What is Field Inspecting and should you consider Field Inspecting as a side hustle, or a side hustle to your side hustle!
Some of this weeks episode highlights are:
31:38 With any gig job, you want to keep your areas small and you want to build up the volume you need by working for more customers. The efficiencies start to build when you're working for more companies.
34:47 I think that people who fail are those that don't have a high goal or they're afraid to get started. They're afraid to jump in and do the job.
35:11 I noticed people are afraid at the beginning and that scares a lot of them away. I tell people if you really want to build up your confidence, get a pilot's license: learn how to fly!
--- Full Raw Transcription of Podcast Below ---
Richard Law (00:00):
And then one day you come back and you land the airplane and he says, Hey, you did a great job. And he says, now you got it. He gets out of the airplane and he says, this the day you're going to solo and you're on your own. And you get in the airplane and you take off and you go out and you fly around a little bit and you come back and land. You're now a pilot.
Welcome to the SideHustle Lounge. If you're looking for flexible ways to earn income, grow your mindset, and live the lifestyle you've always dreamed of, you are in the right place. So lower the lights. Grab your favorite beverage and join your host. Founder of NotaryCoach.com and Amazon bestselling author of Sign and Thrive: How To Make Six Figures As A Mobile Notary And Loan Signing Agent, Bill Soroka.
Bill Soroka (00:54):
Cheers and welcome to my guest this week, Richard law. He is the founder and owner of the Society Of Field Inspectors or SOFI (www.sofi.us). Richard - I've been looking forward to our conversation this week. How are you today?
Richard Law (01:09):
I'm doing good. How about yourself?
Bill Soroka (01:12):
I'm doing so good. Like I said, I'm looking forward to this conversation because I have so many questions about field inspections and what it does. And I know there's a lot of people in our audience that have the same questions. So before we get into too much, can you tell us what a field inspector actually is and what they do?
Richard Law (01:29):
Field inspections is a, is a great opportunity. It's a, it kind of fits in with other opportunities like notary signings, because when you're out you know, doing a no resigning maybe tomorrow afternoon. And if you can do some inspections on the way there, maybe some on the way back, you just become more efficient and you make more money. It's like doing, adding bonus revenue, right? Yeah. You want, you want to stay close to home or whatever you're doing, and you want to build up your volume in the small area. And again, that leads to efficiency. Yeah. The field service inspections covers a very large area. There's a lot of different types of fields inspections out there. It should not be confused with, with home inspections which are inspectors that do inspections for the buyers of real estate.
Richard Law (02:26):
These are not home inspections, but these are mainly going out into the field and making observations because you're kind of the ears and the eyes of another company that needs something done. There is no licensing requirement in any of the states. So it's easy to get into. In most cases there's no insurance required. If you get over onto the mortgage segment of the industry, which is kind of the low pay, the problem area of the industry, there you'll find companies that require you to purchase EO (Errors and Omissions) insurance, which can be quite expensive for field inspections. They'll also ask you to pay for a background check. Okay. And then, so we, we kinda hang out and in the better neighborhoods, so to speak, we hang out, well, we hang out with a commercial and the insurance inspections, you need to deal with the higher quality companies that pay the higher fees. The companies that have respect for you that treat your right, that won't send you a hundred miles away for a a $25 inspection. They have a little, I guess you might say common sense on their end, right.
Bill Soroka (03:45):
Or they just, I appreciate the services that you bring to the table or the value that you bring to the table.
Richard Law (03:50):
Yeah, that's true. But it wouldn't be great value if you traveled a hundred miles for $25 and that's not the place you want to be. Right. In fact, when you're out doing the lower fee stuff, you're not doing the higher fee stuff. Okay. So it's kind of eating up your time. So wait, so what we do is we kind of focus on the higher quality companies, the companies that we like I've, I've worked for many of them myself. So I, I know many of the companies and we listened to what the inspectors say. We don't want companies that are complained about.
