The Harvard Business Review has posted an article titled, “How to Fight a Price War,” and I’d like to share some of the tips from the article that are applicable to home inspections.
Some competitors in your market will try to capture more clients by lowering their prices. So, what should a home inspector do?
A Cheap Inspection
Price slashing and offering discounted inspection fees have decreased profit margins for home inspection companies for decades. A competitive move based upon price is not a good, long-term business strategy. Competing on price only diminishes consumers’ perceptions of quality and value. A “cheap” inspection company may develop a bad reputation for being low-priced and may cast doubt on the quality of all home inspections. You do not want to get into a price war where everyone loses. The smart move for a home inspection company is to work on keeping their inspection fees up by competing on value.
There are several options other than lowering inspection fees that inspection business owners may want to consider in order to compete and win in their market.
When an inspection company lowers their fees, they are essentially saying that they’re willing to buy a market share at the expense of their current profit margin. Your competitor may think that offering cheap inspections is easy, quick, and reversible. We teach about how to increase profit margins in a competitive market in a training video inside the free, online Master Class for Home Inspectors.
Contact the Competition
One option for a business owner is to actually contact their competitor and explain that it’s very difficult (nearly impossible) to reverse offering cheap fees once real estate agents and customers get used to the discounted rates. Your competitor may come to agree that there’s ultimately no profit for anyone when everyone is competing on price. We teach you how to spy on your competition and to get to know your competitors on neutral ground in the Master Class for Home Inspectors.
Another option is to contact the real estate agents in the same market and point out that it’s not a good idea to have only one inspection company to refer their clients to, and it’s better to recognize other companies that are very attentive to their specific needs, including price sensitivity. We teach about a real estate agent’s duty, how to communicate and promote to real estate agents, and how to build a network of professionals who value your service in the Master Class for Home Inspectors.
Another option is to build a marketing strategy that communicates a perceived value that’s overwhelming to potential clients. We teach several ways to overwhelm your clients with incredible value in the Master Class for Home Inspectors. Picasso knew this business concept of charging higher fees based upon value. We tell the story of Picasso in the context of providing incredible value to your inspection clients in one of the training videos of the free, online InterNACHI® Master Class for Home Inspectors.
Communicate the Risks
Another option is to alert potential clients to the risk of hiring a cheap or unqualified inspector. Your marketing may communicate that there is a risk of hiring a home inspector who is:
- “cheap” because low prices may convey poor quality;
- not trained and certified by InterNACHI;
- not certified in ancillary inspection services; or
- not including the Buy-Back Guarantee.
We teach how to calculate profitable inspection fees, get trained and certified, offer ancillary inspection services, and the benefits of offering the Buy-Back Guarantee in the Master Class for Home Inspectors.
Another option is to use pricing options related to bundling services. For example, let’s say your home inspection fee is $400, the radon test is $125, and WDO is $75. That’s $600 when you add them all up. But you may want to offer a bundled package of those three services for $500. We teach about pricing your inspection fees and bundling inspection services in the Master Class for Home Inspectors.
Act Like a Leader
Another option is to act like a leader in your market and the home inspection industry. Leaders tend to develop reputations for running quality companies that are profitable and successful over time and through fluctuations in the economy. Leaders don’t engage in competing over the price but instead distinguish themselves by fulfilling the needs of their clients and providing incredible value. Leaders understand that if the perceived value is greater than the cost, it’s a good decision. We teach these concepts related to providing value to clients in the Master Class for Home Inspectors.
Reference: Harvard Business Review, “How to Fight a Price War,” https://hbr.org/2000/03/how-to-fight-a-price-war