I just wanted to add some additional information for potential clients concerning my inspection business. This is to assist them in making an informed decision when choosing an inspector. You are free to call or e mail with questions or concerns at your convenience.
There are some manufacturers I have chosen to stop doing business with directly. The reasons vary, but to just make this generic without naming any specifically, let me address the reasons why.
Pricing or Slow Payment
There are a select group of manufacturers who do not want to pay what I consider a fair price for my time or expect more than most for the price they are willing to pay. For those manufacturers, it was merely a business decision. I can’t call them and tell them what I want to buy for flooring from them and then tell them what I am willing to pay for it; business does not work that way. I am independent which means I am not their employee. I provide a service and I decide what the cost of my services are, not the customer.
Some manufacturers basically shop for price. In other words, they try to pit inspectors against the other to get their business. That is fine for those inspectors that desperate for the work; I am not one of those. I own two houses and both are paid for. All of my vehicles are paid for. I own everything I have free and clear. Other than insurance, food, utilities and expenses we will all pay as long as we live, my overhead is more directed at my education and certification costs and tools I buy and maintain.
I may offer manufacturers a discounted rate based on volume of work I get and a relationship built over time. I may do the same for some distributors, builders, installers, or retailers who prefer to use my services directly and send me work on a regular basis.
Another concern is timeliness of payment. Some manufacturers try to use the vendors as their bank or creditor and take more than a reasonable amount of time to pay. I choose not to do work for those manufacturers and if they really want my services, the pricing will reflect the delay in payment.
There are some manufacturers who are showing signs of possibly going out of business or being acquired. I tend to keep my ears and eyes open in the flooring industry to avoid becoming a statistic in the event of their demise. In nearing 20 years, I have had two vendors who went under owing me money, but was able to minimize my losses by keeping my exposure to a minimum.
Some Companies We Choose Not to do Work Directly With
There are some manufacturers I have chosen to stop doing work directly for; not all for the same reasons. Any manufacturer who expects the inspector to find in their favor if they are hiring/paying them are not likely ones I will work with. Some choose to do their bidding (aka dirty work) via 3rd party inspection services.
As stated on another page on this site, my integrity is not for sale. If you want someone to find in your favor when your product has issues, then I guess I can’t be the inspector you will call. I would not lie or intentionally mislead anyone, even if they offered $1 Million dollars. Not that a million dollars is not a lot of money; it is for most, including me. I raised two daughters and helping raise two granddaughters. It would be hard for me to tell/teach them to do the right thing no matter what, but then I do not live by the same principles I teach them.
Sadly, there are companies where integrity is secondary over profits. There are inspectors who have chosen to sell their integrity to get this work. That is their choice to make, but Karma has a way of coming back to bite one in the end. If an inspector is willing to lie or falsify findings or write a report devoid of honesty and integrity, they will not likely find themselves being hired to represent someone as an expert witness. Attorneys have ways of finding those inspectors out and once they are exposed, bad news travels quickly in the legal realm.
Those inspectors also need to rethink their business model. If you openly mislead, lie or falsify findings or a report for a manufacturer, you have just shown them you lack integrity. Do not fool yourself into thinking they like you because you side with them. If one went to legal action and a court assigned a hefty judgment against them, do not think they will not throw that inspector under the bus costing them thousands of dollars in legal fees and damages. Jesus told Peter when he was trying to defend him against the Roman guards (and for the right reasons, but not according to God’s plans) that those who live by the sword might just die by the sword.
Can I hire you as my inspector, even if you do not do work for them directly?
Short Answer: Absolutely. As long as an inspector is certified and in good standing with their certifying bodies, you can hire any qualified inspector you choose. If they tell you otherwise, let them know you will consult your attorney, state and federal Attorney General offices, and the Federal Trade Commission. Unless there is a valid legal or ethical issue, any qualified flooring inspector can be hired by an interested party.
What if a Manufacturer, Supplier, or Distributor say they will not accept a report from that inspector
Again, you do or did not dictate to those parties who they can or can’t hire/send to do an inspection on their behalf. They can hire any qualified inspector of their choosing. In return, you have the same rights. If they say they do not use or hire an inspector, tell them that is their choice. YOU have the legal right to choose any qualified inspector of your choosing and if they refuse to accept the report, you have grounds for federal legal action under the restriction of free trade rules. You may have to get your attorney involved, but you have the right to hire any qualified flooring inspector. I highly doubt they want to tread down that path.