Bill Soroka (04:25):
Okay. So really nice. So you get some feedback from the people who are actually doing the work. Can we go back a little bit too? I'd love to hear more about who hires field inspection. Like what kind of companies is this? And can you go into a little bit more about what the work actually looks like if we don't need certification? What do we actually doing out there?
Richard Law (04:51):
Well, the companies are going to hire field reps provide the inspection form. There's nothing that the inspector has to create. The forms are provided. And usually this is a one page form, maybe two pages at the most with, you know, check the boxes, fill in the blank type entries. And the field inspector is really an observer. They're going to their property just to observe the progress of the construction. And a typical situation is you might go there to the first time and the property has been graded. The line has been graded. The trees have been removed if there were any. And then the under the slab plumbing has been laid in. And then also the slab has been poured. So what the inspector does is takes probably two, three, maybe four photos of the property, and then just make some short bulleted comments about where things are right now, the progress being made. And then that's probably going to happen perhaps maybe three, maybe four more times. And again, the inspector's going to be looking at things like rough-in electrical, under roof next, rough-in electrical, rough-in plumbing, windows, doors, that type thing, and again, take some photographs and do some reporting.
Bill Soroka (06:24):
Does the field inspector actually like inspect those for quality of work or are they really just documenting the journey?
Richard Law (06:32):
They're just making observations because they don't have the background or the experience to do more than that. So they're making no assessment as to whether the electrical is being done in accordance with code, right. For instance they could be wiring up the clothes dryer with doorbell wire and I mean, that's important, but there's no liability going back to the inspector on that. And also the inspector's not making any comments or certifications as to the craftsmanship as to whether they're doing a good job or not.
Bill Soroka (07:10):
Do you think that in order to be a successful field inspector, then that you've, you need some sort of background in real estate or construction?
Richard Law (07:20):
No, you, don't not, not for that type inspection. I've done many of those myself and all you're doing is really just making notes of what's going on and where they're at, what progress is being made. In fact, I had one inspection I did up in Fredericksburg, Virginia, where it was a commercial, a restaurant, a facility. And I went there and made observations and no reporting other than a telephone call back was required. And I went there, I think four times, maybe five times and just noted where where they were with the construction towards the end of course you know, I noted that they had finished the wiring, finished the plumbing. They had a lot of commercial cooking equipment there. They had tables and chairs and that type stuff, they were getting ready to install.
Bill Soroka (08:16):
So who was it that hired you in that instance?
Richard Law (08:20):
This was a field inspection company that was probably getting the work from either a regional or a national bank.
Bill Soroka (08:31):
So the banks or the investors. They'd like, you're, it's almost like you're serving as boots on the ground for those investors that might not be in the area. So you can, you can be their eyes, make sure that that money being spent and progress is being made.
Richard Law (08:46):
Absolutely. Absolutely. And, and you can take another case which is very common, is what they call a floor plan inspection, or sometimes they call it a collateral inspection. And this is where you got to dealership, or it could be a John Deere, John Deere dealership. It could be a marina, it could be outdoor power, equipment, lawnmowers, and weed whackers and chainsaws. And for something like a marina, you would go there and you would have a list of serial numbers for boats, you know, descriptions of boats, and you would go through their facility and you would look for those boats. Actually, you would have someone help you look for the boats. It was at the dealership. And you would just note that the the boat was there or the boat was not there. If the boat was not there, where it was. Okay.
Richard Law (09:38):
Was it out on a demo, you know, are they out in the water with it and showing it to someone and someone put a down payment on it. And I was gonna pick it up tomorrow and they had it at different facility, getting it ready for pick up. So what you're doing is you're, you're wanting to make sure that the boats are supposed to be there if they're not sold. And the boats are not in Brazil, you know, because a company has provided the equipment and they want to make sure that they can control it, that they know where it's at. So that's what a floor plan inspection is.
Bill Soroka (10:15):
That fascinating. And it almost sounds like as a field inspector, we kind of play a role in fraud prevention as well, very similar to maybe a mobile notary and loan signing agent.
