“Plan your work and work your plan”. Having a good plan from the start will help guide you through each stage of starting your business. This is an area where you can get as detailed as you want. If you’re a very detail-oriented person you may want to write up a Traditional Business Plan. For a simpler option, you can go with a Lean Startup Plan. This plan will be less detailed, but you can refine and add to it as your business grows.
Home Inspector License
Washington state requires attendance of the 120 hour Fundamentals of Home Inspection class, 40 hours of field training, and a passing score of the 2 part exam before you can apply for a Home Inspector license. Find out more detail on this process on our previous blog ‘Become a Home Inspector in 6 steps’.
Deciding on the formation of your new business should not be taken lightly. There are several options in this area that range from Sole Proprietorship, LLC, or Corporation types. Do your research and arrange to meet with an attorney or CPA that specializes in this area. Depending on the type of business you decide to form you may need to apply for an EIN with the IRS. This is a pretty simple, quick process you can complete on the IRS’s website. If you decide on an LLC, Partnership, or Corporation you will also need to file with the Washington Secretary of State.
Whether you’re operating your business from your home or a commercial location, you will need to apply for a business license. This process can take anywhere from 10 days to 3 weeks, but until you receive the license you can’t begin to conduct any business.
Business Bank Account
Separating your business finances from your personal finances is a very important step that should not be skipped. The bank will need to see your business license or your articles of formation from the Secretary of State, and your EIN if you have one. Having a business bank account has many benefits that you should not overlook.
As a business owner you are responsible for reporting your income, and proving your business expenses. Keeping track of the money coming in and out of your business can quickly get out of hand. If you decide to not hire a bookkeeper from the beginning, then decide on a simple process that you can maintain for when you need to tally up your income and expenses. Yes…you will NEED to do this eventually and having that separate bank account will be helpful in this process.
Although having business insurance to operate a home inspection business in Washington state is not required, I wouldn’t operate my business without a General Liability Policy, and Errors & Omissions insurance.
Purchase a comfortable tool bag and your basic tools. This can include a flashlight, camera, ladder, crawl suite, boot covers, tape measure, small level, screwdriver, voltage tester, moisture meter, outlet tester, water pressure gauge, infrared thermometer, and a head lamp. You can add more tools as your business grows.
The right home inspection software will help keep your business organized and profitable. There are many different home inspection softwares available that offer not just report writing capabilities, but scheduling and payment processing.
Get a logo and decide on company colors to create a brand for your company. Have professional business cards printed and possibly brochures and company shirts and hats if desired. Get a website by hiring a professional company, or build one yourself. There are many do it yourself options that can help keep your advertising expenses low.