Tool Carrier

Tool Kit Solid State Home Inspections

Home inspections done to the standards of practice are visual inspections however there is no escaping some basic tools for home inspectors to complete their job. Inspectors need to have screwdrivers, binoculars, measuring tape, and outlet testers among other tools at hand which present a challenge for a mobile inspector to keep handy.

Tool Bags, Pouches, briefcases, and Boxes

There are many methods of carrying tools around a job site. Home Inspectors have many choices of tool carriers to pick from but the goal should be the same which is to have each tool available at the right time. The following are some of the common methods to carry tools for home inspectors:

  • Belt Pouches - Belt pouches are a great choice for home inspectors as tools are always readily at hand while allowing hands to be free for writing report comments or touching home systems. A disadvantage is the extra weight can cause back problems for some people and it also can cause 'plumbers crack' issues as the belt pulls down on the inspectors uniform.
  • Tool Bags/Boxes - Portable tool bags and boxes are handy for keeping tools together and organized. Unlike a belt the tools don't need to be strapped on and add weight to an inspector. The disadvantage is that the inspector will need to be picking up and dropping off the kit and tools regularly to write reports or handle home systems.
  • Briefcases - Some home inspectors carry all their tools, reporting, and contracts in a briefcase to the job site. In this way the briefcase acts much like a tool bag with the same advantages and disadvantages. Briefcases are also more common tools for office workers than trades people and as clients have the perception that home inspectors are expert trades people, carrying a briefcase may not give clients the visual clues they hired the right expert. 
  • Pockets - Some home inspectors rely on tools they carry in pockets during an inspection. This in many ways is similar to the advantages of a tool pouch. If the inspector has all the tools they need to do the job in their pockets, this is a great system although it may not inspire confidence in the client that the inspector is well prepaired.

Inspector Mobility

Home inspectors are constantly on the move around a home during a home inspection. For this reason, whatever tool carrier an inspector uses, it is important that the tools be portable and accessible. With so many great tools available, it can be easy for 'tool creep' to happen in an inspector tool kit but carrying extra tools will weigh down an inspector and reduce portability. Accessibility is also important as inspectors need to inspire confidence in clients that they know what they are doing and constantly 'going to the truck' for the right tool can cause a loss of confidence in the client.

Indoor and Outdoor Tools

While many of the core tools for home inspectors are useful both inside and outside, not all tools are used inside and outside. A great routine for home inspectors is to do the exterior inspection first then move to the interior. This transition can create an opportunity to swap out tools suited for each area of the inspection. For example, binoculars and rubber boots are well suited for outside use as are extension ladders. Inside it is more useful to have a compact ladder and indoor shoes.

Final Thoughts

There are no right and wrong answers to how to carry tools but we like using a tool belt for carrying just the right number of inside tools. The tool belt has the right 'look' to it for clients, it keeps hands free, and it has everything accessible wherever we are. We carry back-ups of some key tools like flashlights and outlet testers as well as a few specialty tools (e.g. 240v outlet tester) in a tool bag which is left with the vehicle. In 99% of cases, the tools we can carry in our basic pouch are all that is needed for our home inspections.

By James Bell - Owner/Operator of Solid State Inspections Inc.