News Home Inspectors Can Use: December 2013 Edition

Stay warm at these home inspection conferences this December:

* Winter gets a little more FAB this year as the Florida Association of Building Inspectors’ (FABI) Winter Conference washes up on Daytona Beach December 7 and 8. Mold assessors and remediators can snag up to seven continuing education credits and there are courses on wind mitigation training too. Step right over here for a full schedule of events. Savvy home inspectors who want to snag a sweet discount at the Daytona Beach Shores can do so by mentioning¬†the Florida Association of Building Inspectors.

* Are you tired of reading about¬†InspectionWorld? It’s right around the corner.¬†InspectionWorld hits Nashville, Tennessee January 12th through 15th, 2014 and will feature 45 educational sessions, including separate tracks on business management, specialty training or building science skills. There‚Äôs also¬†an entire bevy of events for spouses.¬†Head here to get registered.

* If you can stand the cold, head to Minocqua, Wisconsin for the Wisconsin REALTORs Association Winter Conference. Kicking off January 29 through 31, 2014, not only makes for an excellent opportunity to meet and mingle with agents, but also may be the only professional conference in the world to feature an optional ice fishing outing. Workshops center around REALTOR-relevant subjects, but click here for sponsorship and exhibit opportunities.

* Finally! A home inspection conference thats not set in the dead of cold. The deep south plays host to the Texas Association of Real Estate Inspectors‘ (TAREI) annual winter conference this coming January. The event will be held at a TBA location in Austin, meaning that you can bank on unbelievable breakfast tacos and weather that’s almost guaranteed to melt your icicles. We’ll keep you posted as more details surface.

 

News Home Inspectors Can Use: July 2013 Edition

Here’s what’s coming up this month in home inspections:

 

  • Home inspection conferences are lighting up the east coast this summer. The North Carolina Licensed Home Inspector Association holds their regional conferences in Asheville, NC from July 27 through 28, New Bern from August 17 to 18 and Greensboro from August 24 through 25.

 

 

  • Save the Date – ASHI announced the dates and location of Inspection World 2014. The mega-inspection conference goes down in Nashville, Tennessee from January 12 through 15. Registration doesn’t open until September 1, but we’ll keep you updated on early bird specials.

News Home Inspectors Can Use: November 2012 Edition

* November starts with a bang as the American Institute of Inspectors annual home inspection conference hits Portland, Oregon November 2 through 4. A full conference schedule is available here and you can register right over here.

 

* ASHI ramps up this fall with a boatload of seminars. The Mid-Missouri chapter holds their fall seminar November 2 (call for details, the web site is under construction), the Keystone East-Central Pennsylvania chapter holds theirs November 9 through 10 and the St. Louis ASHI chapter hosts theirs November 9.

 

* Those who crave a warmer climate can head to the¬†Florida Association of Building Inspectors’ conference¬†November 30 through December 2 in Daytona Beach. Hotel reservations at The Shores Resort and Spa should be made by November 7. Early registration for the conference ends November 23.

 

* This month, the Inspection Marketing Tour continues its worldwide tour, hitting up Orlando, Tampa, Denver and Salt Lake City this month. The $99 entry fee buys you $99 worth of home inspection products or InterNACHI membership fees. Fort Myers and Miami dates have already been canceled so stay tuned to the web site for info on further cancelations and date changes.

 

* The event is months away, but it’s worth nothing that early bird¬†registration for¬†Inspection World¬†ends November 30. The conference kicks off in Las Vegas January 13 through 16, 2013 and will feature 45 continuing education courses and more than 70 vendors. ASHI has also scored¬†a sweet hotel deal with Bally’s¬†to lighten the costs a bit.

4 Ways to Save on Home Inspection Conference Housing

For inspectors in the know, January means just one thing‚ÄĒInspection World. One of the largest and most prominent home inspector conferences in the country, the ASHI-sponsored event will be held in Phoenix, Arizona from January 4 through 7 and will¬† include 45 education courses, exhibits featuring more than 60 products and service providers, and an array of pre-conference courses designed to keep inspectors on top of changes in the field. The problem with attending out-of-town conferences is that housing costs can stack up fast. Here are four ways to save on conference housing at Inspection World and everywhere else.

Look for Group Rates

Conference heads want to draw you into the conference and keep you there. To ease the travel burden a little, many organizers (ASHI’s included) negotiate a discounted group rate that can save you some serious dough. Info on the Inspection World discount is available here. For all other conferences and events you attend throughout the year, call the conference head in advance to ask about discounted lodging.

Check Your Apps

There’s an app for doing home inspection reports (shameless plug) and there are several for helping you track down housing on the cheap. Our personal faves include Hotel Tonight, an app for the iPhone or Android designed to find last-minute rooms. Not only does the free app find rooms for up to 70 percent off, it also comes with a $25 credit when you use the promo code NEW25. Of course there’s a risk to waiting until the last minute to book a room. Inspectors who want to book farther in advance can price compare rooms with Hotels Near Me.

