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Single Inspector vs Multiple Inspectors

Do I hire a Single inspector or Multi inspector company?

There are a couple of ways a home inspection business can be approached or set up. There is the multiple inspector team approach and the single man inspector approach. The multiple team approach can range anywhere from a two to six-man inspection team and in some instances even more and then there is the single person inspection company. Here I will render my opinion and explain the advantages and disadvantages of the either of the two approaches and then you can make your decision on what type of inspection company you prefer to have perform your inspection service.

The Team or Multi Inspector Approach

The team approach is very popular for very large residential structures the reason is obvious because of the size of the property. If you have a home that is over 8,000 sq. ft. of living space with an extensive list of amenities like; multiple heating and cooling systems, several kitchens, outdoor living areas etc., then that is going to take a considerable amount of time to perform the inspection. For instance, let's say it would take 12 man-hours to perform such an inspection. A multiple inspection team with four inspectors would be on a property such as this for a total of 3 hours, whereas the single inspector would be on the property for 12 hours, a very long day at best. Realtors really like the team approach because they are obviously on-site for much less time and may be more prone to recommending a multiple inspection company over a one-man operation. Typically, in the team approach each individual inspector has a discipline (like HVAC or electrical) that they have been specifically trained in and or have a core knowledge in. They perform their discipline over and over every workday and may or may not see any other parts of the structure.  Typically, in the team approach each individual inspector collects and processes their data into a mobile device. At the end of the inspection that data will be uploaded to a website and then combined into one report. A proficient multi-team inspection company as they are traveling to their next inspection will have a lead inspector review the teams findings and produce the finished report.

The Single Inspector Approach

The single inspector approach works very well for small to medium size structures because we now have a single inspector performing all the disciplines whom can take all of the findings and thoughtfully combine them. In this approach the inspector not only looks at the trees but visualizes the entire forest, if you will. Typically, in the single inspector approach the inspector has been trained and/or has core knowledge in multiple disciplines such as; structures, roofing, HVAC, electrical etc. He or she will then report on their findings and make comments about the overall condition and performance of the structure. For example in the single inspector approach the inspector will inspect the attic space  and examine the heating and cooling duct work along with the insulation, he or she may observe anomalies  and or defects that have direct correlation to the heating and cooling system  that they inspected earlier (Paston Effect). Whereas, in the team approach these anomalies and or defects may not be tied together with the heating and cooling system and could become an oversight in the overall analysis of the performance of the structure. Typically, in the individual inspector approach the inspector may or may not process their data into a mobile device. If a mobile device is used  the same process as the multi-inspector firm takes place. In my case I do not use a mobile device I use a computer set up on site and write my report as I am inspecting. I have found that I can customize the verbiage in my narrative reports easily for that individual property and have a finalized inspection report that can be reviewed onsite by the client and sent prior to walking out the door of the subject property.

What Is The Best Approach?

In the team approach, it would be beneficial to learn the, age, background and core knowledge of each individual inspector and is all the data being reviewed and compiled by one lead inspector whom was on site during the inspection process. Time is of the essence, multiple inspections are being performed in one day and all the data may or may not have been reviewed. So, if time is of concern, then certainly the multiple inspector team is fast and efficient. 
If a concise, methodical analysis of the structure is of a concern, then the single man approach would be more applicable. In the single inspector approach the inspector is seeing the forest as he is inspecting each tree and will by default render an opinion on the general data collected.
So, the question still remains what is the best approach, a team or an individual inspector?  That can only be answered by the customer as to what they expect from the inspection process. We hope this article will help you in making your decision. 

Caution Something To Be Aware Of

Be aware that there are multi inspector companies out there that do not have employees but bring discipline sub contractors with them such as a roofing contractor, HVAC contractor or swimming pool contractors. These sub-contractors perform these services for the inspection company to generate leads/jobs. Always ask if ALL team members/inspectors  are employees or sub-contractors, if sub contractors you may get a biased report.


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