Most home inspectors will, at least at one time or another, think about ways to grow their business. Some inspectors take on additional work and hire a staff. And some think about performing additional services that go beyond the home inspection.
The first one is easier than the second, and it’s sometimes safer, too. But if you want to offer a broader spectrum of services, here are a few things that you’ll need to think about:
Do the Services Conflict with State Regulations?
Before you go any further than the imagining stage, you’ll need to learn whether or not the services that you want to provide are legal for home inspectors to perform in your area. For example, attorney Joseph W. Denneler explains in the fall 2015 issue of NAHI Forum that most areas don’t allow inspectors to perform repairs. That’s for good reason, since an unscrupulous inspector could pretend that there’s a problem just to earn a little extra money.
Check with your licensing agency as well as any local associations that you belong to. That’s where you’ll get the information that you need. If you want to offer radon, mold or other testing as an add-on service, be sure that you can do so without any violations.
Are You Qualified to Perform Those Services?
You wouldn’t offer to rewire a faulty breaker panel without being a licensed electrician. But some other services require training, too. Denneler uses the new thermal imaging cameras as a good example. Anyone can point a camera and see the readout on the device’s display screen. And most people can tell the difference between a warm or cool area. But there’s more to using one of these cameras, including the right time of day, than just reading a manual.
Training can be expensive and time-consuming. Before you commit to offering additional services, be sure that you have the proper training and consider thoughtfully whether the training plus any necessary equipment might outweigh the additional business that they bring in.
How Will Your Insurance Requirements Change?
You already have E & O insurance for your home inspection business. If you offer services outside the scope of that work, your insurance policy and premium will probably change. In some cases, they might change a little. But in others, they might change a lot.
This is another affordability issue, similar to the cost of training and equipment. If the cost of a new E & O policy negates some or most of the profits that you could earn by offering additional services, the venture might be more trouble than it’s worth.
Most home inspectors want to grow their business. That’s the natural order of things, and the hoped-for progression of any small business. The key is finding the right avenues for growth and leaving the not-so-profitable ones behind.
You might find that buyers in your area appreciate one or two additional services. Maybe with radon or mold testing, you can offer a better and more well-rounded inspection experience. Or maybe you’re better off growing your business in other ways. The only way to know for sure is to do a little homework before making a commitment and printing up new flyers.
Once you’re an established home inspector, you’ll no doubt think about ways to make your business more competitive and profitable. But before that happens, you’ll need your certification. That’s what ICA School does best. Enroll now and you can start on your own path at your own pace.