I have been prepping to someday become a home inspector for a bit, and even before I made the real decision, I was gathering information from professionals and such to help me run the business better. While I’m a handywoman today, it is pretty straightforward. I charge by the hour. Sometimes I make a little money if I need to buy materials on my credit card, but basically the finances of it breakdown like any employee: hours determine income. Home inspection is done on the per task basis, and while this isn’t radically different from hourly and both professions are still inside of home improvement/real estate, I just wanted to up my game.
So here I am just collecting the wisdom from friends and other professionals I’ve talked to, as well as some internet searches and actual experience.
A good friend of mine from high school gave me a little legal advice with respect to wills: Just go to Legalzoom. He said it was cheaper and just as sound. When a lawyer talks themselves out of money, I tend to listen. Will do, Seth.
Accounting & Payroll
While I wouldn’t have employees for a while, an accountant raised the issue for me that if I end up charging more than $599 for a single inspection, I might get 1099s from those homeowners on the receiving side. I have brought in various people to help me over the years and have had to dole out 1099s to them. It is a pain, but there has never been a year when there were more than, say, five. But since I know I can’t just jump from one career to the next, I will have to prioritize home inspections as they come up and I can see myself issuing more and more 1099s and maybe even w2s and possibly full-blown payroll to help bridge me through the times when I have a good amount of work for both businesses.
A friend of mine who is an accountant for Deloitte, mentioned that there is software that helps file these that is cheaper than turbotax. I did a little searching and had her give me the thumbs up on AMS:
an accounting and payroll software company. There are others, I’m sure. And not saying this one is the only one or the best, but this is just the one that came back from my friend as good and cheap for small business owners and their payroll needs.
This same friend mentioned Expensify. I have not yet had a chance to look at it, but she said that I can just scan receipts, and it will organize and file them for me. My actual accountant still says I need to keep the hard copy receipts, but I just toss them in a manila folder for the unlikely event that I get audited. I plan on using this for my handywoman stuff, soon as I get a chance. I’ll update here on how it works.
I do not have the answer here yet, but I am thinking about it pretty seriously. I need a truck for both my current job and my future profession. It’s just easier to have every tool in the bag with me and not have to leave again to get more stuff. But I have been thinking lately about how many jobs I have that are multiple days on site. Say I’m working a toilet leak, which 7 time out of 10 becomes ripping up flooring and subflooring and building everything back again. It’s not a straight 3 days, but it’s multiple trips. I have been thinking that if I can leave the necessary tools there when I know I’m coming back, then on later trips, I can drive a Volt or Prius. I don’t have one. I’m just saying.
Anyway, starting to see current job with fresh, fuel-efficient eyes, and looking ahead to how I can crack what is likely to be traveling all over the place with inspections. Something I have picked up here from multiple people in DC, is buying a Volt or Prius as they are coming off of 3-year leases. The cars are usually in phenomenal shape and are typically bought by people explicitly for work travel where they have to put on some miles in a couple years. A friend of mine did that in Oklahoma with a 2014 Chevy Volt and he has really liked the car, the mileage and the decision. I still need to figure out how to convert it to carry a lot of home inspection and handywoman tools, but I think it can be done.