Carolyn Young is a business writer who focuses on entrepreneurial concepts and the business formation. She has over 25 years of experience in business roles, and has authored several entrepreneurship textbooks.
David has been writing and learning about business, finance and globalization for a quarter-century, starting with a small New York consulting firm in the 1990s.
Published on January 13, 2022 Updated on November 30, 2023
$3,550 - $7,600
$100,000 - $250,000 p.a.
Time to build
1 – 3 months
$90,000 - $225,000 p.a.
Home inspectors protect home buyers by thoroughly inspecting their prospective home for defects and necessary repairs. The US building inspectors industry is valued at an impressive $5 billion. Home inspectors take in about $400 per inspection, so clearly there is money to be made with a home inspection business. You just need a home inspector’s certification and a few tools to get started.
This does not mean, however, that starting a home inspection business is easy. You’ll have to put in some hours of preparation and research before you launch. Fortunately, you’ve found a handy resource, as this step-by-step has all the facts, tips, and insight that you need to work your way into the home inspection business.
Looking to register your business? A limited liability company (LLC) is the best legal structure for new businesses because it is fast and simple.
The pandemic started a trend toward virtual home inspections in which the inspector is physically at the home and the buyer attends through a digital application such as Zoom. This trend is expected to continue into the indefinite future.
The home inspection industry is also facing some challenges including:
Changing technology in home elements such as electrical systems and heating and cooling make it necessary for home inspectors to continue their education.
Low barriers to entry for home inspection businesses have made the industry extremely competitive.
How much does it cost to start a home inspection business?
Startup costs for a home inspection business range from $3,500 to $7,500. The largest expenses are for a website set up, education and certification, and tools. States generally have approved education providers which you can find on your state’s website, and you will have to pass an exam to receive your certification.
You’ll need a handful of items to successfully launch your home inspection business. Here’s a list to get you started:
Gas and moisture detectors
Circuit tester and voltage sniffer
Screwdrivers and pliers
Setting up a business name and corportation
$150 - $200
Licenses and permits
$100 - $300
$100 - $300
Business cards and brochures
$200 - $300
$1,000 - $3,000
Education and certification
$1,500 - $2,500
Tools such as moisture detectors and ladders
$500 - $1,000
$3,550 - $7,600
How much can you earn from a home inspection business?
The average price for a home inspection is $400. Your ongoing expenses should be limited to fuel and marketing costs so your profit margin should be about 90%.
In your first year or two, you could work from home and do 5 inspections per week, bringing in over $100,000 in annual revenue. This would mean more than $90,000 in profit, assuming that 90% margin. As your brand gains recognition, sales could climb to 12 inspections per week. With expected annual revenue of almost a quarter-million dollars, you would make about $225,000.
What barriers to entry are there?
There are only a few barriers to entry for a home inspection business. Your biggest challenges will be:
You need to complete training and pass an exam
It’s a highly competitive market that will require building relationships with realtors
Related Business Ideas
If you’re still not sure whether this business idea is the right choice for you, here are some related business opportunities to help you on your path to entrepreneurial success.
Now that you know what’s involved in starting a home inspection business, it’s a good idea to hone your concept in preparation to enter a competitive market.
Market research will give you the upper hand, even if you’re already positive that you have a perfect product or service. Conducting market research is important, because it can help you understand your customers better, who your competitors are, and your business landscape.
Why? Identify an opportunity
Research home inspection businesses in your area to examine their services, price points, and customer reviews. You’re looking for a market gap to fill. For instance, maybe the local market is missing a home inspector that offers virtual inspections.
You might consider targeting a niche market by specializing in a certain aspect of your industry such as new construction inspections.
This could jumpstart your word-of-mouth marketing and attract clients right away.
What? Determine your home inspection services
In addition to basic home inspection services you could become certified to do add-on types of inspections such as radon gas testing and termite inspections.
How much should you charge for home inspection services?
Home inspection prices range from $300 to $450, but generally cost about $400. Your ongoing expenses will be low so you should aim for a profit margin of at least 90%.
Once you know your costs, you can use this Step By Step profit margin calculator to determine your mark-up and final price point. Remember, the price you use at launch should be subject to change if warranted by the market.
