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Potential client did me a favor


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This had been a very good year - up til October. Then things came to a screeching halt. Things are dead right now. The termite inspector I use said things are dead with all of the inspectors that use him. So I was happy when I got an email from the call center I use, saying someone with a "very, very thick accent" had a few questions to ask me. I called her back, and although I could understand her, I was happy when she asked if she could email the questions to me. "Certainly", I replied. One of the reasons I use the call center is that I hate to talk on the phone.

Here is the email:

Hello Mr. Joseph Hancaviz,

We are a family who plans to buy a single-family house in Easton PA,

thus needs a home inspection.

May I ask you:

1. how many home inspections have you completed?

what year you got your ASHI Certified Inspector certificate?

2. Do you carry general liability insurance, and errors and omissions insurance?

3. if there are any problems found by you during the 1st home

inspection, after the seller finish repairing, who will do the 2nd

home inspection? you or I should hire another one home inspector?

if it's still you, shall I pay you the fee of the 2nd inspection or

it's included in the 1st home inspection?

4. As for that house (Square Feet of Living Area: 1725, Year built: 1900),

How long will the general home inspection take?

5. What major tools or equipments will you use for the general home inspection?

6. I am interested in the general home inspection and termite

inspection and radon inspection, how much will it cost?

7. will you walk to the roof if the inspection is in Dec or Jan?

8. will you check the house has popcorn ceiling which may contain asbestos?

9. may I ask your education background?

Have a good day!

Thank you very much!

I spent about 20 minutes replying to each question in detail, attached a few links to give her more info, then sent it out, happy to do it. This morning, I get this:

Hello Mr. Hancaviz,

I appreciate very much you answer my questions in detail!

Ok, now, I only have one question left:

may I see the proof which you have completed Approximately 2,700 home inspections?

Thank you!

About 30 seconds later, I sent this to her:

I don't know what proof I could give you, other than sending you past clients' confidential information. Also, I'm not accustomed to someone questioning my truthfulness. Perhaps another inspection company would better fit your needs.

I'm thankful I was forewarned about someone who seemed to have the makings of a 'problem client'. At this point, I wouldn't do that inspection for all the tea in China.

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This had been a very good year - up til October. Then things came to a screeching halt. Things are dead right now. The termite inspector I use said things are dead with all of the inspectors that use him. So I was happy when I got an email from the call center I use, saying someone with a "very, very thick accent" had a few questions to ask me. I called her back, and although I could understand her, I was happy when she asked if she could email the questions to me. "Certainly", I replied. One of the reasons I use the call center is that I hate to talk on the phone.

Here is the email:

Hello Mr. Joseph Hancaviz,

We are a family who plans to buy a single-family house in Easton PA,

thus needs a home inspection.

May I ask you:

1. how many home inspections have you completed?

what year you got your ASHI Certified Inspector certificate?

2. Do you carry general liability insurance, and errors and omissions insurance?

3. if there are any problems found by you during the 1st home

inspection, after the seller finish repairing, who will do the 2nd

home inspection? you or I should hire another one home inspector?

if it's still you, shall I pay you the fee of the 2nd inspection or

it's included in the 1st home inspection?

4. As for that house (Square Feet of Living Area: 1725, Year built: 1900),

How long will the general home inspection take?

5. What major tools or equipments will you use for the general home inspection?

6. I am interested in the general home inspection and termite

inspection and radon inspection, how much will it cost?

7. will you walk to the roof if the inspection is in Dec or Jan?

8. will you check the house has popcorn ceiling which may contain asbestos?

9. may I ask your education background?

Have a good day!

Thank you very much!

I spent about 20 minutes replying to each question in detail, attached a few links to give her more info, then sent it out, happy to do it. This morning, I get this:

Hello Mr. Hancaviz,

I appreciate very much you answer my questions in detail!

Ok, now, I only have one question left:

may I see the proof which you have completed Approximately 2,700 home inspections?

Thank you!

About 30 seconds later, I sent this to her:

I don't know what proof I could give you, other than sending you past clients' confidential information. Also, I'm not accustomed to someone questioning my truthfulness. Perhaps another inspection company would better fit your needs.

I'm thankful I was forewarned about someone who seemed to have the makings of a 'problem client'. At this point, I wouldn't do that inspection for all the tea in China.

I get a few of those a year. I don't even respond anymore. Questions straight out of a "How to pick an inspector" handbook or article.

After 20+ years in this gig, if the call doesn't start out something like "my buddy Jim referred me", I don't put much effort into responses, by phone or email.

2,700 inspections? Prove it. Jeesh. . .

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She said she saw me in a newspaper article. That's strange, because the last article I was featured in was at least four years ago. I can only attribute three inspections to that particular article - I did two for the photographer and one for the photo intern who was working with the photographer.

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Some of the best jobs are the one's you don't do.

As soon as I get the feeling they're thinking they're running how it's going to happen, it's surprising how my schedule just fills right up and I don't think I can get to them, thank you.

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If you have been previously burned by a bad experience then you're probably going to have a list of such questions when you search for someone to do work for you. Personally, I'd rather have those questions than simply the "what do you charge" phone call.

Right. I look for discerning clients too. Smart clients mean less trouble.

But this prospect of Joe's, I'd likely back off out of concern for my ability to communicate clearly. We all know the damage that can result from a misunderstanding.

Kurt said it best.

Marc

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If you have been previously burned by a bad experience then you're probably going to have a list of such questions when you search for someone to do work for you. Personally, I'd rather have those questions than simply the "what do you charge" phone call.

I'm not sure that I'd prefer it, but I certainly don't have a problem with it. Once or twice a year I get customers with lists of questions like that. I answer the questions frankly and honestly. I really can't say that these customers have been particularly bad. They're always appreciative and they always read the report. I wouldn't fault someone for conducting a thorough interview before hiring me.

If someone asked me for proof of having performed past inspections, I'd ask them what form they'd like the proof to take. After discussing options, they'd eventually figure out that it's an unfulfillable request.

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