Booking Home Inspection Jobs

To give a price quote you have to determine the amount of time and liability that's involved with the inspection. Explain to the client what a prepurchase home inspection is. Let them know it's a visual, limited time, nondestructive and nondismantling inspection. You can't be responsible for things that you can't see, such as, behind finished walls, floors and ceilings. You also can't see any underground systems like wells, septics, oil tanks, etc. Don't scare them off into thinking you won't do anything for them. Just make them realize what a home inspection is. This way everything is up front and they won't think that your inspection is a guarantee that will find all the problems, visible and nonvisible.

I'll list some items that you should find out from the client when giving a price quote for an inspection job. The following items are all listed on the appointment and price quote cards that are included in the Home Inspection Business From A to Z book. These index cards will help you give price quotes and keep track of your home inspection appointments. Remember that when giving price quotes, you always have to consider the amount of time the on‑site inspection and the written report will take to complete. Another factor to consider is the liability involved.

  1. Is the subject property a condominium, single family, multifamily, etc.? Condominiums take less time than a single family house inspection. This is because the Condo Association maintains most of the exterior of the condo building. There is a monthly assessment fee charged to all of the individual condo owners to pay for this maintenance. A single family house will take less time to inspect than a multifamily house, especially if the multifamily has a separate heating and/or air-conditioning system for each unit.
  2. What's the square footage and/or the number of bedrooms and bathrooms in the house?  The larger the square footage is, then the longer the inspection will take. Sometimes the client won't know the square footage size of the house so try to find out how many bedrooms and bathrooms there are. For example, a four bedroom and three bath house will be a large home and will take some extra time to inspect.
  3. From what you know, is the house in overall good, average, fair, or poor condition?  The worse condition the house is in, then the longer the inspection will take. Also, if the house is in poor condition and needs a lot of repairs, then there's more risk for you. The client should be able to tell you what the overall appearance of the house is from what they could see. They don't have to be a home inspector to give you some idea of the general condition of the house.
  4. What's the age of the house?  Generally the older the house, the more repairs will be needed and/or there will be some outdated operating systems. This can lead to more risk for you due to the possibility that you miss something that you should have noticed.
  5. Is there a garage?  If the house has a two car detached garage, then you'll spend a little more time evaluating this then if there was no garage.
  6. Is there a basement and/or crawl space?  Basements and crawl spaces can have serious problems in them, especially if the house is older. These areas must be inspected thoroughly. You have to account for all of this in your price quote. Also, ask if the basement is finished with wall, ceiling and floor coverings. If it's finished than you won't be able to see behind any inaccessible areas. Make sure your client knows this.
  7. Does the house have a central air-conditioning system?  If it does, then this must be evaluated, (if the weather is warm enough to test it safely). If you include this in the inspection, then you'll spend more time at the site and in writing the report.
  8. Is the house connected to a septic system or the city sewer system?  If the house has a septic system that you're going to dye test, then you should include this in your price quote.
  9. Is the house connected to a well water system or is it supplied by the city water system?  If the house has a well water system that you're going to test, then you should also include this in your price quote.
  10. Do you want a termite and other wood destroying insect inspection?  If the client wants you to check for these insects, then you'll be more liable if you miss something that you should have noticed. So charge the client for this service.
  11. Do you want radon gas, mold or other environmental testing done?  If you test for radon, mold or any other environmental hazards you want to charge for this service. All houses should be tested due to the health hazards caused by high levels of radon or mold in a home.
  12. Do you want a laboratory water analysis done?  If you test the water, (you should always test well water), for bacteria, mineral and/or radon content then you want to charge for this service.
  13. Where is the house located?  If the subject property is farther away from your office than the normal inspection site, then you want to charge for the additional traveling time involved. This is important when you start to get busy. While you're away from your office you can't answer the phone to give price quotes. When this happens, you'll miss some jobs, unless of course you hire a secretary to answer your phone.
  14. What is the selling price of the house?  Be careful when asking this since some people don't like telling anyone the sales price when they are buying or selling their home. If people hesitate to tell you the sales price then just explain to them the reason why you are asking that question. It's not that you're trying to be nosy, you just need to know the sales price because the liability risk and time involved to inspect a $1 million dollar home can be far greater than that involved with inspecting a $100,000 dollar home. You have to account for this in your price estimate.
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