Welcome to updated and current information for the thermography business!
If you plan to enter the IR industry, this webpage is a must read to help you get a flying start in the industry.
Recently I recorded an interview with two of Americas top thermographers, and also had 96 thermal imaging companies on the training call (Level 1 & 2 thermographers). You can now listen to the complete unedited version!
Welcome to the - “Thermal Imaging Goldmine”
Here is some further info about the two experts who were interviewed, and the list of questions they were asked.
IMPORTANT: Make sure you read through all the questions below… you will quickly see it’s a goldmine of information. This is a 2 hr training course that could give you a whole new insight into the runnings of an IR business and the best application to make money in!
The 2 experts I interviewed are….
Peter Hopkins -
Peter has been a building inspector for over 15 years having personally done over 7000 property inspections.
He is a Level II thermographer and has 5 certifications with the international code council (the ones who write the codes).
He has have published 6 technical papers on themography,
He has been involved on the technical committee for writing the resnet standard for IR inspections of building envelopes.
Peter has been a featured speaker at many technical conferences and has presented at IR conferences for the last 5 years.
He is currently writing the technical standard for equine thermal imaging.
He has been cited in several magazines and books including a new book “infrared thermal imaging” 500 pg book by professor Vollmer from germany (look on amazon),
Peter has been on TV 4 times on thermal imaging and recently featured in the journal of light construction magazine on leak detection.
Greg Stockton -
- Experienced in the IR industry since 1989
- Has conducted all types of applications from aerial, electrical, moisture, and equine. He has an excellent system for all thermographers to make money imaging horses (here is on the call)
- Greg has inside out knowledge of IR cameras from the days of wheeling them around on a cart, through to todays handheld cameras. This experience come through in the call!
- Just came off a speech to the PCEA 2 hrs prior to the recording… PCEA (Professional Construction Estimaters Association)
Here are the questions sent in by thermographers worldwide that were answered on the call…
- I would like to hear ideas for how to perform building energy audits when the exterior temp versus interior temperature is not the normal 40° or so temp differential. How can i avoid the “seasonal crunch” and extend my window for energy audits?
- What do you look for if you can’t achieve sufficient delta-T?
- I see a barrier, at least in my area, to imaging houses for the real estate industry. The real estate companies do not want to list dwellings as anything less than perfect or passing because of the fear it will be detrimental to the sale. As we all know perfection is unattainable, and a passing grade is rather arbitrary in the mind of real estate agents. I am working on a sort of grading system for dwellings (say A thru D) that can take into account the existing conditions of all forms of dwellings. The intent is to establish a kind of efficiency grade that can be posted on a structure to give the purchaser, real estate agent and seller some measurable idea of what kind of investment will be necessary to bring a dwelling up to the standard required by the buyer. This kind of firm measurable estimate should be repeatable so as to remove objections based on the measurement being arbitrary. My question is this: Has there been any previous work in the direction of establishing a repeatable efficiency estimation formula for use on a building envelope? I would not want to re-invent the wheel on this so I ask what has been done before. I fully expect that there are people who retrofit dwellings that would take a sub-standard building and improve it to make money on the turnaround. I would like to make money with them!
- Would the general public be interested in paying for a thermal scan to verify or “see” if the radiant heating systems in their ceramic floors are working properly or to detect which heating coils are defective?
- How did you canvas your first customer? How successful was this and where did it lead to?
- Is there a way to calibrate our thermal cameras ourselves without having to send them back to the manufacturer? FLIR wants $800 for the service?
- Thermal imagers on the market are expensive to own. Is it practical to buy refurbished camera?
- What is the most lucrative area for inspection that you have found- Home, Business, Electrical, etc.
- How important is certification? Do you know of a reputable online IR thermal imaging certification course that won’t break the bank?
- What basic infrared training do you recommend when trying to get started in this area of inspection business?
- Is there any sense in offering a formal education to the client via an in-service? [Hands-on field training-GRS]. The vast majority of clients are price focused so if I could provide value to the client via education then they may perceive value. The concept is to add value via education to the client (at no cost to the client). That’s the point of difference. How it’s done and the type of client this would be relevant too, are questions of relevance.
- How to get real – good affordable training? The kind of knowledge that gets you started with confidence. Who are the 80/ 20 clients? 80% that pay the bills. 20% bigs one that come along every now and then. How to always get paid? How to get clients to phone me for my future services? What does each client expect in return for services? How will industry peers accept our scan results? 30 day action plan?
- At present I’m using an inkjet printer for reports some of which can contain up to 60/70 images and am finding the cost of ink a serious drain on profits. Would love to hear of any tips for both ink/printer paper selections.
- I’m currently putting together a direct mail marketing plan geared towards trade’s persons (other businesses). . My plan is to target each trade with a specific mailer piece in their respective field, ie, Plumber, Steamfitter, HVAC, Electricians, Roofers, and so on. How effective and receptive are businesses towards direct mail of infrared services.
