing or replacing any missing or cracked window panes.

If the house is vacant, make sure the utilities are turned on and ready for inspection by the home inspector. There is indeed no fail or pass grade for the home inspection, but it will definitely give the owner an idea of the actual condition of the house.

Indeed, if one is just aware of how important a home inspection is one may need to know things you can do to help out the home inspector.

For Hiring a Qualified and Reliable Home Inspector, Contact us at (615) 338-8277  Or Schedule Online.

The Value of a Good Home Inspector

The Value of a Good Home Inspector

 

All-Pro The Value of a Good Home Inspector Nashville TNThe value of a good home inspector is far more important than what people actually think, most especially if you are out in the market to buy or sell a house.

The primary task of home inspectors is the assessment of the present condition of a house or real estate property, which is intended to make sure that a client is satisfied with a property for sale or one that is planned to be sold.

Basically this process is conducted to ensure the protection and reliability of a house or property being bought or sold in the market, which ultimately redounds to the assurance of protection and safety to the client or customer.

The home inspection process is usually a thorough examination or assessment on the current condition of a house, which can be done to give either the home seller or prospective buyer whether there is a need to repair or upgrade a house.

The home inspection process can also be beneficial in determining if proper construction or repair standards have been observed.

Professional home inspectors are mostly and carefully trained, and in the case of most regions or states in the United States, most home inspectors need to have a license in order for them to carry out their tasks.

Ideally and a common practice in many states, a home inspection report is required as a pre-requisite before a home can either be bought or sold.

A home inspector also has equipment used to assess structural integrity and longevity of most materials a house is made of, which is a key indicator whether the property being examined is indeed safe or livable.

After the examination, which usually takes several hours, even up to a number of days, depending on the size of the house, the home inspector then issues a report released to the client and regulating bodies, sometimes a local housing authority, for consumer protection and welfare.

In most cases, the inspection procedure involves the inspection of the home’s interior structure, water heating system, roof, basement, heating or cooling system, plumbing, exterior structure, electrical system and other aspects of the house.

This is where a home inspector can determine whether the building has faulty installation processes or fixtures that were undertaken, most especially improper or substandard building practices.

This is also true with homes that require extensive repairs or remodeling, including general maintenance issues, including but not limited to fire and safety concerns.

Home owners or buyers usually hire a home inspection service prior to selling or buying their homes. A home inspector is then sent over to the property being considered and conducts a thorough examination of a home to inspect and examine for potential systems or components requiring attention, most especially when it deals with structural integrity or standard installation or fixture set-up.

After the examination process, the home owner receives a detailed report of the condition of the house the owner can then plan for needed repairs and upgrades.

There is no pass or fail rating during a home inspection process and it is also not a municipal or regulatory home inspection, which determines whether the local building code of a certain state or territory is complied with.

So by now you know the value of a good home inspector and how his professional services is not only focused on regulatory compliance, but is also a process to protect the buyer or seller from substandard or faulty construction practices.

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Specialist Home Inspectors

Specialist Home Inspectors for Inspection of Old Homes

 

All-Pro Specialist Home Inspectors Nashville TNAre you considering getting a home inspection for an old home? The general home inspector could very well do the job. But there might be instances or cases when there is a need to hire specialists to make sure inspections of specific areas would be accurate or you might look for a home inspector at the people in your neighborhood.

The home inspector is a certified and experienced professional in carrying out home inspections. However, he might not be able to cover all aspects and parts of the home. A regular inspector might be able to tell if there is something wrong with an air conditioning and heating system, for example, but he could not exactly identify malfunctions and faulty linings. Thus, you should prepare hiring the services of specialists who cover specific areas or aspects of the home.

Mold

  • You know molds are fungi, microorganisms that might trigger several health problems to inhabitants. However, there are many types of molds. They should be especially tested to ensure good and healthy air quality inside the house.

Formaldehyde

  • Old homes could have been constructed using building materials that may contain chemicals like formaldehyde, a flammable gas that has also been proven to cause specific cancers in rats.

Well

  • If the home has a well; a specialist should be hired to inspect the appropriateness and reliability of the well’s construction. Several aspects should be focused on the inspection like depth of water table and water sanitation.

Water systems

  • A plumber is a professional in handling and inspecting galvanized pipes. Clogged pipes should be fixed immediately before more mess and trouble occurs.

Trees around the house

  • An arborist is a specialist in trees. Home inspections should not miss trees and plants in the surroundings, which might affect the air quality and security of the home.

