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Author Topic: Insurance Home Inspectors  (Read 1234 times)

Buckeye4692002

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Insurance Home Inspectors
« on: January 11, 2017, 02:11:33 PM »
Hello all,

My company completes residential home inspections for insurance companies.  Most inspections consist of measuring the outside of the home, taking about 10 pictures and filling out a form with the information.  There are more involved inspections (inside, high value homes etc.), but the inspector can choose.  There is a great deal flexibility in the amount of work, location and timing.

We contract with independent contractors and pay them based (mainly) on the # of homes they inspect.  Since the inspectors are contractors, there are no benefits, we do not pay mileage, nor provide an office or equipment.  This would just be for extra money while on the road.  However, most independent contractors write off their mileage, equipment and a portion of their home as a office (talk to your tax adviser). 

We have inspections all over the nation, and often have trouble finding inspectors in areas where I WANT to take my RV (rural, coastal & mountain).  My questions are these:

Is a position like I've explained of interest to those of you full-timers?
Would you plan or adjust your route to go where there were inspections available?

I'm just exploring the idea of promoting the opportunity to RVers.  If you have general thoughts (good or bad), might be interested, or think other information would be valuable (if so, what) please let me know.

As always I appreciate everyone's ideas an input!

Thanks,
J
2009 Damon Daybreak 3370

kdbgoat

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Re: Insurance Home Inspectors
« Reply #1 on: January 11, 2017, 05:24:13 PM »
As a traveling full timer working like that could potentially become a multi state tax nightmare. For someone staying in one area for a while, it may work out well. I assume one gets a 1099 at tax time.
I know you believe you understand what you think I said,
But I am not sure you realize what you heard is not what I meant


2016 Leprechaun 319DS

Buckeye4692002

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Re: Insurance Home Inspectors
« Reply #2 on: January 12, 2017, 08:06:10 AM »
Thanks for your feedback!

You are correct it would be 1099.

Could you elaborate on what would make it a potential nightmare?
2009 Damon Daybreak 3370

Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: Insurance Home Inspectors
« Reply #3 on: January 12, 2017, 09:02:13 AM »
RVers generally cannot meet the IRS rules for deducting the cost of a home office. The IRS requires that the space be 100% dedicated to the office and that's nigh impossible in an RV. Mileage and direct expenses travel to a job site are a different animal and probably OK. As you say, "talk to a tax advisor".

State & local income taxes can get really complex for an itinerant worker. Doing the odd contract job here and there is probably below the tax radar anyway, but if one did several jobs in a given state it might become visible. As a contractor receiving a 1099, it's solely the responsibility of the recipient to report the income.

We no longer do any workkamping jobs, but some questions I would have are:

1. What training is required and how do I get it?
2. Are there time constraints on the inspections, e.g. do I have to get it done within 10 days of accepting the assignment. I assume I can't just say I'll do it "the next time I get in that area".
3. Where and how do I learn about available assignments? Can it all be done online?
Gary
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Gary Brinck
Summers: Black Mountain, NC
Home: Ocala National Forest, FL

kdbgoat

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Re: Insurance Home Inspectors
« Reply #4 on: January 12, 2017, 09:10:19 AM »
Could you elaborate on what would make it a potential nightmare?

Assuming a traveling full timer doing these inspections in multiple states, one would have to file in each state they in which they worked. Gets expensive and complicated. If the people doing the inspections are settled in one area for a while and only worked in one or two ststes for a while, it wouldn't be too bad.
I know you believe you understand what you think I said,
But I am not sure you realize what you heard is not what I meant


2016 Leprechaun 319DS

markbarendt

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Re: Insurance Home Inspectors
« Reply #5 on: January 12, 2017, 09:32:36 AM »
I don't believe it is complex at all with regard to taxes, for a business it is not about where of the work is done, it's about where the business is domiciled so there is nothing extra for the business to deal with other than 1 more 1099.

For wage earner (W2 employee) yes it could be quite complicated getting W-2s in various states.

The potential for complication I see comes in licensing that might be required for working in a specific jurisdiction. For example if home inspection is regulated in a certain jurisdiction you would have to get the appropriate permit or license to work in that jurisdiction. I imagine that that is not that big problem.

The problem with 1099 work is that casual contractors, IME, tend to underprice their work by not including enough to cover taxes and benefits and expenses. They end up netting considerably less than what they expected to earn.
« Last Edit: January 12, 2017, 09:34:13 AM by markbarendt »

markbarendt

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Re: Insurance Home Inspectors
« Reply #6 on: January 12, 2017, 10:02:35 AM »
To be clear for those that don't regularly get 1099's, the way I think of a 1099 is as a report of payment for services between contractor and contractee. It is not a report of wages paid, it's a report of a transfer of money in exchange for a product.

