Building Knowledge Key to Contractor’s Inspection Niche

Patrick Hooper stays away from repairing pipes, instead focusing on providing customers an unbiased condition assessment. Continually educating himself has been vital to his success.

Building Knowledge Key to Contractor’s Inspection Niche

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Patrick Hooper sells honesty — his company capitalizes on a desire for unbiased pipe evaluation by offering only inspection services. Without offering any remediation, he assures customers that they won’t be sold any unnecessary work. In order to fill this niche successfully, Hooper needs one other thing: knowledge.

“Other than objectivity, my product is information, and I want to be as informative as I can when I do these reports and evaluations for my customers,” says Hooper, owner and lone operator of Mainline Inspection Services in Cincinnati, Ohio. “I don’t do any kind of mitigation work; that’s the whole idea of the business. I feel like when you’re being sold a repair by an inspector who also does the mitigation work, there’s a conflict of interest. When there’s an incentive to find issues, you might find issues that may or may not be issues.

“I keep it all separate, I’m strictly objective and unbiased in all the inspections and reports that I do. I do the video inspection, I do the report, I lay out the recommendations: things that absolutely have to be done, things that you might want to consider having done, and at times, I don’t recommend any type of mitigation work.”

And that’s where having a solid knowledge base comes into play. Though inspection work doesn’t require any certifications in Hooper’s region at this time, he maintains memberships in several related organizations, such as the Cincinnati Area Board of Realtors and the Real Estate Investors Association of Greater Cincinnati, and has completed NASSCO’s Pipeline Assessment and Certification Program. Along with providing educational opportunities, the networking aspect of these groups generates business leads and resources for when questions come up for Hooper in his work. The same educational benefit applies to when Hooper works as a subcontractor on a job for a plumber or other contractor.

“I actually have a lot of respect for other contractors,” Hooper says. “I have respect for what they know, what they do and the knowledge they have. I love it when I work with them. I build up a list of questions since I work alone.” 

Even when those contractors don’t have the answers, as a one-person operation, Hooper says that he finds comfort in bouncing questions off them.

“I overthink stuff a lot. I worry about stuff that most contractors don’t know.”

Read more about Patrick Hooper and Mainline Inspection Services in the September 2018 issue of Cleaner magazine.


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