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Hello All,

I'm quite new in this business, trying to generate more exposure. I'm debating in my head weather to knock on doors of houses that have "for sale" signs up, ( maybe hand them flyer with contact info?)they will most likely be shopping for a new home. On one hand roofers and siding companies do this, or will I be lowering myself to delivery pizza and Chinese food level? ( don't get me wrong I like pizza and Chinese food delivered to my door.)

Leighton

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Marc, just thinking if they are selling they are going to move somewhere, then they become buyers. Many Calgary homeowners are affected by the oil layoffs, many people downsizing, so there is quite a few houses on the market I may also pitch pre-listing inspections. That way they can address the deficiencies or price the home accordingly. Less negotiating in the long run.

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Most homeowners do not want an inspection! The less they know about what they are selling the better they are when it comes to disclosing known problems. It might not sound like this is honest but it is just a fact of selling a home.

Open house events work if you take the agent on duty a little snack/bottle of water or something like that, so I have been told?.

Do you have a good website? My website is the number one producer of business for me. Next are word of mouth referrals and then real estate agents. I do not market to agents or visit their offices, they have found me through their buyers that have used me after they found me from my website?.

It takes time to get a business off the ground. Most home inspectors that are successful realize good profits in their third year.

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The number of inspections I've done for sellers in 12 years can easily be counted on the fingers of one hand. Last one was several years ago. Hired by wife but hubby got the verbal. He was pissed like hell because of all the things I found.

Never again.

Marc

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Thanks for the info so far guys, no website yet but I have a Facebook page. At our last provincial association meeting all veteran HIs told me 70-80% of calls they get are from realtors giving them clients, didn't really want to get my jobs that way but I have to deal with it. So I have been doing the open house thing, handing out cards and a small flyer with pricing and reporting info. I've quit going to large realtor offices because the secretaries just give the brush off ( I'll put your cards in the lunch room) and I'm a people person, I like to explain my background.

Leighton

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Thanks for the info so far guys, no website yet but I have a Facebook page. At our last provincial association meeting all veteran HIs told me 70-80% of calls they get are from realtors giving them clients...

Leighton

Is called Collusion, and it's an ethical conflict, IMHO. Fat chance getting any HI association or regulatory body to prohibit it anytime soon.

I just got back from a class of 2 dozen first-time home buyers trying to explain what it is, why it's wrong, and how to avoid the inspectors that do it.

Marc

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I wish home buyers would take more initiative, but I do understand that when a buyer is touring a house it's so easy to ask the realtor ( who presumably has been in the industry for awhile) " Do you know a good HI?" I'll take referrals from realtors but I will never give a "soft" report. Worst problem so far is being rushed, I just tell the realtor I need to give an accurate representation of the condition of the house if you need to be somewhere I can lock up.

Leighton

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Yesterday I had two callers that said they called me because they did not want to use the inspectors that their real estate agents gave them. I have found this to be the case with many of the folks that call me. Consumers are getting wiser when they make their selections it seems.

I have nothing against getting referrals from agents, I just do not go begging for them to do it. When you are starting out in this business your have very few options and visiting the RE offices is about the quickest way to get that phone to ring. Just realize that if you depend on agents that you are at their mercy and if they stop referring that phone stops ringing. This is a bad place that you really don't want to go..

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Website. A good one. Build content. Link to everything. They will come.

Don't waste time with realtors. It puts you firmly at the rear of a big pack. They really don't care about still yet another home inspector other than to use you in the hope you're a dimbulb they can leverage.

Which means, don't quit the day job. It's a haul if you wanna get there.

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I guess you could do that, roll up them 8 1/2 X 11s and stick them through the doorknob, but if the seller or agent is the next person to come around, they will trash that flyer. At least printing doesn't hit the wallet as hard.

Solicitation is a hard choice that needs to be made by all who enter this gig. Each buyer gained by solicitation is a buyer lost to those who don't, making it a double edged sword. Scott looks to me as someone who has walked a very fine line, who has solicited while holding fast to his ethics. Good for him. That's not the case with most HIs. Their need for sales is too great while their ethics and concern for the buyer are too scarce. Besides, when so many around you do it, it's easier for the conscience to look the other way.

Marc

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Marc, you aren't getting my train of thought. People here are listing their homes cause they can't afford them, they don't have a house bought already. I want the seller to have my flyer so when they do sell they will be buying a downsized home, then they don't have to ask the realtor for a HI, they already have my info. I don't have to cater to the realtors time constraints, no collusion, no ethical conflict.

Leighton

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Marc, you aren't getting my train of thought. People here are listing their homes cause they can't afford them, they don't have a house bought already. I want the seller to have my flyer so when they do sell they will be buying a downsized home, then they don't have to ask the realtor for a HI, they already have my info. I don't have to cater to the realtors time constraints, no collusion, no ethical conflict.

