By Vikki Watanabe—Are you looking for an additional stream of income? For myself, I am always looking for ways to create income. Don’t get me wrong, my notary and bankruptcy processing business has been very good to me. I’ve made many friends and life long business contacts.

One night I was thinking about how to get through the holidays if business slowed down. Should I take a side job in retail? I’ve done that before. You can rack up some pretty good money in a short amount of time. Not to mention the employee discounts, plus 50-75% off. Oh, but the hours. Very long hours and on your feet all night long. Not to mention, I was younger then.

I could moonlight as a bartender. Been there, done that. Again, good money in a short amount of time. But what are all those crazy drinks everyone is ordering? What happened to the good ol’ Martini, very dry with extra olives. Now that’s a drink. But again, the hours. Very long and on your feet all night. Did I mention I was younger then?

Some years back, I stumbled upon, the Society of Field Inspectors, Inc. I read all the information about Field Inspections and set it aside. I thought to myself, “might be good to sign up with them during the holidays when business is slow.” But, in reality, business never slowed down enough for me to sign up. So, I dismissed it.

Then the mortgage crisis hit and real estate tanked and an article on reminded me of SOFI, so I decided to give them a second look. I went to the website and signed up for FREE. Immediately, I started doing my internet research on field inspections because, although I signed up, I had no idea what I was suppose to do. After awhile, I must have read everything I could get my hands on. Also, SOFI was very helpful. They are the greatest people over there. They will walk you through your first inspection if you call them and ask.

Next, I had to get my name out there and let everyone know I was ready to work. I signed up with everyone and anyone. I even signed up with the companies asking for experience. What’s the worse that could happen? They could say, “thank you, but no thank you.” Or they could say, “you’re hired,” and then you better be ready to work.

You guessed it, they said “you’re hired.” Now what?…I had to get a measuring wheel (what’s a measuring wheel?), I had to learn how to measure square footage, I had to learn to take digital photos of properties, I had to learn to distinguish different building construction. Oh, and by the way, I had two days to do this. Somehow, I got through it. Thank you again so much, SOFI. I could not have done it without you.

Most Field Inspection companies will want you to email a zip code list of the area you are willing to work. Be sure and stay within a close proximity of where you live/work. You’ll need a measuring wheel (about $50.00 for a good one). Also, a clipboard, and a digital camera. All this information and much more can be found on the SOFI website.

The following is some general information about the Field Inspection business.

  • Some companies will have a Training Manual for you to download and print so you can create a binder to take on your inspection assignments.
  • Some will give you a two week lead time to complete your assignments. Unless, they’re rush jobs, then the assignment will need to be completed on that specific due date.
  • Most companies pay between $5 and $10 per page (typically an inspection is about three pages of a pre-printed form with specific questions) or $25 per assignment. There are a few companies who pay slightly higher. Remember, stay close to your area.
  • Inspections are fairly easy to complete. If you’re into details (and what Notary isn’t), this is a good fit.
  • If you live close to the city like I do, (Los Angeles), driving 10 to 15 miles takes about an hour, so expect to be in your car a lot.
  • The inspection will only take about 20 minutes. Once you have the information and your photos, you log onto your laptop and fill in the Field Service Inspection report, upload your pictures and submit your report. One hour tops. If you carry your laptop in your car and have DSL connection, you can do your assignment and submit it onsite.
  • You could make approximately $500-$700 a week if all you’re doing is inspections. It helps if you have a few assignments in the same area. This way, you can complete two or three in an hour.

I love doing inspections because I get to see the inside of some great buildings and I have a routine of doing inspections during the day and inputting them into the system in the evening so it suits my schedule.

I hope this information has been of some help to you. I haven’t given you all the information you need to go out and start working, but I hope it gives you some insight into a business that might be of some interest to you. My best advice would be to go to the SOFI website like I did. And do your homework.