I apologize in advance because I have a feeling this post is going to be rather long-winded. I suffer from insomnia at times and find it difficult to sleep. My mind begins to wander and race and they think of many things maybe some are important, maybe some aren’t so important.
But in reflection of all the controversy and negativity that has been presented in our professional forum it makes me reflect and think about many aspects of our profession.
I will digress a bit…. I went to the dentist today and when all was said and done in about an hour and 45 min. I had to pay a bill of $1832. I paid the bill without thinking about it too much and when I day for a little bit. I then thought, what made me pay that amount of money without question? The answer came rather fast, well he’s a dentist! That’s what Dentists charge.
So then I tried to compare his profession to my profession. Granted he has a ton more formal education but what really are the differences? His liability is if somebody gets injured, they get an infection, he does the wrong treatment, and I guess someone could die.
I then thought about my profession. In my profession, should I be negligent, it can cause personal injury, significant injury and possible death. Yet, I get paid nowhere near the amount of money he gets paid. Why is that? Please understand that I am not thinking we should get paid what professional doctors make, but we should be making a whole lot more than we are.
So then, I ask myself why not? Why in the hell are we not charging at least $1200 for a basic home inspection? Once again the answer came very quickly to me, because we have set a standard so low that the general public does not feel we are worth that fee. So then you must ask yourself, why does the general public not have a positive professional aspect of what we do and feel that we deserve professional wages? For that, I have no answer. But I do have a cause. The cause is simply, we do not project a professional image to the rest of the world. Who is at fault for that? I would have to say, the majority of the seasoned inspectors (me included). We sit back and we wonder and bicker and argue like children, call each other morons, chubby and every other silly name and then think we demand professionalism from the general public. How can they give respect when we don’t even respect our own organization, fellow inspector and profession?
We keep listening to the “experts” telling us what to do. And yet how many of the experts are actually experts? How many of them perform 6 figures a year? How many perform 7 figures a year? If you think income is not a good measuring device for business success, well we strongly disagree. If I say I have 100% customer satisfaction for 10 years running and only performed 10 home inspections, its not really an accomplishment is it?
But then most people look at successful people like Dale Duffy, Jeff Pope and they see these people as the standard within our profession. I hate to tell you, they are far from standard. They are exceptional. I think it was maybe Chris Currins or Gary Farnsworth stating that they actually made MORE money 10 years ago per inspection, then they do now. Think about it, that is not even taking into account for inflation!
So the “experts” in all their infinite wisdom have lead us down a path of less money! And now we listen to them. Really? To me it is very very evident that what we are presently doing SUCKS. Unless your into philanthropy and doing more for less. This proves the saying ‘Doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results is INSANE’, and it is. And yet it is what they preach. Why?
Things have to change and they must change in a huge way. Forget about the way things are done. We have to think way outside the box and get consumer confidence and the image of professionalism. How do we do that? Well there is the question; I do not have the answer to. But I do know what works in certain areas (for me anyways).
As I have been reading the negative posts, there are several areas not talked about. Be aware without this ONE thing not a single one of us would make a thin dime. What every single business in the entire world needs to survive is a CLIENT. I see all the talk about, OUR aspect, OUR liability, what WE want, what WE feel is good. Does any of that even matter, at all? To me, what I want is NOTHING. What the client desires is EVERYTHING.
I am NOT pushing a 90 day warranty, just using it as an example because of the all the controversy.
How many people actually ask their client “Would you prefer to have a 90 day warranty or not? Hell I go to Costco and damn near buy everything I can from there. Why? The RETURN policy is the ONLY reason. Hell, I can find it cheaper online, but I like getting it now and if it sucks, take it back. I have been a shopper there for about 10 years and I don’t even price shop, if Costco has it, I buy it from there. Now here is the kicker, I have only returned ONE thing in 10 years. How crazy is that? But that ONE time made such an impression on me that they performed to obtain my consumer confidence.
So once again, ask your client, would you prefer a 90 day warranty with that or not? What do you think they would say? Really? I bet most would say, HELL YES! So if the client would want it, they why not? Are we not suppose to please and appeal to the client?
Let me guess, what if the warranty doesn’t pay? You look like crap and your reputation is RUINED, you will be tar and feathered and run out of town. OR, maybe just maybe….You can make it right. My reputation is in my hands and I am in control of it. If someone calls me totally upset, I try to make it right, even if they are wrong. Why? Its basic numbers to me. Happy clients lead to more money. Many hear talk about the liability. What liability? If the claim doesn’t get paid? Who cares? Make it right yourself and YOU deal with the warranty company on your terms.
Any added service comes with liability. Warranties and thermal cameras are the exact same thing. They have a fee and they open you up to liability. But does it COST you anything if you make money from it? Meaning if I increase my revenue by $10,000 a year by having a thermal infrared camera, but it costs me $1500 a year to maintain is it financially beneficial to me? I would say yes. So now everything is the SAME. If I can get 100 more people singing my praises and exponentially increasing my volume at a higher fee, but costs me $2000 one time every 5 years, is it worth it? I would say YES. So instead of liability, liability, liability, look at it from a PROFESSIONAL businessman’s eyes and determine if the gains far outweigh the actual costs. Not the perceived costs, the actual costs. To live a life of “what if’s and negative scenarios you will amount to nothing, in ANYTHING you do”.
Things will not improve by themselves, they must improve as an effort of a few, some, many. We are NOT a profession. Want me to prove it? We make far less than we should given the liability we have. What YOU as an individual think we are is NOTHING, it is what the general public or the “client” perceives you as. As I said before, do not look at Dale Duffy and Jeff Pope as the norm, they are not. They are exception businessmen with a insight and portray a professional presence and command a professional fee.
So now, I have proven what we are doing doesn’t work, where we are is not working, and we have no real direction after what, 30 years? It is not what I can do about it, its what can WE do about it? That is not for me to decide, but these are the ranting and thoughts of an old, fat guy with insomnia. Food for thought and maybe, just maybe professional dialogue can begin and progress to professionalism can begin with this very thread…Who knows?