Now, that said, they may not agree with the report and that is fine. They can hire another inspector to get another assessment, but you have the same rights and can do the same. Eventually, there is going to be a consensus where the findings agree and they can’t just walk away and deny a valid claim. In court, large companies tend not to fare well against consumers unless it is cut and dry. It is less costly for them to give a floor away than they can hire legal representation for in most residential claims.
Being more than 2/3 of my work is going behind another inspector, in most cases, I will send samples to an independent lab to support my findings. I can’t guarantee the lab test results and sometimes, the results show the product meets minimum industry standards and I have to report that, even though you hired/paid me. If there are no uninstalled samples to send, I will contact the lab and ensure we can remove some of the installed floor and still qualify under ASTM testing standards. Again, if the sample passes, the consumer will have signed off on accepting this risk and getting the flooring replaced in that area. Typically we go to an unused or minimally used closet because this is where we can get something as close to uninstalled regardless.
I will NOT lie or purposely fault another party, even if one of these parties and myself do not do business directly with the other any longer. As I have said since I got into this business; I have never intentionally or willfully miscalled an inspection. That does not mean every one of my reports is always right. I am fallible since I am human and sometimes, there is no viable way to reach a definitive conclusion or it may take destructive testing to get to the answer. But my goal in every inspection is to be impartial, unbiased, and ethical and write reports I can support with factual evidence gathered.
3rd Party Inspection Services
I will not name any of these specifically. My business model has changed and I have chosen to stop doing work with 3rd party inspection services for a variety of reasons. One reason is two have went under collecting money for inspections performed and never paid the inspectors. Whether it was misuse of company funds or whatever the reason they went under, it is not worth the risk to me to do business with services any longer.
There are some services out there who willfully secure vendors by assuring them every inspection will go in their favor. There may be times there are blatant defects they can’t run away from and it could be limited to small areas where repairs can be done. In those cases, they may consult with their client and agree to let one go against them here or there.
There are some services who have openly admitted they will change an inspector’s report; sometimes without their approval or knowledge. That is criminal fraud and the penalties for this are too severe to risk. One service was sued by one of their vendors and forced to pay a large amount of damages over this.
Another service got caught on the stand in a court case with a fraudulent report. They had changed their copy sent to their vendor and the inspector had no knowledge of this, The attorney subpoenaed the inspector and his copy of the report and once submitted into evidence, it was found out and cost their client a case. Not sure if they got sued or fined or what happened, but courts do not take fraud or lying lightly.
Another reason I stopped doing work for services is it weakens my independent status as an inspector. The old adage “too many cooks in the kitchen spoils the broth” or too many involved parties clouds the waters for maintaining impartiality or an unbiased position.
There are a number of inspectors who willingly take this work. Let them have it. It pays less (if they get paid) and it weakens their ability to stand as an expert witness. Most of those inspectors will not even accept work if they think there is a chance it may go to litigation mediation, or arbitration. Their integrity will be called into question and it is too easy for a good attorney who did their homework to find them out and call them out.
Secondly, these are some of the very sources or re-inspections a few of us have marketed our services for. We know which services are shady or questionable and for sure know which inspectors are willing to lie or misrepresent facts for the client. It just opened up a niche market for myself and a few other inspectors not willing to sell our integrity for work or money.
I have a rule I have lived by for years as a consumer, manager, and business owner. Lie to me and it is over. Break my trust and I can no longer do business with you. I shoot straight with my customers and expect no less from them. That said, if you hire me as your inspector, be truthful with me. If you lie to me, it is time to sever ties and you WILL pay for my time/services. I can’t knowingly in good conscience represent someone trying to mislead me, shade the truth or hide facts to get me to write something untruthful or incorrect. I do not have a 3 strikes you are out rule for lying or stealing. It is one strike and we are done and I am leaving. You can find another inspector to take it from there, but you WILL pay me for my time and services regardless.
Credit or Debit Cards
There are reasons I have chosen not to take credit or debit cards for payment. One is the processing fees. Even using cheaper 3rd party vendors like Square or PayPal, there are inherent costs and limited protections for the party accepting those forms of payment. Another reason is people can place a dispute on a charge tying up the funds for up to 60 days. Even if the dispute is found in the favor of the charging party, this is additional time delay for payment and possibly not being able to recover all of the fees associated with the dispute. I know for some, check or cash may seem inconvenient, but after nearly 20 years running two different businesses, this has proven to work for me. Thank you for your understanding my position here.