Richard Law (10:26):
Yeah, absolutely. And there's a lot of companies out there that just want to know where their stuff is. They want to make sure that someone hasn't taken off with it or it hasn't been sold. Hasn't been sold and the dealer not reported it because then they're taking advantage of the the company that of course gave them the assets.
Bill Soroka (10:51):
Fascinating! What other areas are field inspectors used?
Richard Law (10:54):
Yeah, there's an inspection out there called a sign inspection. And what you're doing there is you're going to maybe a mall or maybe a strip mall, or maybe a large, a mall in your area. And you're going there in the evening. You're going there at night and you're looking at their signs. Okay. which signs are lit and which ones we're not lit,. Of course the ones they want to have reported to them is the ones that are not lit because the people, the mall managers and the mall tenants are not really reporting things like that. So they need some independent eyes to get out there and see, what's got lights on it and what doesn't have lights. And usually that's done probably every couple of months. And then there's a report made back saying which lights are out. They, they don't really care which lights are on, but which lights are out so that maintenance people can get out there and do some repairs on the lighting.
Bill Soroka (11:57):
I always wondered who was in charge of reporting those outages like that. Maybe I'm a natural at this. I always find the lights that are burned out.
Richard Law (12:05):
Yeah, that's true. But so there's a lot of that stuff out there. And, and there's a lot that takes you know, maybe 10 or 15 minutes. And then the nice thing also is you can grow your business with more training. You can get with some limited training, you can start getting into things like commercial insurance, loss control, and, and that's where you're going to facilities like a, oh, an olive garden. And you're looking at commercial cooking equipment. Some of the ones I've done was Hampton Hotels, Holiday Inns. I did a BJ's up in Fredericksburg, Virginia. And again, those type properties pay much, much more, but they do require some training so that you know what's right. And what's wrong when you go through the property.
Bill Soroka (13:01):
Is that training company specific or is that something that like Society Of Field Inspectors helps out with?
Richard Law (13:06):
Well, they get the more advanced training. We have some of that, especially in the commercial insurance loss control area. We have some training manuals and we also have some classroom videos that go with those training manuals that describe how to do the inspection. Okay. And, and with the commercial insurance loss control, you're looking at more detailed areas. You're looking at fire sprinkler systems, you're looking at commercial cooking equipment. It could be a light manufacturing facility where you're looking at processes. It could be looking at workman's compensation rules. There's just a lot of different areas that you can grow into and more training. And then once you go through that training and start growing your business, you know, and maybe it may be a year or two years, you might start working directly for the underwriter - the insurance underwriter and doing much more highly protected buildings and more expensive buildings. So there's a path to higher money, a lot more money, through, you know, very inexpensive training.
Bill Soroka (14:20):
So when you first started out as a field inspector you can start, obviously there's probably some minimum training. There's I know this that you guys created and curate a list of companies that will hire you in the very beginning and you can work directly for those companies. And then you can scale yourself up and eventually work direct with these insurance companies. Is that what, how am I understanding correctly?
Richard Law (14:47):
Yes, that's true. Most inspectors never go to that higher level. I'm not sure why I have, and, and my my history I've, I've moved up to the higher level stuff. It's, it's more interesting stuff for sure. And it pays much, much more, but there's a lot of stuff. I would say probably in the $35 to maybe $55 range, that takes about 10 minutes. It's easy to do. It's interesting work. It could be something like a business verification. I did one in Culpepper where it was a cardiovascular office, right? Right near the hospital, they were hiring some nurses. And as part of that hiring process, they needed access to get background check information and the company that was going to give them the background check information wanted to make sure they were really a medical clinic, cardiovascular clinic. So my job was to go there and, and, and just do the verification.
Richard Law (15:59):
So I called them up and said, Hey, I'm going to be in town. And the afternoon between about one and four, can I combine and do this inspection so that you can get your background check stuff? And they said, fine, come on by. So I headed the town and I headed by the clinic, which was right in view of the hospital and took a picture of the sign out front that said Blue Ridge Cardiovascular Clinic. I took a picture of the address on the side of the building walked in and talked to the administrator there and, you know, explaining that I was there for the inspection. I needed to have a picture of the container, the file that he was going to lock up this background check information in. And, and I needed to see that he had a key and that it would lock.
