What's the difference?

There’s been several threads and a lot of talk about inspectors paying fees to be on a Realtor’s list. There are numerous permutations of that scenario but most all of us agree that "pay to play’ is wrong and shouldn’t be tolerated.

Now, INACHI posts a new offering to members called TruCapture. See the announcement here. TruCapture has several features, one of which is a Client/Realtor cash referral program. See the screen captures below. What is the distinction that allows making a cash referral fee to a Realtor (…just the way they like it…or so it claims) for future consideration appropriate that is different from an inspector paying a fee to be on a list? I’m not looking to start anything, I just really want to know.

trucapture.pdf (228 KB)

Email them and ask them to come here and answer your very good question.

No ethical difference in my mind. I won’t do this referral program either.

However, it would appear that based on recent comments attributed to TREC it’s only a violation of the TREC ethical standards for inspectors if the public complains about it. :mad:

Chris has just given the owner of the company message board privileges here.

Mike - I think I see a “difference” but it does not make much of a difference.

In this thing you have brought to light, the participant pays the salesman AFTER the referral has been made.

The “preferred vendor” bribery scam requires that the inspector’s bribe be paid in advance.

They are both wrong and they both violate our COE.

I wouldn’t have a clue as to who to e-mail. Perhaps since Chris knows who the owner of the company is then he could send quick invite to that person.

They board in NC will discipline any inspector involved as a preferred vendor.

Larry, thanks for the input. Actually though, this thread is about the TruCapture offering and how its Realtor Cash Referral program operates and differs from a preferred vendor program. See post #1.

Michael writes:

Co-owner is on his thread here: http://www.nachi.org/forum/f32/trucapture-offers-international-association-certified-home-inspectors-member-discount-52434/

Matt with TruCapture has been invited to come to this thread to comment on the observations/question in post #1.

Mike,

This is an affirmation of the basic tenet by which unethical and illegal businesses operate:

“It is only illegal if you get caught!”.

We have already seen our own government agency proclaim that recently!

From the RESPA law (http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/cfr_2009/aprqtr/24cfr3500.14.htm):

Both Inspectors and RE Agents/Brokers are considered settlement service providers.

Doesn’t this product offering fly in the face of a recent interview with INachi in the D/FW market?

http://www.nbcdfw.com/around-town/real-estate/The_Truth_Behind__Preferred__Home_Inspectors_Lists_Dallas-Fort_Worth.html

Manny…I’m anxious to see what Matt with TruCapture says. Hopefully he will tune in sometime today.

Nolan…yep, ergo the 1st sentence of the 1st post :smiley:

This is a great question. Our referral program tool is based on the recommendation that you offer a referral bonus to a Realtor for referring another Realtor, NOT for sending you a client directly. It is a great way to get Realtors to talk about your services to other Realtors, and create some inter-office buzz.

We also suggest a referral bonus be offered to Clients for sending you their friends and family. Tracking these referrals is done automatically through our system.

Paying a Realtor directly for sending a client just doesn’t sit well with us, and many of you as I have seen.

I hope this clears up our stance on the matter! Thank you!

Matt…I almost agree with you, if it were not for the fact that the “realtor” who referred me to another “realtor” does not get paid his $40 until the second “realtor” sends me a customer. Can you see the problem?

I think I understand where you’re coming from. From what I gather, the problem occurs when a Realtor receives compensation for sending their own client to you. In our system, that does not happen.

We only suggest that a referral bonus be given to Realtors who support you by talking about your services. It has to be contingent on whether or not it generates business for you, or you’d go bankrupt. This way, you can motivate Realtors to talk about you, but no Realtor is being compensated for sending you their own clients.

Hello Matt,

That’s an interesting concept but it seems I would go bankrupt paying RE Agents just to talk about me without obtaining any referrals from it. Besides, I already have RE Agents talking about me. I’m the Inspector that they won’t send their clients to because of my thoroughness, in depth inspections and reports. These same RE Agents talk to others about me to make sure they know about my thoroughness. So I already get talked about.

Also can you explain the benefit of having RE Agents talk about you but not referring you to their clients? Also, if I pay one RE Agent to speak about me, and one they speak to wants a referral bonus to speak to others about me, then how does that generate revenue for me if they all request referrals to speak about me but not send me clients? Is that maybe how “that does not happen” as you described above?

First let me highlight that the referral bonus tracking feature in TruCapture is just one marketing strategy behind the many valuable features we offer.

Second, you’re right, you would go bankrupt if that was the case! As I mentioned, we recommend the bonus being paid out be contingent on business that comes to you as a result from other Realtors. So, to clarify, you could tell a Realtor that if they recommend you to other Realtors, and those Realtors send you business, you’ll reward them (only the original realtor) for helping your business grow.

That is great that you have Realtors talking about you already, but why turn down more business opportunity? You sound like just the type of Inspector who could really benefit from a program like ours. If Realtors already talk about you, then by giving them a reason to go out of their way to talk about you could really help you out.

In general, any Realtor who talks about you to other Realtors is going to recommend you to their own clients as well. Obviously the goal is not to have Realtors talk about you and NOT send their clients to you … the goal is to have Realtors talk about you to other Realtors, AND send you their own clients. And, you can stay ethical by not paying any Realtor for sending you their own clients. They are going to send them to you anyway!

It is a branding strategy. It leverages the very powerful marketing tool in social proof without violating a Home Inspectors ethical duties.

In addition, our program simply provides the vehicle for Inspectors to automate a referral bonus program. You can customize how much you’re offering as a bonus, as well as any details you’d like about the program. We simply make it easy for people to collect, though we recommend that you hand-deliver the bonuses. You will be amazed at the buzz it creates. It will generate more inspections for you!

Also, just a quick follow up, our main goal is to provide Marketing Consulting, and tools that automate your business as a home inspector.

You should really get a free trial if you have not already!

www.trucapture.com/nachi.htm

This makes my skin crawl. I do not intend to get into any debate nor even further discussion about this. Paint that pig up any way you want to Matt. Money from my pocket to a Realtors with the expectation of future business violates my code of ethics. I can’t speak for others. Lot’s of folks here will embrace it much like INACHI seems to approve of it. It’s not for me though.