THINGS TO RESEARCH BEFORE BECOMING A HOME INSPECTOR September 19, 2023 | Franchise , Business Tips , Inspection Tips | inspection industry , small business , business growth , entrepreneur By Celeste Black-Harr, NPI, Inc.'s Recruitment Coordinator There are plenty of attributes that draw those with an entrepreneurial spirit into the home inspection space. Whether it’s the opportunity to own a business, innovate within a market, or control a personal schedule, many look to the prospect of being a home inspector as the answer to their career goals. The only issue is that, with the wealth of information there is out on the internet about how to get started as a home inspector, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. Owning a successful home inspection business begins with asking the right questions. How can I be sure that my business will be profitable? What business model should I choose? What hours should I list for my business? No two businesses are the same, and while there isn’t necessarily a cookie-cutter model for success, there are a few places worth starting before getting caught up in the minutiae. With this in mind, here are some important areas of research from which every prospective home inspector would benefit. Check Out Your State Website The first step of becoming a home inspector should always start with nailing down an area of operation and reviewing that state’s associated requirements. While there is a level of standardization that comes with an average home inspection (see InterNACHI's Standards of Practice , for example), states vary considerably regarding their own barrier of entry, insurance requirements, background checks, and expectations for continuing education. For example, Texas is one of the states with the most stringent requirements to become a home inspector due to its 154-hour classroom course requirement combined with either 12 months of real estate inspector experience and 200 completed inspections, or with 200 additional approved classroom hours (at the time of writing this article). Meanwhile, there are some states that do not regulate home inspections at all (such as California, Iowa, and Georgia). Committing to starting a new home inspection business without an awareness of the barrier to entry can be a crucial mistake if unprepared to handle the requirements. Though the additional hurdles in some of the more regulated states can seem unfair, those who are willing to work through the extended process are likely to benefit from the experience. For starters, they’ll have a more robust understanding of the industry right from the beginning. For an overview of requirements in your area, take a look at ASHI's interactive map to get started! Take a Survey of the Competition Next up is to look at the existing state of home inspections in the proposed area. Some areas are naturally much more competitive than others, with many different types of inspection teams oversaturating the market. Others might only have a few independents vying for agents’ attention. While it may be more difficult to make a splash in an active market, that shouldn’t be cause to throw in the towel immediately, of course! This is just another area where being prepared is wise, and planning how to differentiate oneself will come a long way. Some markets might have experienced independent inspectors, wherein a new inspector with the support of a franchisor could immediately stand out from the pack. In other areas, there may be a special relationship that a savvy new inspector could use to solidify their initial standing. Regardless, it’s important to have a clear picture of the state of the region early on. For more information on taking a step forward with market research, check out our previous discussion on building market share ! Understand Your Market Standards Experienced property inspectors know that every home is unique, with their own quirks and challenges. In the same way, different styles of homes require vastly different needs in a home inspection depending on region. In certain regions, older homes with chimneys may be the common, while warmer climates have different heating and cooling standards. Preparing in advance the type of physical requirements involved in home inspection and understanding what the regular day-to-day will entail is crucial. Additionally, many enter into the industry without a clear idea of what their market expects to be charged for a home inspection. While add-on services like radon testing, sewer scope inspections, and mold testing can cause their own price fluctuations, prospective property inspectors would be wise to look into what the average inspector is comfortable charging for a typical home in their area. Projecting realistic profits will allow for a more reasonable plan for growth, a requirement before thinking about any specific business goals. The more market research conducted up front, the better off a home inspector will be, as metrics like the number of real estate agents and brokers in an area, the inventory of homes on the market, and the number of new developments can considerably help direct business and marketing strategies. Becoming as familiar as possible with the realities of one’s personal area is a great way to increase preparedness and confidence for any new business. For more information on the realistic day-to-day of being a home inspector - here is an idea from someone with first-hand experience. Consider Your Personal Goals While these external bits of research are paramount to starting off strong in the inspection industry, the final preparatory step before committing ultimately comes from a personal perspective. Determining personal goals for the business, and planning for what the business looks like one year out, five years out, and ten years out falls back on what each person wants to get from the experience. Some are looking to grow their business so that they operate throughout their entire state, planning to hire then take a step back into a more managerial role a few years down the road. Others might be drawn to the industry because of the self-control it allows and the flexible schedule that leaves room for family. Clearly laying out goals and motivations like these are critical, but they aren’t the type of thing that can be discovered through online research. Through this introspection and advanced research, future home inspectors can lay the groundwork for a successful business ahead of time. For more information on how to take the next step in becoming a property inspector, give our recruitment team a call or shoot us an email! We’d be happy to chat. Learn more about operating a successful property inspection business by visiting our blog ! Quick questions? Visit our FAQ for answers to some of our more common inquiries. About the Author Celeste Black-Harr, Recruitment Coordinator With a background in customer service and office administration, Celeste joined National Property Inspections, Inc. in 2022. Her experience in customer service is the driving force behind helping all new franchise owners get started and developing those strong business relations! In her daily role as Recruitment Coordinator, Celeste onboards new NPI and GPI franchises from across the United Stated and Canada.