Think of it like a receipt or invoice. When you buy most anything you get (or can get) a receipt. In the case of a 1099 if I pay a contractor (a person) to do a contract job for my business, to be able to deduct that as a business expense I have to be able to prove to the IRS that I spent that money. A 1099 is the form used to report that exchange to the IRS and the contractor I paid gets a copy.

Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: Insurance Home Inspectors
« Reply #7 on: January 12, 2017, 12:46:17 PM »
I don't think it is that simple, Mark. The "business" in this case is a personal services contractor and the "business" typically moves around from state to state. Most states consider money earned in that state to be taxable there, and some consider a pro-rata share of all income to be taxable if u worked as little as one day in that state. Maybe the inspector could incorporate himself and become his own employee so that the business was somebody other than himself, but individuals receiving 1099's as a "day laborer" have to deal with personal taxes, not business. The good news is that states typically do not receive notification of 1099 income.
Gary
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Gary Brinck
Summers: Black Mountain, NC
Home: Ocala National Forest, FL

kdbgoat

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Re: Insurance Home Inspectors
« Reply #8 on: January 12, 2017, 01:02:56 PM »
1099's are reported to Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia. A few guys I used to work with worked under 1099's and they had to file separate taxes in Maryland and Virginia along with Delaware, their state of residence.
I know you believe you understand what you think I said,
But I am not sure you realize what you heard is not what I meant


2016 Leprechaun 319DS

Buckeye4692002

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Re: Insurance Home Inspectors
« Reply #9 on: January 12, 2017, 05:02:15 PM »
Thank you for the input / ideas!

I was able to confirm (but, again I'm not a tax adviser) that the contracts are with my company and not the individual contractor.  The payment is distributed from my company to the contractor based on their residential location ("home" address).  As a result the contractor would file taxes based on their state of residence independent of where the work is done.
If the contractor was signing individual contracts in separate states the laws governing those states would apply.  So, it's similar to an insurance agent who writes policies in multiple states and then is paid (1099) by the insurance company.  It is not like a general contractor building homes in multiple states who signs a contract with the home owner in the state where the home will be completed.

Regarding the other questions:
1. What training is required and how do I get it? - There is a 4 hr. webinar, then the inspector completes 5 test cases which are reviewed 1-1 (webinar) with a trainer.  Assuming there aren't a lot of issues that's it.  There is an occasional skill's update (1 hr per quarter @ most).

2. Are there time constraints on the inspections, e.g. do I have to get it done within 10 days of accepting the assignment. I assume I can't just say I'll do it "the next time I get in that area". - Yes there are time limits.  However, since the inspector isn't obligated to do anything (s)he could only take the cases in the area they wanted where they felt confident they'd be able to complete them.

3a. Where and how do I learn about available assignments?  There is a que from which the inspections are assigned.  You could identify a location and # you'd be willing to inspect.  The location & number could change as you moved.
3b. Can it all be done online? Yes with the exception of a few phone calls.
2009 Damon Daybreak 3370

Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: Insurance Home Inspectors
« Reply #10 on: January 13, 2017, 09:26:12 AM »
Quote
I was able to confirm (but, again I'm not a tax adviser) that the contracts are with my company and not the individual contractor.  The payment is distributed from my company to the contractor based on their residential location ("home" address).  As a result the contractor would file taxes based on their state of residence independent of where the work is done.

Good think you aren't a tax advisor! States like CT and NY that have individual income taxes would soon have your clients in tax court. If the work is performed in those states, the income derived from that work is taxable there. Regardless of where the 1099 or W2 is sent. However, there is almost no chance they would ever learn that such brief work was done in their state, so it's moot.
« Last Edit: January 13, 2017, 09:29:58 AM by Gary [ RVer Emeritus] »
Gary
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Gary Brinck
Summers: Black Mountain, NC
Home: Ocala National Forest, FL

Vita Vivet

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Re: Insurance Home Inspectors
« Reply #11 on: March 25, 2017, 02:24:31 PM »
I read your original post as “we are thinking about doing this”.  Have you decided to give it a try? Is more info available?

prfcdoc

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Re: Insurance Home Inspectors
« Reply #12 on: March 25, 2017, 06:38:57 PM »
Sounds interesting. Don't know if it would be worth it without knowing the remuneration. Something that you can't possibly tell, because you don't know the answer, is how much opportunity there would be for jobs. There are simply too many variables.
Bob
Bob & Kathy
Saving and researching for our future extended road trip.
2017 F350, Diesel
5th wheel TBD

 

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