I did an inspection last Saturday as a follow-up favor for a realtor client. It seems her listing had an inspection which revealed moisture in the corner of a basement wall. It is a 30 year old house and the seller is an older, single woman without much money. She needs to sell the house for financial reasons. I said I would look at the wall with my IR camera, no charge. The realtor is a long-time client and has sent me lots of business. The whole visit took not much time at all. The buyers were demanding that a “dry basement” company work up a solution to this “huge” problem.
Boy, did they work up a “solution!” They diagnosed a cracked block foundation. After suggesting much ditch diggage, French drainage, foundation wall sealage, indoor slab breakage, and new sump pumpage, they offered different prices for different “solutions.” The prices ranged from $6K to +$20K. You know the drill, kill an ant with a sledge hammer.
My IR camera revealed moisture from a very slight drip from a previously stubbed-out hose connection, no longer visible on the outside and apparently hidden when the house was re-sided. The foundation wall was not insulated and the drip was going straight to the sill plate.
I do not know if the “dry basement” company used an IR camera to diagnose the problem. I wonder what they would have done if they discovered the real cause of this moisture. Maybe they did! However, theirs was no solution at all and certainly very expensive.
The true problem is easily corrected. There is no foundation crack. My analysis was objective - I had no financial gain in providing a diagnosis/solution to this problem. The seller is happy. The buyers are happy. Both agents are happy. I have picked up a new client and further solidified an old one. You can give a happy-ending sigh now. A lot of business capital was purchased with very little effort.
My camera is two years old. It is a powerful tool - a great arrow in my quiver. Diversity of product and services offered is one great key to business development. In 1776 Adam Smith wrote a terrific book, “The Wealth of Nations.”* Among the very cool things he said was, to paraphrase, we owe our dinner not to the butcher, the baker and the beer maker’s interest in us, but to their business self interest. Self interest is not selfishness. Business people’s true interest is to put out the best product they can so that their clients will continue to come back and bring more clients with them. Business self interest translates to making a profit, so the business can grow, produce more, and improve lives. That, combined with freedom, is the very basis of an unfettered, free-market, capitalist economic system.
You and I are those business people! Let’s take advantage of the great blessings of the economic system we enjoy and go and do that voodoo we do so well!
- Another great, more modern book is “How the West Grew Rich,” by Nathan Rosenberg.