Who? Identify your target market
Real estate agents usually recommend home inspectors to their buyer clients so your main target market will be realtors. Calling real estate agents personally to build relationships with them is the best way to get business. You can also find them on LinkedIn.
Where? Choose your business premises
You probably can always run your business from home, but if you do decide to get an office you can find commercial space to rent in your area on sites such as Craigslist, Crexi, and Instant Offices.
When choosing a commercial space, you may want to follow these rules of thumb:
Central location accessible via public transport
Ventilated and spacious, with good natural light
Flexible lease that can be extended as your business grows
Ready-to-use space with no major renovations or repairs needed
Step 3: Brainstorm a Home Inspection Business Name
Your business name is your business identity, so choose one that encapsulates your objectives, services, and mission in just a few words. You probably want a name that’s short and easy to remember, since much of your business, and your initial business in particular, will come from word-of-mouth referrals.
Here are some ideas for brainstorming your business name:
Short, unique, and catchy names tend to stand out
Names that are easy to say and spell tend to do better
Name should be relevant to your product or service offerings
Ask around — family, friends, colleagues, social media — for suggestions
Including keywords, such as “inspections” or “home inspections”, boosts SEO
Name should allow for expansion, for ex: “HomeView Inspections” over “Eco-Home Inspections”
Avoid location-based names that might hinder future expansion
Once you’ve got a list of potential names, visit the website of the US Patent and Trademark Office to make sure they are available for registration and check the availability of related domain names using our Domain Name Search tool. Using “.com” or “.org” sharply increases credibility, so it’s best to focus on these.
Finally, make your choice among the names that pass this screening and go ahead with domain registration and social media account creation. Your business name is one of the key differentiators that sets your business apart. Once you pick your company name, and start with the branding, it is hard to change the business name. Therefore, it’s important to carefully consider your choice before you start a business entity.
Step 4: Create a Home Inspection Business Plan
Every business needs a plan. This will function as a guidebook to take your startup through the launch process and maintain focus on your key goals. A business plan also enables potential partners and investors to better understand your company and its vision:
Executive Summary: A concise summary outlining the business plan, including its purpose, goals, and key highlights.
Business Overview: A brief description of the home inspection business, its mission, and the problem it aims to solve.
Product and Services: Detailed information about the specific home inspection services offered, including any additional offerings or packages.
Market Analysis: An analysis of the target market, including demographics, trends, and potential growth opportunities for the home inspection business.
Competitive Analysis: Examination of competitors in the home inspection industry, highlighting strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.
Sales and Marketing: Strategies for promoting and selling home inspection services, including target audience, pricing, and promotional activities.
Management Team: Profiles of key individuals involved in running the business, emphasizing their skills and experience relevant to the home inspection industry.
Operations Plan: Details on the day-to-day operations of the home inspection business, covering processes, technology, and any partnerships or collaborations.
Financial Plan: Projections and analysis of the financial aspects of the business, including startup costs, revenue forecasts, and profit margins.
Appendix: Supplementary information, such as additional charts, graphs, or supporting documents that provide further context or details about the home inspection business plan.
If you’ve never created a business plan yourself before, it can be an intimidating task. Consider hiring an experienced business plan writer to create a professional business plan for you.
Step 5: Register Your Business
Registering your business is an absolutely crucial step — it’s the prerequisite to paying taxes, raising capital, opening a bank account, and other guideposts on the road to getting a business up and running.
Plus, registration is exciting because it makes the entire process official. Once it’s complete, you’ll have your own business!
Choose where to register your company
Your business location is important because it can affect taxes, legal requirements, and revenue. Most people will register their business in the state where they live, but if you’re planning to expand, you might consider looking elsewhere, as some states could offer real advantages when it comes to home inspection businesses.
If you’re willing to move, you could really maximize your business! Keep in mind, it’s relatively easy to transfer your business to another state.
Choose your business structure
Business entities come in several varieties, each with its pros and cons. The legal structure you choose for your home inspection business will shape your taxes, personal liability, and business registration requirements, so choose wisely.
Here are the main options:
Sole Proprietorship– The most common structure for small businesses makes no legal distinction between company and owner. All income goes to the owner, who’s also liable for any debts, losses, or liabilities incurred by the business. The owner pays taxes on business income on his or her personal tax return.
