Jump to content
The Inspector's Journal

Best Way to Advertise


Recommended Posts

It depends on where your ethics are.

If you answer to the dollar above all else, it's agents. If your ethics are stringent and care about the health of our profession, it's phone book and website advertising, but only if your ads and site are well designed. Most are not.

None of these guarantee steady work.

Marc

Link to post
Share on other sites

The idea that realtors are inherently unethical is childish. They are just people, and have the same ethical and professional considerations you do.

Visit Real estate offices. give them a steady supply of your business cards. All you are doing is advertising your existence, there is no implicit agreement to 'whitewash' their sales and they do not expect it. Dress professionally, appearance may not be everything but it is all they can go by. If you look like you just changed your oil don't expect a response.

Make sure your web page is listed on your card. No one reads the phone book anymore they search the web. Make sure your web site shows up in searches.

Flyers (or cards) at public bulletin boards (groceries, restaurants, etc.), signage in front of properties you inspect (ask if you can leave them till settlement or whenever), advertise on your vehicle (magnetic signs are cheap) don't forget your URL.

LinkedIn, Facebook, Google pages, etc.

What works? Word of mouth! To get that you may need all of the above and then some. Good luck.

Link to post
Share on other sites

The idea that realtors are inherently unethical is childish. They are just people, and have the same ethical and professional considerations you do.

Visit Real estate offices. give them a steady supply of your business cards. All you are doing is advertising your existence, there is no implicit agreement to 'whitewash' their sales and they do not expect it. Dress professionally, appearance may not be everything but it is all they can go by. If you look like you just changed your oil don't expect a response.

Make sure your web page is listed on your card. No one reads the phone book anymore they search the web. Make sure your web site shows up in searches.

Flyers (or cards) at public bulletin boards (groceries, restaurants, etc.), signage in front of properties you inspect (ask if you can leave them till settlement or whenever), advertise on your vehicle (magnetic signs are cheap) don't forget your URL.

LinkedIn, Facebook, Google pages, etc.

What works? Word of mouth! To get that you may need all of the above and then some. Good luck.

Right. Where did you get that impression from Bob?

Marc

Link to post
Share on other sites

I only get referrals from one RE. She introduced my brother to his wife over 12 years ago, long before either of us had anything to do with real estate.

Most of the agents in a 20 mile radius around me have my info. All I ever get is solicited for ads.

A few weeks ago I threatened to turn in an entire agency to DOS for advertising free home inspections in exchange for new listings. The broker wasn't amused but his ad only ran once.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't think they're inherently unethical, they just get that way.

Yep.

'Course that list is pretty extensive:

Lawyers,

Politicians,

Doctors,

Ministers,

Professors,

Teachers,

etc.

One could almost reach the conclusion that greed is human nature, I wonder?

Pride, Greed, Envy, Lust, Sloth, Gluttony, Wrath; let's not exclude anybody.

Link to post
Share on other sites

This is so simple,

Find out what the largest empoyers are in your area. On every inspection call you get, ask where the person works. If it turns out he/she works for one of those big companies. Inform him/her that you'll give a $50 discount as long as the client promises to go back to the company website and tell folks about the great service he got during the home inspection and from whom.

Do it, do it, do it.

Before you know it, you'll get calls from folks saying, "I saw hundreds of recommendations for your services on our company website and I want to book for you for a home inspection. Please fit me in someplace."

You will find that folks that find you that way don't balk at prices the way the ones' referred by realtors balk.

I don't advertise in the phone book, newspaper, radio or TV. I don't do flyers, I don't go by open houses, I don't visit realtors offices and I don't "sponsor" crap for realtors associations and I stay booked all the time. Hell, I don't even pass out business cards anymore and I still I get more calls than I can handle and often send those callers to other inspectors.

I haven't been into a Realtor's office in maybe 8 years. The last time was to drop off a printed copy of a report to a selling agent that hadn't even recommended me. The client found me on his company website.

