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Price Shoppers


Jerry Simon
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I bitched to Kurt Mit about this a couple weeks ago, but he didn't give me the shoulder I needed. Guess I better buy him on of those lunches.

Has anyone found that the downturn in the RE market has created a lot of price shoppers? I've had at least a half-dozen calls in the last couple weeks, calls where you don't normally have to sell yourself or your service; calls that start out "you did my uncles house and he raved about you" or some such, and then when I quote my fee, silence. Just got off the phone with another one, and hoping she'll call back after checking with hubby (but not holding my breath).

Is this the market doing this, and if so, why?

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A few for me, but I turn them down.

If I flame out, it's not going to be because I gave it away.

Run your numbers to calm yourself down; I'm betting your down a relatively small amount from the same time last year, just like me.

Pretty much just like '91-'92; it sucked then too. I think Les said his #'s were running like '91 a few months ago.

Dig in. Feels like I've been here before, and I'm not getting out of this gig alive.. Right now, I'm seeing nothing but opportunity. This shit ain't for sissie's.

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I'm putting concrete in long metal forms today. Some people refer to the product as curbing, I like to call it profitable serpentine art.

Being able to fill the gaps is important. Diversity is the key in my market. I need xx dollars each day and I have no trouble making them appear but some days don't include home inspection.

Today the crew will bring order from chaos in a sea of mud, define and delineate the future, create clear paths for others to follow; we are the curbers of America. Without us and people like us folks would be lost in Walmart's expanse of black asphalt for days. It's a good day to be alive.

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Inspections are down for us and folks are price shopping. If they call us, there is a 99% chance we will get the work. I view this market as poor, but survivable. We will do anything within our area of expertise, even if it means inspecting a roof only.

Chad is right, it is a good time to be alive! It would be better if I had a 1963 vertical shaft 8hp Briggs and Stratton pull start engine. Or I can suffer with Katen and his lens quest.

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Originally posted by Jerry Simon

I ain't complaining about being slow. I actually welcome it. Just wondering why, all of a sudden, people are seemingly awe-struck by a quote that's perhaps fifty bucks higher than others.

Oh. I'm sorry.

Yeah, I'm getting a few folks freaking about a $25-50 price differential; had one last night. I think it's because folks are simply repositioning their mindsets; we're entering a new game.

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Very common to get calls from the shoppers asking me to "meet or beat" XYZ Inspector's quote.

Simple answer is that I don't do price matching and that I can and will provide a professional inspection for my rates.

I try to educate the caller about the likely differences in a 'drive by' inspection versus my inspection.

Some will take it and lock in the inspection, but so many are simply looking to spend close to nothing as they simply can't quite understand the importance or what it takes for a proper inspection.

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I think there are quiet a few inspectors who market by price. The thought is that if I lower the price I will attract more buisness. I do not think they actually have run the numbers to see just how much buisness it takes to make up a loss of $50. So our clients are calling around and finding more of these bargain basement inspections. With the economic pressures price is a driving factor in thier decision making. They have no clue as to our liability or cost of doing buisiness. Just the thought that if X-inpsector can do it for $Y than why can't Z-inspector?

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Standing around the kitchen of a vacant house today waiting for the buyer to show up and the owner's (he is flipping this repo) phone rings. Says to the party on the line "Sure, roof to the foundation, everything is looked at. $200.00. Yea, I can do it tomorrow morning, I know where it's at." Off the phone now, he introduces himself to me as a Home Inspector. The Marketing Org. he belongs to (that is certified) sure didn't teach him how to price inspections.

Buyer agent is there and after exchanging cards she ask why she doesn't see my cards in her office. "Don't visit offices", I says. How can you get work?" she says. "From people like your buyer (who wasn't price shopping)that rejects the list of inspector you handed him and looks for guys like me."

I'm glad I not swimming in the same sea as them, one being afraid to bite off to much or the big fish won't crap more pellets his way. The other thinks she has everything under control, with the minnows swimming behind her rear end.

May have made new friends, one wants to attend a meeting with me at one of the organizations thats been around for awhile and the other said she is going to have to rethink her relationships with Inspectors.

Winning hearts and minds one house at a time.