Richard Law (16:52):
So I took a picture of that. I asked if we could go to an empty examining room and I could take a picture of that just to verify that there were a clinic and we did that. And so I left there with four photos. I was there maybe 10 minutes. It was a friendly inspection because they couldn't get what they wanted until I come in there. And that paid $45. And I remember I was on my way to Lowe's to pick up some stuff. So that was just down the street a little ways further. So like I say, it was a convenient inspection. It was easy to do in that case that had a very big open window, you know, from one to four. So I could be a little earlier, a little bit late, you know, or in the middle. Yeah. And if I was doing something else, I'm not a notary, but if I was a notary, I might have a one or two notary signings, in town, and I could have done those also.
Bill Soroka (17:54):
Yeah. It's got that flexibility sometimes it sounds like.
Richard Law (17:57):
So, you know, we were talking before we started recording marketing is very important. Getting a job and doing a great job is very important. It needed a backup to the backup, to the backup, to the backup, to the backup, et cetera. Yeah. We talked about that a little bit.
Bill Soroka (18:20):
Richard, if you can, let's dive in a little deeper on one of those topics - marketing in particular, I know when you and I talked on the phone, you're passionate about the marketing building relationships, getting the word out there about your business. How does somebody grow this thing?
Richard Law (18:37):
Well, what they do is, you know, start out small. Okay. Make sure you're gonna like it. Okay. get out there and, and do a few inspections to make sure that they're kind of your cup of tea that you like doing it, that you find it interesting. And that you're, you're making money. And, and what we do is we make things kind of easy. A membership and SOFI is free. We don't charge the companies nor do we charge the field service reps to become a member. And they can simply go up to JoinSOFI.com and fill out a short form and become a member. The first time they become a member, we shotgun that information out to a hiring companies and let them know that they're available. And if those companies have some work, they'll contact the field rep direct.
Bill Soroka (19:36):
Just getting started. Richard, there's no certification process at all. What if somebody is uncomfortable starting, how did, how did they get started? Is there just a mini course? And is there a book they can read a guide? Like how to set expectations?
Richard Law (19:53):
Well, there is no certification. There is no licensing, there's no state licensing. In most cases when when a company does need someone in an area, they hire them without them requiring the pay any fees to be hired. They usually, in most cases don't need any special equipment. You know, they can use their smartphone camera for their smartphone camera for taking photographs. And the companies provide the inspection forms. And the companies also will... It depends on the company, but they might get you on the phone and kind of walk you through an inspection on the phone. They might send you some videos to look at. They might have a webinar where you can be invited to a webinar and go up there and, and, and listen to an instructor and then also have an opportunity to ask questions. And so that's pretty much the way it's done. Well I try to make myself available to the field reps to answer your questions too. We can we, we, you know, we post our telephone numbers just about every place and we welcome phone calls and, you know, they call us right on our cell phone or they text us.
Bill Soroka (21:14):
I think that's one of the things that just blew my mind, Richard, is that you literally have your phone number, your cell phone number, posted all over your website. And I really appreciated that because it sounds like people can just jump right into this thing. Just jump in and yeah...
Richard Law (21:27):
Yeah, yeah. And I'm not afraid to talk to people on the phone. And I get a lot of calls. W we do, we do offer some paid for products up at our SOFI store. But, but again, everything has a satisfaction guarantee. So people feel comfortable with that. You know, everything is guaranteed that they'll get good value out of it. They have someone that can answer their questions and give them some advice.
Bill Soroka (21:57):
Well, that's one of the reasons I reached out to you, Richard, is I've heard such great things. I know you have a stellar reputation and you're committed to helping people succeed in this. Do you think ... can this be a full-time gig for people?
