Best Vehicles for a Home Inspector
May 16, 2018 |
The first decision to make in selecting a vehicle for a home inspection business is to consciously decide to treat the purchase like a business decision, not a personal one. Forget emotion; focus on needs, budgets, and available incentives as you select the ideal vehicle to build your business.
A business vehicle has to perform triple duty: It carries you safely, it advertises your business, and it holds all your equipment. Take each aspect and consider the requirements you have for your vehicle.
- You: Consider your height and weight, average drive time, and how you will treat the front seat area; will it hold your lunch, a laptop, your clipboard and a change of clothes? Or will you leave it empty for a professional appearance?
- Advertising: Will you have the vehicle covered in custom graphics, or depend on two magnetic door signs? Do you want a simple, clean, professional look or a real eye-catcher with colors and graphics everywhere?
- Equipment: Will you be folding up your Little Giant ladder or strapping it to roof brackets? Will you have enough room to carry your equipment in the back, safely and neatly
Terrain and Environment
Some home inspectors cruise nothing but paved roads. Others, in more rural areas, have to navigate unpaved roads and gravel driveways. Will you be hauling a trailer? How many miles a day do you anticipate driving? What kind of weather does your area endure? Could winter driving be an issue? Consider things like:
- High clearance
- All-wheel drive
- Towing capacity
- Onboard navigation system
- Fuel efficiency
Some people are small-car folks, while other home inspectors prefer the prestige of arriving in a purpose-built heavy-duty truck. Your personal level of comfort matters, because no matter the vehicle you select, you will be spending many hours behind the wheel.
Choose an interior that is comfortable and durable, that cleans easily and tolerates a little dust and dirt from your work clothes. Make certain you can get in and out of the vehicle easily, whether you are a 6′ 2″ man climbing out of a Mini Cooper or a 5′ 3″ woman clambering down from a Ford F-150 pickup truck.
For fledgling home inspectors, learning about home inspection vehicles can start by visiting the many online forums and industry websites specifically built for home inspection professionals. Sites like Inspectionnews.net and Nachi.org are valuable repositories of information.
New or Nearly New?
Consider the drop in value of a new vehicle, and consider if you can trust the reliability of a nearly new commercial-duty truck for your home inspection business. Your budget, credit history, and local financing may also play a role in your decision.
Some manufacturers like Kenworth and Peterbilt, says InterNACHI, work with commercial lenders to offer attractive loan rates for budding businesses such as yours.
Scion xB — Though discontinued in 2018, it is a roomy, compact and attractive hauler.
Ram 1500 — A pickup available with gas or diesel engines and a spacious bed.
Chevy Silverado 3500 — A honkin’ big hauler available with a 350-horsepower engine and an eight-speed transmission.
Jeep Wrangler Unlimited — High ground clearance, extremely popular and a good professional-looking vehicle.
Kia Soul EV — Go green for great mileage, so long as you use a folding ladder, by tapping electrical power instead of gas.
Toyota Sienna — Comfort, durability and solid construction continue to make this a popular minivan for professionals who need plenty of room.
Do not overlook the tax consequences of buying a work vehicle. The Section 179 deduction allows you to write off the full cost of an investment, like a work truck, in your first year. That is a huge benefit and may help you to opt for something more solid (but higher priced) than what you thought you could afford.