Answers to Your Most-Asked Questions About Field Inspections

Questions For New Field Inspectors

Answers to Your Questions

1. What is a field inspector?
A field inspector is someone who is hired to do in-person inspections of homes, apartments and other real estate. Independent field inspectors also do collateral inspections of equipment, such as construction equipment or medical equipment that has been leased. Field inspections are done to check the condition of property or equipment for the lender such as a bank or mortgage company. Lenders prefer to “out-source” the inspections to local independent field inspectors because it costs less than having full-time employees in all areas.

2. What skills are needed?
Most inspections require that you fill out a simple company-supplied form and send in at least one digital photo. So if you can send an e-mail and use a basic digital camera, you’ll do fine. The companies that order field inspections are used to working with “newbies”, so you’ll have help if you need it to complete a project.

3. How much does it cost to become a field inspector?
Most of us already have the three essential tools needed by field inspectors: a reliable vehicle to the inspection locations, a cell phone and a computer with an internet connection. You’ll also want a printer, a measuring tape or wheel, and a basic digital camera.

4. How much do field inspections pay?
The reputable national companies that hire local field inspectors pay as little as $15 for a simple “drive-by” inspection, which takes up to 10 minutes, up to several hundred dollars for an inspection of a larger commercial property.

If you can spare three hours a day, here’s how much you could make:

  • 2 property inspections (at $20 each) per hour x 3 hours = $120.
  • $120 per day x 5 days = $600 per week.

Some field inspectors make more, some less. It’s up to you. If you are looking for full-time income, you can do that field inspections, working 5-8 hours per day, and earning an above-average income.

5. How do I get paid?
Field inspection companies will pay you by check or by direct deposit to your bank account, which is faster. Most companies pay every 30 days.

6. How far do I need to travel?
When you sign up with the national field inspection companies, you list the towns, counties and zip codes where you want to work. Remember, the larger the area you list, the more work you’ll get.

7. Do I need any special training to do field inspections?
You’ll need a driver’s license, of course, but most companies don’t require any specialized licenses or training. Most inspections are quite simple and require only that you fill out a simple checklist and take a few digital photos. The national companies that hire local field inspectors for specific jobs will always tell you exactly what they need. Many of the companies have free online training to help you learn how to do the more detailed inspections.

Most inspections require that you fill out a simple company-supplied form and send in at least one digital photo. So if you can send an e-mail and use a basic digital camera, you’ll do fine. The companies that order field inspections are used to working with “newbies”, so you’ll have help if you need it to complete a project.

8. How do I find field inspection jobs?
Register with the national field inspection companies. They will put you, and the zip codes you want to work in, into their database and contact you when a field inspection is requested in that zip code.

Our guide, Drive By Profits includes a list of over 60 national field inspection firms looking for field reps. In the guide, you’ll learn the right way to sign up with these firms to get started fast. Because these are national firms, there are no “face-to-face” interviews either. Also keep in mind – it costs nothing to sign up with any of the companies listed in the guide.

9. How has the recession affected the field inspection business?
The huge increase in foreclosures and bankruptcies has actually created a need for many more field inspectors to handle the increased workload in mortgage and delinquency inspections. In addition, federal regulations require that lenders do regular inspections of foreclosed homes to insure the home is being maintained to preserve property values. Those inspections, usually once a month, have meant a lot more profitable work for local field inspectors.

10. How have high fuel prices affected the field inspection business?
High fuel prices have made more field inspectors get serious about saving fuel by organizing their jobs to reduce driving, using a GPS in their car to make finding properties easier, and switching to more fuel-efficient vehicles when possible. For example, switching from a vehicle that gets 20 mpg to a hybrid, like a Toyota Prius, that gets 50 mpg can result in annual savings of $4,000 or more. Combine that with the 55 cent per mile IRS mileage deduction, and it’s enough to cover the cost of buying a new Prius!

11. I can only work part-time. Is that okay?
Yes, when you sign up with the national field inspection companies they will send you an email whenever a new inspection job is required in the zip code you’ve signed up for. You can take only the jobs you have time to do, and simply not accept any more than you can handle with your schedule.

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