So my problem is that I live in an area where there are home inspectors that are established for the past 20 - 25 years. I’m the newbie and the realtors like me but I’m not getting any business from them. I have to drive an hour away to get any jobs. I’ve started doing presentations at the offices and sending emails, social media, and created a website. I have been in business for 6 months and do on an average of 1 to 2 a week. Any Ideas on how to break through??? I feel like I should be getting calls at least and my phone is not ringing. I get excited when it rings, but come to find out that its another person from google calling me… Help and I have studied and watched the marketing section.
I would do 2 things to start with:
Create a Forum signature, including business name, phone #, website, facebook page etc.
Secondly, get rid of the pricing on your website, force people to call you. When they call for pricing, you get a chance to interact with them and sell yourself.
You need something that will make you stand out in front of your clients (like in any business). If you’re just like the rest of inspectors in your area, it will be very difficult. Target the clients directly, attorneys, and mortgage brokers. Google is your best friend! If you wish to target realtors in general, you will have to be a team player and not an inspector.
PS: It takes time! you didn’t tell us how long you’ve been at this, if you do it full time, etc… Depending on the area, it will take 3-5 years to build up business if you do everything right. Don’t believe people that tell you they did 500 inspections their first year, 99% of them are full of hot ego
You need free warranties to set you apart from the pack. Yeah, that’s the ticket.
Thank you I contemplated putting prices on the website heard two different perspectives about it. Only a handful of inspectors in my area have websites. I put pricing on there to be different but you have a point. I might change that aspect.
Filgo Home Inspections
Greg M Filgo
Been in business 6 months and I do own a restaurant but I have manager that runs it. So yes this is a full time job.
Filgo Home Inspections
Greg M Filgo
He is jokin’ with you .
No, he isn’t!
In a market where you are the same as everyone else, and you are dependant on realtors for your business, you need all the gimmicks and free stuff you can handle (ie. give away).
Find a niche in your market and exploit it.
Let’s say that all of the established inspectors in your area are sleeping comfortably in the same bed with all of the used house salesmen in your area. One way to set yourself apart from them is to advertise that you’re not.
Just as most homeowners with insurance claims are savvy enough to know that their insurance company’s “preferred vendors” have dubious reasons for being “preferred” by the insurance company looking to keep their costs down … savvy homebuyers have the same reasons to be suspicious of the inspector recommended by the salesman who doesn’t get paid if the house doesn’t sell.
Perhaps promoting the fact that your name is NOT on the referral list can have enough of a positive connotation to get you started.
I’ve given up two-stories, crawl space homes, commercial, and jobs in the hood… The world is your oyster.
If I ever move to Florida I’ll keep that in mind. Thanks
Filgo Home Inspections
Greg M Filgo
I’m in the same situation. Know a lot of realtors, companies that have been in business for long time have grown to the point where they have full time employee(s) just doing the sales. Inspections they perform are horrible (being honest). They hire “inspectors” , most of whom know nothing of construction, train them to inspect to a software program and call it an inspection. I’m also a licensed realtor, had several listings this past year, buyers brought in an inspector, every inspection was almost the same result, items reported where there was absolutely nothing wrong were listed as refer to licensed contractor for examination and evaluation.
The things we talk about on this forum regarding construction details, etc, is not what makes for a successful inspection business. It’s really just a matter of how much time and $$$ you can spend in realtor offices, give aways, gimmicks.
Thanks for the reply. Unfortunately Realtors in my area pretty much control who the buyer picks. I’m not downing anyone in the industry here because there are no companies just one man shows. But when I here it takes me a week to get an inspection scheduled I’m like I can do it tomorrow! I know I just gotta figure out how to break their habits. I’m not into the free stuff because once you start you always have to give. I don’t know I’ll get there thanks again.
Filgo Home Inspections
Greg M Filgo
What about occasional free brunch for local agents in the restaurant you own. Let them know you exist.
So Gregg you should have done what newbies go in Kansas city, they start off by tell agents they have been in business 10, 15 20 years. Whatever. No agent ever calls them out. Since there are so many inspectors if is.
One company I remember said they where 20 years old and the highest regarded inspection company in kc.
I remember a post on this site where the company stated there were one year old and in first year did 350 inspections.
