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Article: 6 Strategies to Succeed When Business is Slow


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Hi, TIJ Readers!

As you all know, the current environment has changed how home inspectors have been conducting business. Many inspectors have voiced their concerns about what this time will mean for their businesses. 

Well, we have some answers for you. While these tips aren't a cure-all, hopefully some of them can enable you to still have business coming in and improve your company.

Enjoy!

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Every business experiences highs and lows. Your home inspection business is no exception—especially if you’ve built it from the ground up on your own. The lows can be daunting, but they don’t have to be a stumbling block to your success. There are steps you can take to not only mitigate potential losses and keep profits coming in, but also to improve your business so you can come back stronger than ever when business picks back up.
 
We give you 6 valuable strategies for when business is slow.
 
Get talking.
When business starts to lag, it’s important to reach out to as many people as possible. One big way to do this is by getting in touch with previous clients.  
MBO Partners, an online talent acquisition platform for independent businesses, recommends personalizing emails and calls to past clients. They suggest following up with previous projects you’ve completed for these clients and asking if they’re in need of other projects you can do for them. If they aren’t in need of your services currently, you can suggest performing an inspection at a later date, particularly when it comes to annual inspections.
 
Even if you don’t book an inspection from these interactions, the personalized contact is a great reminder to your clients of your excellent service, which can then translate into referrals. Word of mouth can be a significant factor in your success during slow business periods.
 
Another way to drum up business is to network. Whether it’s with 
realtorsexperts you refer clients to, or with your peers, networking can help you create new leads. Or, at the very least, it revitalizes relationships that are beneficial to both you and your business.
 
Get social.
While social media platforms and new technology can be daunting, delving further into these resources when business is slow will give you a significant edge over competitors. It may be an undertaking that takes you out of your comfort zone, but the more user-friendly and easy-to-access you can make the way your clients contact you, the less obstacles you have to scheduling inspections.
 
If you have a website, take steps to make it easier to use. Don’t have a website? Create one. If you have social media accounts, update them and be active on them. Don’t have social media accounts? Create them. Building your online presence broadens your business’ exposure can help you reach completely new leads.
 
According to 
Outbound Engine, a software company for marketing and referrals, 86% of consumers prefer to be contacted via email by businesses. With more time on your hands in slow seasons, you can update your emails lists and send out a strong campaign.

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8 hours ago, Aubri Devashrayee said:

According to Outbound Engine, a software company for marketing and referrals, 86% of consumers prefer to be contacted via email by businesses.

[READ MORE]

That statistic likely excludes those consumers who don't want to be bothered by companies offering a service.  Like me, when they need someone, they find someone.  Until then, they want to be left alone.

The article flies in the face of the Stay at Home directive.

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Gosh, when times are slow, I should work on my website! I had never thought of that! What a great idea! I never would have though it! 

IPro's "articles" on this site have always been thinly disguised advertisements. As long as they provide fresh & useful content, they are tolerated. (And some of them have been quite good.) This one provides neither. It's just old, worn-out advice that provides nothing new or truly useful. It reminds me of those click-bait ads: 10 Tips Guaranteed to Make Business Soar - You Won't Believe #8!!!" 

It's just as bad as those home inspector seasonal newsletters that contain important "tips" for homeowners like keeping your gutters clean. 

It's lazy. 

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13 hours ago, Marc said:

That statistic likely excludes those consumers who don't want to be bothered by companies offering a service.  Like me, when they need someone, they find someone.  Until then, they want to be left alone.

The article flies in the face of the Stay at Home directive.

@Marc You bring up a good point that there are consumers that are adverse to receiving emails. I'm not familiar with the minutia of the study Outbound Engine conducted, so I can't speak to what sample they pulled from--which may or may not include those consumers you mentioned--but I do know that the statistic is considered common knowledge in the marketing realm. 

However, from a marketing standpoint, I know that it's possible to have successful email campaigns. 

As for the article not following the "stay at home directive," I will have to respectfully disagree. It doesn't encourage inspectors to be using unsafe practices. And, since we insure inspectors around the country, it purposely does not give specifics about mandates to stay home because different states have very different mandates on the situation. 

Hopefully that can explain things further.

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5 minutes ago, Jim Katen said:

Gosh, when times are slow, I should work on my website! I had never thought of that! What a great idea! I never would have though it! 

IPro's "articles" on this site have always been thinly disguised advertisements. As long as they provide fresh & useful content, they are tolerated. (And some of them have been quite good.) This one provides neither. It's just old, worn-out advice that provides nothing new or truly useful. It reminds me of those click-bait ads: 10 Tips Guaranteed to Make Business Soar - You Won't Believe #8!!!" 

It's just as bad as those home inspector seasonal newsletters that contain important "tips" for homeowners like keeping your gutters clean. 

It's lazy. 