Ezra Malernee

Canton, Ohio

P.S. Price shoppers don't bother me, my wife answers the phone.

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Part of the problem in my state is the great equalizer...the home inspector license.

We're all exactly qualified to inspect and folks are genuinely surprised to a find a range of price. I refuse to answer the "how much" question until I give them the "this is what you get" spiel.

Then I hear the little gasp, a pause, and the verdict.

It would be better if I had a 1963 vertical shaft 8hp Briggs and Stratton pull start engine.

Les, I have a horizontal shaft Reo 2 hp from around 1945 ish, un-restored and running perfectly.

A late 1930's 2 wheel Page tractor with a 1 horsepower Briggs. The Page is a daily driver. Some machines have soul and love to work; this is one of them.

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Try this line next time, Chad.

Yes, I have a state license but, if state licensing was so great, neither you nor I would be complaining about all those other "state licensed" drivers on the road with us.

or

No matter which store you buy it at, or how much you pay for it, a Snickers bar is still a Snickers bar. The same doesn't hold true for home inspectors, doctors, dentists, etc. You're buying an opinion and opinions vary based on education, experience, etc yada yada.

or

If you really want the cheapest inspection, call the $150.00 guy. No, I won't tell you his name. I don't support him ripping you off with his drive by inspections. But you'll be able to say you had a home inspection and, a couple of years from now, you'll figure out how he ripped you off.

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Price shoppers can find just about any price for an inspection in my area. From $195 to $325 for the same house!

I know that I do not get all of the callers to book with me, they are shopping for the lowest price. They shop inspections just like they shop mortgage rates.

At yesterdays afternoon inspection my client said that I was $75 higher than two of the inspectors that his agent recommended. I was not one of the recommended inspectors, my client found me on the Internet. Two reasons he selected me was due to my length of time in the profession and that I was not referred by his agent!

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I used to tell price shoppers, "If you're looking for a cheap home inspection, do yourself a favor and don't get any inspection at all. Hiring a cheap guy will do you more harm than good; he'll be a bottom-feeder with the education and skillset of a Tilt-A-Whirl Greaser. You might as well pull two hundred-dollar bills out of your pocket and set them on fire."

Of course, I was deliberately putting the price-shopping dumbass -- and any reeltors connected to the dumbass -- on my do-not-call-me list. Good for the soul. Even if I wanted to try, I couldn't put up with knuckleheads.

WJ

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Chad,

I need the 8hp vert for my 1963 articulated Simplicity. Too small for an electric start because of no battery location. I have a 1hp Briggs mounted on a 2x6" that I start abt once per year, just to hear it run! I would trade it for the lens Katen is looking for.

Price shopping is always going to be around. Now folks are price shopping because they have no money. They would like an inspection from us, but just can not afford it. YaYa, don't preach to me about the value involved, if they had a lick of common sense they would shop for a mortgage and real estate agent.

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Adding to what we've all experienced ...

I received a "shopper call" yesterday wanting a 1K s.f. condo inspected. Gave the quality sales pitch with the hook to book the inspection ... along with the price for all the value ... Ooops !

Caller asked me to meet or beat the other quote he had for $125.00.

I went to backup mode to try and convince caller what he was likely getting for that price ... but he would not have any of that.

My minimum of $295.00 was way to expensive for "just an inspection".

You know ... sometimes you simply can't crack the nut!!

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Originally posted by Les

YaYa, don't preach to me about the value involved, if they had a lick of common sense they would shop for a mortgage and real estate agent.

Exactly. Harsh reality right now is, why would anyone be in a rush to buy right now? There's no apparent penalty for waiting for next Spring; anyone w/a brain is sitting tight.

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This mornings phone call:

I'm buying a house in Boonton and I got your number out of the Superpages. Could you give me a price?

Sure; how many bedrooms & how many bathrooms?

3 beds & 2 baths.

Your looking for a general home inspection, termite & radon?

No, I won't need the radon; I'm gonna pick up one of those test kits at Home Depot.

OK, sure, but you have to know that by you doing a radon test, it won't be certified, so you won't be able to ask for remeadiation...

It's OK, I'll worry about that later.

