Your Ultimate Home Inspector Toolkit
Ready to take your inspections to the next level? We've got you covered.
What Tools Do Inspectors Need?
First things first, let’s build your actual home inspector tool kit. You know, the physical tools you need to have with you in the crawl space or attic to do your job effectively. From safety to efficiency and everywhere in between, there are some must-have tools that inspectors new and old need.
Note: This isn’t just our opinion. These products were agreed upon by more than 7,000 home inspectors as the most important for all inspectors to have.
1. Telescoping Ladder
Imagine walking up to your inspection with a full-sized traditional ladder in tow and carrying that thing with you throughout the day. It’s impractical, a nuisance, and downright comical. Telescoping ladders, on the other hand, are easy to store, transport, and carry throughout homes to reach difficult areas during your inspection.
2. Thermal Camera Tool
Thermal cameras are a quick way to gain a competitive advantage over other inspectors in your area. Using infrared radiation to identify areas that are abnormally cold or warm, you can identify defects that others may miss, ultimately improving your success and credibility with agents and home buyers. Opt for a hand-held version to improve organization within your tool kit.
3. Chargeable Flashlight
Single-battery flashlights have no business living in your tool kit in 2022. If you’ve ever experienced that nightmare situation of crawling around a basement just to have your flashlight die on you, you know why. Modern rechargeable flashlights are waterproof, magnetic for hands-free use, and allow you to charge them quickly on your drive to an inspection.
4. Gas Leak Detector
Another way to become as valuable as possible to your clients, gas leak detectors are a critical component of every home inspector tool kit. Certify that a home is safe from dangerous leaks with small, portable, easy-to-use sensors.
There’s nothing worse than having all of the items you need but constantly forgetting or misplacing them. Home inspection backpacks are specifically built for inspectors to improve portability and organization.
In all honesty, this is just a snapshot of the tools every home inspector needs to be successful. To learn more about each of them, read our full blog on these tools here. If you want even more insight into the best tools for home inspectors, take a look at our full Amazon list of necessary tools.
Pricing Models for Home Inspectors
Finding the pricing sweet spot is difficult in every industry, especially in service-based industries like home inspections. You need to find the perfect balance between competitive pricing and profitability — expensive enough to prove your value and expertise, but not so expensive that you lose potential customers.
While beating your competition is important, you also need to ensure that your pricing model is both sustainable in the short term and growable in the long term. To establish your pricing model as a new inspector or restructure it as an established inspector, consider these four methods:
1. Flat Rate
This one’s pretty straightforward — charge a defined flat rate for every single inspection and increase the price for additional services and/or stipulations.
- Pros — simple, marketable, customer-friendly, budget-friendly
- Cons — Inefficient, easy to outgrow
Location-based pricing builds on the traditional flat-rate model — charge a base cost for every inspection, and increase the price based on location-specific metrics (i.e. charging more for inspections outside of your area, charging more for inspections in affluent neighborhoods, etc.).
- Pros — higher profits, adjustable, includes travel time
- Cons — potential to be undercut by competitors
Size-based pricing is pretty much exactly what it sounds like — basing the cost of the inspection on the size of the home. Typically, this means charging by the square foot.
- Pros — larger homes = more revenue
- Cons — complex, potentially upsetting to clients
4. Age of Home
Because older properties can be time-suckers, another pricing model to consider is age — charging more for inspections on homes past certain dates.
- Pros — additional revenue on older homes
- Cons — time-consuming to perform inspections on older homes
As you might have come to realize, most pricing models use a combination of these methods to fit the specific needs of your market and competition. If you want to take a deeper dive into the steps required to determine your pricing model, read our entire guide to home inspection pricing here.
Websites for Home Inspectors
So you have all the tools you need and have nailed your updated iteration of your pricing model — know it’s time to help you get seen!
