Let’s start with something obvious: 2020 changed everything.
The pandemic left no one’s life untouched — and no one’s business, either. For home inspectors, the sudden lockdown meant at least a few months of terror as you scrambled to figure out if you could safely do an inspection and how to manage it. If your business was on pause, you had to navigate PPP loans, Pandemic Unemployment, and plenty of sleepless nights.
But now that a year has passed, it’s time to reassess. The housing market is heating up — and in some markets, never really suffered during the past year, as people with means sought to get more elbow room for themselves. But increased demand doesn’t necessarily mean increased stock, so the amount of inspections you’ll book could still lag, depending on local conditions.
One area that’s experiencing a major boom right now, no matter where you’re located is RV sales. You might recall hearing about people renting and buying RVs as a way to travel safely during the pandemic, and industry experts project that demand will continue to grow as lockdown restrictions lift. By the end of 2020, RV sales were up 18% — and that’s including the spring months when showrooms were completely shut down.
And that’s just the statistics for brand new RVs. The used RV market is also booming, and that means a steady demand for RV inspections. After all, a full motorhome can cost anywhere between $100,000 and $300,000, so it’s well worth it for buyers to protect this investment in exactly the same way they would a traditional house.
If you haven’t already considered becoming an RV inspector, here’s why you might start to focus on RV inspection services ASAP:
- RVing is increasing in popularity, especially since the pandemic.
- RV buyers are getting younger, which signals a long-term boost to this market.
- RV inspection is an emerging business, so it’s smart to establish yourself now.
- You likely already have many of the skills to do the job!
4 steps to becoming an RV inspector
Now that you know why it’s a great idea to become an RV inspector, it’s time to take a look at the nuts and bolts of how to get it done. RV inspection is a relatively new field, so don’t worry if you feel like the only person in your area looking to launch this service. You won’t be alone for long, and it’s always better to be a trailblazer than a follower.
Follow these steps to launch your new RV inspection career:
- Decide if RV inspection is truly for you: Just as a good home inspector loves houses, a good RV inspector should love RVs. If you’ve never really given them much thought, it’s a good idea to get educated on these portable pads. Start by checking out RV Lifestyle for a sense of the culture that has sprung up around RVing, and check out an RV expo or showroom near you so you can get a feel for these vehicles in person. If you’re fascinated with little houses on wheels, then this is a club you should feel great about joining! If you feel claustrophobic each time you enter an RV, it’s not right for you. Passion — or at least an interest and willingness to learn — is key.
- Get specialized RV inspection training: An RV is different from a home because it has its own specialized systems — and obviously, safety is critical. Many of your current skills will transfer, but you’ll still need to study up on some RV specifics to do a through inspection. The gold standard is the RV inspector program offered by the National RV Training Academy (NRVTA). As of April 2021, it’s a three-week course that covers everything from fire and life safety to propane, electrical and plumbing systems and even weight knowledge — all crucial intel.
- Get certified: Because RV inspections are relatively new, no state has outlined any certification requirements or regulations — yet. Just as home inspectors have professional organizations that certify inspectors to maintain high standards, RV inspectors have the National RV Inspectors Association (NRVIA). The NRVIA offers a certification exam that is the industry’s first, and it allows you to claim the title of Certified RV Inspector to let clients know you are highly qualified.
- Join the NRVIA: NRVIA membership can help support you when you’re starting a new RV inspection business and throughout your journey. You’ll be able to network and compare notes with other RV inspectors, take advantage of continuing education opportunities, and follow the latest industry news. You can also take advantage of some marketing help, including being listed in a directory of member inspectors. Many new inspectors find these connections valuable, especially if you’re one of only a few RV inspectors in your area.
Managing and promoting your RV inspection services
Once you’ve made the leap to get the training — and possibly certification — for RV inspection, it’s time to add this in-demand new service to your business. Getting this right will take good planning and even better tools.
Create specialized RV inspection reports
Because RV inspections require you to focus on different systems and safety issues, your standard home inspection report template won’t be of much use — and trying to shoehorn RV information into a report designed for houses will look pretty unprofessional. To do the job right, you’ll want to offer a customized RV inspection report.
You can save a whole lot of time and headaches with HomeGauge inspection software and the RV inspection templates provided by the NRVIA for certified RV inspectors. HomeGauge provides a full suite of RV inspection solutions, including specialized RV reports for certified RV inspectors with customizable templates and useful features like photos, videos, and a menu of auto-centric comments to streamline report writing. This has been built with the help and guidance of the NRVIA, so certified RV inspectors won’t need to worry about missing a thing.
Update your website
You worked hard to become a certified RV inspector, so make sure your website clearly conveys crucial information about you, your business, and the services you provide. You’ll want to highlight RV inspection services, add any shiny new certification badges, and perhaps create an extra web page explaining additional RV services in detail.
If the idea of dealing with that tech gives you a migraine, it may be time to step up your game. HomeGauge Web Services can build you an incredible website that integrates all the features your clients are looking for, including online scheduling and instant access to inspection reports. Friendly, knowledgeable customer support makes managing your professional website a breeze.
Market your new services
Building and maintaining your website is crucial, but you’ll also need to actively get the word out about your new RV inspection services. To effectively promote your RV inspection services, try one or more of the following:
- Connect with local RV dealerships or service professionals just like you would with builders or real estate agents. You may be able to help each other connect to new clients.
- Create brochures or direct mailers to announce your service locally.
- Consider offering tutorials or promotional discounts to attract some attention to your RV inspections.
- Pump up your social media presence on platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to attract RV enthusiasts.
- Give Google Ads a try to target people searching for RV inspectors.
It takes some work to launch yourself as an RV inspector, but this area is filled with growth potential. Whether you want to make a go of RV inspection as your main business or as a part-time service you offer, the right training and business tools will set you up for long-term success.
Want more great advice about getting your RV inspection business off the ground? HomeGauge is here for you every step of the way. Whether you’re looking for a sharp new website or robust inspection software, we’ve got everything you need to run your RV inspection company in style.