Roof

  • Home inspectors generally inspect roofs. However, for old homes, there might be a need for specialists who are certified in inspecting old roofing systems. Such specialists could very much identify possible problems in the roof.

Pool and spa

  • Only specialists could estimate life expectancy and reliability of components like spa blower and heaters. They are the only professionals who could also check and identify leaks.

Easements and encroachments

  • Title policies basically disclose easements. However, before buying any home, especially old ones, you have to commission specialized physical inspections. You may ask the title company about actual easement records and documents from public records.

Square footage

  • You may hire an appraiser instead if you aim to verify square footage of the house. Public records are basically input by people, making them susceptible to human error.

Methane gas or radon

  • Mitigation contractors could inspect for methane gas or radon. They could also accurately recommend measures and solutions to get rid of such dangerous elements, which might be present in the interior.

Sewerage or septic system

  • Old homes might not be properly connected to a public sewerage system. Commission a sewer inspection. The process would use modern technology through digital cameras that would be inserted into sewer lines.

Lead-based paint

  • It was only in 1978 that lead-based paint was banned in the United States. Thus, old homes constructed before the year should be tested for presence of lead-based paint. Lead abatement contractors should be hired to remove such paint.

As you consider hiring a home inspector, first look at the age of the house. Newer homes may not require tedious and specified inspections. Older houses certainly do.

Call Us at (615) 338-8277  Or Schedule Online if you are Looking For a Specialist Home Inspector.

People In Your Neighborhood: Home Inspector

People In Your Neighborhood: Home Inspector

 

All-Pro People In Your Neighborhood - Home Inspector Nashville TNA home inspector, living up to its name, inspects houses to make sure that it has abides or followed local building codes. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics is seeing an increase on the number of home inspectors. There is an expected growth of 18 percent from years 2006 to 2016. This can be considerably higher than other jobs, but there is a possibility that there would be additional certification requirements

A home inspector should be knowledgeable of different building codes and ordinances, these would include electrical and plumbing systems, heating and cooling systems and other structures found in the property of the house. There is a need for inspectors to check other aspects of the house, like door frames, walls, ceilings and windows.

Home inspectors are capable of writing reports that can be included in home information packs given away from estate agents, conveyances, solicitors and surveyors. Most of the times, inspectors are called when putting up houses for sale. Most of the inspectors are self-employed. It is important for a home inspector to have flexible time schedule, since they would have to fit their time to the client’s schedule.

Why the need for home inspectors?

For most people, their homes are their biggest investment. This would be enough reason to get somebody to make an overall and comprehensive inspection on the status and soundness of their homes. It could be just because they want their homes checked and do some repairs, or whether it is because their putting their house on sale. Anyway, you would like to make sure that your house is evaluated to its full value.

Home inspectors are not required to have educational and training certificates. But they are required by some states to have at least some certification or license before proceeding or making inspections. Of course, home inspectors need to have some knowledge of how home systems (electricity and plumbing) works and also knowledge about the state or local building codes and requirements.

Home inspectors could study Associate of Applied Science in Building Inspection Technology. This would help home inspectors understand the utility systems and carpentry to make sure that they would be making better decisions or evaluation of homes and buildings.

Home inspectors would do three types of inspection: structural and safety inspection, financial valuation and comprehensive inspection. Structural and safety inspection is commonly done when checking new and previously-owned houses. Financial inspection is done when the inspector is working for insurance and financial company and it is performed to create a comprehensive report about the house’s status.

A comprehensive home inspection, meanwhile, is about performing structural and safety inspection but on a more detailed level. Comprehensive inspection would include the detailed resolutions to detected home problems.

They would also have job limitations. The first thing is that home inspectors are not there to give their opinion to whether you should buy the house or not. That decision depends on the client. But gathering enough information on the status of the house from the inspector can make the client have a guided decision. Aside from that, it is also not the responsibility of the home inspector to provide quotations on what would be the value of the house in the market. The real estate agent is responsible for that.

Being a home inspector is not a job for everybody. But it could be the best job for you if you love working independently and helping others appreciating houses and providing assistance to potential home owners.

Looking for a Good Home Inspector, Contact Us At (615) 338-8277 Or Schedule Now.

Identifying Home Inspector

How to Identify a Qualified and Reliable Home Inspector

 

All-Pro Identifying Home Inspector Nashville TNIf you are in need of the services of a home inspector, you might be surprised at how many they are in the market. You might have received business cards when you were walking down the street. The yellow pages might lead you to contact information of several inspectors in your community. Your home seller or agent may also recommend inspectors to you. How could you identify and hire qualified and reliable home inspectors?

