so im a new home inspector and I got a call from homeadviser which I thought was suspicious. I even asked how did yall find me. He said they have ppl that search out companies. I’ve only done a few inspections and really want my business to work. I was so excited about the whole idea of homeadviser. I’ve only received 2 leads the first one I couldn’t even get a hold of. The second one was the one who needed a chimney inspection. I talked to her (which I paid for) turns out she was actually looking for a chimney repair not inspection. They definitely know how to take your money. I have a credit with them and after seeing all the threads on here about homeadviser I guess I’ll be canceling with them once my credit runs out. So now I’ll be trying my luck with realitors. Im actually very nervous about going out and trying to get business this way. Of course I’ve known all along that’s what I was going to have to do but when I signed up for homeadviser they made it sound like I’d have more leads then I’d know what to do with. So far only 2 that didn’t pan out. Honestly I’m not sure what I should take with me to get realitors business. I need a good presentation just not sure how to do that part.
Building your business will be all about marketing. This is a horrible time to visit real estate agents they are usually not in the office. The gate keeper at the office will likely throw your business cards in the trash.
Having a good website is paramount. Your website is lacking in many things such as a description of your services and make it personal. When somebody looks at your website they want to know who they are going to hire. Best of luck April.
Are you a CPI?
Hi April, Welcome to the forum!.
It helps if you add your location to your signature.
Martin is correct. This is a bad time to visit Re offices.
I have found that running ads in our local area papers have a great ROI. I run ads in 6 papers that come out monthly for about $75.00/month. Of course, I am in a rural area. It may be different in your area.
Do not underestimate word of mouth with your friends and family. Give cards to everyone you know. Probably 30% of my business is from friends of a friend, etc. Get a Facebook page for your business and every month or so post something. “time to change batteries in smoke detectors” etc. Then your friends will share it.
Take as many of the InterNachi courses as you can, and when you complete them, add the Logo/specialty to your website. Also, post it on your Facebook page.
These are tough times for someone starting out, but it will get better.
Best of Luck!
I’m located in North Georgia. Im planning in becoming licensed in Tennessee as well. I have a website and Facebook page. I’ve even ran one add. I have a realtor who says she will use me. She actually sold me my house.
One needs to learn to be suspicious of companies that come calling when you know you are new.
It’s funny, when I was new, I got 1001 offers from various companies who were going to help me, blah, blah.
Once I got established, most of those phone calls stopped.
(now, I do still get 1001 spam calls a day, but they’re more generic spam calls and less specifically targeting home inspectors).
April I don’t mean to be a buzz kill but agents make a living telling lies and we make a living telling the truth. Most real estate agents really are despicable human beings. On occasion I find a decent one.
Martin, say it isn’t so!
That made me laugh.
Guess I should have seen this coming. Looking back i can think of a few lies she told while showing me houses but I knew she was trying to make a sale so I didn’t take it personal. I know I’ll have plenty realtors that aren’t going to be interested in doing business with me. I knew that before I even started all this.
Hi April, Welcome.
I might be able to share a few things that worked for me. This will be pretty wordy so I apologize in advance.
I also started with Home Advisor and I still have the account but I leave it turned off all the time. One reason I keep it is my name will show up when people search online for an inspector. I have a 5 star HA rating and I want the world to see it. Also, a potential client can request me while searching Home Advisor. I’ll still get that lead, even when my leads are shut off. I only pay for it if I accept the lead. But I rarely accept them… those are $50.00 something leads. But, often times the client will call me direct if I don’t respond. One closed deal from that will more than pay for my yearly fee. I might get one of those every couple months. If Home advisor promises you $20 leads, I can tell you that I haven’t seen one that cheap in several years. They’re usually well over $30.00. That can break your bank and put you in the poor house real fast. I still pay the yearly fee just so my name and rating pops up when they search. I’m busy enough now where I will probably kill it this year.
My best marketing ploy was sending a direct mail “post card” $100 off coupon to listed homes in the areas I want to do inspections. So it’s going to the seller. They’re moving somewhere and I want to do the inspection. I had the postcard printed by Vista print. Hopefully they aren’t leaving the area. A good sales/closing ratio on a direct mail piece is about 1 to 2%. It sound low, and it is but 1 inspection from 100 mailers is still 1 paid inspection. That covers the postage and printing. The goal is to meet their agent. It’s a lot easier to land a referring agent at an inspection than blindly knocking on doors and cold calling agents. From those 2 years of mailers, I picked up about 6 agents who still call me 3 years later for EVERY INSPECTION. Those 6 agents make up about 30% of my current business. So, in the long run it paid off very well. You can’t get discouraged with short term marketing returns. Building a business is a long process. I was careful to spend those mailing dollars in nicer (higher income), highly populated/transient areas. They’re easy to find, just go to realtor.com and see where all the red dots are on the map. It costs the same to market in nicer areas than it does in lower income areas, so might as well aim high in the nicer areas.
