Day in the life of
Building Inspector – Steve Mangekian
I have been a home and commercial building inspector for 16 years and have performed over 4000 inspections, our company has performed over 10,000 inspections. Because of my background in commercial construction and development, I have focused my inspection career on commercial building inspections.
For a newer inspector, the days are very long. The biggest challenge for a new inspector is finding business. For a new inspector, the first couple of years is spent marketing your services, visiting real estate offices, joining networking groups, developing an online presence, etc.
In my first year, I joined a BNI (Business Network International) network group requiring weekly meetings. One of my first marketing campaigns was putting my business card labels on water bottles and delivering them weekly to real estate offices. Another challenge for new inspectors is developing good inspection skills and systems. I first started taking notes and pictures on the inspection then creating the report back in the office.
This is basically writing the inspection report twice. Eventually, I developed skills and systems to input all info and photos into a mobile device (phone) on-site, this greatly reduced the amount of time to generate an inspection report. A new inspector may spend 2-4 hours on-site and 3 -4 hours off-site generating a report, add in some travel time and it is a very low hourly pay.
A seasoned inspector using mobile inspection software should spend 2-3 hours on-site and 30 minutes or so proofing and sending reports to clients. I have met and spoke with hundreds of home inspectors and it seems everyone has a different system to gather information and generate reports, all think their way is the best. In my opinion, the most important measurements of an inspector are how good the report is and how efficiently it is prepared and delivered.
A good report should be easy to read, not too long, not filled with disclaimers and useless information. A building inspector has to be very knowledgeable, be very precise and efficient with language, and have great attention to detail. A new inspector has a tendency to call out everything and anything always worrying that they are missing something.
One of our company directives is never put anything in a report that is not 100% true. I always say that the biggest mistake a home inspector can make is to miss a significant deficiency but the second biggest mistake we can make is to report a deficiency when there isn’t one.
- Being a home / commercial building inspector can be very rewarding. Clients depend on us for help with maybe the biggest purchase of their life. It is a nice feeling when we can help a client move forward comfortably with a real estate purchase or protect them from buying a hugely expensive problem.
- It can be nice that you can be very flexible with your schedule; it is easy to block personal time because clients will schedule an inspection any day of the week. Being an inspector is never boring. You are always learning new things, driving roads you haven’t been on before, seeing different properties, and meeting new people.
- Every day you meet new clients and many new realtors. It is a very independent work style; you rarely see your boss or office staff although in our company I speak to inspectors and support staff daily.
- The disadvantage is clients love weekend inspections. I know new inspectors are not prepared for how much time they spend (many hours a day at first) at home working on reports. I can remember working on reports till 10 or 11 pm many nights. I would say the biggest downside and complaint I hear from our inspectors is too much driving.
- Our number one scheduling priority is to reduce driving for our inspectors. It is also a very physical job, lots of walking, crawling, and climbing, some of the commercial buildings we inspect are over 100000 square feet, and it takes miles of walking to inspect.
inspect structures using engineering skills to determine structural soundness and compliance with specifications, building codes, and other regulations. Inspections may be general in nature or may be limited to a specific area, such as electrical systems or plumbing.