The home inspection industry is not as “tight knit” as you would think.
As a relatively small industry of approximately 100,000 home inspectors nationwide, one would think that everyone in this industry would help to support one another for the common goal of helping people to make wise decisions when purchasing a home. Unfortunately, this could not be further from the reality that actually exists.
As home inspectors, most if not all are certified by the school they attended as well as one of the many home inspection organizations who “claim” to help the profession by offering continuing education as well as offering a community of home inspectors in which to bounce ideas off of and get help answering questions. While the school certification is by far the most important, typically you only hear about the home inspection organization in the form of bright generic logos flashed all over a website, business cards and or brochures of the particular member.
The question that should be asked is, what exactly does any one of the larger home inspection organizations really do other than taking their yearly fee in order to continue membership? The short answer is not much.
I personally have been in this industry since 2007. I started in a licensed state that “required” the home inspector to be a member of a home inspection organization. This, I assume, is to give the general public the perception of worth and or value. Following my licensure law, I paid my yearly dues and became a member of what is touted as being the “best and largest home inspection organization in the world”. As the years went on, I did try and take advantage of all they had to offer. After all, I wanted to feel as though I was getting “my” money’s worth from quite frankly very expensive yearly dues. While the continuing education was somewhat worth my effort and time, the rest of the inflated “bonuses” of being a member left me feeling a bit salty.
One of the many inflated “bonuses” offered by this particular organization is an “inspector forum” which is supposed to be designed to where an inspector can log in and ask questions to get other inspectors opinions on any given subject. While in theory this appears to be a good idea, again the reality is much different. I quickly learned from the snarky responses to ANY question that is asked that this is the stark reality of being a home inspector. No home inspector really seems to want to help another inspector. Why? I suppose it has to do with competition, however, if you are a home inspector in a completely different state than the one asking the question, what harm can come from helping a fellow inspector? I still ask this question to this day.
Unfortunately the story doesn’t end here. 8 years in owning my own business and having 4 employees, we decided it was time to make a change and move to another state to expand our already thriving business. While many home inspectors are complacent and happy staying where they are, we are trying to make a real name for ourselves and our company and become much much more. The state where we moved to (while still operating in our home state) just happens to be the headquarters of the home inspection organization I belonged to. I thought, this is great, I can come in with all of my experience (coming from a licensed state and having 8 years under my belt) and I have my organization to help me get settled in and answer any of the “local” questions I may have. Again, the reality I experienced was much different than I had expected.
After finally being able to move our entire family, pets as well as the business to a different state and getting a house in the perfect logistical area for our business, I decided it was time to email my organization as I had a couple of questions concerning where certain things are located (labs for mold, water and radon testing). The response I received just did me in. I received a response basically stating “they did not know”. I thought to myself, how do you, the “best and largest home inspection organization in the world” not know where these places are located? YOU OPERATE IN THE VERY SAME STATE AS I DO! I then proceeded to send another email back asking them how they could not know and told them how disappointed I was that no one seemed to be willing to help me. I received another response back basically stating that other home inspectors in my area (as well as them) would not be willing to help me as I am their competition. How is that for “helping to maintain professionalism in the industry?”
After having that particular salty experience (one of many), I decided to look into other home inspection organizations and much to my disappointment I found that there really did not appear to be much of a difference among many of the other “larger” inspector organizations. You simply pay your outrageous yearly dues so you can tell everyone that you are a member. Well big Whoopdie Dooo! Like most things in the world today, the larger the enterprise, the less you receive.
Struggling with the fact that I have wasted so much money over the years on my yearly dues, just to say that I am a member, I have since found that the smaller home inspection organizations are much more willing to actually “help” out their members, not just in continuing education but also personally and professionally. I have also found that it is much more difficult to become a member of some of the smaller organizations as they have much tougher entrance requirements. It isn’t just “write the check” and you are a member. It is more like, you prove that you know what you are doing, and you will be considered. In my opinion that is the way it should be.
After 8 years of being a member of the “best and largest home inspection organization in the world” I jumped ship and joined a smaller, lesser known yet better organization. An organization that is truly dedicated to promoting professionalism, knowledge and ethics within the home inspection industry. We have always been a company that has bucked the “system” in order to do what is ethical and right for our clients as well as the industry as a whole and this particular decision was no different.
We are now fully established and thriving in our new location, no thanks to anyone else. To all of our competitors who troll us regularly as well as other members of the “best and largest home inspection organization in the world” who will no doubt be reading this, I say, the best of luck to you. You will be seeing much more of us in the future, this much you can be assured.