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Brochure review pls - be honest not nice


sepefrio
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subject says it all. Sorry I can't post it as a whole it's a cheap program

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Brochures should be short and sweet. If you want to make them you should use some killer photos, and very few words. The words you do use should be smart and powerful. If you don't send your message to a consumer in about three seconds or less, you've probably lost them.

That said, most brochures get roundfiled anyway -even the great ones. Today, the smart inspectors I know put their resources into their web sites. Saavy consumers Google the shyte out of a topic prior to making a purchase, and saavy consumers are an HI's best customer. Even a simple website will be seen by far more people than the best brochure.

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Walter was very kind to you. Re-write the text, it is not good.

Jim M is right.

Randy has a good perspective on the free re-inspect thing. I would not advise it.

The photos look a little on the "dreamy" side. Too slick for my taste.

Drop the AHIT logo - means nothing.

Photo of you looks like every other inspector.

Can't remember the last time I even thought about a brochure.

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Les, provided a good summary of what everyone else said and I agree with him on his own assessment. I might add that I for one would not spend the money on a brochure. Done it before and have the T-Shirt so to speak!

I would invest the money, time and effort into my professional enrichment and education. I see that you are in VA, but you do not advertise that you have the VA State Certification. I know that this is voluntary, but it would do more for you to have it than any brochure would do. All of the top inspectors I know in VA have it and say that most of the agents will not use an inspector unless they have the state certification. Just an observation and opinion, and if you do have in fact have the state certification you need to advertise it.

Get rid of the Allen Insurance link/information, you don't want to advertise that you have insurance.

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Brochures work for me in this area and worth the money. When I have Realtors calling me to inform me that there are no more brochures up front, I know they work. I also know they work since some clients called my company from the brochure they picked up. Just depends on your area.

About 5 years ago, the phone book was a great source but now I feel it is the internet in this area.

When it comes to your brochure, add something so it stands out. I include a sticky note at the top of my brochures offering specials. Example: January is National Radon Month and normally the slowest time for doing home inspections. So I offer a special on Radon and print that special on the stick notes and have it sticking out the top of the brochure.

If McDonalds, Wal-Mart or Kentucky Fried Chicken did the same as everyone else, it is likely they would not be where they are now.

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Well, heck, let me tell this story one more time: When I was just getting started in the business, I made 4-page newsletters, jam-packed with info that would be useful to RE agents and homeowners. I'd pretty well mastered desktop publishing, and I write OK (worked for shelter magazines for a few years).

I figured I could make pretty, funny, useful newsletters. I had about 1,000 printed, and I paid a courier less than $100 to distribute them to dozens of high-end RE offices.

The phone went nuts. Business tripled that year, and I never spent another nickel on advertising.

Bottom line: Keep your money in your pocket. Don't even bother making brochures. Make good biz cards instead.

Learn how to do desktop publishing. Learn how to write in an interesting, publishable way (think Family Handyman). Take a community-college English course if you have to. Then find a high-quality proofreader. Distribute your newsletter.

Do everything right, and you'll be famous.

WJ

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I recently cleaned out a cupboard and tossed out the large box containing almost all of the brochures I had made over 5 years ago when I started. I peppered the real estate offices with them the one time and I don't believe I got a single job out of it. Your mileage may vary.

As for your brochure...what almost everyone said. Me, I'm just going to pick on the first page. Personally, those photos are about as far away from my dream as you could get. A generic McMansion with nothing but concrete and grass for a yard and the ubiquitous oak kitchen with no windows would be a frigging nightmare! Now, that's me, but it also probably applies to many others. I'm not sure what the cover says to you, but it says nothing to me about home inspections, and if I were at that stage in buying a home I would have no reason at all to pick it up, even if the photos were more attractive. If you are staying with "the next step to your dream" catchphrase, I'd find a picture of a castle, a palace, or at least something more fanciful than photos of a home that might be a downgrade to some.

There...honest and not nice. But you asked.

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I noticed that no one that responded is from your area/state.

It sounds like you need to get to know your market. What do the buyers in your area want to see? Different locations have different wants/demands.