Rent a Home

Bypass hotels (and their pricey rates) entirely by renting someone’s home. Through Airbnb.com, travelers can rent anything from a spare couch to an island in Fiji, suite inside an actual airplane or Frank Sinatra’s estate. While, obviously, room in Sinatra’s former pad or living large on the Fijian coast will cost you, renting a room or condo near the conference can be hundreds less than opting for a hotel room.

Use Rewards

Hotel points, credit card rewards incentives, airline miles‚ÄĒall of these can be traded for free accommodation at your next conference. For inspectors using business credit cards for their expenses, reward points and miles can be redeemed for free hotel rooms as well as car rentals, flights and discounts on tourist hotspots at major destinations. Most major airlines and nearly all major hotel chains have partner deals that allow rewards holders to trade airline miles for hotel points or vice versa. Points.com also allows reward card holders to facilitate their own rewards trades.

10 Ways Home Inspectors Can Maximize the Slow Season

Just because you’re not doing as many home inspections in the winter months, that doesn’t mean it’s time to slack off. These tips, provided by veteran inspectors and small business experts, will help you build your business even if new clients aren’t pouring in.

Expand Your Skills

“Diversify,” says William Decker, Senior Inspector with Decker Home Services in Skokie, Illinois. “…The model for my company is complete home inspection services. I not only do pre-purchase inspections, I also do pre-listing, maintenance inspections and energy audits.”

Decker says that about half of his business comes from services he offers outside of pre-purchase home inspections. The extra income keeps the business viable when home buying slows down.

Get Support

Of course you don’t have to go at this job alone. Groups like ASHI, NAHI and InterNACHI not only offer conferences and continuing education credits, they also offer invaluable support systems for home inspectors breaking into the field.

“New [home inspectors] should look at joining ASHI and finding a local chapter for local support, education, camaraderie and mentoring,” says Bob Sisson, owner of Inspections By Bob in Boyds, Maryland.

Test New Toys

That infrared camera you’ve been eyeing…that moisture meter you’ve had in the back of your mind…that amazing home inspection software for the iPhone or iPad that provides five inspections for free…Well, now’s the time to take them for a test drive. To ensure that you’re prepared to provide a better, more thorough home inspection service for next year, test the new tools and toys you’ve been salivating over during the off season. Find something that works and your job could be a lot cooler once business starts flooding back in.

Find a Back-Up

That vacation you didn’t get to take last year? You’re going to disappoint your family again next year if you can’t find someone to take up the slack while you take a break.

“Take the time to make friends with a few inspectors in your area,” says Michael Wirth, co-founder of Tap Inspect. “It’s always helpful to have another point of view on the market, to talk over problems and to refer clients when you finally get a vacation.”

Connecting with the competition benefits your clients as well. Your business will be taken care of in your absence and you’ll have extra work when your business buddy takes his much-needed break.

Make Connections

“Don’t reinvent the wheel. Learn from others who are willing to share,” tweeted James Brantley, owner of Magnolia Home Inspections, LLC in Brandon, Missouri.

As the home inspection season winds down, conferences and networking events ramp up with the ASHI Inspection World Conference landing smack dab in the middle. Take advantage by making connections with veteran inspectors who can answer your questions and solve problems.

Account For Yourself

Sure you know how much money you billed out last year, but do you have any idea how much you actually made once gas, office supplies, car maintenance, office space and employee payroll are taken out? Taking a cold, hard look at your financials and calculating your per hour net pay can indicate whether you’re actually earning wealth or bringing in money just to see it go again.

Offer Something for Nothing

To get your foot in the door with new clients, William Decker of Decker Home Services says that he offers free safety inspections to clients who want their home to have a good once-over.

“[Safety inspections, usually at the beginning of the heating season] only take about 10 minutes to complete and they’re free,” Decker says. “I tell clients that I won’t fix anything, but I will tell them what’s wrong. You’d be surprised how much that little bit of good will helps.”

Mark Up Your Marketing

Your inspections might be spot-on, but they could be overlooked if your marketing is poor. Welmoed Sisson, Marketing Director of Inspections By Bob, says that new inspectors should take the slow season to revamp their social media strategy, rework their web sites if needed and take a careful look at the message they’re sending potential clients.

“Work on your marketing materials,” she says. “Order flyers and business cards…Are you using the same flyers from last year and the year before?”

Think Outside the Box

Home inspectors, builders and real estate agents can give you contacts, but so can those outside of the home and real estate professions. William Decker says that one way that he connects with members of his community is through his local chamber of commerce and through general networking groups like BNI and LeTip International. General networking communities often break members into smaller, diverse groups.

“In those kinds of groups, only one person can be a lawyer or a real estate agent or a home inspector,” he says. Decker’s group meets once a week over breakfast to exchange leads, critique each other’s elevator pitches and improve on each member’s public speaking skills. Thus far, Decker’s networking groups have connected him with several leads as well as a reliable handyman and a remodeler.

“If you know somebody that you can personally vouch for, that’s good,” he says. “It’s a marketing multiplier for you and a service multiplier for your client.”

See the Family

If you don’t decompress, at least a little now, you’ll be a mess once business kicks back into high gear. In the midst of testing, accounting and networking your fanny off, take a breather. Once clients start calling again, you’ll be glad you did.