Independence, Dependence, Dependents
Americans value our independence as much, if not more, than any other nation on Earth. We at ASHI would like to share in the celebration of American independence.
With that in mind, here are some of my observations.
The July issue of the Reporter revolves around independence. So I thought it appropriate to talk a little bit about independent home inspectors, having been one for over 25 years. While being an independent home inspector is not for everyone, looking back at it, I wouldn’t have had it any other way.
Being an independent home inspector gives you the freedom:
• to choose when to schedule inspections
• to decline inspections for any reason
• to choose how to perform the inspections (as long as the ASHI Standard of Practice
• to decide what fees to charge
• to determine when to go on vacation
• to decide when to retire
The price to pay for that independence is pretty formidable, however:
• no work, no pay
• no paid vacations
• no paid holidays
• no sick days
• no retirement contributions from anyone else
• no one to blame if you mess up….your neck is on the line if/when you screw up
But, in my opinion, the freedom far outweighs the disadvantages associated with being a sole proprietor.
ASHI President Bill Loden, The ASHI School Director Jack McGraw and I attended the National Healthy Homes Conference in Nashville May 27 to May 30 in Nashville. We met with a number of officials from Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Rebuilding Together, Center for Disease Control (CDC), National Environmental Health Association and other government and not-for-profit organizations. ASHI was invited to attend because of our commitment to the home inspection profession. These officials told us how pleased they were that we attended. Bill and I also have a follow up invitation to meet with HUD in Washington D.C. Watch for the outcome of that meeting in next month’s Reporter.
At this conference I learned that many less fortunate Americans need the services these organizations provide. Low income seniors and home owners are living in housing stock that is becoming increasingly more costly to maintain and/or unhealthy. Communities are being pinched by rising costs of services provided to all citizens while at the same time losing tax base. The goal of the conference was to find effective and sustainable solutions to these threats. While that’s a laudable goal, there are no easy ways to correct these problems.
We at ASHI, however, have a couple of opportunities to help these folks. The first is to volunteer with local or national groups such as Rebuilding Together or Habitat for Humanity. Our knowledge of houses is welcomed by these organizations. Our unique abilities can assist in supervising well meaning, but mechanically challenged volunteers. Next month’s Reporter will have an article about ASHI staff that is helping Habitat with several projects. These folks have a dependence on good Samaritans like us.
This leads me to the final word in the title of this story. We need to earn a livelihood for our dependents. If we are going to retain our independence we have to provide for our families whose dependence rests with us. With that in mind, another group we have been working with is the National Center for Healthy Housing. With ASHI input, NCHH has developed the National Healthy Housing Standard. This standard may be found at www.nchh.org/. ASHI will be talking about this Standard much more in the coming months, because we think it is a way our members can perform a good service as well as earn ancillary income.
In my opinion, one of the most enduring rewards of being an American is the opportunity to forge our own way, while helping the less fortunate. And it’s possible because of the sacrifices our predecessors made over the past 240 years.