To answer your question. I feel the same about the front page, you need something to draw their eye and grab their attention to your brochure (unless your competition is like the guys that responded here where there will be no brochures at the Realtors office).[:-bigeyes

I always thought a logo, phone number, website and anything that can separate you from your competition should be on the front page. Then go into it further on the interior pages so they know what it means if needed.

If they see and hear basically the same thing from every home inspector, why wouldn't they go with the cheapest guy? I would.

By the way, I like your logo. Simple but effective.

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OK let me state a couple of goals from this brochure. First, almost everyone here that states they don't use brochures (and some no advertising at all) are already established and don't need them. I'm not established, so I need a way to get those first calls to establish the name. I do office visits, open house visits and I am in a BNI group. I have gotten some business from each, and some repeat business. I know doing that alone I will have my hands full in oh say, 5 years, but although my wife says she wants to diet, I don't think a forced one is a good idea, lol.

Every office visit I go to I leave business cards. The response to that 99% of the time is, "Do you have any brochures?" From the agents and front desk people I talk to, the majority of the time, the clients are encouraged to select their HI from the brochures from the table. They also tell me, they take brochures before they even look at business cards. Of course an agent might say this HI is better than that, but that is after the client has a couple in hand.

As for the front page not saying anything about home inspections, that was my idea. I have studied the brochures of local HI's and again, they are 99% the same. Everyone starts with the company name at the top. I think the name of your company is useless at this point. None of us are Wal-Mart or McDonalds. Few if any buyers/sellers know a HI business by it's name. They don't pick it up because of the name. They pick it up because it catches their eye. Again, the vast majority of the offices I goto, the HI brochure location has nothing but HI brochures. So when the client is directed, they already know everyone of the brochures on the table are about home inspections. Why should I tell them what they already know?

Another thing I did, and I'll admit it, I got this from Nachi-TV, then verified it in my BNI group, friends and family. I asked them, if you bought a house would you get a home inspection, they all, without hesitation, replied "Of course". Thus, unlike many brochures or other ads do, there is no need anymore to sell the idea of a home inspection. The client already knows they need one. What the brochure needs to do is to make them choose you over the other guy.

I agree with the statements of " you need something to draw their eye and grab their attention to your brochure". That was my hope with the sunset picture and the "Next Step to Your Dreams" statement. A company name or logo doesn't do that. The rest of the pictures I was aiming for upper middle class look. And trying to stay with the style of homes around here. Although the sunset has nothing to do with inspections, quite a few people I've shown samples to have said it caught their eye and made them feel comfortable. Not all techy and already lost in Inspector-speak.

From studies I've read and from advice from the local SBA, this is something I have learned about brochures. The front cover's ONLY job is to get them to pick up the brochure and not sell them anything. The inside cover needs to answer a very simple question they may have, quickly and positively. Thus the area I work in. Right from the start, they get a "OK good he works in my area". You now have two yes and zero no's, Then most people will look at the top middle of the brochure and thats where you need your name and tell them what you do. The right and left insides should support the middle.

As for the re-inspections. It is said don't do it because you will have too much work. Well, when I have too much work, then I will consider it. But for now I need to separate myself from my competition to get work. Once I'm doing 8-10 inspections a week vice 1-3, I can remove/adjust that. But for now it stays as that alone has earned me a few jobs.

I'm not stubborn, well yes I am, but I do listen to advice. But I use that advice to make my best judgment for my situation as I hope each of you would. None of us are in the exact same boat and different things work differently in different areas. For example, I will put some more time into the wording, but I also don't want it to be written for a college professor. I want the wife of the deployed sailor to read it, like it and hire me.

BTW I do agree with the website. And mine needs work and updating. That is my next project. But since a good portion of HI's in this area are selected by the brochures in the office, I feel I need to get mine in there too.

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John,

Your comments are right for you. My experience is that this business is not really that much different geographically. There are technical issues that certainly are regional.

A few of the participants on this forum have national stature and interact across market boundries. The basic issues are the same in Washington and Virginia.

Just a thought. There are more "retired" inspectors than active inspectors. Tens of thousands of individuals have come before you and tens of thousands have failed. Only a few dozen have made it.

