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I had an irritating experience with a price shopper a bit back which has been nagging at me so I want to vent a bit.

My daughter, who schedules my appointments and does most of the phone work called me and said a client wanted to talk to me about an inspection. I called the client and she said she had called a competitor and they charge $100 less than I do. He had done over 500 inspections (wow) and never had a claim. What made my inspection worth $100 more?

I realized she wanted to know my experience but was in a poor mood and the method of questioning irritated me. I basically said that I do not charge based on what my competitors charge and if she was shopping for price, I wasn’t interested. Book the appointment with that guy who has all that “experienceâ€

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I like to tell 'em this:

There are Lexus inspectors and there are Yugo inspectors. I'm a Lexus inspector. In over 10 years, I've never even had to sit down to an arbitration table with an unhappy client. You can go with the Yugo guy for a $100 less if you like, but don't be surprised if what he misses costs you the price of a Lexus."
OT - OF!!!

M.

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I use to get ticked when people would question my pricing, but I realized that I do the same when I'm shopping for a product or service. A few years back I started to change my tone with price shoppers and I started treating them like all callers, nice and cordial. Did it pay off? I have no idea, but I do know that it no longer bothers me for a person to price shop. Life is too short to let the small stuff bother you. When I'm asked why my rates are higher, my response is usually "Experience and knowledge".

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Originally posted by hausdok

I like to tell 'em this:

There are Lexus inspectors and there are Yugo inspectors. I'm a Lexus inspector. In over 10 years, I've never even had to sit down to an arbitration table with an unhappy client. You can go with the Yugo guy for a $100 less if you like, but don't be surprised if what he misses costs you the price of a Lexus."
OT - OF!!!

M.

I've gotta say that sounds patronizing. As a customer, I know I'd be thinking, "Lexus = overpriced status symbol." Then I'd shop around for a nice Toyota inspector.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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There is Wallmart and the custom tailor. Both can work. If you want to market yourself as a boutique or high end business that is up to your business plan. Whatever works best is the right way.

Just be nice to shoppers because it can only help you.

After I explain my services and fees, if the caller still wants to negotiate, I tell them that the only way the price can be lower is if I reduce the scope of my services and I would not be comfortable in not giving an inspection my best effort. I encourage them to call someone else.

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Yes. Don't use analogies that might offend folks. It's better to engage the potential customer.

When they ask me why I charge more, I respond very casually, slowly, & congenially w/a

"Well, there's lots of reasons. Since I'm always interested in what customers have to say, why do you think I charge more?"

Most folks are caught off guard, & supply all the answers for why I charge more in a nice little list. Then I say "well, that's why."

Then I get into the realities of how most of these folks don't know what they're doing, in addition to not knowing how to price their service. I explain that the average bump & dent guy down @ the bodyshop charges approximately the same amount per hour as the cheap home inspector.

If they don't get it by then, I beg off. Most folks want to use me by then, even if they don't schedule right then; most call back. Anyway, it's a more engaging way to get into the price discussion than telling folks I'm a Mercedes Benz inspector.

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Kurt & Jim,

While I understand exactly what you're saying, so far, it doesn't seem to have offended anyone - at least none that I'm aware of - and I get almost all of those callers in the end.

Maybe it's because there are so many Lexus' here in the Seattle area that they aren't much of a status symbol around here anymore.

Still haven't bought mine though. One of these days.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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Do real estate offices in your areas pass out "approved vendor" lists? 'Cause they do here. The savvy, shifty realtors hand out said list to a buyer, says that the office has worked with all ten inspection companies before, and they all do good jobs. The buyer is, in effect, being told that all ten companies do equally fine jobs, so to him/her it's merely a matter of finding out which of these splendid companies charges the least. The realtor realizes that the buyer will invariably choose inspector #8 'cause he's the newest, the least experienced, the financially hungriest, and the least expensive. Oh, and did I mention that inspector #8 is gonna suck up to the realtor to try and insure more business in the future? I always ask if the caller was referred to me and by whom. When "the list" gets mentioned, I recommend two guys I know who do good jobs and politely say goodbye.

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Yeah,

They have lists here but I don't lose any sleep over them. I don't market to them and haven't gone into their offices in a long, long time - ever since I began delivering reports by e-mail 4 years ago - so I couldn't care less about them.

Charge enough to make a comfortable living and do a great job and the honest realtors will be calling you, without your ever having placed a foot in their offices, and the number of referrals you get through past clients will easily outstrip anything you could get by wasting umteen hours and untold dollars trying to market to professional marketing types, who aren't ever going to use your services, if you don't do the kind of inspection that they want.

This constant fascination with marketing to realtors and to whom the realtors are referring isn't productive. It's more productive to concentrate on educating the few realtors who prove that they are honest and trustworthy by their actions, and then do the best job you can, so that your customers will be sure to refer you to everyone they know.

My opinion, worth at least the price charged.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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The honest realtors DO call, and I love working with them. They're the ones who call back at night and ask, "Should my buyer walk away from this POS, or can it be repaired?" They're the ones who, if I've dumped on a house, say, "You do you're job and let me do mine." I used to freak out a little when I realized certain realtors had stopped calling, but like you said, Mike, the client referrals and referrals from the responsible realtors send plenty of business my way. The listing agent of the house I checked out this morning, upon hearing that I'd be the person snooping around and looking for problems, replied, "Well, but then why even bother? I should just put the house back on the market." That would have bothered me back when I was starting out. Now, I just smile and do my job.

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I just did one for a guy that called me three times asking questions before he booked. At the inspection he told me I was the most expensive of four local inspectors he called, with the others at $200, $210, and $295 (I was well above $295). He also said he discovered during questioning that I had twice the experience of any of the others, and the only website in the bunch that didn't actually belong to a franchise. But the clincher was the sample report I emailed at his request. He read samples from all four and tossed the others' stuff in the trash. Gotta love a guy who does his homework.

I told him the $200 and $210 guys would be gone in a year, either from insufficient income or a fat lawsuit. I wouldn't do the smallest house in town, on a slab, on a beautiful day, if the client bought me lunch and carried my bag, for $200.

Brian G.

Charging What It's Worth [:-dog]

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