@Jim Katen I respect your opinion. However, I can say that a lot of thought and research was put into the article to genuinely help and had inspectors' best interest in mind.  While some of the points may seem obvious, there are not many options for inspectors at the moment, which leaves more basic practices to be focused on. And, some of those more obvious points are obvious for a reason--since it speaks to the importance of those topics. It wasn't intended to be click-bait, but was rather intended to help inspectors in the different levels of quarantine they are at currently, as well as provide proven tips for other situations than the current one we are in. If you have any suggestions as to what we should've included, we're open to hearing your ideas.  

As for our articles being thinly disguised advertisements, I can say that our material has been very much geared towards education and awareness. It hasn't been our intent to produce shallow material that is self-serving. We do know that a great deal of inspectors enjoy our content, but, again, we are open to hearing your suggestions about topics you would rather have us address. And, while we are still a business, we'd like to think at InspectorPro that what sets us apart is the genuine care we have for inspectors and the industry. 

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I wouldn't even call it thinly disguised, Jim.

Point number five is Get Insured. There are links in there only to Inspector Pro.

If one really wanted to write an objective article about business strategies, and one of those strategies was to Get Insured, one would expect there would be links to a list of all insurance companies that specialized in home inspectors, not just IPro.

Yes, very much like click bait.

ONE TEAM -  ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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Can't tell you how disappointed I am with Inspector pro.  Just my personal opinion, but pretty condescending.  I am with Mike O and Jim K.  I do understand this type of commentary may work for Facebook and other groups, but TIJ is different;  know your audience. 

 

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10 hours ago, Aubri Devashrayee said:

I'm not familiar with the minutia of the study Outbound Engine conducted, so I can't speak to what sample they pulled from--which may or may not include those consumers you mentioned--but I do know that the statistic is considered common knowledge in the marketing realm. 

However, from a marketing standpoint, I know that it's possible to have successful email campaigns.

Sure, it may be common knowledge but that doesn't make it relevant since it applies only to that segment that wants to be bombarded by service offers.

Keep trying Aubri.  I promise you, you'll find a nice place to sit here.  You just need to get through the gauntlet, learn what flies here and what doesn't.

Edited by Marc
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Posted (edited)
14 hours ago, hausdok said:

I wouldn't even call it thinly disguised, Jim.

Point number five is Get Insured. There are links in there only to Inspector Pro.

If one really wanted to write an objective article about business strategies, and one of those strategies was to Get Insured, one would expect there would be links to a list of all insurance companies that specialized in home inspectors, not just IPro.

Yes, very much like click bait.

ONE TEAM -  ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

@hausdok You make a good point that the links in that section go to InspectorPro's site. 

While pure objectivity is a nice thing to have, it is difficult to maintain in a business setting. InspectorPro, after all, is still a business and having a list of competitors isn't in our interest, especially when a lot of our readers are already insured with other providers.  We didn't try to assert that InspectorPro is the only option.

While we won't be including a list of all insurance companies, we appreciate suggestions. If you have any others, we are open to them.

Edited by Aubri Devashrayee
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10 hours ago, Marc said:

Sure, it may be common knowledge but that doesn't make it relevant since it applies only to that segment that wants to be bombarded by service offers.

Keep trying Aubri.  I promise you, you'll find a nice place to sit here.  You just need to get through the gauntlet, learn what flies here and what doesn't.

@Marc That is fair. I understand your point. But, I'll also acknowledge that not every business owner has the same experience or success with email campaigns.

Thanks for the advice; I will make note of that.

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11 hours ago, Les said:

Can't tell you how disappointed I am with Inspector pro.  Just my personal opinion, but pretty condescending.  I am with Mike O and Jim K.  I do understand this type of commentary may work for Facebook and other groups, but TIJ is different;  know your audience. 

 

@Les We're sorry to hear of your disappointment in the article. I can say that it wasn't intended to be condescending--but rather be helpful during this difficult time. There are few options for inspectors at the moment, so we wanted to provide general tips they could use to help them not feel stuck and to boost morale. 

Your comment about knowing our audience is noted. If you have any suggestions on what we can include to improve the article or our future content, we are open to suggestions.

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11 hours ago, Erby said:

You can't win 'em all!

This article is a loser for this crowd.

@Erby Sorry to hear that you are so dissatisfied with the article. It was written to try to be helpful to inspectors during this time since options are so limited. 

If you have any suggestions as to how we can improve the article we are open to suggestions.

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2 hours ago, Aubri Devashrayee said:

If you have any suggestions on what we can include to improve the article or our future content, we are open to suggestions.

Here's an idea: 

Some inspectors have begun to make their customers sign hold-harmless agreements with regard to Covid 19. These agreements spell out the actions that various parties will take to mitigate the spread of the virus and state that the parties won't sue each other if one party feels that they were infected by another. 

