According to several leading websites (from my Google search), the average yearly salary for home inspectors is somewhere around $50,000 - $75,000. When we dig a bit deeper, we find that in the State of Alabama, that average seems to come out around $70,000 for full-time inspectors, with the average home inspection costing around $325. I think we can speculate that if our state was not regulated, our average cost would be much lower and our average salary would be under $50,000. This is the benefit of living in a state that requires the national exam.
So how accurate are these numbers? Let’s do a bit of math to find out. If the average inspection is $325, and the average inspector earns $70,000 yearly, then this equates to somewhere around 215 inspections each year, or roughly 18 inspections a month. This number of monthly inspections seems to be low, especially during the peak seasons of spring/summer.
Yet, what about hidden costs? If we are going to look at inspectors that are worth their salt, then we need to presume that they have equipment that they had to buy and that they constantly upgrade. More than just the equipment, we must also consider insurance and licensing fees, as well as membership fees to belong to an organization.
Let’s use Sterling Home Inspection as an example. We pay several hundreds of dollars each month for insurance, covering both residential and commercial inspections, and we pay an annual fee of somewhere around $600 each year to our inspector organization. As a business school graduate, I believe heavy in re-investing our capital so we constantly add new things such as drones, sewer cameras, room dimension devices, tools that allow for what I call “secret checks”, infrared cameras and thermometers, etc. I could go on. We spend thousands of dollars each year on technology and upgrades.
Another cost to consider is your inspection software. We use Home Inspector Pro, and for a one time fee of $800, the software is all yours (or was when we bought it). Aside from these costs, perhaps you have a website and do some advertising, or have other things to consider such as company vehicles or office space, presuming that you have any. Otherwise, this is your overhead.
If we charge $325 per home inspection and do 18 inspections a month, not only do we as inspectors have to be paid, but the company has to still pay expenses out of that same revenue. How is $70,000 then practical? For us, it isn’t.
We perform a service that contains value, and as such our prices tend to hover higher than $325. In fact, of the hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of inspections I have personally done, I can name only several (as in less than 10) that were for that price. So why would anyone pay more? Because the technology, service, and product are better! We send reports ON SITE. We use Infrared Camera on every Inspection! We upgrade technology and include the Realtor in the process! In short, we provide a higher value than the man or woman who gives you a 1.5-hour inspection and then sends the report back in a few days.
I believe that making 6 figures in this business, in my state (and many others), is very reasonable. I know because I’ve done it. This isn’t to say that it will be easy, but to those committed, this career is worthwhile. I find it to be a blast every day, still, even after years of doing it. You learn something new daily, you see how poor some contractors do their jobs, and you get to see some pretty incredible homes along with meeting incredible people. I love this job.
Spencer Brothers, CPI
Sterling Home Inspection, LLC