The first best way to find your way leading to such inspectors is to ask referrals from friends, colleagues, or relatives.

You could begin your search from there. You should not easily jump into conclusion. Double-check the recommended inspector’s qualifications and credentials. You may also look at the qualification of your home agent. Inexperienced and unreliable agents logically would also recommend equally inferior home inspectors.

States and cities may have home inspector associations. In the United States, you may begin by checking out the American Society of Home Inspectors. The organization could point you to its members in your community. It could also lead you to several other related associations, which in turn may have affiliations and members in your place. Remember that such organizations are meticulous in recruiting and accepting members because they have a name to protect.

To check the actual validity and reliability of a home inspector, you should also review a sample report of the home inspector you are considering to hire. If the inspector emailed or sent you a sample actual report that is about four to five pages long, immediately turn him down. Home inspection reports surely vary but in no way could comprehensive home inspection reports be shorter than 20 to 50 pages. Such reports should also include colored pictures to show actual defects and problems.

Clues could also be culled from the length of home inspection. Ask your inspector how long it usually takes for him to complete a job. Most qualified home inspectors do the job in more than three hours. If the inspector intends to complete the task in mere 90 minutes, something is really wrong with him. You are not inviting a person to just come and appreciate your home. Remember, you are inviting (and paying) a home inspector who should meticulously inspect your house.

Some inspectors are also vocal in recommending repair and maintenance contractors long before actually inspecting your house. Stay away from those inspectors. They are obviously just trying to make business with you. How sure could you be that the inspector would not identify problems just so you could hire his recommended contractor? For all you know, that inspector might be into a partnership or commission deal with a contractor.

A qualified home inspector is not asking for re-inspection charges. The initial inspection might require several repairs. After the repair has been completed, home inspection must resume finding out if the task was successful in eliminating possible problems. If the inspector tells you his services do not cover such re-inspection, drop him.

You should also prefer a home inspector who agrees to have you be around or be with him during the inspection process. Unqualified inspectors are afraid that clients might discover that they are not actually inspecting accurately and systematically. See, it could be easy finding the best inspectors around.

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Home Inspection Differences

How A Buyer’s Home Inspection Differs From A Seller’s Home Inspection

 

All-Pro Home Inspection Differences Nashville TNWhether you are buying or selling a home, having the property inspected is an important part of the process. However, do not think that there are no important differences depending upon which side of the transaction you are on. A buyer’s home inspection is not the same as a seller’s home inspection. You need to understand how each process is intended to work.

In either case, the point of a home inspection is to examine the property for signs of damage or weakness. This way, any potential trouble spots can be identified and repaired or dealt with before the property changes hands. However, the purpose of the inspection differs depending upon whether you are a buyer or a seller.

A buyer’s home inspection is the more familiar type of inspection, and is intended to help you decide whether or not a particular house is worth your money. In most transactions, such an inspection is a standard part of the process. In fact, if you find a seller who is reluctant to let an inspection be carried out, you should take this as a red flag.

During a buyer’s home inspection, the inspector will carry out a thorough, but non-invasive, examination of the property. He will take a look at such things as the roof, the basement, the foundation, and the plumbing. He will also check out the electrical wiring and the furnace or air conditioner.

After he has completed his inspection, he will write up a report detailing the condition of the property and any areas of concern that were discovered. You can use this information to negotiate with the seller over these issues so that they can be rectified before you buy the house. The inspector’s report can also make you aware of any areas that could become problematic in the future.

The process of carrying out a seller’s home inspection is similar, but the purpose is different. Instead of letting you know whether a particular home is worth your money, such an inspection is intended to help make it easier to sell your home quickly. The inspection can identify any problems that you need to fix before you put your home on the market.

The better the condition of your home, the easier it will be to find a buyer in a timely fashion. By having your home thoroughly inspected, you can make the needed repairs before you ever put your home on the market. This way, when a potential buyer inspects the home, he will discover that there are no serious issues. A positive report from an inspector will make it more likely that someone will put in an offer on your home.

As you can see, there are many similarities between a buyer’s home inspection and a seller’s home inspection. However, the ultimate purpose of each is different, since each is done to protect the interests of a different party. Understanding these differences can help your next real estate transaction proceed more smoothly.

