American Welding Society Forum
I was wondering if anyone stepped out and started there own small inspection business... My idea is to supplement my income when outages aren't going on and having a small business to fall back on. Employing only me as maybe a third party type gig. Any experience or information/direction would be greatly appreciate (what type of business to start, insurance, legalities, etc.) Thanks guy!!
Every area will be a little different.
Some states, cities, and/or counties will require a business license. I have an AZROC contractor's license as well but only because I have it for the welding shop which must have it for anything outside of small shop fabrication jobs that don't involve field work or contracts.
Then, insurance. You better find a good agent and check that one yourself. My Gen Liab/Prof Serv Errors and Omissions with worker's comp, on site auto, and who knows what else costs me about $1000 per month. Don't try to cut this one short, it will come back around to bite you. Oh, and that is for $2 mil with another 2 umbrella. You may be able to get by with less but it will limit the jobs you can get.
Then, any advertising? Website, business cards, shirts and hats with business name, etc? You will need to register for a trade name and/or get incorporated, LLC is very common but mine is an S-Corp, again because of the years with the welding shop.
Land line phone with answering machine and fax, yes, there are many companies that still want to send info by fax.
Working for yourself; inspection tools of all sorts, all the applicable code and reference books you will need, lap top for reports, hot spot for locations where you don't have access to someone else's WIFI.
Safety gear: hard hat, steel toes boots, vest, fall protection, etc.
Start adding it up. It is not cheap. Not if you want to do it right. I'm sure you can sneek into some jobs without having all of this, but one day the liability will pop up and you will find yourself paying one way or another.
I have probably forgotten much but I'm sure others will chime in.
He Is In Control, Have a Great Day, Brent
Most States/Municipalities require a PE to be on permanently on staff of any Inspection company/agency. It is their Seal that is the requirement for compliance/acceptance by the state or Municipality.
I believe that is going to depend on the type and scope of the inspections being performed and your Local Building Authority Having Jurisdiction and how they have adopted, amended, modified the IBC codes.
I have both an NDT Level III and a PE that I consult with and work with but the PE is not on any kind of retainer. The Level III is on retainer as my Level III consultant. The PE calls me but I have never had to call them.
The scope of a Special Inspections job will dictate the inclusion of a PE. Even then many of the larger companies: Smith-Emery, Western Technology, Speedy, Kleinfelder, etc will get those jobs and then pawn at least part of the work off on others. They have PE's but don't even hint that we need one.
I am an approved Special Inspection Agency with my county, local cities, cities around AZ, cities in other states, a Certified LA Deputy, and we do inspections all across this country. Don't even have one on retainer. All the building officials take my report as being all they need for the welding on the project.
I don't believe that the scope of work he is looking for is going to require one but one is always wise to check. It makes a big difference if you are doing soils, concrete, grout, framing, roofing, as well as welding on a project.
Sounds like you are covered thru the sub contractor path.
Sometimes it's hard to tell how one is covered Stoney. Many of these building officials don't have a clue what their own codes say let alone what everything else says. That's why they tell people so many conflicting requirements.
Larger construction such as any type of public building (courthouse, prison, school, hospital, etc) is usually through one of the larger agencies with a PE on staff but not always. I have gotten some where the only special inspection agency or person was me.
Now, saying that, on the ones where I am the only one there, I am usually hired by the owner/engineer of the job. So, I guess that does make me a sub contractor. The funny part, I am a licensed contractor in the state of AZ which is also state law in AZ for any type of contracting regardless of if you are a trade (welder, carpenter, tile, framer, etc) or a consultant. If you work from a contract you are a contractor that must be licensed in AZ. You want to know how many inspection agencies are licensed contractors? Almost none.
Going back to my second paragraph, on the others, I am 'contracted' by the Inspections Agency of Record on the job. Many of them around here either don't having CWI's or at least not enough to man all their jobs, or, they are also certified for concrete and other items and so busy on those they still need me to do the welding inspections. But, they do have PE's.
So, overall it looks like you are probably correct, I'm covered by a PE one way or another but don't have one on my staff.
He Is In Control, Have a Great Day, Brent
Just my two cents...Is it possible for you to work under the umbrella of a weld inspection lab/service? Less expensive for you until you raise the capital to go it alone and it would reduce your liability exposure as you would be under their policy.
This is my game plan for when I retire in a tad over 5 years, plus I get to sit in on all their training classes for free.
Very wise and thought provoking...I'm going to look into this approach
I don't know how it works in other areas of the country, but in my area, a PE has to sign off on every report. All testing labs have to have a PE on staff.
Where I am, the jurisdictions generally require a Final Affidavit of Special Inspection, which our PE signs after reviewing all reports.
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