These days most consumers are familiar with the idea of what a home inspection is and why they need to do one when buying their house. Consumers are also pretty familiar with what makes up a home inspection thanks to the TV shows and all the information on the internet.
How we, as home inspectors, do our job is pretty similar where ever you go. We all follow similar standards of practice and are governed by similar licensing or registration. The consumer has a reasonable expectation to get the same type of service from a home inspection in Washington or in New Hampshire. While I think this is a good thing it does make standing out a little tougher.
So how do you stand out from the crowd when the only difference many consumers see is price?
Be a One Stop Shop
Sometimes it is hard to remember but a home inspection is just another step in the long process of purchasing a home. By the time your potential client rings your phone they have been looking and working on this for possibly months. Now they have to learn a whole new vocabulary about what to inspect, then find all the qualified people, and finally coordinate everyone to get into the home before their time to inspect runs out.
Wow your potential clients by being a one stop shop and take care of it all for them. Ask if they want you to schedule a termite inspection, radon test, water quality, or whatever other types of services that are usually done in your area. Take it off their shoulders and be the professional that guides them through with your experience and network of contacts.
You can end up charging a little more and providing the best customer service. You help take what was a stressful step into the type of service people remember for years.
Add Value for Your Client
A sure fire way to stand out is to provide additional value that others may not. These types of things do not really generate revenue but rather add to the value of your services above just doing the inspection.
You could provide your clients with services like HomeBinder that give them a place to store all their home’s documents online. They will also notify your client for recalls on their appliances and equipment and let you send maintenance reminders.
Deliver Your Reports Quickly
It seems to be a general consensus in the home inspection industry that a report needs to be delivered within 24 hours. That is absolutely nuts in this day and age of mobile devices and cameras on our phones! Waiting for our home inspection report holds up the entire transaction for everyone.
When a prospective client calls they are under a time limit to get the home inspection scheduled, performed and to respond. Once I tell them they will have the report at the end of the inspection I hear them sigh with relief.
Back in the days where you had to go back to the office, download your photos from a digital camera and then build your report on you PC … Maybe, but not anymore.
There are plenty of apps out there to help you do it. I am quite partial to Tap Inspect and I use it to do my inspections.
Provide Easy to Read Reports
Have you ever actually read a 100 page home inspection report. I mean read it all the way through. It is a chore and pretty tough. Almost like reading a textbook. We expect out clients to do it every time we deliver one.
Our clients are stressed, in a time constraint, and may or may not understand anything about homes or construction. If you want to stand, provide a report they want to read and can easily understand.
I often think we end up writing the reports that WE want to read and that other inspectors will admire. Good or bad, our clients are not always like us. They just need to know what to do so they can move forward.
When you get a group of home inspectors together you see all kinds of personalities. There are teachers, negotiators, enforcers, counselors, all kinds of people and personalities. It ends up being tough at times to find agreement as a group but that is what tends to make us good at what we do.
Each of our personalities give us strengths that other may not have and lets us help and connect with our clients in unique ways. Over the years most of my business come from people that value the way I handle myself and how I deal with my clients. I know other home inspectors that have built their business by being no nonsense/this is the way is has to be done kind of inspector.
No one is like you and no one is like me. The best way to stand out is to be yourself.