Richard Law (22:11):
It can, depending on, you know, of course, where you're located at, it's going to be easier to do in the large metropolitan areas where there's lots of people and lots of traffic is going to be more difficult to do in rural areas where you're kind of far away from everything going on. So, so if you want to do it, full-time, you need people, you need traffic, you need larger metropolitan areas. There's a lot of different people that do field inspections. There's of course, Notary Signing Agents, there's realtors, there's appraisers, process servers, home inspectors. You know, if you're a home inspector in Michigan in the winter time, things really slow down, you know, no one's buying houses. There's two feet of snow on the ground. And so a lot of the home inspectors in a Northern climates do field inspections in a winter time, just to kind of have a source of income, there's a lot of firemen and policemen who have, you know you know, where they work a couple days at a time. And then they have a couple of days off and they'll do inspections. There's pastors that do it. There's people that are working at Amazon warehouse on the night shift, you know, from midnight till six in the morning, they're doing it during their afternoon hours.
Bill Soroka (23:40):
Was just going to jump in and say ride share, you know, Uber, Lyft drivers that are over the place. Anyway, it seems like this might be an easy way to add on additional value bonus income throughout the day.
Richard Law (23:52):
Yeah, they'll do that. If they're, if they got an, a field inspection over near the airport or close to the airport, they'll finish that up and then sign into Uber and maybe pick up a fare at the airport. Kind of take them back to work, you know, an area close to where they live and then maybe pick up some more fields inspections. And the thing you want to do always is you want to kind of, you know, create volume in a small area so that if you're going out to do field inspections, you know, you're maybe working for four or five companies that afternoon in a small area, as you want to batch things up, you kind of want to get things all pulled together, maybe on the north side of town. And usually with the field inspections, they probably give you a three to five days to get them done. So you've got a pretty good size window.
Bill Soroka (24:45):
Good nice window there. So what does building the business look like? I know we we talked a little bit about training and how you can enhance that. You've got a list of hiring companies that can hire you when you start going direct, what's that look like? Is it email campaigns? Is it networking events? Is it mailing out letters? Like, what is, what does this look like?
Richard Law (25:12):
Well going direct that's, let's take something like commercial insurance, loss control. Yeah. And you're not going to go direct in a month. It's probably going to be many months, maybe even a few years. And there, you're looking at commercial buildings, you're looking at loss control, which says, you're looking at the risk of there being a problem, a safety problem. If you're looking at fire sprinklers, you want to make sure they're maintained properly. If you're looking at commercial cooking equipment, you want to make sure all the fire suppression equipment is working fine, and they have all the correct safety features in there. If they've got a, say a gas range where they a deep fryer next to it, there has to be a little wall, a little flashcard between them, so that, you know, hot grease doesn't flash spill over onto the gas range.
Richard Law (26:10):
And they have cleaning cycles that have to be monitored. You know, when you have a commercial kitchen, like something at an Olive Garden, and then later on you, you kind of, you know, do a lot of inspections. And when the company likes you, they keep giving you, you know, better paying inspections - inspections that require more experience, more expertise, more, and a kind of keep building up and building up. And then you get to a point where you've done a lot of these highly protected properties. And then you start to insurance companies, underwriters like maybe Hartford, in a way you get business with them as you really send them redacted, copies of inspections you've done. So this is what I'm capable of doing. This is what I've done in the past. And I can do these inspections for you. And then, you know, they'll, they'll pick you up and give you some, some work to do and see how you're doing and that they really like it.
Richard Law (27:10):
They'll, they'll keep sending you work. Now, the the person I got my training from was a fellow by the name of Jim Julian is up in New Jersey and, and Jim has been doing this for a very long time. He has been doing it for decades, but, you know, at times he's been paid by underwriters, you know, the big companies, the insurance companies to make trips to Europe, and also over to the Pacific. And you know, he's been you know, Tokyo and other places in Japan, Okinawa, Hong Kong, Hawaii, Australia doing commercial insurance loss control inspections on very early, very highly protected properties. And, and they pay them a lot. You know, I've seen some things that he's done for light manufacturing, where he spent three days at the plant inspecting, two days writing it up, and was paid $8 for the report. So there's money to be made, but you don't start there on, on day one or month two, or maybe not even until a year or two to get there.
