Thinking about becoming a home inspector? Congratulations! This is a rewarding career that can provide a great opportunity to do what you love while not performing the back-breaking work that you might expect from other construction-related fields. It’s an excellent way to use all the expertise you’ve developed over the years to help home buyers understand their big purchase — a service that is valuable and greatly appreciated.
But how do you know if you’ll like the job once you get into it? You can start by getting a clear picture of what a day in the life of a home inspector is really like.
Here’s what you can expect as you embrace the life of a professional home inspector.
You’ll set your own schedule
First things first: There’s no such thing as a “typical” home inspector’s day, because so many of them run their own businesses and get to design their own schedules. That means that if you’re not an early riser, you have the freedom to start your workday only after the sun comes up and you’ve had that first — or third! — cup of coffee.
That’s not to say that you can just fly by the seat of your pants on any given day. That’s a recipe for disaster! Instead, it’s a good idea to create a basic workday for yourself so you have a routine that feels right and that you can stick to. The average home inspection takes 2 to 3 hours, so it’s a good idea to create blocks of time. You might decide that you prefer to address paperwork and email in the mornings and hit the trail for home inspections in the afternoons — or vice versa. Or maybe you never want to work on Saturday afternoon again. It’s up to you!
But while you have lots of flexibility, you’ll still need to cater to your customers’ needs — and, often, the expectations of local real estate agents. If you’re not used to being your own boss, mastering scheduling can be tricky. An online scheduler, which comes with a HomeGauge subscription, will make a huge difference, allowing you to block out the times you do and don’t want to conduct inspections. It also lets your clients schedule directly from your website, so you won’t waste time picking up the phone when you’re on an inspection.
You’ll travel a lot
Most home inspectors serve a fairly wide geographic area. Though this can vary depending on how densely populated your region is, most new home inspectors cast a wide net to attract as many new clients as possible. While that can be great for your bottom line, it can be hard on your truck — and your own rear end.
You’ll most likely be spending a lot of time sitting in your car as you drive to far-flung inspection sites, especially in the beginning of your new career. This means you’ll need to get comfortable in your car. To do this, consider tricking out the interior with some of these items:
- A lumbar support cushion
- A glove-box stash of healthy, non-perishable snacks
- Polarized, anti-glare sunglasses
- Driving gloves for cold days
- Your favorite CDs or and/or access to your music streaming service
- An extra cell phone and tablet charger
- A cell phone mount, especially if you use a navigation app
- A mileage tracking app (for business tax deductions)
You may also find that you need a bigger vehicle to carry all your specialized home inspection equipment. If you do end up buying a new vehicle, be sure to assess it for comfort on that test drive — you’ll be spending a lot of time in it!
You’ll do a lot of paperwork
One thing that tends to overwhelm new home inspectors is the sheer amount of paperwork required to get the job done. It’s easy to focus on the hands-on part of the job — after all, inspecting everything from roof rafters to foundations is why you got in the business! But after each inspection, there’s a report to write.
The good news is that the more reports you write, the easier the writing gets. Still, if you haven’t spent time typing up a report since your school days, getting back in the habit can be tricky. To make it easier, it’s crucial to schedule time each day to complete your reports — don’t treat them like an afterthought, or you’ll find yourself working lots of overtime that should be spent unwinding with family or watching the big game.
To really put paperwork on a fast track, you’ll need to use fantastic home inspection software like that which is offered by HomeGauge. This will allow you to take notes on the spot and turn them into thorough, easy-to-read reports in less time. You’ll also be able to insert videos and photos with labels to document all that you’ve found onsite. When you streamline the report writing process, you’ll have more time to conduct inspections, growing your business at a good clip.
You’ll deal with all types of people
You probably got into this business because you love houses, but you’ll also have plenty of interactions with people: on the phone, via email, and in person. This includes fielding calls from bargain-hunting price shoppers, selling your services to real estate agents, and working to educate starry-eyed first-time home buyers. Some clients will be friendly and grateful for your help; others may push back against your findings or challenge your expertise.
Being a home inspector means you’ll spend a good portion of your day talking. Throughout the inspection — or at least at the end of the inspection — you’ll be keeping a running dialogue going as you narrate everything you find. This can be challenging as you’re also working to take excellent notes, but it’s crucial to be able to walk and chew gum at the same time — or in this case, talk, write and take photos all at once.
You’ll see it all
Of course, you’ll also spend plenty of time rolling up your sleeves and getting down to business in all types of homes. Some will be brand new, while others will be some of the older homes in your region. Some will be in nearly immaculate condition and provide a tribute to the person who tended them for years. Others will make you slap your forehead and beg to know what someone was thinking with an ill-advised renovation. You’ll also find yourself sighing in resignation at homes suffering under the weight of neglect.
One of the greatest parts about being a home inspector is that each new day is exactly that: totally new. Because no two homes are ever alike, you’ll be fully engaged with each and every walkthrough. This can be challenging at times, but you’ll never be bored — and eventually, you’ll have a treasure trove of stories to share about all the things you’ve seen.
Pro Tip: Take lots of photos! You’ll need them for the reports, of course, but you’ll be glad to have proof of your anecdotes for the future. There’s nothing quite like “you’ll never believe what I found” posts from your craziest inspections to share on social media.
Getting support as a new home inspector
If all of this sounds like the ideal way to spend your days, then a career as a home inspector should be a great fit for you. You may feel overwhelmed when you’re just starting out, but we’re here to help! HomeGauge has all the tools you need to get the job done right, from home inspection software to industry-specific websites and amazing customer support.
We also pride ourselves on sharing useful tips and advice. If you’re considering starting a home inspections business of your own, here’s some essential reading to help you get your new endeavor off to a great start:
- Questions to Ask Yourself Before Becoming a Home Inspector: Explore the basics of the business to see if it’s right for you.
- How to Become a Home Inspector: A step-by-step guide to your responsibilities, training requirements, and more.
- What’s the Best Business Structure for Your Home Inspection Company?: A primer for anyone ready to dive into starting their own small business — no MBA required.
- What Tools Does a Home Inspector Need to Succeed?: A practical list of tools and materials to help you calculate startup costs.
- The Keys to Setting Your Home Inspection Business Up for Success: A look at the other key skills involved in running a successful business, from financing to marketing.
Looking for even more help? Just ask! Contact us any time to learn more about how HomeGauge can help you succeed as a professional home inspector.