General Partnership – Similar to a sole proprietorship, but for two or more people. Again, owners keep the profits and are liable for losses. The partners pay taxes on their share of business income on their personal tax returns.
Limited Liability Company (LLC)– Combines the characteristics of corporations with those of sole proprietorships or partnerships. Again, the owners are not personally liable for debts.
C Corp – Under this structure, the business is a distinct legal entity and the owner or owners are not personally liable for its debts. Owners take profits through shareholder dividends, rather than directly. The corporation pays taxes, and owners pay taxes on their dividends, which is sometimes referred to as double taxation.
S Corp – An S-Corporation refers to the tax classification of the business but is not a business entity. An S-Corp can be either a corporation or an LLC, which just need to elect to be an S-Corp for tax status. In an S-Corp, income is passed through directly to shareholders, who pay taxes on their share of business income on their personal tax returns.
We recommend that new business owners choose LLC as it offers liability protection and pass-through taxation while being simpler to form than a corporation. You can form an LLC in as little as five minutes using an online LLC formation service. They will check that your business name is available before filing, submit your articles of organization, and answer any questions you might have.
The final step before you’re able to pay taxes is getting an Employer Identification Number, or EIN. You can file for your EIN online or by mail or fax: visit the IRS website to learn more. Keep in mind, if you’ve chosen to be a sole proprietorship you can simply use your social security number as your EIN.
Once you have your EIN, you’ll need to choose your tax year. Financially speaking, your business will operate in a calendar year (January–December) or a fiscal year, a 12-month period that can start in any month. This will determine your tax cycle, while your business structure will determine which taxes you’ll pay.
It is important to consult an accountant or other professional to help you with your taxes to ensure you’re completing them correctly.
Step 7: Fund your Business
Securing financing is your next step and there are plenty of ways to raise capital:
Bank loans: This is the most common method but getting approved requires a rock-solid business plan and strong credit history.
SBA-guaranteed loans: The Small Business Administration can act as guarantor, helping gain that elusive bank approval via an SBA-guaranteed loan.
Government grants: A handful of financial assistance programs help fund entrepreneurs. Visit Grants.gov to learn which might work for you.
Friends and Family: Reach out to friends and family to provide a business loan or investment in your concept. It’s a good idea to have legal advice when doing so because SEC regulations apply.
Crowdfunding: Websites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo offer an increasingly popular low-risk option, in which donors fund your vision. Entrepreneurial crowdfunding sites like Fundable and WeFunder enable multiple investors to fund your business.
Personal: Self-fund your business via your savings or the sale of property or other assets.
Personal funds or family and friends funding are probably the best way to finance your startup costs since the costs are relatively low.
Step 8: Apply for Home Inspection Business Licenses and Permits
Starting a home inspection business requires obtaining a number of licenses and permits from local, state, and federal governments. You will need a home inspector’s license or certification from your state. Education and other requirements vary by state, so check with your state government to find out what you need. InterNACHI (International Association of Certified Home Inspectors) provide free training, online testing and certification.
Federal regulations, licenses, and permits associated with starting your business include doing business as (DBA), health licenses and permits from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), trademarks, copyrights, patents, and other intellectual properties, as well as industry-specific licenses and permits.
You may also need state-level and local county or city-based licenses and permits. The license requirements and how to obtain them vary, so check the websites of your state, city, and county governments or contact the appropriate person to learn more.
Keeping your business finances separate from your personal account makes it easy to file taxes and track your company’s income, so it’s worth doing even if you’re running your home inspection business as a sole proprietorship. Opening a business bank account is quite simple, and similar to opening a personal one. Most major banks offer accounts tailored for businesses — just inquire at your preferred bank to learn about their rates and features.
Banks vary in terms of offerings, so it’s a good idea to examine your options and select the best plan for you. Once you choose your bank, bring in your EIN (or Social Security Number if you decide on a sole proprietorship), articles of incorporation, and other legal documents and open your new account.
Step 10: Get Business Insurance
Business insurance is an area that often gets overlooked yet it can be vital to your success as an entrepreneur. Insurance protects you from unexpected events that can have a devastating impact on your business.
