How Home Inspectors Can Offer Sewer Scope Services

by Nick Gromicko, CMI®, Jim Krumm and Mary Greenway

Every house has a sewer line, and every sewer line can become obstructed or damaged. With a sewer scope certification, you will have the knowledge and expertise to expand your services, client base, and, ultimately, add $20,000 to $90,000 a year in addition to the profits you are already earning through your home inspection business.

What is a Sewer Scope?

A sewer scope is a video inspection of the lateral sewer line from the house at or near the foundation to the city, HOA tap, or the septic tank. The purpose of a sewer scope is to discover and report defects that are visible in the lateral sewer line. The scope typically also identifies the material used within the sewer line itself.
Because a sewer scope serves exclusively as a visual observation of the plumbing system and lateral sewer line without any modifications or repairs being performed, most jurisdictions do not require the sewer scope inspector to also be a licensed plumber. 

Time is Money

Because the equipment is lightweight and portable, adding a sewer scope inspection when you are already at a house for a standard home inspection is not a significant investment of additional time or energy. In fact, a typical sewer scope inspection takes only 30 minutes to perform.

Making Your Money Work for You

The camera system is crucial in any sewer scope inspection. The reality is that these are significant monetary investments, with good camera system costing between $6,000 and $10,000. However, if you perform just three sewer scopes a week at $150 each, that would factor out to $23,400 your first year (a 200-400% return on investment). For a frame of reference, Colorado’s Best Home Inspections, a Colorado-based home inspection business that offers sewer scope services, performs five to eight scopes a week.

Sewer Scope Obstacles and How to Overcome Them

The two main obstacles for those looking to begin offering sewer scope inspections are:
  • obtaining adequate sewer scope training; and
  • the initial cost of the sewer scope equipment.
InterNACHI® partnered with Colorado’s Best Home Inspections to provide home inspectors around the country with solutions for these problems. They created Inspector Mentoring and Training, a service that provides the necessary training to help inspectors add sewer scopes to their services. In-class sewer scope training is available at InterNACHI’s House of Horrors® on a bi-monthly basis. 

The objective of this course is to provide the training needed to enable home inspectors and contractors to confidently perform sewer scopes and underground pipe inspections, enable home inspectors and contractors to increase their income and business revenue by performing sewer scope services, and help minimize start-up problems.
Other resources include Vision Technology through InterNACHI's e-commerce partner Inspector Outlet. Vision Technology is a company that has created a series of affordable professional-grade sewer inspection cameras designed by and for home inspectors. These cameras come equipped with self-leveling, user-replaceable camera heads, built-in counters, built-in sondes, lightweight devices (40 pounds or less), and a minimum camera length of 140 feet. Sonde locators and receivers are also available. Inspector Outlet offers financing to make the purchase of a sewer scope camera feasible.

So, Should You Offer Sewer Scope Services?

The evidence is clear that offering sewer scope inspections can expand your client base with a significant return on investment and minimal travel expenses. We've even collected resources along the way to make it easy for you to start! So, what are you waiting for?