New Jersey is densely populated. Find out who those employers are. Look for big information providers like google, sales outfits like Costco, manufacturers with assembly lines that are recession proof. Places that employ lots of plugged-in employees. They are out there; you just have to figure out who they are, target them and stop wasting time and breath dinking around trying to get the used house salesmen and women to like you enough to refer their clients to you.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you all for all your suggestions. I've worked with a few realtors but they aren't all very happy when you are very thorough...and they often have their favorite inspectors that they use over and over for years. I've had a website up but don't seem to be able to get it pulling up very high in the rankings. Been trying different advertising methods, such as flyers, and been looking into possibly advertising in the local coupon magazines and mailers as well as cold calling lawyers and title agencies and whatnot.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm not arguing or telling, just stating my experience. Of course I have a couple realtors that refer me; they're not all bad. Just almost.

It's interesting you group teachers, professors, and ministers into the same fold as realtors and attorneys. None of those professions live or die on commission sales. Doctors, it's case by case.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Be as thorough as you need to be to do the job right.

If that means you'll be there 6 hours, so be it. When the realtor starts grumbling about how slow you are, just tell the realtor, "Settle down. I have two speeds - slow and careful - it keeps me, and you, out of trouble. Harping at me won't get me to finish sooner; in fact, it might slow me down."

Don' take any crap from them and don't let them decide how you're going to organize your inspection. Find a routine that works for you, stick to it come hell or high water, and make sure they know that you are the boss when you arrive onsite to start your inspection.

When they complain that they have to be somewhere in two hours to meet with another client, ask why they would disrespect you or their client by unilaterally deciding how long your inspection was going to take. Then tell 'em to reschedule that other party or call the office and get someone else out to cover for them, 'cuz you'll be done when you get done and not before.

When they pull that crap with me I intentionally slow down.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

Link to post
Share on other sites

Do what Mike said.

Forget cold calling lawyers, bankers, or insurance folks; they really don't want to know what you want to tell them.

Go ahead and market to realtors if you want; you'll figure out soon enough it's a lousy way to go. They love you until you blow a deal, which is inevitable.

There's no easy way. It isn't a bag race; it's a long slog. You have to figure out how to survive until jobs start to churn, which can be years.

Don't quit your day job.

Link to post
Share on other sites
The idea that realtors are inherently unethical is childish. They are just people, and have the same ethical and professional considerations you do.

Oh, look! I just dropped my wooden blocks on the floor and they spelled the word "BULLSHIT".

None on that list above depends on a commission from a sale to pay their bills.

You are nothing but another flaming hoop between an agent / broker and their Audi payment.

From day one in the business, they're introduced to those who will play nice and warned of those who won't.

You are lucky to be in a larger market. Try this in a market the size I'm in.

There's no bottom to the level they will go to avoid me. That is, unless it's them or their kids that are buying.

Twice in the past month I was told by clients who knew better, that agents had told them they heard I left the business, and tried to get them to hire one of their boys. Those are the ones I know about.

Listen to Mike O'. Don't waste your effort on them.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I think every area is different, you just have to try different things until you find what works. There is no magic bullet, it is more of a shotgun approch. I ask almost evey client why they choose me and I keep track of it. A good web site is a must and geeting your company to pop up whenever someone googles "Home Inspection (town name) takes some time. I get a good amount of busness from brochures I have (or use to have) in realtors offices, BNI, web site, previous customers. I'm at the point where I really don't actively advertise anymore. It is kinda of on auto pilot, but I spent a lot of time developing what I have out there working for me.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Now, I'll try a positive approach.

I'm about to drop more money on another batch of coffee mugs.

Not key chains, pens, or golf balls. Coffee mugs. Big ones.

I give them to everyone. I've actually given one to a woman who was pumping gas next to me.

They either use them in company break rooms or they sit on a desk, collecting someone else's pens and key chains.

Either way, they don't get forgotten in a junk drawer.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Another great handout item is a USB thumbdrive with your business name and contact info printed on them.

Google "promotional USB drives". There's a bunch of really cool one's available.

Folks really dig 'em. Put the inspection photos on it, put your report on it, make an inspection package.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Raymond Wand gives out a tape measure with his company info stamped on it. I haven't tried any of those but might give the thumb drive a shot as I presently give out a DVD. With my company and my name on it of course.

