Millions of field inspections are finished each year by thousands of local field inspectors. Many new field inspectors are eager to get started, but enroll for jobs they really should stay clear of. Why? Because they lost sight of the fundamental reason they became a field inspector in the first place - to make a good living.
There are plenty of field inspectors who continue to learn new skills to qualify for the high-paying field inspection jobs that can really increase their income. It's not uncommon for a capable field inspector to earn $ 75,000 to $ 100,000, but it takes time to gain the skills to get to that level.
To take your field inspection wages from pitiful to profitable, here are 6 tips you must remember:
1. If you're just getting started, find the national field inspection firms that pay a reasonable price for a drive-by mortgage inspection. These days, that's $ 15 - $ 20 per inspection. There are many national firms that try to take advantage of "newbies." hiring them for low inspection fees. Many of these are connected with large, well-known banks and title companies.
Why do they pay so little? Most have many levels of compensation, so the $ 20 inspection fee paid by the lender gets decreased by two or three layers of middlemen, who each take a share, and the local field inspector who does the actual work gets the crumbs. Your solution is simple - refuse to work for these businesses unless they are able to pay you an acceptable inspection fee.
2. Continue to improve your skills and knowledge to obtain the better paying projects and do more advanced inspections, like commercial loss control inspections for insurance companies. Many of these national field inspection firms offer no cost web based training sessions, such as videos or webinars, so you can watch and master new skills.
3. Bring a smartphone with you on the job so you can monitor your email for new inspection jobs. Many companies post new inspections as they become available, which might be any time of the day. By checking your email inbox during the day, you'll be able to pick up new jobs to perform that same day.
4. Start a sideline referring investment opportunities to local real estate investors. Every community has individuals who are on the lookout for bargain homes to buy, either to "flip" for a quick profit, or rehab and rent for income. They are more than willing to pay a "scout," like a local field inspector, for a tip on any homes that may be available to acquire cheap. If you're doing mortgage inspections, you'll find lots of these homes that have potential as investments. So if you are doing an inspection in a neighborhood where there are neglected properties, like those with neglected yards, pass the details along to investors for a finder's fee.
5. Reliable field inspectors get the best assignments, and also more jobs sent their way. If you follow the timeline to completion and get your report and photos back before the deadline, you'll be rewarded later. To make sure you can wrap up your inspections on time, don't tackle any more projects than you can perform by their deadlines, and stay within your zip code area so you don't waste driving time and gas. Most inspectors use a 25 mile radius as their work "zone," and charge extra to do inspections outside that zone.
6. Don't forget to monitor your business mileage and deduct it as a proper business expense on your annual income tax return. The IRS presently allows 55 cents per mile, which can add up to a considerable deduction for most field inspectors, who put a lot of miles on their vehicles. As an example, a full-time inspector might travel 800 miles a week doing inspections, which works out to 40,000 miles in a year. That's a $ 22,000 tax deduction, which can help fund a new car.
Like many businesses, success as a field inspector is built one step at a time, and these 6 tips will help keep you stepping in the direction of a high-paying job as an independent field inspector.