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New HI Marketing Plan Needed


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When I started my business I was not affiliated with any inspection associations and still am not. I didn't have any certifications other then that required by my state and still don't. There is certaintly an allure in my mind to being affiliated and having certifications up the yin yang but in my opinion they are unecessary to building a great business in my market but they maybe elsewhere.

Don't get me wrong I admire my brothers who are affilitaed and accredited! I wish I was too. And don't want to imply that I am proud of the fact that I am not, and I am always considering this and that certification But I have successfully built a business without them.

That being said I made up business cards of course but my angle in past the gate keeper was to show them my report (product) and talk about the benefit of my report style (product). At the time I also offered spanish speaking services which also helped greatly to get in thru the door. Another thing that broke my business wide open was that my wife would come to the inspections and chat with the clients and realtors and entertain them while I ran around and did the inspection. My wife is really out going and can hit it off with anybody. Me on the other hand forget it. However my wife hasn't come to inspections in about 3 years. Theres 4 little ninos to take careof.

Slowly over about a 3 year period my business grew totally by referral from one agent to another or client to family. But the agents that I got were either new or thier inspector had quit, moved away or screwed up. In other words if the agent already has an inspector that they were happy with then you should just be friendly and don't try to win them over from using the inspector thier using now.

At the end of the first year I was working regularly with 2 realtors. At the end of the 2nd year I was working with 4 or 5 and at the end of the 3rd year it was about 10. So it was basically doubling every year. After 7 years I work maybe with about 20 of about 40 or 50 realtors regularly plus about 10% old clients or client referrals. That number varies sometimes maybe in one week 80% are old clients or client referrals. I have some realtors that go in spurts and some that go crazy for one year but disappear the next etc. What I have found is that if you want a certain number of inspections a week then you will need double that number of regularly referring realtors. In the winter time or off season my business drops in half of the busy season although there are spurts where I have to turn work away. Now mind you I only do FHI's and don't offer other inspection services. Some inspectors offer one stop shopping and will inspect anything and everything. My business model is just FHI's.

My continued marketing has always been based on the strength of my reports. I constantly tweak the report style to try and communicate better and this is the feedback I get from the realtors and clients. Pictures, Pictures, Pictures and a straight forward list of findings written narrative style and not broiler plated. Thru continued education try to limit your referrals for futher evaluation. Its a big mistake to rely on just following a check list. After you touch the bases you have to stand back and try and figure out what all this evidence is saying.

In other words just do the best inspection you can and constantly review and seek improvement of your service. I think that attitude really will come accoss and be the best marketing to your client or the realtors.

I have tried advertising to no avail and it has always been a complete waste of money.

It just takes time and your have to be patient but driven. You should expect it to take at least 3 years before you have something built up.

Chris, Oregon

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Chris, In my area the Chamber of Comerce has a very strong web site. It is visited by nearly everyone moving to the area. It has definately helped another business I have in town, and I am going to add the inspection business to their site. I always hated yellow pages ads, but this past year I got several inspections that can be directly attibuted to the yellow pages ad. I don't have any big splash, just a one liner in the one phone book and a small box in the other. The ads were more than paid for by the fees generated. Just a couple of thoughts to add to your pile of ideas...

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