Bill Soroka (28:23):
Yeah. And you just, you brought up kind of an interesting point as well, that I think is important for us because a lot of our audience might be notaries. So they're really used to having jurisdiction that's just within their state. But what I'm hearing from you is because there is no certification or licensing requirements, there's no jurisdictional issues either. You can be a field inspector anywhere?
Richard Law (28:49):
Yeah. All 50 states use fields inspectors there's field inspectors that do work and Guam, the Mariana Islands the US Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico. And there was one woman her name Tori down in Dallas. She flew for one of the airlines down there. And on her days off sometimes, or weeks off, she'd taken get a free ride over to Puerto Rico or the Virgin islands and, and do some inspections over there, do a little vacationing and then come back. So in her case she had free transportation. Yeah. And it worked out pretty well for her.
Bill Soroka (29:33):
I love that idea.
Richard Law (29:34):
There are also field inspectors in those areas too. So she was going there as extra - they didn't really need her. They just kinda liked her and gave her a bonus, I guess.
Bill Soroka (29:45):
Yeah. Well, I love that. I've been trying to find a way to be a vagabond, a notary, and traveling my RV all over the United States. And that is proven to be pretty difficult, but this, on the other hand, there might be a way here!
Richard Law (29:58):
Yeah, I think so. And you know, I like to watch some of the YouTube videos there. One of them is the sailing doodles, or they they have some nice 42 foot catamarans and they go out and they visit all these ports over there in the Caribbean or, or over in the Pacific. And they show how nice it is to live on a boat. And they have a good followship and following that they make good money on that.
Bill Soroka (30:27):
Yeah. That's good thinking too. Yeah. So speaking of income though, Richard, I wonder if - I know we, we don't want to promise certain income levels or anything like that, but what's what's the fair estimate or guess on what you can have, what the income you can earn field inspections?
Richard Law (30:50):
Well, that's a difficult question to answer because most people don't like to talk about what they make. Okay. Yeah. And especially if they're very successful with it. So the full-time people kind of keep it kind of very close to their vest on, on how much they're making and who they work for. And but when you get down to the the part-timers, you know, they'll talk to you primarily about how much, how much money they make fee wise, what kind of fees they're making and how long it takes them to do an inspection and how close they can stay at home. So I would say kind of starting now, you know, most of this stuff has kind of, oh, I would say probably $35 to $55 for very easy work. Okay. And, and what you want to do is some of that work and connection with other work.
Richard Law (31:46):
And then you also want to, like, with any gig job, you want to keep your areas small and you want to build up the volume you need by working for more customers. I don't think anyone who's a notary or anyone who is a field inspector, just working for one company starting out is probably not even making any money. And they may be losing money. The efficiencies start to build when you're working for more companies. And then even when you start working for more companies, and as your volume keeps going up from more companies, you can start reducing your service area now, in other words, you can start working closer to home. Once you build up your volume by working for more companies. Does that, does that make sense?
Bill Soroka (32:36):
Yeah. So your, your costs go down because you're not spending so much time on the road and mileage.
Richard Law (32:42):
Bill Soroka (32:43):
Yeah. Yeah. That makes total sense. So we, we gave them a good base range of that 35 to $55 when - If it's after 12 months, 24 months - whatever it might be - when they start working direct, what could you have a, an average of what that direct commercial fee might be?
Richard Law (33:04):
Well, I think if you go up to the best way to look and get a real good answer is go up to some of the hiring websites, the recruiting sites. Okay. And just look at commercial insurance loss control, commercial insurance loss control up at something like Indeed. Okay. And it'll show you what the insurance companies are willing to pay to get that work done to employees. Okay. So, so what they would pay an employee who's maybe working full time for them because they have a lot of volume. That salary is going to probably be about the same as what they would pay for an independent contractor. And I think when you go up there and look at what they're advertising for, I think you'll see the numbers are very good.
Bill Soroka (33:57):
Yeah. I would imagine. So, especially if they're flying you everywhere!