- When doing a flat roof scan, how do you handle the areas that have been shadowed my large pieces of equipment up on the roof? I’ve seen some roofs that have more of the roof covered by equipment than what is exposed. Also what about the edges of the roof that have been shadowed by the side walls? Some walls are nearly 3′ above the roof and shadow a part of the edge of the roof all day except for the dead of summer.
- What is the best way to get people to understand what we do and why it should be important to them?
- Here is a question for the Thermal Imaging Marketing Gurus. Here in Michigan, realtors and inspectors are very skeptical about this technology. It may look impressive but they do not see the payoff. Realtors kind of give me this “so what” attitude due to the competitiveness of the real estate business. They have certain inspector that they cater to and that is that. They do not want to uncover any stones when it comes to what a Thermal Inspection will find. They do not want to lose the sale. Customers are looking for a deal. Partnering with inspectors is difficult. Some use IR but don’t put the time into it. They can’t justify the time and cost. I am a total believer in this technology and stand behind it. Unfortunately, Michigan’s economy and real estate market is still tanked.
- What reporting system is the easiest to use with a flir thermcam for showing customers their possible issues? Something that is simple and cost effective that has pictures and note areas.
- In five years’ time what do you see the most common use of thermography will be? And what should businesses be doing anything now to prepare for it!
- For a newcomer to the business, what camera, or camera parameters would you suggest to be purchased and the approximate costs involved. Thank you.
- Does Peter include an electrical system IR inspection with his building envelope inspections? Example circuit breaker panels?
- How much more money, if any, would a level 2/3 thermographer expect get on a similar job by a level1?
- My Question to Peter is – when he conducts a building inspection what are his top 5 focal points and why?
- How do I compete with giant utility companies that offer home energy audits for 15% of the fee that I charge?
- Here is my thousand dollar question…How do you market your thermography business in summers of Ontario, Canada where there is not much temperature differential. This makes thermography a season business.
- In Real Estate in my state of Arizona, and my native state of California, I am having trouble with certified approval of Camera Readings. Because I don’t have “Credentials” it’s just an image that is meaningless, without interpretation and diagnosis, even though you can see something obviously wrong behind those walls. They don’t want there to be problems to disclose, so without credentials, there is no problem. They obviously want to say, “We looked at the home with a thermal camera and found nothing wrong”! Has anybody come across this, and what did you do?
- One question I still don’t know how to handle; In a house that is occupied you have sofas, book stands, other furniture standing against an outside wall, curtains around windows, etc., obviously the wall behind these objects is cooler as it is shielded from the heated space inside.
Which state of the wall is representative: As found, i.e. move the objects (if they can be moved easily) look behind with the camera and record “as found”, or do I ask the client to remove the objects the night before so the wall has an opportunity to reach equilibrium. Especially curtains around windows may be of interest. If I find the wall to be cool in the “as found” condition I still don’t know whether it is solely due to the shielding effect of the object / curtain or whether something else is contributing and is camouflaged.
- If you were to do thermal imaging on a building for weatherization purposes and had a choice of one or the other with a blower door hooked up, would you recommend being inside or outside?
- I have not purchased a thermal imaging camera yet. My question is: What features are required on my thermal imaging camera to insure I can gather the correct information to present to my clients. I don’t want to spend any more money than necessary for the first camera, however want to insure it will be adequate to provide satisfactory information to clients.
- What kind of training or certification (if any) would be required to get involved in physical therapy or sports medicine with IR imaging?
- Ask if Social Media is an effective tool for online marketing.
- What will the future be of thermal imaging? With cameras becoming cheaper every year, will there be a time when $1000 HD consumer thermal cameras are sold in electronic stores and anyone can do this?
- What is the hottest market now for the infrared camera?
- From a business perspective what new applications do you see being developed in the near future in thermography?
- Out of all of the ideas that have been expressed and/or defined to make money and be successful in the business, what do you see as the number 1 and 2? Especially if you were just starting out.
- Do you have templates for business plans that you could share?
- What is your rule of thumb for pricing jobs?
- How would a level 1 thermographer price a job with some experience?
- As a United Infrared member, tell Peter and Greg thanks for all of their help.
Ready for 2 hrs of the best information you will find on the IR business?
Here are some genuine, unedited testimonials from the call:
“Thank you for the recording! The speakers had the experience in the business and they gave their honest opinions. I enjoyed that call.” Viljar P
“I really enjoyed the call. The information was enlightening and presented very well. A lot of great questions with detailed answers from very knowledgeable people . Dean, you did a fine job on hosting the call and I look forward to the next one!” Phil C
“It was a great training call and I really got to learn a lot about the business and some of the many avenues of marketing and promoting my thermography business. I definitely would like to be a part of such training calls in the future. Thanks for arranging this for us.” M Rizwan
“Dean, Thank you so much for your excellent conference call with your guests. Very constructive information to me. I hope to see many more.” Frank F.
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