Excerpt from an interview I gave yesterday:
XX: What’s the secret to success for inspectors?
Gromicko: An understanding of the concept of synergy. You have to do a bunch of things correctly and at the same time to make money in the inspection business. A simple example, a technically strong home inspector who is weak at marketing and technically weak home inspector who is strong at marketing will both struggle. Combine technical and marketing strength and all of a sudden you enjoy outrageous success. Synergy is a miracle.
XX: Sounds simple.
Gromicko: It’s not, especially the marketing side of the equation. If it was simple all inspectors would be rich.
XX: Should inspectors really be getting rich doing inspections?
Gromicko: Absolutely! You shouldn’t go into business to make a good living. You should be making a great living. If you are content to just make a good living, get out of the inspection profession. You are messing it up for the rest of us.
XX: But not all inspectors are salesmen.
Gromicko: None of us have to be salesmen. Consumers already want to hire the best inspectors. But we can’t have marketing material that conflicts with our contention that we are the best. Most inspectors have brochures and websites that un-sell.
Gromicko: Yes. They turn away more potential clients than they bring in. Most inspectors do more things that un-sell their services than to sell them, they just don’t know it. There is nothing more heartbreaking than watching an experienced, good inspector lose jobs to his technically weaker competitors over marketing.
XX: Is that what InterNACHI does? It markets for its members?
Gromicko: In part. It is true that we are an unusual trade association in that we spend our money promoting our members as opposed to using our member’s money to promote our association. But marketing, like education, is only a subset of what we really do at InterNACHI. We develop and provide free success tools to our members.
XX: What is a success tool?
Gromicko: Anything that gives the InteNACHI member a competitive advantage. We give each InterNACHI member thousands of them for free. They add up until their competitors die from death by a thousand paper cuts.
XX: Sounds like a war?
Gromicko: Business is a war. InterNACHI not only provides the inspector with the tanks, planes, ships, guns, and missiles needed to win, but to become a superpower in their local markets.
XX: But aren’t many inspectors more relaxed about their businesses than that? If they get a call for an inspection they go do it and if not they stay home.
Gromicko: Well then they must not have families to feed. Set your alarm clock for 7am, get up and go to work whether you have an inspection or not. Every day you should be inspecting, learning, or marketing. Work like your life depends on it, because it really does.
XX: What is the biggest challenge to the home inspection industry?
Gromicko: Fee structure. When corrected for inflation, our industry’s pricing has been going down for the past 30 years while all along our skill sets have had to expand and our liability has increased. It’s time we give ourselves a raise.
XX: How can inspectors raise fees when their competitors charge so little?
Gromicko: It doesn’t matter what your competitors are doing. If you are swamped with work you have to raise fees. Get so consistently overbooked that you have to choice but to start charging more.
XX: How can inspectors get consistently overbooked when there are so few homebuyers and so many homes listed for sale?
Gromicko: InterNACHI has given its members the tools to get all the listing inspections and foreclosure inspections through our free MoveInCertified.com program. We’re catching all the inspections upstream, before any other inspectors even hear about them. The reports are then hosted on FetchReport, our free report upload system, for all the potential buyers and inspectors to view. Having all the local buyers and investors in your market reading your inspection report, a real sample of the actual product you produce as a professional, captures all the local buyers as well. The investor groups love it because they can all view your report online. And sellers often move locally and so use you again to inspect the home they are buying. We’re really damming up the stream so that very few inspections trickle down into the open market.
XX: But isn’t there a lot of liability in having an inspection report viewed by many potential buyers?
Gromicko: There is no extra liability in giving hundreds of potential buyers, who don’t ultimately buy the inspected property, access to the report. Only one buyer eventually buys the property and from a liability standpoint, it is better to inspect for the party moving out than the party moving in. Your inspection report is the ultimate brochure, and putting a copy it in the hands of hundreds of potential buyers about to hire a home inspector is the ultimate in target marketing.