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Originally posted by sepefrio

The response to that 99% of the time is, "Do you have any brochures?"

I think that response itself justifies the need for brochures. In my area its just the opposite. Brochures just get thrown away in the offices.

IMO - In your Family Inspection page, you should add a photo of your family, I think people like that instead of some stock photo.

Frank

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I have my brochures in most of the local real estates offices. I go by every 3-4 months to check on them: move them in front of my competitions, replace them, etc. I have found them to be a worth while marketing tool. I also have a website and biz cards. That is all the advertising I pay for. Word of mouth by providing quality inspections and reports is free – yet priceless. Around here many of the realtors hand out 2-3 brochures to their clients to pick from. Some realtors hand them a list of names, other just say let me call so-n-so. Anyway your brochure needs to catch the eye, so they will pick it up – get rid of the ugly neutral background. My background is a bright blue. Just like when you go to the store to by something your eyes is drawn to the packaging – then you pick it up and look at the details.

I believe people want to hire people. So I try and make my adds personal. I write in first person, have my picture on my brochures, cards, so people know who they are hiring. I want them to know they are hiring me, Mark A. Perry, a friendly guy they can trust and speak freely too, not some company. Don’t be too serious.

I’m in my 3rd year now and in my experience people say “get Mark Perry for your inspectionâ€

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If I looked the front cover, I would have no idea what the brochure is all about. It gets mixed in the other brochures about bugs, oil tanks, mold, radon, etc. I would skip that brochure and go to the one that says Home Inspection right on the cover. Get right to the point.

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John,

If 99% of the offices you enter ask for brochures, and you are getting the lions share of your referrals from these offices, why in the world are you putting out home made brochures?

Your brochure looks homemade. It doesnt scream 'established', 'financially secure', 'quality', 'attention to detail', or any of the other traits that consumers are looking for.

Get a pro to design something clean and elegant. People who buy expensive houses (and lets face it, that is where the margins are for a HI), understand and respond to clean and elegant. If you aim your advertising "down market", you will have a down market business. Aim higher. Get brochures from all of your competitors, take them to the best ad agency in town and tell them that you want something that is nothing like what the other guys have. Tell them to print it on the best non glossy (elegant) paper stock that they have. Use their professional photographers and graphic designers. Tell them that you want to appeal to people who buy upscale property.

If you are giving reinspections away, you are telling potential clients that you are either not busy or don't value the services that you provide. There is no positive message there for a sophisticated consumer. Reinspections suck. I charge enough to discourage the darn things.

Thats my two cents, and worth every penny.

Tim

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Kind of off subject, but Erby's link just gave me a marketing idea...The Naked Home Inspector!

I could put out a brochure with a naked picture of me on it and, at my age and "shape", I feel quite confident I could just sit at home and people will send me money to NOT inspect their houses...or come anywhere near them. Brilliant!

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I agree with what you wrote but I would still include what the brochure is about so they have a clear understanding. Catching their eye is one thing but understanding what they are looking at before picking it up is another.

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Little plane around where you name off the areas you inspect. Might look better on brochure paper but I think the font or size change can make it look better.

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I focus on the company and not me but if you want to go that direction, I think the back cover is good.

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Looks good.

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Regarding the re-inspection, make sure you have a limitation on when you will do them. I have that limitation up to closing. You don't want them to find a problem and have them use that re-inspection where you will have to give them something in writing.

Also I would put in your contract how many re-inspections you will do. I only do one re-inspection. After that they will have to pay. Over the years, there are a lot of people that you will go back for the re-inspection and the seller did not do it right. Then you go back again, the seller fixed that item but messed up on something else. Also there are a few people that will want you to go back out there when each item is fixed and not wait till they are all fixed.

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Looks fine.

Nice thing about asking others about what you did is that it can change your mind about how you did things or re-enforce your thinking on what you did do.

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Well, two things I do agree with so far certainly. (Still thinking over some others). I'll find a way to get "Home Inspection" at the top of the brochure so they know the subject matter inside.

qhinspect, as for the re-inspect, yes I only do it until closing too. I haven't had the problem of going back multiple times yet, but what you said is a good idea. Thanks.

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