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Setting up business as a licenced home inspector in British Columbia

Starting up a business as a licenced home inspector is an exciting new chapter but can also be a daunting undertaking full of risks and uncertainty. Some ventures are more so than others, requiring a lot of speculating and projection, but with home inspection you have a fair amount of security thanks to the continued growth in the real estate market.

Being a home inspector can be a very rewarding career path, where you get to help prospective home owners ensure they’re making informed and prudent decisions. Home inspection is often a natural jump for those who work in real estate or construction, but you don’t need to have experience in any related field to get started in this industry.

If you think this career path might be right for you and want to know how to set up your own business as a licenced home inspector then read on to find out what you need to know.

What do you need to start a home inspection business in BC?

There are a few steps you’ll need to take before you can get your new business up and running. These steps don’t just require that you get a business licence and register your new business, they also require that you complete home inspection training.

Anyone who wants to start a career as a home inspector in British Columbia needs to be licenced. You can start your journey towards getting a home inspectors’ licence by completing a home inspection course and passing a home inspectors’ exam. There are a number of options available to you here, including the Canadian home inspection examination at the Canadian Home Inspectors Association in BC (HIABC) and the associate level examination at the Canadian National Association of Certified Home Inspectors (CanNACHI).

After which, you’ll need to complete at least 50 hours of home inspection with a certified trainer and conduct a final peer review inspection with an approved evaluator in order to receive your letter of recommendation. These are not provided as part of the course and should be arranged separately. 

Before you can get licenced, you will have to obtain Commercial General Liability Insurance and Errors & Omissions Insurance. Finally, you’ll be able to submit all of the aforementioned documents as part of your application for a home inspectors’ licence. You may also have to complete a criminal record check as part of your licencing application.

Then you can focus on setting up your business. In order to get your business up and started, you’ll have to apply for a business name and register as a new business at OneStop Business Registry (if it’s a sole proprietorship or partnership) or at B.C. Corporate online (if it’s an incorporation). 

Home Inspection Training

In order to get your licence, you’ll need to enroll in home inspection courses like the ones offered at Ashton College, and complete the coursework. Courses should cover different aspects of real estate, such as electrical, heating, plumbing, exterior, roofing, and more. All in all, you can expect to spend around 250 hours or more to complete the various parts of a home inspection course, including the practical part.

A number of post secondary institutions across Canada offer home inspection courses, but make sure you complete at least 150 hours of training in order to comply with Consumer Protection BC requirements. This will prepare you for your exam as well as provide the requisite knowledge and skills that every successful home inspector needs.

As part of home inspection training, prospective specialists will not only learn technical skills that will help them complete an effective residential building assessment, but also teach them how to properly write up reports. When choosing a course, make sure to look at how the training is offered (in class or online) to make sure it corresponds with your schedule.

How much does it cost to set up a licenced home inspector business

Thankfully, setting up a home inspection business doesn’t incur a lot of upfront costs. There’s the home inspection course and fees associated with registering a business name and obtaining licencing. But the other costs will largely depend on your setup.

A vehicle is required to get to home inspections, preferrably one that can carry an extension ladder, and a phone and computer is required to be able to communicate with clients and set up inspections. Depending on your situation, these might be readily available. On top of that, you will need a variety of tools to help you on the job. These can include inexpensive equipment like stationery, ladders, a flashlight, safety goggles, and a tape measure but may also include more costly items like a moisture meter, voltage testers, and a water pressure gauge. You might want to add more tools down the line in order to expand your services to your clients, which will naturally incur extra costs.

A licenced home inspector can budget around $10 000 in startup costs to set up their business in British Columbia.

Need for home inspections are on the rise

Purchasing a house is a big investment, and no one wants to make a costly mistake or risk their safety when choosing their new home. People will always need homes and with the real estate market doing so well, there’s ample opportunity for those who want to build a career in home inspections. 

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