This is a long blog, and while it’s specifically for Home Inspectors, it really shows the benefits of learning from other people in the same profession. This really addresses the key marketing topic of “What business are we in?”
Greatest value of chat groups on Linked in, Facebook, Reddit and other platforms is the learning. Great professionals learn from each other.
Comments on Linked in Home Inspectors Forum https://www.linkedin.com/groups/2112558
Chief Inspector at GoldEye Home Inspection + LegalShield, Independent Associate
Just wondering what percentage of your booked inspections come directly from online forms/software vs clients or realtors calling to book.
Ken Nelson For me it’s 90% referrals 5% online and 5% cold (Someone picking up my business card).
This was a very good exchange between various home inspectors on ” Market Needs vs Services Provided”. It took place in August 2017 but will always be relevant. Its value is that there is a good “step back and overview” of the business Home Inspectors provide to customers.
Giving someone a report of technical details isn’t what customers want, most simply want: Does that matter? Are the issues expensive or manageable? If they can give your report to a contractor, who can then provide suggestions and recommendations, then they are receiving value.
Market Needs vs Services Provided
I’m evaluating my success as a business owner and home inspector. I am wondering if I am meeting the needs of customers in this market. Are the inspections I perform providing the value that my clients need and want?
So I turn to you fellow owners and inspectors:
1. Do you know that the services you provide (and the way you provide them) are meeting the needs of your clients? If you do know this, what is the evidence?
2. What do your clients value? Is it the delivery method of your report, the speed of the inspection, the quality of the inspection, your price, your good looks?
Part of the success of any business is growing daily. I think this discussion can serve to help us all. I am also trying to convince myself that people do WANT an inspection and that they are not going through the process simply because the lender requires it or the realtor recommends it. Again, a key to a successful business is people need to want the product (or think they want it). So, do people really want a home inspection? Are we providing want they want?
John Flanagan Sam. When I started in this business a bit over 31 years ago, I worked with a firm started by an architect. And, as a Rehab Construction specialist, I’ve worked with about 35 to 40 different architects over the past 40 years. I don’t mean this offensively; but, sometimes you guys are so wrapped up in details you miss the nose on your face. I look in the mirror and remind myself to follow the KISS system of Keep It Simple Stupid. If I want to know if my customers are satisfied and I’m meeting their needs, I ask them. It doesn’t take complexity. I ask them if there was anything they were expecting to be included that wasn’t. And, was there anything we included which they weren’t expecting which they considered as bonus. Then, I ask where they think we could improve and did we communicate clearly enough. Plus, we stay with them to answer questions for a year. Not much more you can do.
William Smith To answer you question in a single word-YES. The services we provide as inspectors educates the typical buyer as the condition of the building at time of inspection and recommends that they contact licensed/certified contractors in their respective disciplines for any issues for a “in depth” evaluation and cost to repair, replace and maintain that specific system. Think of us as House Doctors and we refer to specialist any specific issues. We act as a generalist for a visual, non-evasive inspection. I chuckle when I watch the TV add for life lock, I believe that is the commercial when the actor states that they monitor and not act on the issues. The dental monitor, the bank monitor etc. That is pretty much what we do as Inspectors. Of course to be an attribute to the client we should stay up on the latest systems and components or know where to find that information to insert in the report and relay that info to the client in understandable terms. Comments?
Anthony Andreala, MBA Totally agree with Mr. Smith’s perspective. I’d like to add a few things.
First, often people don’t know what they “need.” Think of the cell phone. 20 years ago, no one “needed one. Now imagine the scramble that goes on on homes across the world every morning as lost devices are searched for.
This leads to my second point. As professionals with “construction” minds, you look at homes and it all clicks. Many people have no capability to understand home construction and home systems (think of all those calls you get from people who ask your advice when the A/C has stopped working). Your market is to educate people on their most significant investment. Show them how things work. Tell them what goes wrong. Help them be more comfortable with the mechanics of what they’re buying.
Make your offering match your customer’s values and you have your market.
William Hawkins Actually I get a large portion of my work from single females, who troll for photographs. Just joking. I typically don’t ask, but I do tell them ahead of time to make sure to ask if there is something special they want me to focus on. I believe I’m satisfying my clients based on referrals that are all client based, and comments about how they appreciate my thoroughness. I just commented on another thread that I really try hard not to have to refer someone to a further evaluation. If I have the contacts in the industry, I tap on my buddy’s for help and verification. There are times I don’t, and have to suggest my client farm it out, but as was mentioned above the lifelike add makes a HUGE point. People HATE to pay us, and then find out they have to pay SOMBODY ELSE. Does it happen, yes, and I have also referred further evaluation. But remember, lifelock made that ad to point out a flaw in their industry. We need to be careful we don’t look like the guys in the ad.
Terry Robbins Nail on the head William. People wonder what your purpose was if they need to contact and pay someone else as well. The better HI’s are as much Consultant as Inspector. And the skill at consultation on what is Inspected is what keeps endless and needless ‘recommendations’ from filling a report. Many an HI is caught crying wolf over non-issues they simply are not knowledgeable enough on and made to look silly when the recommendation is followed up on and the specific trade is paid for shaking their head in front of the client at your hair trigger analysis. If you truly do not know, say so.
Dan Glodowski A simple barometer to your skills is referrals. If you are getting them you are being given a compliment on you skill as an inspector.
Samuel Swegle William S., Anthony, William H., and Terry, thanks for the comments. I think they are all valid points and are things I have thought about before.
I used to ask my clients what they wanted from the inspection. Most would hem and haw, stumbling to respond and couldn’t list a specific concern. They just wanted to make sure the house they were looking at wasn’t going to blow up, catch fire, flood, collapse or cost them a million dollars to fix. As Anthony pointed out above, we educate them so they can they can feel comfortable and make an educated decision on the home.
It is not enough for us to have the knowledge and experience if we can’t communicate that information to our clients.
While I don’t appreciate John’s opinion of Architects, keeping it simple is pretty good advice.