So Gregg just lie and exaggerate
It takes a long time to build an inspection business Greg, so be patient. I would take advantage of your current situation and use these established home inspectors to get you some work. Contact each of them and offer to do their overflow work when they’re too busy or on vacation, or even suggest they can contract work out to you so they still make a percentage of the fee. This will provide you with more experience doing inspections, a veteran inspectors point of view on any issues you may encounter, and customers that may contact you for their next home purchase.
The fact that many of these inspectors don’t have websites is to your advantage as well. Many people look for home inspection services via the internet, so keep plugging away on that front.
Greg, Sorry to say it takes time to become established. Keep doing the realtor presentations. When I started I would always tell the realtors I wanted to earn their trust and not replace their go to inspector, but if their inspector was busy to give me a call. Make sure your reports are easy to read, detailed, and not scary. I agree, take your pricing off your website. Most people are not looking for the lowest cost inspector, and if they are you really don’t want that business. Actually 1-2 inspections a week in your first year is good. Take that extra time to study and learn as much as possible. In a few years you will wish you had more time to take the InterNachie online classes. Create form emails to reply to common questions that client’s as well as realtors ask. In the beginning its hard not to discount your inspection cost to get more business. Remember if you want to be the lowest cost company in your area, realtors will always expect you to keep that pricing model.
Don’t compete for the business relationships that are already established. Let those realtors know that you can be available if their primary inspector cant meet a schedule need. And be supportive and respectful of that existing relationship. Don’t beat down that other guys work. If its bad, their clients will figure that out.
Get in there and compete for the new realtors entering the business. Those are the ones doing open houses. They’re also at your local realtor association taking classes on the multi list service, ethics requirements etc… Seek those opportunities out to get in front of the new ones. It’s a slower climb but you’ll appreciate the loyalty that you’ll build with your realtor base.
#1 you may want to quit trying to break into that market.
Working with realtors has been good for me over the years. I never advertised beyond a web site and business card and was booked solid since day one. How did I do it? I had one Realtor that got burnt several times over HVAC issues. I am an HVAC system design engineer. She told me she was going to bring a plumber, electrician, HAVC contractor and structural through every house she dealt with (these are high end houses in Nashville). So when she met me, she decided to give me a try. The listing agent (which the same experiences) saw my work and asked who I was. In a month I had to stay in a hotel over night to get my work done because I live 1.5 hrs from Nashville. Yes, I drove over 100 mile a day for 26 years, but never had to compete with the 26 idiots in my home town and work for peanuts and crazy REA’s.
The more work you do, the more work you get (If you do a good job).
If your giving away free stuff you’ll never beat out the old timers (unless it’s something significant they can’t duplicate). Your new, and can never out maneuver them.
You don’t need to stand up and try to con the whole REA Office. You need to find the one agent that has a beef with the system in place and offer a solution. The Agent that got me started told me what I needed to do the work for her. Radon; she did a major about of relocation work that required Radon Testing 100% of the time. So I went to Auburn University and got listed in both measurement and mitigation. It actually required several in the field hands on mitigation jobs to be listed. This Radon ancillary service did not consists of placing a radon canister and go. Out of state relocation companies got wind of my work and started referring me in my region, because I was protecting their interests. All the more work… When I got a phone call, the first question asked was not “How much do you charge?”, rather “When can you get to me?”!
All these programs available to HI’s are all well and good, and much of it does pan out (to an extent), but your fighting the competition tooth and nail and when they change, you have to up your game again!
You can stand up in a stadium of REA’s spewing your claims of bigger and better, but unless at least one of them is looking for a change, and your that change, your wasting your time and efforts. It only takes one good Agent to carry you through till retirement. You will loose some Agents over time, but if your really good, they will always return to you when it comes time for one of their family members to buy a house. This is your assurance that your good and should just keep on keeping on…
You’ll always get undercut on jobs by Inspectors in the same boat as you are now. You’ll loose Agents because of their clients requests. Yo don’t need, or want every inspection anyway. It only make you loose sleep at night. A cheap inspection is always more costly to you in the long run.
As posted above, listing your prices does not get you the client you want and need. They do not “select” you based on price, they "eliminate’ you over a $.99 cent special. They have no other information about you to base their decision. You need the phone to ring so you can talk with the buyer and determine what they expect, and allow you to assure them you can fill the bill. This is not a restaurant, it’s a service business, treat it as such.