I’m not sure what’s ironic. Nonetheless, my husband has been a Realtor since August 2005. I started my home inspection business in October 2001.
Notwithstanding any of that, the fact remains that Realtors need home inspectors, thus creating a very well-defined target audience. Market to that target audience persistently and consistently, and you’ll always have business.
I’m just not 100% convinced it’s a well defined market today as it may have been when you started.
Per NAR 42% of all agents today (on a national average) have been in business less than 5 years.
I recently had a conversation with the owner of an Escrow company, who has been in business for over 30 years, and he was an agent before that. He sees the amount of business being done per agent has been on a step decline over the last several years, even though total sales have been strong.
His presented stats from C.A.R. that shows roughly a 20% turn over over in agents per year on average. With a vast majority of agents today doing 0 to 3 deals per years.
Brokers have responded to lower sales per agent by hiring more agents, which then just drives down the sales per agent even more. To the point an office that used to have 70-80 agents might have 150-300 agents to do the same volume of business.
So if one is marketing to agents, then roughly 20% of one’s marketing time and money is going to agents who will give up and leave the business with in the next year or so. And a vast majority of marketing time and money spend on agents who will only need an inspector 0-3 times per year.
Which isn’t to say I don’t believe in marketing to agents. But in terms of ROI, it no longer seems so well defined.
If anything it’s even more well-defined because the home inspection industry is more mature. I haven’t heard of a single Realtor, broker, or brokerage who is now advising against getting a home inspection. Realtors still need home inspectors.
Same number as it was in October 2001. That hasn’t changed. That is why I said in my previous post that you have to market “persistently and consistently.”
We might have to define “last several years.” When real estate is booming, more people become Realtors. Ergo, fewer transactions per agent. When real estate busts, more Realtors quit or retire. More transactions per agent. Simplified, but generally holds true.
So? Those Realtors still need home inspectors.
So? Those Realtors still need home inspectors.
So? If you do nothing but create a web site, it’s sitting out there where a great majority of the 7½ billion people on Earth aren’t going to see it. In every business there’s a marketing waste. If you do smart marketing to Realtors, this is the industry that has the lowest waste.
It does if you’re smart about your marketing to them. Realtors still need home inspectors. Fine me one Realtor who says, 100% of the time, that you don’t need a home inspection at all. There are none. You’ll find some that will say, “This home just had a home inspection three weeks ago so you don’t need another one” or “This is a brand new home so you don’t need a home inspection” or “This house is being sold by Joe South. I’ve known him for 37 years. He only sells the best, so you don’t need a home inspection.”
Otherwise, yes, it’s still a very well-defined target market.
Name any other business where you know exactly the people in a target market and can easily get their names, their addresses, emails, phone numbers. There isn’t one, and if there is, I guarantee you it isn’t as big as this one.
Definite proof that the very well-defined target audience for the home inspection industry still responds to marketing.
If anyone wants to hire me to do their marketing… I’m not cheap, but I do guarantee results and to cover my salary by at least a factor of two. I only accept a minimum one-year contract, though. One offer only. First come, first served.
Russel, you give such great, free marketing advise on this board, why would anyone who is capable of reading and conscious thought need to hire you?
I’m just wondering what you do that you haven’t already explained before, or is it the same stuff, just implementing it? I for one, have seen lots of great ideas about your marketing techniques, but just failed to “go with it” as far as implementation.
It would probably not behoove me, because my market area is less than 70K population, but I’m still intrigued…
A Website is great for sure and necessary. 80 percent of your customers will look at it …after they receive your card from the realtor. You may get 10 to 15 percent from people actually searching for a home inspector on line in your area. The rest will be word of mouth…which you actually can only build by actually working. Anyone who tells you that they don’t market to realtors is not being honest with you, us or with themselves. At some point, to be successful in this business, they had to market to realtors. Have a reputable company build out your site and do what you are good at. You aren’t getting into this business to become a website manager are you? You have to get in front of people in a variety of ways. You want them to think of you first. You need to market to realtors to become one of the 3 cards they hand people. You then want to be the only card they hand people. With all due respect to everyone here, you aren’t going to do that with just a website. All of these guys have had creative ideas on how to do that. Keep them talking about it and they will share those ideas indeed. Here was my most successful one: Write a short greeting letter that explains your service, your qualifications and most important, your prices. Add as many cards as a letter and stamp will accomodate, mail to every realtor in your area of choice. Remember, this is a card based business, get your cards in their hands. This will also get you by the receptionist at their office and keep you from even having to go there. Because they have to open the physical mail, you are started. Add one more contact with them per month in an email. More than that is too many. Think of your own habits and how you feel about being market to. Apply them. Take out an ad in a local paper, just to stay in front of people. Do anything you can to do that. There are a lot of other things as well. All the best!