The home owner gets a letter of thanks with my contact info and a biz card, and the realtors gets one even if they are not thrilled to see me. They might need an inspection for a relative or friend. [:)]

I just did a search for a HI in your town and guess what, you were 'A', right below the paid ads. That is good SEO, Google Maps. Add a picture of yourself on your home page, less text. Link to text files and keep the Index page easy to skip thru. People don't read more than 3 lines of text, and now they are all squinting at iPhone monitors, and driving with the other hand.

I have been told the thank you notes from past clients helped the client pick me, so they go on page one.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Raymond Wand gives out a tape measure with his company info stamped on it. I haven't tried any of those but might give the thumb drive a shot as I presently give out a DVD. With my company and my name on it of course.

The home owner gets a letter of thanks with my contact info and a biz card, and the realtors gets one even if they are not thrilled to see me. They might need an inspection for a relative or friend. [:)]

What's on the DVD?

Link to post
Share on other sites

Raymond Wand gives out a tape measure with his company info stamped on it. I haven't tried any of those but might give the thumb drive a shot as I presently give out a DVD. With my company and my name on it of course.

The home owner gets a letter of thanks with my contact info and a biz card, and the realtors gets one even if they are not thrilled to see me. They might need an inspection for a relative or friend. [:)]

What's on the DVD?

Just pictures I took while walking and crawling about. I start snapping from the street and take a camera shot of everything I see, good or bad. It plays as a slideshow. I see no reason to horde them all to myself.

I do a quick edit on my laptop, then hit burn as we are finishing up and getting payment out of the way.

I avoid taking bad shots, such as deleting as I go a bit. This Canon I'm using now has a slow flash charge but one redeeming feature. It knows when to rotate the image, don't have a clue how it does that.

My client was in a rush for info yesterday. She got the 130+ pictures and a written summary, along with general info printouts, old house stuff, a copy of the contract, invoice, etc in a sleeve. Enough info to make the decision. That is the Allsafe Home Onsite Summary Report, folks. HOSeR for short. [:)]

I got the full report off to her last night, but it was more fluff than substance, with the vitals already covered by my summary booklet and the pictures.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Monica,

you are not going to like my comments.

Your website is terrible!

tenfingersink sure seems like a tatoo shop and maybe it is. If it is a studio, then weave it into your inspection business, but do not let the "idea" linger out there.

The first sentence about people's health is beyond anything your service can provide. I must admit I have a really strong negative opinion regarding mold and mold inspections. It seems your site is centered on personal safety and "mold for gold."

I did not really search your entire site, but did come away with nothing about your qualification to inspect a house.

All of the above comments are basically true, but Mike O's ideas are the basis for a long and sucessful career in this business.

Stay with the basics, charge enough to make it profitable, read, read, read and always be ready to ask and answer any question!

Link to post
Share on other sites

Shoulda looked at the website first......woof.....

It's terrible, and your'e going to have a very hard time. I'm not seeing anything that indicates you have a shred of experience that's helpful.

Advertising your membership in a professional society as a curricula vitae is nice as part of a list indicating core competencies, but it looks like it's the only thing.

There is nothing on the website that would make me want to hire you. Sorry.

Link to post
Share on other sites

tenfingersink sure seems like a tatoo shop and maybe it is. If it is a studio, then weave it into your inspection business, but do not let the "idea" linger out there.

That is damn funny Les. My first thought when I read the name was that she has 'MONI" inked on her knuckles a la Ozzy Osborne.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Damn! Now I wish I'd visited her site before I'd contributed to this thread.

Any mention of mold inspections on an inspector's site sets off my B.S. meter. I consider the business of mold "inspections" to be a scam perpetrated against a largely uninformed, or, sadly poorly-informed and media inflamed, public. The whole idea of a home inspector performing mold "inspections," when the CDC and the EPA and competent medical persons have said such inspections are of absolutely no value, means that the inspector is taking advantage of people's ignorance and is helping to perpetuate, in my opinion, a gross fraud. In other words - it's a ripoff.

If I'd known that first, I wouldn't have offered any advice because I'd prefer that every home inspector on the planet that is perpetuating this mold is gold crap go bankrupt and lose his or her shirt rather than help them succeed.

Mike

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

×
×
  • Create New...