If you’re looking to make a shift in your career, becoming a home inspector could be right up your alley. As a contractor, you already have the knowledge you need to judge a space and its workmanship, construction, and soundness.
Whether you’ve got an extreme eye for detail or are just tired of the physical toll contracting takes, becoming an inspector is a valid option for those looking to make a career change within the industry.
Requirements for Becoming an Inspector
The requirements for becoming a home inspector vary by location. Some states have no licensing requirements at all, allowing anyone to become a home inspector. Other states may require anything up to and including a high school diploma, professional or college-level coursework, an apprenticeship, exam and licensure with the state. Depending on where you live, you may need to jump through hoops to become a legally recognized inspector — even if you’ve been working as a contractor for a long time.
Increase Your Knowledge Base
You already know that not all homes are created the same: there’s a big difference between a new construction LEED-certified tiny house and a historic Victorian. While the basics are similar – soundness and safety for habitability – how that’s accomplished can vary widely.
Increase your knowledge base to cover a variety of heating, plumbing, and electrical systems and what determines their soundness. The same goes for structural integrity for a variety of building types and what’s acceptable in your location. By having the knowledge to assess different types of homes, you’re increasing your skill set and, in theory, your client base and potential demand when you jump into work as an inspector.
Improve Your Communication Skills
Inspecting homes is a great job for a people person: you’re dealing with clients, real estate agents, city officials and contractors from all walks of life. In order to be a successful inspector, improve your written and verbal communication skills. You’ll need to be able to successfully explain what’s going on with a building to someone with zero construction knowledge and, at the same time, be able to explain it in depth and with technical terms for the pros.
Join a Firm or Go Solo
When making the switch from contractor to inspector, you’ll need to decide whether you want to hook up with an established company or firm or go at it as an independent contractor. As with general contracting, there are benefits and drawbacks to each route.
If you join up with a firm, you’re at the mercy of someone else but aren’t responsible for finding new clients. You’ll likely make less and you may not be on your own schedule. You also won’t have to spend time and money marketing, funding your business or keeping track of the business side of things as you focus on completing inspections.
Hook Up With ASHI
Joining the American Society of Home Inspectors isn’t a requirement in any location but doing so provides you with networking and continuing education opportunities that you wouldn’t otherwise have.
Joining ASHI and obtaining a professional certification from them requires extra training and experience, but between what they offer members and being able to use it as a selling point with future clients or potential employers and firms, it may be worth it – especially if you’re in a state with no formal licensing requirements.
Becoming an Inspector
As a contractor, you already know how it feels to have your work subjected to the critical eye of an inspector and can effectively communicate any problems without minimizing the hard work of the crew that completed the job.
You’ve got the knowledge and expertise to spot problems. If you live in a state with minimal or no licensing requirements, you’ve already got everything you need to become a home inspector: otherwise, it’s a matter of fulfilling the necessary obligations to get legally recognized in your region.
Have you ever worked as a home inspector? Would you consider it? Why or why not?