Herbert Inggs moved to Uitenhage with his parents in 1867. His father was a building contractor who built and managed the Springfields Woolwashery in Uitenhage. At the age of 18 Herbert took over a photographic business in the town, but two years later also entered the woolwashing business. In 1904 he became a partner in the new wool-washery Gubb and Inggs, which proved a very successful venture. He served on the Uitenhage Town Council from 1903, was deputy mayor from 1906 to 1908, and mayor from 1916. In 1886 he married Maria Wilhelmina Snetler, with whom he had two sons. Owing to ill health he semi-retired in 1924.
Inggs was fascinated by science and new inventions. In 1905 he imported the town's second motor car - an oldsmobile - from the United States. He played a role in efforts to introduce trout into the Swartkops River, and was regarded as Uitenhage's meteorologist. From 1900 to 1908 he made regular meteorological observations at his second order meteorological station in Uitenhage for the Cape of Good hope Meteorological Commission. His observations were summarised in the Commission's annual reports.