Updated for 2021.
Unless you’ve vowed to give up all possessions in a quest for enlightenment, you need to earn a living. There’s no point in choosing a career path if it’s not a profitable one. Home inspecting sounds interesting with plenty of freedom to call your own shots. But how much do home inspectors make?
It depends on a lot of factors, many of which you can control if you’re motivated and work hard.
As with many industries, home inspector pay tends to trend with experience. Here’s how much the average home inspector earns at the 1- and 3-year marks in their career after going through a high quality training program:
- 1 year: $75,000
- 3 years: $90,000
The further you go, the greater your earning potential.
Home Inspector Employees May Earn a Little More at First
Just because home inspecting tends to be a self-employed field doesn’t mean it’s the only way to head out into the world with your new certification. As the industry has grown since the latter part of the 20th century, so have opportunities to work for an established company. If you choose that route, you may earn more in the earliest stages of your career. You might also improve your odds of long-term success.
On the other hand, if going solo is how you want to proceed, there is something you should know. It takes time to build a business. The early years are usually the lean ones.
Working RE magazine says too many home inspection businesses fail in the first two years. That’s not rare; it’s a common thread in almost any new business. Some of the best advice for success, they explain, includes having a second job, in the beginning, to keep you afloat. Why not have a job in the same industry? That way, you could step across into your own business instead of starting from the bottom with no experience.
First, let’s look at the pros. When you work for someone else, such as a private home inspection company or a government agency, you have support. You also have a steadier paycheck from the first day and customers that someone else developed from leads or referrals.
On the downside, your employer calls all of the shots. It doesn’t matter if you want to earn more and bring in more customers. The company owners handle those decisions. They also set your hours and rate of pay.
It’s a tradeoff, but one that might feel comfortable soon after you graduate from a home inspector certification program. Just think of the experience you could gain on the job, not only in performing a home inspection but also in how to get home inspection referrals and leads and run a business. Those are skills that can help your business grow.
The average compensation for a home inspector employee is just under $60,000 per year annually with the possibility of benefits, vacation time and retirement. Learn more about home inspector salaries.
Self-Employed Home Inspectors May Have a Higher Long-Term Earning Potential
While the startup days of a new home inspection business might be tight, the long game looks much better. After all, there’s a limit to how much you can earn as an employee.
As your own boss, the only serious limits are your desire to earn more, willingness to do more and, of course, the market where you set up shop. Some of the greatest barriers to higher earnings are in your control.
It’s a growing industry. The more you offer, the more you could earn. For example, certified home inspector ancillary services such as radon, termite, and air quality inspections boost your market relevance and value. If the real estate market is limp, you’ll work harder to turn a profit. But with more services, including commercial inspections, you’ll have more opportunities to work.
According to the Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics (USDOL), there’s quite a salary range for inspectors. Although they don’t evaluate the earnings of home inspectors as an individual group, they do offer statistics on building inspectors as a general one.
The job outlook for building inspectors looks positive. The Department says inspectors should expect 10 percent growth through 2026, which is “faster than the average for all occupations.” Those who are flexible, offer a variety of inspection services, and have more experience tend to fare better.
The median compensation for building inspectors in 2016 is $58,480 annually or $28.12 per hour. Highest recorded earnings in 2016 exceeded $94,220, according to USDOL.
There are certainly people who only want to do what they love. They’ll take a pay cut for the privilege. And then there are those who want to earn as much as they can. In the middle are folks who want a little balance, a little of both.
As a certified home inspector, you have opportunities and choices in an industry that’s growing. Not everyone can say that about their career. If you want to earn a respectable wage, enjoy what you do, and have the freedom to grow a little or a lot, check out ICA School home inspector training. That’s the right first step.
Enroll now and earn your certification in as little as a few weeks.