Believe it or not, your cell phone is one of the most useful tools that you own.
So you’re giving serious consideration to a career change, and home inspecting seems like the perfect fit. That’s great! But you’ve probably got a lot of questions. And many of those likely surround the costs involved.
You already know that your ICA School home inspecting course is ranked as one of the best available online, so it’s a great value. But what about the cost of tools and equipment? The extras are where they get you, right? Not in this case. And that’s the topic of the ICA School July 29 podcast.
Director of Education, Steve Preins, answers a recurring question about home inspecting extras. What do you really need? And how much can you expect to spend? Probably a lot less than you think.
Do I Need an Office?
Probably, but probably not the kind of office that you think. In fact, Steve explains that many, perhaps even most, home inspectors work out of their own homes. Even the business inspectors who perform several inspections a week can manage just fine with a home office. Even a small one will do.
If you do choose to work from home, you might want a separate P.O. box and a new business phone line. They can help the arrangement work a little more smoothly, but they’re by no means mandatory.
Steve does recommend, however, if that if you don’t have a separate cell phone for your business, get in the habit of answering your home line with your business name. Friends and family will understand. And clients won’t be confused.
You might want a multimeter one day, but it’s certainly not required.
What Kind of Equipment Should I Buy?
In many cases, the business equipment that you need will already be in your home. For example, if you’re taking an online inspecting course, chances are you own a computer and know how to use it. If not, it’s a reasonable investment for about $300.
A combination scanner / printer is also convenient. It will allow you to print out documents as needed and scan others to your computer. Even if you use paper contracts, scanning them after they’re signed and then shredding the hard copy cuts down on paper storage. Skip the fax machine.
You’ll also need a great camera, unless your cell phone already has one. Steve stresses the importance of clear images to go along with your inspection reports. They’re mandatory nowadays. And aside from hardware, you’ll also want a website. Don’t worry; if you can’t build one, a friend or relative probably can. They’re almost as easy as plug-and-play with little or no programming experience required.
Tools are Expensive, Though, Right?
It might really surprise you to learn that many of the tools you need are already in your tool box. And if not, they’re not especially expensive. ICA School follows the Standards of Practice set forth by the American Society of Home Inspectors or ASHI. And using just a few basic tools, you can meet those Standards every time.
Here’s what you’ll want on hand:
- Durable flashlight, preferably LED
- Straight screwdriver
- GFCI outlet tester
And that’s about it. The tools that you need are rather ordinary, so any hardware or big-box home improvement store will have them. And Steve recommends checking out eBay and Craigslist for good bargains. You might even find a comprehensive home inspecting tool kit up for sale by someone who’s retiring. That might yield the basics plus specialty tools that you’d otherwise need to save for.
Getting into the home inspection business couldn’t’ be much simpler. The up-front investment is about $1,000, and that’s including some items that you probably own. For example, most people can scratch the price of a computer and cell phone off the total.
You don’t even need to purchase inspection reporting software. ICA School has partnered with Report Form Pro, so you’ll get professional software included in the price of tuition.
This edition of the regular ICA School podcast covers some of the most important questions that most new home inspectors worry about. Steve covers it in detail, which will set your mind at ease. You can listen to it in full at this link. And as always, he invites new questions. Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org
With that out of the way, are you ready to jump into home inspecting? There’s no better time than now. Enroll today and start working toward a rewarding career tomorrow.