I also “crashed” open houses. I’d search for them on Realtor.com and map out my weekend footwork. I can guarantee you that there will be at least one agent there, often times several agents. I didn’t wear anything with my business logo or do anything that isn’t appropriate. I just showed up like any other buyer, but my lettered truck was parked outside. It was like a billboard in front of a listed home. I did get business from it from buyers but I really wanted the agents because they will bring me repeat business. I’d also sign the guestbook with Neil Summers Home Inspections. So my name and number was right there in front of buyers when they signed the book. If the open house was dead, I’d introduce myself to the listing agent. I did get business that way but you have to be careful and don’t come off as rude or overstepping your bounds. It’s their day, not mine. If asked why I was there, I’d simply say that I’m looking at the house for a client who can’t be there. I never had an issue.
Another thing I did and still do is bookmark the larger brokers/agencies and check their websites periodically. They hold classes to train new agents. They also have open houses at their places of business. I’d go to the open houses and introduce myself to the agents… particularly the new agents. I’d also ask if I could do a short talk during their classes, you’d be surprised how many times they say yes. I just did a talk about radon testing a week ago. 15 minutes but the Q&A afterward lasted about 1/2 an hour. So I met some new agents and provided them with some good information and they appreciate it. I’m after the new agents. New agents don’t have a favorite inspector yet. Older, more seasoned agents, already have a few. It’s harder to sell to experienced agents who already have “Their Guy”. You might have to wait till their guy retires or dies to win their business. My wife and creditors aren’t that patient.
I know this was wordy but these things helped me a lot and they’re all a lot cheaper and more effective than Home Advisor or any other pay to play lead generating service. Remember, HA and other lead generating services send the lead to several people. Now you have to compete to win the business and that means being the best sales person and maybe the cheapest inspector. Not only would you be paying too much for for the same lead other inspectors get but you’ll probably have to sell your services cheap. Don’t fall into the bottom-feeder trap. It’s hard to make a living that way. Spend your marketing dollars wisely.
Last but no least, do great inspections and provide great reports. Don’t be afraid to tell the truth. Some agents won’t like it but that’s not your problem. Great reports will generate referrals from your clients. I’d say about 15% (maybe more) of my business comes from my clients recommending me to their friends.
Best of luck to you. If you want a copy of the mailer/postcard I sent, just send me an email and I think I can find a copy and send it to you.
Thank you so much for typing all that out. Im not going lie I’ve felt very discouraged all day so this definitely helps. Im going to take your advice for sure. My email address is email@example.com
I’m certified through a different school but I’ve been taking taking classes on site as well just trying to get as much information as possible.
Done April, check your email
I visited your site and something stood right out at me. I had to read a while to figure out what state you are in. Still not clear which areas of Georgia you service. You mention that you are my “Local Inspector”. But you don’t know where I live. Maybe put that information up top, the counties you serve, etc.
Ok thank you!
April, I am as well a new inspector in these times and I agree that right now the website is going to be the most important tool. I checked yours out and noticed a few things right away. It still looks too much like a template from the site builder. I have recently went through the battle of creating my own site and I can give you a few pieces of advice that might help you.
1- Go visit a ton of other home inspectors sites. You will see that the majority of them are very similar but use them for ideas.
2- spend a few hours researching web creating fundamentals. It will pay off when you see how there are a few simple things to do to improve the site drastically.
3-color palettes… this one is a life savor for your eyes. Google different color palettes for websites and they will give you colors that work well together. This is actually very important.
4-contact information. Make sure it is visible and easy to find from all pages.
I am not an expert but with the pandemic and financial instability I went the route of making my own site. It is not my strong suit but it is worth spending a few LONG days of research and creating it. It will most likely be the initial impression you leave on clients. I have a lot of time in my site and it isn’t even completely done yet. Just hoping these few things will help you out and in the process you’ll see why builders charge so much for a site! It’s a ton of work and it never ends. I’m planning on paying someone to do the site and upkeep once I get rolling but for now all we can do is our best.
If you have a copy of your post card I would appreciate seeing it; I’m also new and looking for ways to make the limited marketing $$ stretch!
Here you go,
9213 Goose Pond Drive Pasadena Md. 21122 (410) 245-1361 firstname.lastname@example.org Md Lic.# 32592
$269 home inspection? Holy smokies!
That’s a heck of a coupon!
Was this a “new guy on the block” situation?
What other methods have you used to attract clients? I’m trying to figure out how to get to people who are buying so I can become the inspector of choice before the REA offers up their favorite inspector.