I guess I was killing it for my first few months as a home inspector, but I was living on $100K, and I’m not one to spend all that I earn. If you do that, you’ll have a long career with nothing to show for it. I built my first home inspection company to have one office woman and four crews of two inspector per crew. Everything I did was toward that goal in size. It’s a very efficient size and efficiency means profitability. Within 6 months I got there.
Very nice Nick! I may ask your advice later on about running a multi inspector office. Thanks very much for the info. Just gotta get done with the course for now.
Thanks to you to Linus. I hear ya about the realtors. I’m a certified WDO inspector here in FL and I’ve done thousands of inspections for realtors over the years. I’ve got a huge database of realtors I can network with through any variety of digital media now.
Damn Nick…I just read that post about the kitchen counter. I’ve been doing that for years. That’s one of the ways I built my realtor database. I have close to 1000. I just recently started using Fullcontact app which takes the picture of the card but also accurately transcribes and collates the data on the card to a contact management database and goes out and crawls the web for that individuals twitter, facebook, linkdn, youtube, etc. Pretty cool app and a huge time saver…if you didn’t already know about it.
I was close to that a few years back. I had one inspector I was feeding my overflow but mostly a one man show. I made $60 while doing it part time before the leap to quit the day job. It can be done. It will continue to grow, so stay ahead of the “need” to hire. we are 7 now.
Jeff I do 3/4 that and it is because I take time off plus like to have fun .
Doing $100,000 as a one man operation is easy if you totally dedicate and add aux services.
I myself could easily make way more by simply streamlining process with ISN,Producing more streamlined reports,and working when I can rather than when I want.The reason I can do this is because I do not market past my websites and blogging on FaceBook but instead concentrated on word of mouth that I am extremely detailed and fight for my clients.When a client hires me I actually fall in love with them which sounds silly but is true.My entire focus during an inspection on site is to serve my clients needs .We all know how to inspect and there are only so many ways to say the toilet is loose or the Roof flashing is screwed up but getting Clients to want you and only you means being in love.You simply need to walk and talk as you document.If my clients have kids the laundry chute is a special danger .If my clients are the type to do lots of greasy cooking does not having a Kitchen vent become more important ?
What I am trying to say is if you get to know your Client you are going past simple Inspection and promoting yourself as more .
All the gimmick marketing is great but for a one man operation your biggest promotion is yourself.
People love McDonalds because it is a safe choice and promoted then expect to pay less so you can go that route and hire people plus charge less and widgets add that trade client info or cost you per Inspection or you can be solo and simply be the Filet Mignon.
Summary …yes you can do $100,000 as Sole Proprietor but it takes a few years to get going .
I agree with Bob on this, straight up home inspections I’ve ran a pace to generate over $150k in revenue, if you add some ancillary services and if you get crafty with how you perform some of those ancillary services [a couple of things can be somewhat automated] I think a person could do $175k or more - this would be pounding the pavement pretty hard though and it would require that the demand be there.
Like Bob says, the goal is to establish yourself as a premium level inspector, premium services demand a premium price, that way you don’t have to run 50+ hours per week 52 weeks a year. Remember though, premium inspector doesn’t mean 100 page picky type reports.
I also agree with Bob on this - its all about you, your technical skills are of course important, but your people skills are just as critical, good Real Estate Agents are customer service experts and to refer you they expect you to be the same.
For me that people skills part is a lot of what has kept me from going to a multi-inspector platform, it is REALLY important that your employees are an extension of YOU in this business (assuming that you’ve built a solid one-man show) and that kind of employee can be hard to find.
Having an assistant, or maybe it would be better to call them an “Intern” would be helpful, but some may see this as a bit of a gray area unless you had them doing tasks that are not outlined on an SOP that would technically require a certification to perform.
Kudos to you Bob and that is a good way to put it. It certainly makes for a more difficult start-up process with some of the shysters REA’s out there and the need to rely on REA referrals pretty much exclusively as you start, but eventually people start talking and word-of-mouth and a broader base of REA contacts starts to make up for it.
I’ll admit, early on I was overly detailed, I’m not sure the details and long reports hurt me so much, but the lack of experience doing home inspections was surely evident. In time experience prevails…like most businesses I think you have to expect a 3 to 5 investment before things stabilize and get easier and more profitable.
Thanks for the input fellas. I’d like to think that an extreme effort put into high quality relentless marketing will set the stage for creating a funnel jamming a pipeline of leads very quickly and then projecting a highly professional image and excellent communication skills with those leads. I think this should cause a high conversion rate.
My immediate focus right now is on:
-Developing a very good attention grabbing easy to navigate website.
-Creating omnipresence with youtube, facebook, Linkdn, twitter, Meerkat, snapchat, periscope, and blogging.
-Realtor events (open houses, luncheons, sponsor realtor weekly sales meetings)
-Old fashioned cold calling.
-and utilizing the huge network of realtors I’ve already established.
Does anybody have a similar marketing strategy? What works for you, what doesn’t?
Bob does having multiple websites produce more leads over just one website? What method do you use to drive traffic to your websites? Are you able to quantify comparative results? Which website do you put on your marketing materials?
In my personal opinion your marketing strategy sounds solid, but I would focus intensely on the Realtors to start. You’re going to need some inspections to gain experience and because most of your Clients are going to hear about you through their REA you’re going to want to meet as many of them as you can first.
A lot of REAs are not browsing the internet looking for inspectors, the new REAs get a referral to a few inspectors from their colleagues and principal broker and they stick with them, so you have to nudge your way in and make a name for yourself.
I’m not saying that an online presence won’t help…but in my opinion that is a secondary or maybe even a tertiary step. It helps to get some jobs, get some experience, and find your way and then build an online presence that showcases your “way”.