I joined NACHI planning to be a home inspector, but instead shifted my efforts into trying to help other home inspectors by starting a home-inspector focused answering service (see http://www.inspectoradvantage.com). Yet five months into my venture I’ve had only a handful of NACHI members even toy with the idea… and I can’t figure out why. The idea has been proven for years, my prices are lower than what the market has been bearing, and I’ve tried to provide features that others don’t have (like web-based business control center, being able to open up inspection orders directly in HomeGauge, etc.). Still I can’t get this venture off the ground. So before I close shop, I thought I would try one last time to come up with pricing that would make the service viable for the one or two inspector shop that wants to stand out from their competitors with professional customer service agents handling their calls, booking their inspections and scheduling them… basically giving you your life back. I thought that $250/month plus $20/booked inspection for 60 hours of live phone answering was a fair price but I’m going to scrap that in favor of something I hope will catch the eye of 10 or so inspectors so I can keep my doors open. So I’ve come up with two new pricing plans. Plan 1, a flat-rate $400 a month. For less than what you probably make on one inspection, you’ll have your own front-office. Plan 2, for new and part-time inspectors, a pay-as-you-go $25/per booked inspection plan. No fixed fees. That’s it. I’m hoping someone out there will take advantage of this as I know that you are going to find us worth it. If your interested, please email firstname.lastname@example.org today. This offer may not last.
Do you know any home inspector that use a service like yours?
Ask them why they would not use you? Cut to the chase.
Me and my wife answer our own phone. She is very helpful
and people love her and trust her easily. Money can’t buy that.
Perhaps your original idea made more sense. Applying your appointment setting skills toward your own business and establishing a record of success —first ---- would make your services much more marketable, IMO.
Well from my standpoint and opinion I really don’t desire a service like this. But others will I’m sure. I’m a firm believer in talking to the person that is actually doing the work or service. For me it’s a comfort zone. I like talking directly to my customers, not having them shifted to another source.
Plus I want them to feel that they can call me at anytime after the inspection without having to be directed through “traffic”. My phone is always with me, if I don’t answer immediately I get back in 5 minutes.
$400 or even $25/per seems pretty high. I’m already spending $200/mo for phone service now, I’d hate to have to add another $400 to it.
Just my opinion! But good luck, don’t give up yet.
I personally would not use a service like yours but that is just me. your business is just like ours you need to market better. I have never heard of you so others probably haven’t either. i would get with Russell Ray and get some ideas from him. Also i would not advertise that you were on your last leg as you did in your statement above. That may turn the customers away.
To put it bluntly, I can answer the phone an awful lots of times for almost $5000 per year. I always have my calendar within easy reach and can decide whether I have any schedule conflicts. Doesn’t make good economical sense for most single inspector businesses.
I’m trying to learn from the best, the best seem to answer there own phones . . . some 24/7 . . . instead of an answering service with perhaps canned answers . . . and I agree with another post, why advertize that you were on your last leg? . . . why do would I want to investigate your service now? . . . I’m now worried if I choose you, you won’t be around much longer and I’m now willing to invest time and money.
Hope this helps
Basically already been stated but I pay my wife a salary to answer the office phone. The advantages to this are obvious. When she wants to go out we simply put it on call forwarding to either her cell or mine. Either way the phones are covered. With the technological advantages of today it is almost like throwing money away to pay someone else to answer the phone. Furthermore no one else knows my day to day schedule, which changes and flucuates constantly. In the slow market $400 may be a truck payment. I would just rather pay myself. Hope this helps you make a decision.
You’re not answering the phones for IBM.
I’ll do it for $50.00/month for anyone who wants to write me a check.
Heck, I’ll even be polite to your clients for $100.00/month.
C’mon guys, if I can get 100 to sign up today, I’ll even waive the setup fee. (a $0.00 value!!)
It would be a useful service for anyone who is not good on the phones, of which I think there are many. If you are not converting a majority of your calls into appointments (I would think that once someone is on the phone with you, your closing rate should be above 75%, conservatively) then you might consider a service like this.
Some guys just are bad salespeople. Some are horrible on the phone. Still others are too busy to answer immediately and respond quickly.
In any of those cases, or if you are not closing calls at a high rate - a phone service makes sense.
Regarding the pricing, it seems a little high for the industry norm, and that may be the reason why few try it. I might suggest a teaser into rate to get people interested, or let them try it out for a month to see if they like it.
I agree that the price is extremely high. I thought someone around here was doing it for a starting rate of $100 a month. That was still alot for me and maybe others. There are alot of inspectors who don’t have the phone ringing alot and probably can’t imagine paying $400 a month for that once a week phone call. I know I wouldn’t.
I appreciate those who took the time to repond.
Our original pricing was based on what other companies charge ($250/month, $20/ish per inspection) and yet don’t offer the same degree of features that we have. So I thought about trying a flat rate only approach and a per inspection only approach to see if that removed the barrier to inspectors trying the service.
Most inspectors are interested in our service for a few reasons: 1) they know that if they don’t answer the phone or someone goes to their cellphone voicemail, that prospect is going to hang up and go to the next guy on the list 2) having a front office staff gives their company a professional image that makes them stand out from the other one-inspector shops and compete with the 8-inspector shops. 3) The comfort of knowing that whether they are on vacation, sick in bed, or out of cell phone range, their inspections are being booked. 4) They understand the power of delegation in freeing up their life.
Yeah, spilling my guts not a great business move. I am human. However, I’m not, as someone put it, “on my last leg”. The report of my demise is greatly exaggerated.
So, for this, you’ll answer the phones unlimited until the inspector books an inspection and then charge $25? So if there’s no booked inspections, there’s no charge?
In colorado they do it for $100.00 a month. its called something like office fornt. its been on the radio for about 6 months.
Seems this service may be a tad more reasonable.
Just a “tad”. . .
Not as affordable as that seemed.
Quite reasonable… for any generic answering service that answers the phone for painters, taxidermists, auto detailers… and home inspectors.
I signed up with Communication Station who offer this service. Any one who is going to one of Mike Crow’s seminars at the convention will find out more about them as it is run by his daughter.
I think the best way to sum up this company and there service is simple say they are CRAP. I asked them to call 2 people back who had called and inquired about home inspections I was told it would be done soon. I called the next day to see how it went with them and was told “I am far to busy to be calling people back, I have another inspector who wants me to call 3 people back & I have not done that either. I have the numbers in front of me and will call them when I can”
Needles to say that did not go down well. I talked to the owner of the company which is Mike Crow’s daughter Christa who told me she would call them before the end of the day for me.
I called the next morning to be told that she is running errands and would be back in the office within the hour and she would call me. They did not know how it went with the phone calls but they knew that Christa did call them.
She finally called me back about 3 or 4 hours later and had to finally admit that they never called them back as they never took there names or phone numbers in the first place.
What a quality company this is “NOT”. I know they have a stall at the NACHI convention you may wish to think twice before signing up with them.