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Home Inspection Preparation

Ten Tips to Speed Up Your Home Inspection

 

All-Pro Home Inspection Preparation Nashville TNSpeed up your home sale by preparing your home ahead of time using the following tips. Your home inspection will go smoother, with fewer concerns to delay closing.

  1. Confirm that that the water, electrical and gas services are turned on (including pilot lights).
  2. Make sure your pets won’t hinder your home inspection. Ideally, they should be removed from the premises or secured outside. Tell your agent about any pets at home.
  3. Replace burned-out light bulbs to avoid a “light is inoperable” report that may suggest an electrical problem.
  4. Test smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, and replace dead batteries.
  5. Clean or replace dirty HVAC air filters. They should fit securely.
  6. Remove stored items, debris and wood from the foundation. These may be cited as “conducive conditions” for termites.
  7. Remove items blocking access to HVAC equipment, electrical service panels, the water heater, attic and crawlspace.
  8. Unlock any locked areas that your home inspector must access, such as the attic door or hatch, the electrical service panel, the door to the basement, and any exterior gates.
  9. Trim tree limbs so that they’re at least 10 feet away from the roof. Trim any shrubs that are too close to the house and can hide pests or hold moisture against the exterior.
  10. Repair or replace any broken or missing items, such as doorknobs, locks or latches, windowpanes or screens, gutters or downspouts, or chimney caps.

Checking these areas before your home inspection is an investment in selling your property. Better yet, have your InterNACHI inspector ensure that your home is Move-In Certified. Your real estate agent will thank you!

You Must Know What to Look For In A Home Inspection Company and the Important Benefits of the Home Inspection Process before you will invest for your home. Call Us Now @ (615) 338-8277 Or Schedule Online.

Home Inspection Cost

Pricing and Billing for Home Inspectors

 

All-Pro Home Inspection Cost Nashville TNThe most important factor in any business is figuring out how much to charge for services. That’s what we call pricing. It’s crucial. Many inspectors have no idea how to go about it. They don’t know what price is both competitive and profitable. That’s why you need to develop a strategy for pricing your home inspection services.

Figuring out how to bill clients is also very important. In a home inspection business, you have to learn how to set competitive prices and also how to bill clients efficiently.

Let’s learn about those two things: pricing and billing. They are two essential tasks for an inspection service business.

Pricing

Inspectors find it difficult to figure out how to price their services and what rate to use. Many professionals struggle in assigning a value to their time. You should know your hourly rate or how much you charge per hour. And remember, your hourly rate needs to cover not just your valuable time, but also you’re overhead. And it has to also bring you profits.

Two Ways

Figuring out how much to charge is not easy. And there is no standard way for how service businesses like yours do it. But there are two common ways you can consider. One way is to adjust your number of billable hours so that your revenue equals salary, overhead and profits. And the other way is based upon the local market. This means that you set your hourly rate based on what your local market will bear. Let’s explore more in-depth explanations about these two methods: billable hours and market-based.

Billable Hours

The billable hour’s method is based on how many hours you work on your inspection service. The more time you spend doing an inspection, the lower your hourly rate. Given the same rate, the less time you work, the more you make per hour.

The goal here is to figure out your billable hours or your hourly rate. Then you’ll multiply that rate by the number of hours it takes you to perform one home inspection. This will result in a number that we’ll call your flat rate. The goal is to calculate your flat rate or what you charge for a home inspection on average. This flat rate can be adjusted up or down by a few other factors, including the size of the job or the amount of time spent doing the inspection.

For example, Inspector Mary may have figured out that her business is profitable when she charges an average of $400 for a typical home inspection. This flat rate represents her calculated hourly rate of $100 per hour, assuming that it takes Mary about four hours, on average, to do one typical home inspection. So, Mary’s flat rate is $400, which can be adjusted up or down, depending on other factors. She figured out that, on average, she works four billable hours at $100 per hour to be successful– or profitable– in her business.

To figure out billable hours, let’s consider how many total hours you work in a week. If you consider that there are 40 hours in a typical work week, and there are 50 working weeks a year, then you work a total of 2,000 hours a year. If you work 10 hours a day, that’s 50 hours a week, and 2,500 hours a year. But how many of those working hours are billable? That’s the question, and you’ll have to do some figuring on your own to answer it. But let’s make some assumptions about doing home inspections to come up with an example from which you can learn how to figure out your billable hours.

You may have no idea how many inspection jobs you’ll have during the year, and, therefore, you really don’t have a clue as to how many hours you’ll actually be working for your clients. Brand new inspectors face this dilemma. You don’t have any jobs scheduled, but you need to figure out how much to charge for your services, just like Mary did.

