5 Struggles Every Home Inspector Feels (and How to Overcome Them)

Struggles

We think we are the only ones with our own unique troubles, struggles, and concerns. I have gotten to know dozens of home inspectors across the USA and Canada. One thing has become very obvious after 20 years in the home inspection business. We all share the same struggles and some of us have figured out ways to overcome them.

Not Enough Business

The most common struggle I hear about is really the easiest to overcome. Not having enough business. Sitting in your office or at your ‘day job’ worrying about it will never make the struggle go away. It will just get worse.

Overcome this struggle by marketing. Not ‘fancy, costs you tons of money’ type marketing. I mean the ‘go out and meet people’ type marketing. When you need business you need to find people who are ready, willing, and able to hire you right now. Who knows those kind of people? Realtors. Go meet some and the business will come.

Too Much Business

This may sound like a struggle you want to have but it can be tough to deal with. I hate nothing more than to turn away business because I can’t fit it into the schedule. It is just like giving money away.

Overcome this struggle by raising your prices. You will get few holes in your schedule but will make more money on each job. Its a lot easier to handle slower times when you are making more money.

Demanding Agents

Demanding agents are tough to work with. We have all known a few. They want everything done the way they want it. They need inspections done at 5pm on Saturday or want some type of discount or special treatment for their clients. I make allowances for people that have been great to work with or have referred tons of business but there is always a limit.

Overcome this struggle in one or two ways. Put your foot down and let the agent know they need to chill. They may just need to know your boundaries. If that doesn’t work you may need to cut them loose. There are hundreds of other agents out there and most are honest and wonderful to work with. Go find them.

Client Don’t Seem to Listen

We have all had them. The client that just gives you that blank stare and you know they have not heard a word you have said. It gets frustrating. Nothing you seem to say gets through. More times than not it is our own fault and we can fix it.

Overcome this struggle by listening to your client. I know it sounds weird but get your client to talk and then listen to them. They will tell you what they need and the best way to communicate. Do that you will be amazed how well they listen to you.

Finding Time for Family

Running crazy through the summer is just part of the business. We welcome the time when things slow down and we have time to breath. Our families do too.

Overcome this struggle by setting time aside for family and sticking to it. It can be next to impossible to take a vacation in the busy season so do it at the holidays instead.

5 Ways to Stand Out From the Home Inspection Crowd

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.

Be Yourself

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.

Branding Your Home Inspection Business: Top 5 Ways

Happy New Year, home inspectors, from Tap Inspect!

Okay grant it, folks make New Years Resolutions all the time and by mid-March, the self promises are broken. However, this year, as a business owner, try to keep one promise: Better business in 2015. The best way to achieve better business this year is to brand your business even better than before. Here’s how:

1.  Attend MORE events in the home inspection industry: Despite your lack of time, try your best this year to attend more home inspection conferences, expos, meetings, etc. These type of events will help expose your home inspection business and help you brand yourself as a more involved entity in your industry. The more you show up, the more opportunities you have to mingle and discuss what your business is up to this year.

2. Recreate your home inspection business for the times: Despite how long your business has been around, it’s seriously important to keep up with new, fresh ideas to keep your business afloat. Look into creative ideas to help brand your business for the new year. See what other businesses are up to and work hard this year to refresh your brand.

3. Use your social networks to your advantage: This year, make a promise to use your online platforms to not just get followers, but engage them. Engaging your Facebook followers and responding to their questions and offering feedback will help brand your business. People don’t just want to know who you are, they want to know why you matter. Show them! Use your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social networks to communicate with more people this year.

4. Set higher goals and meet them: If you were below average meeting your goals in 2014, try harder to meet them in 2015. Work harder to show your home inspection clients that you are striving as time progresses.

5. Create time to thank and acknowledge your home inspection clients: Keep in mind why you are still in business-it’s because of your clients. Brand your business as one that acknowledges those who support you. Send thank you letters, make thank you calls and be sure to show your appreciation even more this year.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3 Tips on Why Collaborating is Better Than Competing

2014-09-08 09.22.12In today’s business world, most of us business-minded folks are set on being at the top of our industry. That is the ultimate goal in business, right? Well, not necessarily. Sometimes competing with other businesses in your field can work against you. Sometimes, it is much more beneficial to your home inspection business if you collaborate with other businesses in your field to get jobs done. Here’s why:

1. Collaboration with other businesses helps your business financially: Each year, small businesses pour their money into growth and development as a way to compete against other businesses. However, sometimes it’s necessary to merge your home inspection business with similar ones to save money and get the job done. Collaboration can mean cutting the cost of supplies and processes. In a nutshell, collaborating can help your business stay financially stable, especially during a rough economy.

2. Sometimes, ¬†your business just doesn’t have the manpower: Face it. Sometimes there aren’t enough bodies to get everything done and this can potentially hurt your business. For example, if one of your contractors need time off, the work can still get done by calling another similar business and extending the offer to work for your business. These types of networking methods create a relief for you and your business doesn’t have to suffer. Collaborating allows you the opportunity to reach out to others in your field and never skip a beat if your manpower is low.

3. Collaboration with other businesses is a great way to help promote your business: What better way to get your name out there than to work with other similar businesses? Sometimes it’s a good idea to tap into the industry and work with businesses that are doing what you’re doing and this could lead to more people knowing about your business. Promoting your business through collaborative efforts can increase your numbers greatly.

So there you have it business owners and home inspectors! Sometimes in order to grow your business, you must work together with other businesses. Competition in business is a natural phenomenon. And competition is necessary.  However, never neglect networking and collaborating with similar business. It may help you more than setting up a competitive situation. Be smart and collaborate!

How to Get Your Home Inspection Customer to Refer You

goldfishPeople can bring you business if you play your cards right. Every potential client of your home inspection business, can be the beginning relationship with a new client. ¬†One of the best ways to achieve expansion and create a good business reputation is to create lasting relationships with the people you service. Here’s 7 tips on how to get your customers to refer you:

 

1. Create a good impression on your customer: If you want your customers to spread quality recommendations about your home inspection business, you need to be sure to set and maintain a good impression. Things like being on time at the job, following up with services and having a professional attitude are important.  Customers remember this. And they value it.

2. Distribute business cards to your customers: Business cards are not old-fashioned. In fact, when most people are sharing your business with someone else,  their doing so with your business card in hand. Always prepare to leave a few business cards after completing a service in the field.

3. Remember your customers names and needs: Studies show that most people are impressed when a home inspector¬†remembers their name and needs. “Oh, Good to see you today Mr. Adams! How’s that roof treating you this spring?” Customers like to hear things like that that shows they are better acquainted with someone who is responsible for the maintenance and inspection of their homes. This is a great way to get a customer to refer you.

4. Offer Deals: For longtime customers,  offer 15% off of a job just to give your customers a break. This gesture shows appreciation to your customer and can potentially bring more business.

5. Be prepared on the job: Your customers are always watching you on the job. After all, they are investing in you and expect quality service.  So with that in mind, remember to always come prepared.  You having all the precise tools and materials makes you look on top of the game. Customers mention things like this while referring you to family and friends. No good customer referral includes bad-mouthing the service.

6. Follow up with customers: After completing a job,  continue to show your customer respect by calling and following up. This will definitely leave a lasting impression on your customer and generate bragging rights where you are the subject of the bragging!

7. Promote yourself! There is nothing wrong with developing relationships with your home inspection customers and actually asking then to refer you. Remember to be polite while requesting them to refer you and it’s always good to mention details of the services you provide.

Creating a better home inspection business among your customers is key. A great way to expand your business is to remember that your customers make your business. If your service is quality, they will be eager to refer you.