You could offer the best services at the most affordable rates, but if clients can’t find you online, all of that hard work will go to waste. Websites are crucial for a number of reasons, including:
- Legitimacy — Purchasing a home inspection isn’t like stopping at a random drive-thru on your way home from work; the implications are far more serious, and thus, the decision deserves much more research. Having a great website as a home inspector proves your legitimacy to leads doing their research.
- Brand Identity — People relate to brands, it’s just human nature. And that can be the same for your inspection business! Improve your brand identity online by offering simple scheduling capabilities, testimonials, easy support options, and more.
- Long-Term Investment — Your website is not just a short-term way to improve brand identity — it’s a long-term investment that ultimately results in massive ROI when done correctly.
At the same time, we understand that you didn’t get into the home inspection world to become a master web developer. Building websites is difficult, but here are the most important tips to keep in mind when working on your website:
- Use a short, simple domain name
- Clearly define your services
- Feature yourself and your identity
- Maintain a clean, fast website
- Make it easy to navigate
- Perform search engine optimization (SEO)
- Write content
Sounds like a lot, right? Luckily there’s an easier way — and yes, we’re going to toot our own horn here. We’ve simplified the website development and management process for home inspectors by taking on all of these foundational tasks for you. Learn more about our website optimization process here!
Marketing No-Nos to Avoid
Building your website — or overhauling your current one — is the first step of marketing yourself as an inspector. But if you stop there, you won’t have nearly the impact you desire within your community (or your wallet).
At the same time, if you rely on outdated marketing tactics, the only thing you’ll end up doing is pushing away potential customers with overly automated, unrelatable interactions. If you’re currently relying on the following marketing habits, it’s time to take your marketing into the modern age.
1. Putting Social Media on Auto-Pilot
Understanding that social media can have a great impact on your brand is one thing; learning how to use it correctly is a whole ‘nother animal. Here’s what not to do in terms of social media:
- Automate messages and posts on a set, rotating schedule
- Share links without any context
- Be bland and unrelatable
Instead, use social media to create real, genuine relationships with people that embody your brand identity.
2. Keyword Stuffing
Ahhh, one of the oldest tricks in the book in terms of SEO — until 2010, that is. If you’ve heard anything about SEO, chances are you've heard a lot about one specific phrase: keywords. “Put them in your title, put them in your headers, put them in every sentence you can!!!”
Well, that was the old way of telling search engines what words you want to rank for. And while keywords still play a role in content development, the world of SEO has progressed beyond belief since then.
Search engines are smarter, consumers are wiser, and it’s on you to know how to react. Keyword stuffing is no longer the answer. That only creates difficult-to-digest, spammy content that readers simply dismiss.
Instead, it’s time to focus your SEO efforts on user intent, what your buyer struggles with, and creating excellent, genuine content that speaks directly to those problems.
3. Not Tapping into Happy Customers
Happy customers are your greatest asset as a home inspector. They know the validity of your work, they understand how you can serve their needs, and more often than you may realize, they’re willing to act as ambassadors for your brand.
Whether it be asking for reviews that can bolster your Google My Business account, putting a testimonial quote on your homepage, or creating a full case study that showcases the results of your work, it’s time to use your happy customers to improve your business.
This is just an overview of some marketing strategies to avoid as a home inspector. We go in-depth on these no-nos and a few more in this full guide.
Simplify Your Reporting Process
Ask 10 home inspectors what their least favorite part of the job is and you’re likely to hear the same response: writing inspection reports.
Not only does this eat into your personal life outside of work, but it can also prevent you from taking on additional inspections because you spend hours each day finalizing reports.
You didn’t get into home inspections to become a writer, we get it. But here’s the good news — report generation doesn’t have to be such a time suck. If you’re an experienced inspector, you know just how encouraging that sentence is. If you’re just starting out, we’re here to make sure you never have to worry about the old ways of reporting.
Adopting the right home inspection app is the first step you can take to improve your reporting (more on that later), but there are some other steps to take to simplify the process. Start by generating a reusable template complete with all the things every report needs, including:
- Client and company information
- Inspection summary
- Explanation of conditions
- Agent tools
- Contact links
With a reusable template in place, it’s easy to recreate reports in a fraction of the time. Take a look at this article to learn even more about simplifying your reports.