Leighton

If you have the time, go for it. What is the downside? Worst case is you get nothing. Best case is you market yourself to do a seller's inspection to assist the current owner in determining the issues with their house as a seller, build a relationship, and also do the home inspection when they buy. Even if they are moving out of the area, you might just get the selling end. Maybe a buyer entering the house grabs your flyer and calls you about a completely different house. It is all good.

As a new inspector I applaud you for trying to market yourself. Many inspectors fail because they have the ability to do inspections but no business.

Good Luck!

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Marc, you aren't getting my train of thought. People here are listing their homes cause they can't afford them, they don't have a house bought already. I want the seller to have my flyer so when they do sell they will be buying a downsized home, then they don't have to ask the realtor for a HI, they already have my info. I don't have to cater to the realtors time constraints, no collusion, no ethical conflict.

Leighton

I get you now.

Marc

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If you go the flyer route, consider leaving a coupon with, or printed on them. At least you'll know for sure if it worked for you.

When I started out, I printed out a few thousand flyers that I paid to have inserted in the local realtor association's magazine. That worked very well for me. I got a bunch of referrals from agents "testing" me. After it was all said and done, I ended up with a few agents who actually wanted a good inspection, and who continued to give me referrals over the years.

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Hello All,

I'm quite new in this business, trying to generate more exposure. I'm debating in my head weather to knock on doors of houses that have "for sale" signs up, ( maybe hand them flyer with contact info?)they will most likely be shopping for a new home. On one hand roofers and siding companies do this, or will I be lowering myself to delivery pizza and Chinese food level? ( don't get me wrong I like pizza and Chinese food delivered to my door.)

Leighton

I tried something like that when I started. I got a list of addresses of homes for sale and mailed out about 3000 letters offering my services for when they buy a new home. It made sense to me but I did not get one job from this. I don't remember getting any calls either.

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Leighton,

When I had to reestablish my business after my relocation nine years ago, I went to new subdivisions and wrote down address of homes that I thought were under one year of age. I then mailed letters to the "Owners" for 1 Year Home Warranty Inspections. They were simple letters and I had a great response of around 15%. I did this in several areas around the area. At every inspection I gave the owner 3 business cards and asked them to please tell their neighbors and friends about my service. This worked like a charm?. Neighbors talk to each other when they have a problem with their home! You might try this?.

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Well leighton, I'm the "token" homeowner here who likes to read what all these smart folks are talking about. Every once in a while I'm able to add a little something to the discussion. Most of this I wrote last year for another inspector in your situation.

The wife & I worked for the US government and moved every 4 - 6 years, so we have experience with inspectors.

The key to us hiring an inspector was a good web site that fully explained the services and a little about you. A single photo with the wife & kids somewhere on the site is fine, but the rest I want to look professional. Photos of you, not stock photos or clip art graphics. Keep it up to date with current phone numbers and email addresses. You can't believe how many disconnected phone numbers I have called trying to find an inspector. Sorry, but a Facebook page isn't going to cut it alone for me.

Define your service area. You know the areas you serve, but I'm sitting in a hotel room on day number two of a house hunting trip in a city I have never lived in. I like the way Scott has it on his web site: "Our normal service area is a 100 mile radius of Nashville, TN, but we often accommodate our clients in locations outside of this area as needed"

Talking about email, how about an auto responder. When I send you an email automatically reply that you will reply within X hours. Whatever you decide for X, make sure you meet the goal.

Your website has to be optimized for mobile phones. N on-optomized websites don't make the cut in Google searches anymore. Many times I'm surfing on the iPhone while the Realtor is driving to the next house. On our last search we looked at 55 houses, the move before that was 70 houses. That's a lot of driving time to fill with research.

Be wary of the Realtors and their recommendations. While I have used a Realtor recommended inspector in the past, I always wonder who the inspector is looking out for.

Look around your area for companies/agencies that regularly relocate employees. Large companies and government agencies. They generally use a single relocation company per company/agency to assist employees. You may be able to make inroads with a relo company and get business that way.

Look for tie in companies that "assist" homebuyers with locating a Realtor. We use USAA for insurance and they have a preferred Realtor program that rebates part of the commission to the customer. There may be a way to get hooked up,with some of those companies for referrals. I know for our last home USAA sent a person by to verify the featurs in the house to more accurately determine rebuild cost. Something like that may help,fill,time and generate income while you work on the inspection gig to pay the bills.

If you are working out of your house don't advertise your home address on your website. There are too many nuts in this world. Get a box at the UPS store. It's $120 a year for insurance to cut down on the nuts a little.

OK, that's it for now... Good luck with the new business!

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