So you've been bitten by the entrepreneurship bug, and you want to own your own business. Being a business owner can be a big change, but one that is worthwhile for the opportunities it affords you. Starting a home inspection business is one way to work for yourself in a thriving industry full of opportunities.
As the #1 home inspection franchise, Pillar To Post knows a thing or two about starting a business in this industry. That's why we have put together this guide, to help you navigate the ins and outs of starting a business and working for yourself. Read this guide to learn:
- The definition of home inspection
- Skills you need to work in this industry
- Options for getting started
- The cost of starting a home inspection business
- Tips for marketing your business
What Is Home Inspection?
Home inspections are a necessary part of nearly every real estate transaction, as surveys reveal that 77% of home buyers get a home inspection done before purchasing a home.
But what is home inspection?
A home inspection is when a third party inspects a home to check the structure and systems within it. Home inspections include an examination of such things as the heating and cooling systems, plumbing, electrical, structure of the roof and foundation, and so much more. A thorough home inspection will be able to tell the prospective buyer if there may be any structural issues with the home.
Your responsibilities as a home inspector will include:
- Inspect the home from the roof to the foundation
- Go in depth, climbing on roofs and into crawl spaces
- Provide a detailed report to the prospective buyer
- Keep up to date on necessary certification
Purchasing a home is the biggest investment most of us ever make, so the role of a home inspector is incredibly important. A home inspector isn't a fortune teller, but you can keep a new homeowner from dealing with unpleasant surprises down the road.
What Skills Should a Good Home Inspector Possess?
One of the most exciting things about starting a home inspection business is that people from a wide variety of backgrounds have been successful in the industry. Even people with little or no construction experience can learn how to do home inspections if they are willing to work hard.
To be a good home inspector you will need:
- A trustworthy demeanor: Advising prospective home buyers on one of the biggest purchases they will ever make puts you in a delicate position. Being an honest and trustworthy person and giving genuine advice makes you credible to your clients, who may then recommend you to their friends and family, building your network even more.
- An enthusiasm for networking: It's no secret that building a network is an important part of any career, but it is especially important when you own your own business. Establish relationships with other businesses in your community, especially real estate agents and others who can recommend your services.
- A desire for ongoing education: Technology is changing everything, and home inspectors need to stay up to date. Starting a business means that you will need to be willing to learn new things about your industry as they become available. Design and construction of homes is not stagnant, and neither are you.
- The proper insurance coverage: Insurance is essential for any business owner, and home inspection is not an exception. Errors-and-omissions insurance will cover you in the event you make a mistake in your inspection.
The good thing about home inspection is that many of the skills you need for the inspection itself are easy to learn. There are training classes through a number of organizations, but a simpler way to learn the skills is by starting a home inspection franchise and learn during your training.
Pillar To Post™'s comprehensive franchisee training program teaches you everything you need to know about inspecting homes, looking for potential problems, and reporting back to clients. Even better, we have proprietary software that our franchisees use in the inspection process, streamlining the whole thing.
How Do I Get Started?
When it's time to get going, there are three options for starting a home inspection business: starting your business from scratch, purchasing a business that is for sale, or investing in a franchise.
Option 1: Starting a Home Inspection Business from Scratch
One of the first things many people think of when they decide they want to be their own boss is that they should start their own business. But this isn't as easy as many people tend to think, and starting a business from scratch comes with a lot of challenges.
For one thing, opening a business from scratch requires a lot of research and legwork. When you start your own business, you need to come up with a name and logo, research your market, test and select software and technology to use, and so much more. This is just the beginning! Advertising and marketing your business require significant investments of both time and money, which can be draining without any support.
In addition, starting a home inspection business from scratch is not recommended for people who have no prior experience in real estate or construction. Not only is starting a business a lot of hard work, time, and money, but going into it without knowing anything about the industry or the services you plan to offer sets you up to fail.
Option 2: Buying a Home Inspection Business for Sale
Purchasing an existing business is a viable option for many people, especially if you do not want to go through the process of determining your market and finding a clientele. Buying an established business has the potential to transition you into owning a business with relative ease.
One item to think about when considering buying an existing home inspection business for sale when you are starting out is that it typically costs more than starting a new franchise.
Option 3: Buying a Franchise
Investing in a franchise combines the good parts of starting a home inspection business from scratch and buying a home inspection business for sale. Buying a franchise allows you to work for yourself, enjoying the independence and flexibility of being your own boss. But when you invest in a franchise, you get to take advantage of an experienced network, transitioning into the role of business owner smoothly.
Here are just some of the benefits of buying a franchise:
- Experienced team of professionals available to mentor and assist you
- Training and certification built into the franchising process
- Established processes and technologies that have already been tested and proven
- Recognizable brand to attract clients to your business from the get go
- Resources to help you with everything from marketing to operations to the inspections themselves
What is the Cost of Starting a Home Inspection Business
The startup expenses associated with starting a home inspection business vary depending on a number of factors, including where you are, how much equipment you need, your overhead, and more. Compared to many franchise opportunities in other industries, a home inspection business is a low-cost opportunity.
A few of the costs associated with opening a home inspection business include:
- Equipment (ladder, flashlight, software, tools for electrical and plumbing measurements)
- Marketing and advertising
- Office setup and overhead
- Franchise fee
- Start-up marketing expenses
How Do You Market a Home Inspection Business?
What is the most important way to bring in customers? By providing excellent service. The fact is that most established businesses regularly add customers through word of mouth advertising, so giving excellent customer service to each and every client is paramount, as your business is getting started and throughout your time as a business owner.
Tips for Starting a Home Inspection Business
Looking for some general tips on getting started in the home inspection business? Lucky for you, Pillar To Post has been working with franchisees for more than 20 years, so we have learned a few tricks of the trade.
Tip #1: Talk to Other Home Inspectors
The best way to get to know the industry is by talking to home inspectors and learning about their experiences first hand. Shadow a Pillar To Post franchise owner for a day or a week and see what a day in the life is like. Doing this will allow you to determine if home inspection is the right industry for you.
Bonus: Building a relationship with a Pillar To Post franchisee will give you an immediate network when you join our franchise as an owner.
Tip #2: Get Local
Join your local chamber of commerce or a local chapter of a national home inspection organization like the American Society of Home Inspectors. Not only will you make friends, but you will learn valuable skills and advice from your fellow business owners.
Tip #3: Work with Integrity
The job of the home inspector is not to give a home a pass or a fail, nor is your job to find as many problems as possible. Ultimately, a home inspector educates a prospective homeowner on their purchase. Show the potential buyer things to watch out for and help them gain a thorough understanding of the house they might buy.
Pillar To Post has been in the home inspection franchise industry since 1994. During that time, we have streamlined the process, making us the #1 home inspection franchise. Contact us to learn more about our opportunity.