How to get business when first starting out

Anyone have any tips or advice on how to get business when first starting out

I have considered leaving my business cards at local realtors offices.

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You’re going to need to do more than that. Business cards find the bottom of a agents trash can like a homesick brick. There’s lots of information on this forum if you put the time in to search. Best of luck to you!

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With Covid-19, no-one is in their offices regularly, except for closing type stuff and getting mail.

Look in the paper, ask around or however you do it, get a list of high producers and new agents. Then send out envelopes with an informative flyer (not about you totally but something they can share with their clients about houses.) in it that has a $25 to $50 coupon toward one inspection and they need to have their name filled out along with the agents name filled out. Agents LUV getting “deals” for their clients!
I sent out 100 per week for one month and was flooded with work to the point where I didn’t do it again for 3 months…then, 6 months…then, 9 months, and so on.

Make it look very professional. Use a non-white envelope. And cool stamps.

Two years and you can be up and running with maybe once a year mailings, depending on you and your market but you have to keep your name and face in front of them somehow regularly so they think of you when they are in a bind with “their” regular inspector and soon you can be the inspector they think of first.

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Good advice from Larry, but if you want to do the drop off route:

If your going to spend the money on business cards for agents, might as well spend a few extra hundred of dollars on personalized note pads and pens. At least it gets their attention longer before they throw them away…and occasionally, when their inspector isn’t available, they may still have a notepad or pen on their desk.

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Thank for the help Larry and thanks again for the help earlier in the year when I was studying for my license

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My pleasure, Nicholas! :smile:

What are the most popular service that are done in conjunction with home inspections?

Welcome to our forum, Willie!..Enjoy! :smile:

Regarding your question, I believe it would matter where you are doing home inspections.

Others will be along, too.

Larry,
Thanks for the warm welcome. I hope to be more engaged in the forums to learn from other and help where I can.
I live in Vermont and will absolutely need to offer more services in order to make a business out of it. I’ve been brainstorming a few opportunities.

-Home inspection
-Thermal efficiency
-Mold inspection
-Radon testing
-Water testing
-Septic and leach field design and inspection (a separate professional license)

Just read every thread in this section. Twice.

And then, just don’t read it, actually implement it.

Most people fail because they won’t read the advice posted, and then even if they do, they don’t actually do anything with the information.

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Nicholas, as someone also new to the business with about a one year head start on you, I advise that you don’t be afraid to spend time and money trying new things. One common problem I see with new home inspectors is they are unwilling to spend any significant amount of money on running and promoting their business. I tried all kinds of different ideas throughout the year. Some of them I still do, others I don’t. Some of them produced a good return and others were a flop. But marketing a new business is pushing a boulder up a mountain. This year, I’m pushing a boulder up a hill - so a little better, but still lots of work to be done. If I shrunk my marketing budget down to say 5% of my revenue, I would still sustain most of my cash flow at this point. Marketing done right is an investment into your future cash flows.

In my opinion, you want any and all inspection work in the beginning. However, do nothing for free and don’t establish yourself as the cheap guy. As you build your volume, you can start being selective about where you source your leads to focus on the higher quality customers.

Lead generation sites are dancing with the devil, but they do work especially when you have no network or reputation established. Try out Home Advisor, Angie’s List, Thumbtack, etc and be Pistol Pete with the phone. Drop whatever you’re doing immediately when you receive a lead and call them. Implement follow up systems for these leads with texts and emails. Develop your selling skills over the phone. Solicit every client for a review after the inspection. If there is a real estate agent involved in the inspection and they don’t throw any red flags, be sure to interact with them and invite them to coffee or lunch afterward. See if you can build a referral relationship with them. You will quickly grow tired of the dog fight these lead sites create, and I don’t believe these sites are part of anyone’s long term success strategy. But they do serve a purpose if you know how to take advantage of the side benefits - the agents and your reviews. Home Advisor cost be 30% of the revenue I brought in directly from their leads.

Find a good Google Ads manager. Find a good social media manager. Be sure you are visible online. You can DIY your social media if you want to invest the time, but I do not advise trying to run your own Google Ads. Hire a professional to avoid wasting your money. Google Ads in my experience have yet to produce an attractive direct ROI, however I met my top referring agent from a client who found me from a Google Ad.

I wasn’t fond of the office visits. I found it to be a waste of time for the two weeks I did it before COVID locked everything down. In my experience, they just aren’t going to give you the time of day. You can have a remarkably better inspection product than anything they’ve ever used or seen, but they’ll never know because they aren’t going to listen to a word you say or take 30 seconds to look at your website and your reports. However, you can get in their heads in other ways. Start networking with them any way you can - referral groups, social media, chamber of commerce, office presentations, whatever. You just need to figure out how to get a captive audience that will actually stop and listen instead of blowing you off the moment you open your mouth. I am finally getting more agents to take me seriously as I continue to build a noteworthy reputation in my area and I keep pushing my business out there. Agents I want to work with are being hit with banner ads on the internet, direct mail, office presentations, phone calls, emails, etc. I make them feel like I’m everywhere. Make sure your product is actually differentiated and/or better in some way and highlight it.

Just make lots of noise this year and get out there and shake hands. Don’t accept silence as a response. Don’t accept ‘not interested’ or ‘I have a guy’. Who isn’t interested in a better product for their client? That ‘guy’ they have might be one lousy inspection away from the chopping block. Do whatever you need to do to convey your value to the industry and stay on their radar. Take only the minimum amount of money from the business that you need to survive and spend the rest ferociously on product development, tools, marketing, and save a cash cushion for lean times.

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I can add that I have had success with making a list of everyone I know and then asking them for introductions to realtors that they know. I’ve established a relationship in the last 2 weeks with three of these realtors and have a meeting with a fourth. Two others expressed that they would keep me in mind and several others didn’t give me the time of day even with a personal introduction.

It’s difficult but really just a process of elimination. You need to reach out to a lot of realtors to find the couple friendly ones and add anyone who responds at all to your database and stay in front of them.

Stir up a buzz. I did this with my last business and it works, home inspection is definitely more work and slower.

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I found this very helpful:

Believe it or not, this works. And this is coming from me - a flaming introvert who struggles with shyness. This webinar really helped.

Give it a shot, along with a few other things: social media engagement, cold emailing, open houses. Gotta have a lot of hooks in the water.

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