Richard Law (34:01):
Well, you know, some of them will get anything at that level, you've gotta be very good, you know? And some people don't like to travel, you know, some people don't care about going over to Europe or Pacific because you're going to be working hard to sure. It's not going to be a vacation. It's going to be a trip over there to do business.
Bill Soroka (34:25):
Well, let's talk about that. A little more. One of the questions I love to ask on these side hustles, which are really, that could be a total business venture all on its own, but there is work involved. It's not always, you know, the rainbows and unicorns. So in your experience, Richard who fails at this business,
Richard Law (34:47):
I think the people that just have, no, they don't have a high goal or they're kind of afraid to get started. They're afraid to kind of jump in and, and do the job. And they also need to know how to do the marketing. They need to get out there and beat the bushes and contact companies and ask for work. I think that's very important. I noticed with, with both notary signing agents and, and also with field inspectors that they they're kind of afraid at the beginning and that scares a lot of them away, but then there are those that are not afraid and they just really jump in there and do the marketing and just build a tremendous business. Yeah. And that probably applies to almost everything. And I don't know, I, I tell people sometimes if you really want to build up your confidence, get a pilot's license, you know, learn how to fly.
Richard Law (35:51):
Because when you go through pilot training, you know, for, you know, say a private pilot, you go through the ground school when you learn what to do, and then you get in an airplane with an instructor, okay. And then you go out flying and he shows you different techniques and different things to do. And you, you have some, different emergencies. You practice, you know, you stall the airplane and learn how to recover from the stall. And then one day you come back in the land, the airplane, and he says, Hey, you did a great job. And he says, now you got it. He gets out of the airplane. And he says, this the day you're going to solo. You're on your own. Okay. And you get in the airplane and you take off and you go out and you fly around a little bit and you come back and land.
Richard Law (36:33):
Then you're now a pilot. Okay. And you know, you could have crashed, you know, on takeoff or on landing, but you, you knew what you were doing and you didn't, and you build up your confidence and you went through all the different emergencies that could come about and you handled them well. So you got to kind of do that with with, with things like notary signings and field service inspections, get out there and get some ground school and then get some training with someone like yourself. Okay. That knows how to do it, and then let them go out and solo. Okay. But no one's going to crash and kill themselves on takeoff or landing with a notary signing or a field inspection.
Bill Soroka (37:20):
Richard Law (37:22):
It's just not going to happen. Okay.
Bill Soroka (37:26):
That's such a good point. And I think I heard a quote once that seems to apply right here is that experience, isn't just a teacher, it's the only teacher. And I think you do, you have to just trust yourself that you can figure this out, get the counsel you need, get the guidance, the training, and do it, you know that brings me, you just mentioned flight school. And I love that analogy because you are a retired Naval flight officer. You retired as a commander. So I'm curious, how did, how did field inspections even come into your life? How did you decide that this was the fit for you and you were going to create an entire business around it?
Richard Law (38:09):
Well, I guess it kind of came about by accident or something or something close to that. I, you know, I was in a Navy and I, and I flew for 20 years and I really enjoyed it. And then when I left the service, I worked for I was a system engineer also, and I worked for companies like Computer Sciences and worked on defense communication systems. I also went to a company called eSystems and worked there. And when I was in the Navy, I was involved with signals intelligence collection also. And so, you know, we were listening in on the enemy, you know, the Russians, the Chinese, the Libyans, just about everybody. And so when I left that business, I, I decided I'd been working behind green doors in classified areas for so long. I wanted to do something else. And while I was working, I built up a real estate business and had a broker's license, real estate, brokers license.
Richard Law (39:07):
And then when I was out doing real estate, I noticed that some of the foreclosure properties needed some work on them. So I, I, so I got involved and did some property preservation. And part of that was also doing some inspections, but I, I learned to get away from residential mortgage inspections and move to the commercial inspections. They were just, you know, higher quality inspections. And so that's how I got started. And and it worked out good because I was doing real estate and like saying the winter things to slow down. And I did some field inspection work, and I just kind of worked as hard as I wanted to and worked up in Fairfax, Virginia, primarily, which is a very densely populated area. So there was always work. There was always something to do. And there was always money to be made.
