I know a lot of inspection companies charge heaps for a standard inspection, but I don't. I know some people do not use me to do house inspection simply because my charge is too cheap. Good on you if you want to go for one with higher price, just like we normally say: you get what you pay for.
Here is my understanding about how much should a standard inspection be charged:
If traditionally an inspection report is called "builder's report", then the author is a builder. Currently a builder's rate is still $45/h. Let's say a good builder should charge $60/h. A standard inspection should include 1h travel + 2h site visit + 2h desktop work = 5h x $60 = $300 + $50 (insurance + fuel + tool depreciation) = $350 + GST. So $400 incl should be a entry mark. Some companies charge extra for tools used, but if a builder does not charge for him to use a hammer, I can not see why an inspecter is to charge extra for him to use a moisture meter.
If a guy charge only $150 for a verbal report, but charge $700 for a written report, then there is a reason to challenge him: If a builder is not good in computer, that's not the client's fault. In average, a pre-purchase report should not take more than 3 hours to draft.
How much a moisture report should cost?
Nothing really. Without interpretation of the construction, moisture itself means nothing. We have seen some reports with wording like “bedroom 2 moisture - 13%". I would not rely on that report to make any decision. I share the view of William Hursthouse from www.bc.org.nz:
"Almost all prepurchase inspectors have one of the scanning type meters nowadays and I have seen many reports where readings from these meters are listed, giving the impression they represent actual moisture contents. When I see that, my heart sinks and any respect for the author evaporates instantly..."
How much we charge? Roughly $250 + GST for a verbal report and $450 + GST for a standard inspection report. We have the opportunity to charge more, but we think business sustainability means more for us.