If you don’t have any jobs scheduled, or maybe you just don’t know how many jobs you will be scheduling in the future, you can calculate your billable hours to include the number of hours you desire or plan to spend, at most, per inspection job. This does not include business-related work, such as administrative stuff: filing paperwork, cleaning the office, marketing development, extra training, answering the phones, replying to emails, working on taxes, paying bills, research, shopping for tools, etc. You may think of billable hours as the maximum amount of time you want to spend per inspection job, including driving, inspecting, and report writing.

So, ask yourself: How many hours, on average, does it takes you to do a typical home inspection?

Take that number you work per inspection job multiplied by the number of jobs you plan to work per year (hours per job x number of jobs), and that will be your billable hours. For example, let’s say Inspector John assumes that it takes him an average of five hours per inspection job, including driving to the job, doing the actual inspection, driving back to the office, and writing the home inspection report. John plans to work five inspection jobs per week (that’s 250 per year, assuming 50 work weeks per year). So, John’s billable hours are 250 jobs x five hours per job = 1,250 billable hours. Now, you try this. Just for this exercise, pick some numbers to play with. You don’t have to have the exact numbers, but do your own calculations, like John.

Again, to calculate billable hours is to think about how many hours you’ll actually work on each home inspection job, even if you don’t have any jobs scheduled. The hours would be only the time you spend working on the inspection itself. Assume each job takes five hours, including driving time, inspecting time, and report-writing time. And you expect to do one job per day. That’s five hours per day of billable hours, 25 hours per week, and 1,250 billable hours per year.

Now that you’ve figured out your billable hours per job and per year, let’s work on your flat rate, or your average fee for one inspection of a typical home in your market.

Billable Hourly Rate

To calculate your billable hourly rate (assuming you have no employees yet), use the following simple formula:

(Desired Annual Salary + Overhead + Desired Annual Profit) ÷ Annual Billable Hours =

Billable Hourly Rate

Let’s review what the terms in the above calculation mean. Your “desired annual salary” is how much you want to make every year. This should be fairly straightforward. How much money do you want to earn annually? $50,000 per year? $100,000 per year?

The term “overhead” is the fixed costs of operating your inspection business. This usually includes rent and utilities (electric, HVAC, phone/Internet), computers and software, other office equipment, cameras and other inspection tools, vehicle and fuel, training and certifications, etc. These are the business-related expenses that you must pay for all the time, no matter what is going on or how your business is doing. Your overhead is your fixed costs.

The term “desired annual profit” is how much profit you want your business to make. A reasonable goal is 20 %, and that’s not including your salary or overhead. That’s 20 % of the gross revenue (all the money you make).

Now, add everything together (desired annual salary + annual overhead + desired annual profit) and divide that result by your annual billable hours (the total number of hours you work doing the inspections per year; for John, its 1,250 hours). The result is the hourly rate you need to charge to cover your salary and overhead and also make profit.

Here’s an example of Inspector John figuring out his billable hourly rate. John’s goal is to make $100,000 per year in salary (that’s his desired annual salary as gross income, before taxes). And he figured out that his overhead is $25,000 per year. So far, John’s business needs to make a total of $125,000 to pay for his salary and overhead. Now, John sets his profit margin at 20 %. The question is: How much money (gross revenue) does John’s business have to make in a year to reach his goal?

The equation we have is:

Gross Revenue = Salary + Overhead + Profit. Entering known values, we have Gross Revenue = 100,000 + 25,000 + 20 % of Gross Revenue. Adding and changing the percentage into decimal, we have Gross Revenue = 125,000 + 0.2 (Gross Revenue), which brings us to Gross Revenue – 0.2 (Gross Revenue) = 125,000. And that brings us to 0.8 (Gross Revenue) = 125,000. Dividing both sides by 0.8 gives us Gross Revenue = 125,000/ 0.8 = 156,250.

Now, John’s business needs to make a total of $156,250. John plans to work one five-hour inspection job per day. Assuming 50 work weeks per year, that’s 1,250 billable hours per year. So, John takes $156,250 (salary + overhead + profit) and divides that by his annual billable hours of 1,250. The result is $125 per hour.

John should be pricing his inspections at $125 per hour. Assuming John’s typical inspection takes five hours; John’s home inspection service should be priced at $625. This is John’s flat rate, the average fee for one inspection for a typical house in his market. John should do a home inspection for $625, give or take a little.