Bill Soroka (39:58):
I wonder if you can talk about some of your experiences earlier you referenced with your, the medical center, that it was a friendly appointment because they needed you to be there so they could get what they wanted. What would we consider as an unfriendly appointment?
Richard Law (40:16):
Well, the unfriendly stuff is, is really knocking on doors. Okay. When you're knocking on doors, you don't know what's on the other side of the door, right? And, and today we've got when it comes to the mortgage segment, you've got a lot of people that are not paying their mortgage. They're behind on their mortgage. They're, they're delinquent on their mortgage. And in a mortgage segment, you have some of the big, what I call mortgage order mills, sending out field inspectors and paying them $3. $4, $5 to knock on a door and ask a delinquent homeowner to call the bank. And there are a lot of tough times in the us today. And there's been a lot of cases you read about, you go up to the Facebook groups and look at some of the groups like Occupancy Field Inspections.
Richard Law (41:11):
And some of those you'll read all the horror stories, you know, of people, you know, one inspector writes You know, I'm shot at, or not shot at, some threatened with a weapon just about every other week. Now people have said that their phones have been grabbed and taken away from them. People have gone out to their car and grabbed their GPS off the dash. It's just not a good place to be doing a delinquency interview where you're going to someone's home. And in some cases, they even wanted you to go on the backyards and take photographs. So you're looking at a situation, you know, a delinquent borrower's home, they're watching Netflix. They're trying to be not so upset because they can't pay their mortgage through no fault of their own because they lost the job. And then all of a sudden, somebody pops up on the security camera, walking in their backyard, taking photos. So that's not a good place to be.
Bill Soroka (42:13):
Yeah... that doesn't sound fun at all.
Richard Law (42:15):
I mean, I should start it out - It's not a good place to be because they don't pay anything. The rest of it is just more, you know, more, more things you probably, I probably shouldn't even tell ya probably upset you.
Bill Soroka (42:30):
Well I think it's really important that we talk about this, because I think there's probably a sector listening that may have heard some negatives about field inspection based on these delinquency interviews. And I think it's important that we share that it's, that's not what this business is all about. In fact, it almost - the tone as we've been going through this is that you're advocating not to play in that pool, that there's so much other bigger, better business within the field inspection community.
Richard Law (42:59):
Well, we do, and we do that through our, our directory, our national field service directory. We just listed in there, the companies that are filtered, you know, the good companies, the companies that people like that pay pretty well. And we purposely exclude, you know, those mortgage inspections that I talk to you about because they you know, they can get you in trouble real quick.
Bill Soroka (43:23):
Yeah. This has been so enlightening to me, Richard, I learned so much from you and for those that are interested in learning more about field inspector field - inspector services, you can visit fieldinspector.com or you can visit the [email protected] The VIP room I'll have direct links to SOFI, to Richard, with a cell phone number and his email address as well as links to his websites with all of those incredible resources, Richard, anything that you'd like to leave us with today?
Richard Law (43:56):
Well, I want to thank you for the invitation. Your name comes up quite a bit. I've talked to a lot of notaries that are going to become field service inspectors, and they talk about where they get some of the the best training for notary signings and, and your name comes up a lot. Okay. Oh, and so people don't say good things unless they really mean them. Okay. So I think that's that's important. I may one day become a notary signing agent myself, and I kinda know where to go to to get some training!
Bill Soroka (44:34):
Gotcha. Yeah. Right back at you, you got my wheels turning on field inspections too.
Richard Law (44:38):
Yeah. We'll, we'll talk discounts later on for sure.
Bill Soroka (44:44):
Alright, Richard. Well, thank you so much for joining us. It has been a true pleasure having you on the show. And I know that there's so many people listening here that will be joining SOFI. And again, to just join SOFI is completely free. So you can visit www.joinSOFI.com.
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