Here are some types of insurance to consider:
General liability: The most comprehensive type of insurance, acting as a catch-all for many business elements that require coverage. If you get just one kind of insurance, this is it. It even protects against bodily injury and property damage.
Business Property: Provides coverage for your equipment and supplies.
Equipment Breakdown Insurance: Covers the cost of replacing or repairing equipment that has broken due to mechanical issues.
Worker’s compensation: Provides compensation to employees injured on the job.
Property: Covers your physical space, whether it is a cart, storefront, or office.
Commercial auto: Protection for your company-owned vehicle.
Professional liability: Protects against claims from a client who says they suffered a loss due to an error or omission in your work.
Business owner’s policy (BOP): This is an insurance plan that acts as an all-in-one insurance policy, a combination of any of the above insurance types.
As opening day nears, prepare for launch by reviewing and improving some key elements of your business.
Essential software and tools
Being an entrepreneur often means wearing many hats, from marketing to sales to accounting, which can be overwhelming. Fortunately, many websites and digital tools are available to help simplify many business tasks.
You can use industry-specific software, such as Buildium, 3D Inspection, or Spectora, to manage your scheduling, pricing, billing, relationships, and inspection reports.
If you’re unfamiliar with basic accounting, you may want to hire a professional, especially as you begin. The consequences for filing incorrect tax documents can be harsh, so accuracy is crucial.
Develop your website
Website development is crucial because your site is your online presence and needs to convince prospective clients of your expertise and professionalism.
You can create your own website using website builders. This route is very affordable, but figuring out how to build a website can be time-consuming. If you lack tech-savvy, you can hire a web designer or developer to create a custom website for your business.
They are unlikely to find your website, however, unless you follow Search Engine Optimization (SEO) practices. These are steps that help pages rank higher in the results of top search engines like Google.
For your home inspection business, the marketing strategy should focus on showcasing your expertise, thoroughness, and the value you bring to the home buying or selling process. Emphasize your certifications, the detailed nature of your inspections, and any special services like radon testing, thermal imaging, or mold inspections.
Professional Branding: Your branding should convey expertise, trustworthiness, and precision. This includes a professional logo, business cards, and well-designed reports and documentation.
Direct Outreach: Network with real estate agents, mortgage lenders, and insurance companies to build referral relationships. Attend local real estate events and home shows to increase visibility.
Digital Presence and Online Marketing
Professional Website and SEO: Develop a user-friendly website that details your services, qualifications, and customer testimonials. Optimize your website for local SEO to rank for searches related to home inspections, property inspections, and real estate services in your area.
Social Media Engagement: Utilize platforms like LinkedIn for networking with real estate professionals and Facebook to engage with potential clients. Share informative content about home maintenance, inspection tips, and the home buying process.
Content Marketing and Engagement
Home Maintenance Blog: Share blog posts with home maintenance advice, insights into common home inspection issues, and tips for home buyers and sellers.
Email Newsletters: Regular newsletters can keep your network informed about your services, share home care tips, and offer seasonal maintenance reminders.
Video Content: Create video walkthroughs of inspections, explaining what you look for and how you assess various aspects of a property.
Experiential and In-Person Engagements
Educational Workshops for Buyers and Sellers: Host workshops or seminars offering advice for home buyers and sellers on what to expect from the inspection process and how to prepare.
Participation in Local Real Estate Events: Engage in local real estate industry events, trade shows, and home fairs to network and showcase your expertise.
Collaborations and Community
Partnerships with Local Realtors and Agencies: Develop relationships with realtors and real estate agencies to create referral opportunities.
Community Involvement: Participate in community events or sponsor local activities to build brand recognition and trust within the community.
Customer Relationship and Loyalty Programs
Follow-Up Services: Offer follow-up consultations or annual home check-up services to past clients to maintain relationships and encourage referrals.
Referral Incentives: Implement a referral program that rewards past clients or real estate agents who refer new business to you.
Promotions and Advertising
Targeted Local Advertising: Use local advertising in community newspapers, real estate publications, and online platforms to reach potential clients.
Informative Brochures and Flyers: Distribute brochures and flyers that outline the importance of home inspections at real estate offices and community centers.
