How much does a home inspector make? Well, that, is a very loaded question. Let’s break it down by Single Operator/New, Single Operator/Established, Employee, Contract.
Single Operator/New: Best advice I can give any new inspector – Don’t quit your day job. There are plenty of opportunities to grow your new inspection business while still bringing in some income from the job you hate. I would also recommend having your spouse continue to work as well. DO NOT think this is a get rich quick business. Home Inspection is a “get what you can in the summer” type business. OK, back to why you are reading this. As a single operator, you are the Boss, Head Honcho. You answer the phone, do the inspections and wear multiple hats to keep the business running. New Inspectors are happy if they are doing one to two inspections a week. At $450 average, that’s 900 a week, giving you $3600 a month (KEEP IN MIND YOUR OPERATING COSTS: GAS, INSURANCE, SOFTWARE, ETC). I operate my business under the Profit First system, authored by Mike Michalowicz. I HIGHLY recommend reading this book. If you want to talk about pouring a good foundation… this is it!
So one to two inspections a week. After a year, let’s say you are at three to four (good Job!). That $7200 a month at $86,400 a year (AGAIN – BEFORE OPERATING COSTS). Let’s give a good, realistic range:
New Home Inspector: $45,000 – $75,000 Annual Gross Income (Revenue)
Single Operator/Established: Congrats my friend! You finally made it. You have a steady stream of inspections coming in and you just got back from taking the family to Cabo (using you Profit account – READ THE BOOK!). Your spouse has quit her job and is part time “office manager” helping with the phones and the paperwork. You have established a few ancillary services that you add regularly to your inspections. Lets make an average inspection $650. You work Monday – Friday and schedule two inspections a day. Your wait list is about a week out. You do $26,000 in sales a month, bringing your total to $312,000 a year. Now don’t fall out of your seat just yet. Based on these numbers, I would personally pay myself a base of $150,000 a year. So that’s a salary of $12,500 a month (ok, NOW fall out of your seat). You will also be taking Quartey distributions from your profit account. This model allows you to make more income if you pack your weekends or do three inspections per day.
Established Home Inspector: $100,000 – $165,000 Annual Salary
Employee: You just received your license after taking your inspector course from Washington Professional Home Inspector School http://highlandhomeinspect.com/washingon-home-inspector-training-classes/. You are knowledgeable and ready to do some inspections. You need a steady job and really want to get your feet wet before you try the whole business owner thing on your own. You are hired by a Multi-Inspector firm, get paid hourly, vehicle and tools provided, CE classes paid for, and have benefits. Life is good. You are not searching for business or busting your butt trying to put food on the table. Inspections are provided for you, and depending on the company, you may not even have to write the report! 4 weeks paid vacation and Medical is a HUGE perk. Starting out you may get around $30 an hour and if you stay long enough, prove yourself you might even get up to $38 an hour.
Employee Inspector: $65,000 – 80,000 Annual Salary
Contract: What does contract mean…. Simply put, you are 1099. You obtained your license yourself and maybe started an LLC. Typically, you are in a Work Contract with the Company. It varies what’s included, but most Companies will require you have your own insurance, pay your own licensing fees, use your own vehicle and buy your own tools. I suggest protecting yourself by having an LLC established and having the Company pay the LLC since you are taking all the liability. Some exceptions can be made, for example, if the company pushes sewer scopes, they may provide you access to one. Your inspections come from the Company, and you are paid a FEE SPLIT. A FEE SPLIT looks like this. The Company sends you an inspection for $450. While on site, you add a sewer scope at the client’s request. Fee is now $700. Average FEE SPLITS are 40/60. 40% to the contractor, 60% to the company. 40% of $700 is $280. Now, you are required to pay taxes on the $280 (remember that). Why would you want to be contract? Contract usually happens when Single Operator become too business to manage the volume of inspections and needs an extra inspector to help (great position to be in to learn the ins-and-outs of the business as you work directly with the owner), OR when you want to be an inspector part time. PART TIME – I want to touch base on this real quick. Let’s look back at the New Inspector. $45,000-75,000 Annual Gross Revenue. That’s the total the business is bringing in. From that, the inspector is taking home $23,000 – 38,000 a year. Be a contractor and learn how to run the business first while still getting paid. On the flip side of that, will you get paid more as contractor or a new inspector? Your month and yearly salary really depend on how many inspections you take. Let’s use the $650 average. That’s $260 per inspection. You are doing an average of 5 a week (more inspections than starting out) which puts you at $67,000 gross income. I call this income because as a contractor, you should still be treating what you are paid from the company and YOUR revenue. You still need to take taxes out of the $67,000. I take out 25% for taxes. Yes, that’s a little over doing it, but I don’t ever have to worry about owing taxes. So, $16,900 is set aside, which gives you $50,100 take home and other expenses (GAS, TOOLS, ETC).
Now that we’ve gone over some scenarios with numbers, it’s safe to say that you cannot answer “How much does a Home Inspector make” in just a base number. There are multiple factors to consider. However, to calm your inquisitive mind, lets range it out. New home inspectors are between $45,000-$75000 a year in revenue and established are $100,000 to $165,000 in annual salary. If you go the employee route, work your butt off, show leadership and become a lead or manager. Higher responsibility is rewarded with higher pay.
If this is a career you are truly interested in, reach out to local inspectors. Ask questions, go on a ride along. If you are in Washington State, shoot me an email! WEBSITE. This can be a very rewarding career if you set obtainable business goals with insight objectives. Good Luck out there!