OK, for a home and termite, it's $XXX

HUH, you're $150.00 higher than the average of the others I've called. And they included the termite with the home inspection. Must be you guys are slow or something.

Have you been to my website?

No.

Check it out, there's an actual report there for you to look at. It shows how thorough my inspection will be. I check every window & outlet I can reach. Also, I will go on the roof or at the very least view it from the roof edge. I enter attics & crawlspaces if at all possible. I will.....

Thank you... CLICK

I'm soooooooo depressed;

Just another guy buying a $500,000 house and wants to save $150.00

Darren

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  • 2 years later...

I teach a 90 minute introductory class on home inspection to first time home buyers every three months. In doing so, I always detail to the class, by example, how widely the expertise of state licensed home inspectors can vary from one to the next and how it can vary much more than their fees do.

Marc

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  • 7 months later...

I see this is an "old" thread. But a few weeks ago I had a very insulting exchange with a client. He had called and scheduled a second house, as the bank was unwilling to budge on the first with foundation damage. Two days latter, he called back: "I've been calling around (here we go), and most of the other guys are between $xxx.xx and $xxx.xx (and you are calling me, now?)." He wanted me to beat the lowest bid. His reasoning: he had looked it over real good (he did the last one, too), and didn't need a real thorough inspection. I let him off the hook to book with some one else.

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Guys like that are easy to deal with.

Just say, "Look, there are Lexus inspectors out there and there are Yugo inspectors out there. I'm a Lexus inspector and I charge Chevrolet inspection fees. Now you want me to charge a Yugo fee? Nah, ain't going to happen; if paying a Yugo fee is so important to you, go with the Yugo inspector - just keep in mind that what he or she misses is liable to one day cost you the price of a Lexus. Now, would you like to book an inspection or continue price shopping?"

Most of the time there is a pregnant pause and then they book the inspection. There have been a few that didn't and I'm sure they were miffed. They'll get over it; I hope my prediction of things missed on their houses never comes true, but it is what it is.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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Guys like that are easy to deal with.

Just say, "Look, there are Lexus inspectors out there and there are Yugo inspectors out there. I'm a Lexus inspector and I charge Chevrolet inspection fees. Now you want me to charge a Yugo fee? Nah, ain't going to happen; if paying a Yugo fee is so important to you, go with the Yugo inspector - just keep in mind that what he or she misses is liable to one day cost you the price of a Lexus. Now, would you like to book an inspection or continue price shopping?"

Most of the time there is a pregnant pause and then they book the inspection. There have been a few that didn't and I'm sure they were miffed. They'll get over it; I hope my prediction of things missed on their houses never comes true, but it is what it is.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

I'm usually rather blunt about the whole thing. I usually say to the shopper, "You are about to make the single biggest investment of your entire life. Are you sure you wish to shop price, or should you shop background?" Then I spew my entire background and number of inspections performed and encourage them to shop that and, "If you find someone with more related background and inspections done, book them." About 2/3 of the shoppers pause for a moment and book with me. So, I use a slightly different, but equally successful pitch to Mike O's.

Funny story: One time a foreign price shopper called - heavy accent. I quoted him a price and he immediately said, "You too high! Can you do it for $xxx?" I had been through a really rough day and I was feeling pretty ornery already. So, on a whim I said to him, "OK, but NO CRAWLSPACE!" He paused for a second and blurted, "NO! Gotta have crawlspace." to which I said, "Oh, well then you want the full price inspection." I think I ended giving him a tiny break, but not what he was shooting for. [:-tophat]

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I'm putting concrete in long metal forms today. Some people refer to the product as curbing, I like to call it profitable serpentine art.

Being able to fill the gaps is important. Diversity is the key in my market. I need xx dollars each day and I have no trouble making them appear but some days don't include home inspection.

Today the crew will bring order from chaos in a sea of mud, define and delineate the future, create clear paths for others to follow; we are the curbers of America. Without us and people like us folks would be lost in Walmart's expanse of black asphalt for days. It's a good day to be alive.

[:-thumbu] Life is good. Outstanding attitude, Chad. When the going get tough, the tough get going." [:-thumbu]

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