Focus on USPs
Unique selling propositions, or USPs, are the characteristics of a product or service that sets it apart from the competition. Customers today are inundated with buying options, so you’ll have a real advantage if they are able to quickly grasp how your home inspection business meets their needs or wishes. It’s wise to do all you can to ensure your USPs stand out on your website and in your marketing and promotional materials, stimulating buyer desire.
Global pizza chain Domino’s is renowned for its USP: “Hot pizza in 30 minutes or less, guaranteed.” Signature USPs for your home inspection business could be:
All your home inspections in one day including radon and termites
Extended hours home inspections on your time
Virtual home inspections to protect your health and home
You may not like to network or use personal connections for business gain. But your personal and professional networks likely offer considerable untapped business potential. Maybe that Facebook friend you met in college is now running a home inspection business, or a LinkedIn contact of yours is connected to dozens of potential clients. Maybe your cousin or neighbor has been working in home inspection for years and can offer invaluable insight and industry connections.
The possibilities are endless, so it’s a good idea to review your personal and professional networks and reach out to those with possible links to or interest in home inspection. You’ll probably generate new customers or find companies with which you could establish a partnership.
Step 12: Build Your Team
If you’re starting out small from a home office, you may not need any employees, and you may just continue to do business that way. If your business grows to a large level though, you may want to hire employees. Potential positions for a home inspection business would include:
Home Inspectors – perform inspections, create reports
General Manager – scheduling, staff management, accounting
Marketing Lead – SEO strategies, social media marketing, networking with realtors
At some point, you may need to hire all of these positions or simply a few, depending on the size and needs of your business. You might also hire multiple workers for a single role or a single worker for multiple roles, again depending on need.
Free-of-charge methods to recruit employees include posting ads on popular platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook, or Jobs.com. You might also consider a premium recruitment option, such as advertising on Indeed, Glassdoor, or ZipRecruiter. Further, if you have the resources, you could consider hiring a recruitment agency to help you find talent.
Step 13: Run a Home Inspection Business – Start Making Money!
Home inspection companies perform valuable services for customers that can save them thousands of dollars in repair costs. Home inspection is a huge industry valued at a remarkable $5 billion in the US, and as the real estate market booms, it will continue to grow.
A home inspection business can provide you with an excellent steady income and, at the same time, allow you to help home buyers with the largest purchases of their lives. Now that you’ve started your educational process and know what is required, you’re on your way to becoming a home inspection entrepreneur!
Home Inspection Business FAQs
How can I get clients for my home inspection business?
Realtors usually recommend home inspectors to their home buyer clients, so you should try to build relationships with real estate agents to get referrals. You can call them directly, go to places where you can network with realtors, or connect with them on LinkedIn.
What is the best state to be a home inspector?
There is no one “best” state to be a home inspector, as the demand for home inspections varies by location and is affected by factors such as the local real estate market and population density. However, states with high populations and a strong housing market, such as California, Texas, and Florida, may offer more opportunities for home inspectors.
What state has the most home inspectors?
According to data from the American Society of Home Inspectors, the state with the most home inspectors is Texas, followed by Florida, California, North Carolina, and Ohio. However, it is important to note that the number of home inspectors in a state does not necessarily correspond with the demand for home inspections in that state.
What are the most common home inspections?
The most common types of home inspections include pre-purchase inspections, which are conducted before a home is sold to identify any potential issues or hazards; new construction inspections, which ensure that a newly built home meets quality standards and building codes; and annual maintenance inspections, which help homeowners identify and address issues before they become major problems.
Can I start a home inspection business on the side?
Yes, it is possible to start a home inspection business on the side, especially if you have the necessary training and experience in the field. However, it is important to be aware of any legal or regulatory requirements for starting a business in your area and to ensure that you have the necessary insurance and liability coverage.
How to Start a Home Inspection Business
Decide if the Business Is Right for You
Hone Your Idea
Brainstorm a Home Inspection Business Name
Create a Home Inspection Business Plan
Register Your Business
Register for Taxes
Fund your Business
Apply for Home Inspection Business Licenses and Permits
Open a Business Bank Account
Get Business Insurance
Prepare to Launch
Build Your Team
Run a Home Inspection Business - Start Making Money!
Home Inspection Business FAQs
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