John figured out that $625 per inspection will cover his $100,000 salary and $25,000 overhead, and yield a 20 % profit. John has successfully set his pricing.

Market-Based

Another way to figure out your hourly billable rate is to base it upon what the market will bear. This method is imprecise because you’re not using any math. You’re just using your understanding of the local market, including what other businesses with similar services are doing and what they’re charging. It’s also based upon what you have experienced in your business using different pricing.

Some inspectors simply price their services high and see if potential clients hire them. If they don’t convert based on a certain price, they’ll lower it until their market responds.

Some inspectors look at their competitors’ websites to see how they price their services. Then they decide to price their own services based upon what they see their competition doing. To check out your competition, use InterNACHI’s home inspector search engine at InspectorSeek.com.

Combination

It’s probably a good idea to set your pricing based upon both methods: billable hours and market-based. You may consider that doing the calculations of your billable hours will result in a number that will pay the bills, pay yourself, and yield a profit. And after using the formula, you can make adjustments to your pricing using the market-based approach.

For example, Inspector John’s calculated hourly rate resulted in $125 per hour, which equals $625 for a five-hour inspection job. Now, if John’s competitors are charging $400 per inspection, then John will have to work on his marketing strategy and communicate to potential clients why he charges more than everyone else and why he’s worth it. Or maybe John combines additional value or ancillary services to the “core” home inspection service. To reach $625 per inspection, John may focus on selling inspection packages. An inspection package might include a home inspection and a discounted radon gas test or wood-destroying organism inspection and report. The total of the inspection package (home inspection and radon test) could add up to reach the $625 fee per inspection, assuming the additional value or service does not extend the time allotted for the home inspection.

For help with creating your own persuasive marketing materials that express why you’re worth what you’re asking, contact our Inspector Marketing Department at marketing.nachi.org

If a client hires John at $625 to do an inspection, and John realizes that the house is very large, then he can adjust his fee upward. If it takes him an extra hour, then John knows that, according to his hourly rate, he needs to charge an extra $125 dollars for a total $750 for the job. Likewise, if the job is extra-small, and it takes him one less hour to do the inspection, John can have confidence in discounting his inspection fee by $125 and still follow his hourly rate formula.

Fee Calculator

InterNACHI provides a free inspection fee calculator at http://www.nachi.org/fee-calculator.htm. Give it a try to figure out your pricing strategy. It’s free.

Outsourcing Inspections

Sometimes an inspector has to hire another inspector to do all of the inspection services that the client wants. Maybe Inspector Mary does not perform mold inspections, but she wants to provide the service. If Inspector Mary hires her inspector friend Manny the Mold Inspector, the common approach is for Mary to charge a little more than what Manny would charge.

If you use another inspector to perform some services that your business offers but that you don’t do yourself, then you should inform your client that you intend to hire another inspector to perform certain inspection services. Be transparent. You should also inform your client of the total price of the service, including the subcontracting work. Don’t surprise your client with a big bill.

For example, let’s say Inspector Mary is hired to do a home inspection and a mold inspection. Mary has figured out that to maintain profitability, she must charge an average fee of $500 for a typical inspection. Mary decides to hire Manny the Mold Inspector to perform the mold inspection. Manny charges $200 for a mold inspection. Mary will mark up the cost of Manny’s mold inspection by 20 %, a common approach to yield a profit. Mary’s goal is to make a reasonable 20 % profit for managing Manny and his mold inspection. Mary informs her client that the total fee is $740 for both the home inspection ($500) and mold inspection ($240). This calculation takes into consideration Mary’s annual salary, overhead, profit margin, and outsourcing management fee.

If you hire another inspector to provide services that your business offers but that you don’t directly perform, then your pricing strategy must include your flat rate, the subcontractor’s fee, and a management fee in order to yield your desired profit.

Summary

Figure out your billable hourly rate by using a formula that factor in your desired salary, overhead and profit.

Adjust your flat rate for your inspection service up or down using your hourly rate.

Do market research on your competitors.

If you outsource services, mark up your costs by your desired profit margin.

Every business owner– large and small– must calculate these figures in order to run a business that will not only sustain itself, but also provide some room to grow, whether you intend to fold your profits back into the business, expand your family, or elevate your lifestyle. Most business owners desire to do all three. It all starts with the numbers.

Invest for the Your Home Protection. Call Us At (615) 338-8277 Or Schedule Online Your Inspection.