Good idea? Bad idea? What's an insurance company's take on this? 

(Personally, I hate it.) 

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10 hours ago, Jim Katen said:

Here's an idea: 

Some inspectors have begun to make their customers sign hold-harmless agreements with regard to Covid 19. These agreements spell out the actions that various parties will take to mitigate the spread of the virus and state that the parties won't sue each other if one party feels that they were infected by another. 

Good idea? Bad idea? What's an insurance company's take on this? 

(Personally, I hate it.) 

It's dumb. It's likely unenforceable. Probably why nacho is giving them away.

And, do you have to ask for an insurance perspective? I'm sure all of us have received notice from our insurers that a virus isn't physical damage or a covered reason for loss of income. 

Why would an insurance company care about our virus policies when they don't cover damages caused by viruses?

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8 hours ago, Tom Raymond said:

And, do you have to ask for an insurance perspective? I'm sure all of us have received notice from our insurers that a virus isn't physical damage or a covered reason for loss of income. 

Why would an insurance company care about our virus policies when they don't cover damages caused by viruses?

Actually, I honestly don't know. I know that it wouldn't be covered from a physical damage or loss of income perspective, but I'm not so sure about from a liability perspective. While I would hate to think it, it's likely that someone will eventually sue someone else for failing to take measures to prevent spread of the virus. 

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@Aubri:  You'll find very few new guys here.  We're mostly a bunch of crusty old farts who've been around a long time and well established.  Articles addressing that kind of crowd will find a happy home here.  Articles addressing newer inspectors, not so much.

 

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On 4/8/2020 at 8:06 PM, Jim Katen said:

Here's an idea: 

Some inspectors have begun to make their customers sign hold-harmless agreements with regard to Covid 19. These agreements spell out the actions that various parties will take to mitigate the spread of the virus and state that the parties won't sue each other if one party feels that they were infected by another. 

Good idea? Bad idea? What's an insurance company's take on this? 

(Personally, I hate it.) 

@Jim Katen Good question. It's always best to follow what is mandated by your state. Especially if you are wanting to manage your risk as effectively as possible. Even so, we will still be covering our insureds during this time.  But, our policy, as some have already mentioned, doesn't speak to spreading infectious diseases, so it would be wise to include a clause in your pre-inspection agreement that you aren't responsible if someone gets sick after your inspection.

It's true that it would be hard to prove that in inspector spread the disease, but just from a risk management standpoint, it's best to have your bases covered.

As for the hold-harmless agreements, they definitely vary in nature of how well they will protect you and how reasonable they are. If you are going to have one, it's best to get one straight from your personal legal counsel with keeping your insurance policy in mind, or adapt one provided by your insurance provider with the help of your personal legal counsel. This way you can make it work for your business in the area you are in--since everyone's situation is difference.

We have a waiver of liability our insureds can use, but truly, it acts as more of a formality in dissuading clients to pursue claims, and is only supposed to be used for people who decide to attend the home inspection. And, again, if you are to use it, it's best to get the advice of your personal legal counsel to see how it applies to you and how it can be tailored to your situation.

We can't speak for other insurance providers, so it would be best to check with the company you are insured with to see how they are proceeding. 

Long answer, but hopefully that can clarify things a bit.

Covid-19 Waiver.pdf

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1 hour ago, Erby said:

@Aubri:  You'll find very few new guys here.  We're mostly a bunch of crusty old farts who've been around a long time and well established.  Articles addressing that kind of crowd will find a happy home here.  Articles addressing newer inspectors, not so much.

 

@Erby That's fair. We'll be sure to make note of that. Your input is appreciated.

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13 hours ago, Tom Raymond said:

It's dumb. It's likely unenforceable. Probably why nacho is giving them away.

And, do you have to ask for an insurance perspective? I'm sure all of us have received notice from our insurers that a virus isn't physical damage or a covered reason for loss of income. 

Why would an insurance company care about our virus policies when they don't cover damages caused by viruses?

@Tom Raymond You make some good points. 

As I mentioned in my reply to @Jim Katen's questions, hold-harmless agreements and waivers of liability are not created equal. And, as you mentioned, most are hard to enforce. But, they can act as a deterrent to possible claims. If you are to use one, it's best to have advice from your personal legal counsel and to take your insurance policy into consideration so you can adapt it to your situation and region.

As for why insurance companies would care about virus policies when not covering associated damages, there are a couple of reasons:

- As cheesy as it is, hopefully your insurance company has your best interest in mind and is wanting to look out for you as a person and insured during this strange and difficult time.

- The second reason is more pragmatic--your insurance company will want to know about inspection virus policies and procedures because claims affect both parties, and there may be some situations that are actually covered in the circumstances. It honestly depends on the details of the situation. 

Does that answer your questions?

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