We will periodically share excerpts from interviews conducted as part of our Premium Membership’s, BoomerPreps Interview Series.
The intent of these interviews is to give Baby Boomers some insights from others who have had similar triumphs or hit similar,”bumps in the road”. They may have a particular set of skills or experiences that would be beneficial to our members.
The interviews are loaded with the problems they encountered, and how the problems were solved. How they saw opportunity, and grabbed it! How they turned a particular passion into a way of life.
Our hope is to give our members – Boomers and non-Boomers alike – the tools to help them maintain and increase their independence.
If you, or someone you know has a story about overcoming a tough situation and you are willing to share your experience, send us an email at info AT boomerpreps DOT com. We’ll compensate you for your time, and guarantee your anonymity (if that is your desire).
Home Inspector Barry Smith
BP: If someone were considering this, what kind of start up capital do you think would be really the bare minimum that they should have available to get into this kind of business?
Barry: That’s a good question, because the numbers vary greatly. You could literally get into the business for $500. And that would be printing up business cards and flyers to do your marketing.
You could study online to understand the components of the home. Let me just say this – it’s going to take a particular individual who’s got a lot of discipline. If you’re going to do this, one way is to go to a school. They have schooling available out there. Anywhere from a 3-day course to a 2-week course. If that’s not your cup of tea, as it wasn’t really mine, you can go through and study online. There are so many websites out there to study electrical, carpentry, roofs, plumbing, HVAC, the whole everything.
And not only do you need to know it today, you need to know what the codes and the way homes were built 100 years ago. So there’s a ton of information out there that you have to know. Quite honestly you need to know everything about everything. You’ll never learn that in school. I would say, and I always offer to folks who see me walking around doing my home inspection and inquire, oh, I’d like to do that.
-Well, let’s see a day in the life. And they never show up. So if one was to be interested in this, I would recommend buying lunch for a home inspector and saying, do you mind if I follow you around and you show me what you do and how you do it? So my recommendation for anyone to get in would be that method.
BP: That’s interesting. So similar to what they do with a police officer, a fire fighter, or a paramedic.
Barry: Ride along. Correct.
BP: See if it’s really something that you want to do. Very interesting.
Barry: Right. And if I might add, there are some constraints. It is a physical job. It’s a very physical job. And you can’t be afraid of heights, because you are getting up on roofs. And you can’t be afraid of any physical restraints, tight spaces, because you are crawling under homes. And that usually, just those two actions alone, eliminate 90% of the folks who are thinking about it.
BP: Yeah. You’re not getting me up on a roof. I’ll tell you that.
So let’s step back. I think something that will be of great interest to our members is tell us a little bit about you as a person and as a business person. How did you get to this point? Did you start out in high school and say, I want to be a home inspector? Or did something happen, some life event that made you say, this is the path I need to take because of XYZ.
How did you get here 12 years ago where you said I’m now going to open a home inspection business? How did you get to that point?
Barry: I never had aspirations of being a home inspector growing up as a kid. I don’t think there were even home inspectors back then. My original training is in engineering. So I’m a highly technical person. I have a degree in aeronautics. I worked for the airlines in a highly technical regard. I’m a pilot, a flight instructor.
I moved on from aviation to Silicon Valley where I was a product engineer in the semiconductor processing equipment field, which was huge. And that was in the ’90s.
And then the dot com bust came about 2000 and my position was eliminated along with half of Silicon Valley.
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