I wanted to write a blog about price. Every home inspector has their own way of pricing and we don’t always know what other inspectors are charging. There are a lot of variables and in some cases, prices even change seasonally. One thing most inspectors understand is how they compare to the average price of a home inspection. Some inspectors make an effort to be the lowest price, some try to charge as much as possible and most inspectors are somewhere in between. This brings up the question “WHY PAY MORE?”. I think this is a good question to consider with a purchase because there are often great reasons to pay more, but we aren’t always fully educated on what those reasons might be. This article is to address what things may be worth considering if you’re not going with the lowest priced home inspection.
HOW MUCH TIME DO YOU GET?
One of the primary factors in pricing is time. An inspector who is doing three inspections in a day can have a very competitive price as they can rely on their volume of work to provide a better income. An inspector who is focused on producing a high-quality inspection typically spends three hours or more onsite and may spend that or even longer putting together their report. If you are doing a very thorough inspection, you are probably going to be doing one inspection a day or in some cases two smaller inspections. This doesn’t mean you will be twice as expensive, but you are going to have higher pricing and do fewer jobs overall. You also need to consider follow-up time with clients and other factors in your overall efficiency. If you plan to be available for conference calls when clients get their reports and other questions post inspection it will limit your availability even further.
WHAT EQUIPMENT AND TECHNOLOGY ARE USED?
Equipment is another consideration. If you are going to use Thermal Cameras, Drones, Radon Testing Equipment, and similar technology, you are likely going to need to charge more. Adding equipment like this to your inspection adds additional cost to buy and maintain the equipment, adds time to the inspection and also requires additional education, licensing and/or certifications to be qualified to use the equipment. Some inspectors keep their inspections basic to avoid adding liability. The fact is this equipment can help identify problems that may not be noticed otherwise and I feel identifying the most issues possible is the best way to avoid liability and provide the best inspection possible.
WHAT IS MY INSPECTOR EXPERIENCE LEVEL?
It’s hard to judge the level of experience of your inspector because even a new inspector should have a lot of building knowledge and may sound like an experienced inspector. Certifications are a good thing to ask your inspector about. They provide confirmation of your inspectors’ knowledge base from another independent authority. For example, the American Society of Home Inspectors has an ASHI Certified Designation an inspector can achieve. It’s the highest level someone can reach in ASHI and they are America’s oldest home inspector organization. They have a process to qualify home inspectors to ensure they are inspecting and reporting to a higher level of standards. You should also confirm your inspector is certified for the services he is providing you. Radon Testing, Thermography, Termite Inspections, and many other services, all have certifications your inspector could have to ensure he is an expert in providing those services.
In summary, an inspector who dabbles in home inspections part-time will not have the tools, the training, or the knowledge to complete a comprehensive inspection, and his pricing will likely reflect it. As an inspector’s knowledge, reputation, and experience grow they will need to give each client more individualized time and attention. A great question about price is WHY? Have the inspector you’re considering explain their pricing and what they offer and often you will find what factors are worth spending more to you.