How is a Commercial Inspection Different from a Home Inspection?

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Property inspectors tend to specialize in residential or commercial buildings, but some inspectors do both. You might need a little time and experience in the home inspection industry before branching out, but it’s a viable way to increase your earning potential and gain valuable skills.

Commercial inspections have higher per-job fees, readily-available work and a devoted customer base. If you’re a certified home inspector with the drive to expand your business, here’s what you can expect.

Commercial Properties Have Incredible Variety

Every home is different, but residential variety pales in comparison to the differences in commercial buildings. There is a lot of room for specialization within the commercial arena.

Here are just a few of the possibilities for inspection work.

  • Apartment buildings
  • Retail stores
  • Office buildings
  • Restaurants
  • Shopping malls
  • Grocery stores
  • Warehouses
  • Factories
  • Auto dealerships

Residential inspectors usually adhere to Standards of Practice, but commercial inspectors may refer to ASTM E2018-15.  That’s the voluntary Standard Guide for Property Condition Assessments: Baseline Property Condition Assessment Process.

According to ASHI Reporter, the commercial inspector usually adopts the title of Field Observer. Field Observers often work with a Property Condition Report Reviehttp:// to build a Property Condition Report for the client.

Commercial Inspections Bring Larger Fees and Require More Time

Larger and more valuable buildings command larger inspection fees, but the work is more complicated. Home inspectors who expand into commercial inspections might earn more overall, but the difference is usually the amount of available work, not better compensation. It tends to average out.

Commercial property inspector, Jim Katen, tells ASHI Reporter that commercial inspection work “isn’t particularly more profitable.” He enjoys commercial work for the opportunities to grow his skill set. He said that commercial work makes him a “better inspector.”

Commercial Clients May Bring More Referral Opportunities

Home inspectors rely heavily on referrals, but repeat customers are rare. Who buys a new home every year or two?  With commercial clients, the customer is an investor. The chance of referrals and repeat business is wide open.

Chicagoland Home & Building Inspections owner, Charles Bellefontaine, tells ASHI Reporter that commercial referrals can turn into “lucrative contracts.” Commercial real estate brokers have a network of “high-end clients,” he says. If these savvy business people are happy, “you’re guaranteed repeat customers.”

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Commercial inspectors need additional tools and safety equipment.

Liability Risk and Responsibility Might Increase

Commercial inspectors assume more risk and face greater challenges. Buildings are larger, sometimes to an intimidating degree for a new commercial inspector. Clients may also be more demanding with tight deadlines and more money on the line.

If you overlook a residential HVAC defect, it could cost the customer $10k or more. With commercial properties, $10k is pennies compared to the tens or hundreds of thousands required to replace a whole system.

To help streamline the inspection process and minimize the possibility of errors and omissions, commercial inspectors may work in teams. The larger the property, the more a team approach makes sense.

Some inspectors move into commercial work by happenstance. Maybe a residential customer is also a commercial property investor who needs a reliable inspector. Many others seek out commercial inspections for their business growth potential.

However you find it, commercial work equals opportunity. And it all begins with your education. If you’re ready to forge a new career path, enroll now and get started today.

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