Finding the Right Software and App
Last stop on our toolkit overview! And we purposefully saved the best for last here. If you haven’t noticed, much of this guide has been focused on things that are great in principle but difficult to truly adopt.
Why? Because many of the tips and tricks throughout this tool kit require the right technology. Now it’s time to help you understand the specifics that go into finding the right software.
And to be honest, we recommend every one of these features because we’ve designed our very own software with these must-haves in mind. We’re proud of our product and comfortable promoting it. But we also realize it’s not for everybody, and that’s okay, too! If that’s the case, we’re happy to refer you to some of our most trusted competitors.
To begin, we’ll break the features into two sections: overall software features and mobile application features. Let’s start with the top things to consider when sourcing different software:
- Efficiency — Your software must work for you. In other words, it has to be designed to make your work as an inspector as quick and painless as possible. How quickly can I log a defect? How easy is it to add and edit photos? Are there certain default templates I can use to improve my work? These are just some efficiency-related questions to ask.
- Business Tools — If you’re an experienced inspector, you know your software isn’t just about the inspection itself; it’s also about the tools that improve your business! Things like online payment collection, online appointment scheduling, automated follow-up communication, and contact management are some of the business-critical features to identify.
- Final Reports — Ultimately, easy-to-use software is worthless if clients don’t like the final product. Final reports should be modern, streamlined, and intuitive to give clients access to information when and where they need it.
- Reliability — Software bugs are unavoidable, but they’re certainly able to be limited to improve reliability. Speedy bug fixes and frequent updates to the software are critical to giving you as a home inspector a reliable product that doesn’t fail when you need it most.
- Support — In addition to the behind-the-scenes work performed on the software, providers must offer unbeatable support to inspectors in need. From how-to videos to real-time support, do your due diligence to identify the software’s support capabilities.
- Cost — Cost is important, but it’s not everything when it comes to software. We’re long past the days of free software. Instead, it’s important to consider the cost vs. value provided by the software you’re deciding between.
One additional stipulation to require from your software provider is the inclusion of a mobile application. Simply put, you need access to an app to work through your inspection in the trenches rather than manually complete it after the fact.
Here are 8 additional app features to look for when deciding on your partner:
- Modernity — If the app is stuck in the past, it won’t do you much good when you need it most. Instead, identify modern inspection options that are critical for your business today, including contract functions that allow for in-the-field payments and checklist notifications that help you work through inspections.
- Easy Design — Have you ever tried to navigate an app without being able to find what should be the simplest features? Frustrating, we know. Modern apps must remove these barriers by providing a simple menu structure and easy-to-locate buttons for fast use.
- Templates — Remember when we mentioned the report templates above? This is where they come into play. Apps that offer in-app contract templates allow you to improve the reporting process beyond belief.
- Offline Functionality — Potentially more important than any other feature, your app must allow you to continue working and logging inspections without Internet access. The last thing you want is to lose connection mid-inspection, and with it, all of the information you’ve logged to this point.
- Multi-Device Sync — Every software and app should speak to each other. In other words, the information you log during the inspection on the app should automatically sync to your desktop software for simple communication.
- Photography — As you know, photos are a crucial part of every home inspection. You must be able to easily upload, edit, and describe photos without compromising the integrity of the image.
- Onsite Publishing — Share in-progress reports and upload partially complete data when you’re in the field so you can complete the entire project at another time. Or, if you complete the entire report on-site, immediately publish it from the app.
- Constant Updates — No different than software, your app must feature constant updates and bug fixes to improve its performance in the field.
There are 14 features to look for right there! And like we mentioned above, if those are the exact features you’re looking for, you’re done searching! Our team at Spectora constantly works to provide the best all-inclusive home inspection platform for inspectors of all experience levels.
If this sounds like something you want to learn more about, we’d be happy to show you around the platform. Try our software for FREE today to experience the difference for yourself!