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When your client walks from a deal...


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...do you give him a break on the cost of the next inspection?

Tuesday's job had some major roof issues that my clients were not fully informed about. The first time they or their agent had seen the roof in daylight without snow on it was at the inspection. It was totally shot, was missing a square of the third layer, and had at least two patches of different color shingles of a square or more each. It was leaking at the inspection and it hadn't rained in at least two days. My best guess is 8-9 grand for replacement.

Of course the seller hadn't disclosed the roof condition, but they did say it was old and probably should be redone in a few years. They held out through three rounds of offers before accepting at nearly the full asking price, and now are refusing to budge on the roof. The house is being liquidated as part of a divorce settlement.

My clients love the place, but not enough to pay full price plus buy a roof before they move in, so they are going to walk. They already have an appointment to see another property on Sunday, and want me to inspect it as well if they make a move on it.

To complicate things, I already gave him a discount on the first inspection because I have known him for more than 15 years and consider him a friend. I didn't give him much, I would have to do 8 jobs for him at the reduced price before I end up doing one for free.

So do you hold your rates in a situation like this? I'd like to be helpful, but I gotta eat too.

Thanks.

Tom

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I've kidded clients on their third or fourth inspections that I have a 10 inspection punch card, 11th free. But, no, no discount for subsequent inspections. You don't go back to the same dentist because he gives you a discount. If your client was pleased with your work the first time, they should be happy to pay you the full price again for the same full job. If not, then you may have issues that need addressing.

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Hi,

If they stop me partway through the first inspection in order to walk, I charge them my hourly rate instead of full price. If they allow me to complete the entire inspection, they pay the price that's agreed upon.

I might cut them a little slack on a second inspection but not much; because, if they're buying a house in this economy they are probably doing better than I am - after all, I'd just saved them many thousands of dollars by giving them the straight skinny on the house that they just walked away from. There's no better time to point out that you're worth every bit of your fee and that you'd been a nice guy by cutting them slack on the first one but this isn't exactly like selling donuts; buy one get a second at half price, that kind of thing, doesn't really work here.

Oh, by the way, you shoudn't listen to any money advice from me; Mike B. says I'm the world's worst salesperson.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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I give them a discount on next inspection if the house fails their approval (not from financing problem, etc)

Mike:

I've always finish my inspections and generate a report.... even when they make it plain this house isn't for them

how do you handle paperwork if they cancel halfway through inspection??

Jerry

It depends on what they want. If they want a report, they're going to get charged for it so they might as well pay the full price for the inspection 'cuz at my hourly rate it'll cost them far more. If they only want a one page memo, I figure out what total time at the house and typing up a memo will be and I charge them accordingly.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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Greetings!

Great question and terrific responses! Seems to me like you saved your clients LOTS of money and headache. They should be delighted to pay full price. So, hold your head up...and incorporate some of the great suggestions your compatriots have made here.

It's all about adding VALUE and communicating the value of your services. Keep after it!

You know, I wouldn't be surprised if the seller came back with a counter offer... [^]

Love, peace, $$, freedom,

Ellen - www.barebonesbiz.com

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Hi Ellen,

It's good to hear from you and to know that your forum notification is working properly. Maybe I should post more business questions to your forum; heck, the way business is right now for home inspectors, these guys can use all of the advice they can get.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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While I can understand the rationale for not offering a discount, I can also understand the human element. Your clients are aware that you may have saved them thousands in return for the hundreds they paid you. On one level, they are appreciative. But with human nature being what it is, a substantial number of them will still look at the first fee as "wasted" money after the decision to bail out of the deal is made.

In these cases, I give a relatively small (but meaningful) discount, but I ask for something in return. I let them know I appreciate their loyalty; in return, I ask the same of them. I let them know that I would be very grateful if they pass my name on to others they hear about who are about to buy a home.

Seems to work out for me.

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Last year I had a couple walk on a deal, then a couple weeks later they called me back to inspect a larger house, by about 1500 Sq/Ft. They asked me about the fee, I told them it would be the same as the first house.

Side tracking; just last week I had scheduled an inspection in the afternoon, and the weather was windy & storming. I tried to make contact with the clients to see if they could reschedule for the next day, but both are school teachers and the seller is also a teacher and their schedules during the day are a little full. Anyway due to the weather & nightfall, there was no way to check the roof & exterior with a deck. So I told the guy I would come back the next day and finish. He looked at me a little funny, and I said that I wouldn't charge him extra, but he will have to refer me to all his friends and colleagues. Well when he got the report he e-mailed me saying he would refer me. So I think that's worth the extra fee for a return trip, about 25 miles from my home.

Frank

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I have give $25 if asked on repeat customers.

Had one couple hire me to inspect 3 houses. An investment property, house for mother-in-law and house for themselves. They paid full price for all three inspections and did not request a discount.

One customer walked from the first deal. Called about 8 months later for a second inspection. I had raised my prices significantly inbetween. I quoted a reduced price on the second inspection feeling I was giving them a discount. They asked why the price was higher than the first inspection. I explained that I had raised my prices to cover rising business costs but would match my original price.

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My business card has a coupon for 25 bucks off any service. I make sure that every client has an adequate supply. By the time I've written 3 or 4 reports for folks they're so tired of my drivel that they insist on Cliffs' notes versions. I'm working less, they're paying less. Everyone wins.

On another note, I always have to edit my replies here and some of the edits are pretty funny. I originally ended my reply with "they get off easy and I get off easier"

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Chad makes an interesting point. We have a small client base and develope fierce loyality to them and them to us. As the kids, and grandkids, got on their feet and finished college I have been much more likely to give discounts. I can't even remember how many inspections I have done for nothing!

If I were a bit younger, I wouldn't be so generous. I would encourage inspectors to be flexible and look to the future.

PS: If I don't remember you or you aren't a relative of a past client - I am too busy but can refer you to an inspector that is just as ornery and was trained by me!

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Thanks guys.

He has already told me the next house is smaller and newer, so I think I'll stick with my price. With luck I may actually come out ahead and work less for that fee.

The RE was working to renegotiate before I was done with the inspection, so I shouldn't have been surprised that they walked by the time I'd delivered the report.

Tom

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  • 2 weeks later...

Tell her it's the wave of the future, Charlie.

Enjoy your new career as a gigolo! I'd bet it is more fun than crawling around in stinky old houses attics and crawl spaces, but then again you'd still be .......

-

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Since I normally give out a encyclopedic book (homexam) as part of my inspection report, the second and... inspection could get a $25 discount. No need for two books.

Any of the young adults who have grown up with my son and daughter will get a "family and friends" discount-- 25%

Of course, any of my blood relatives, get the 'no charge' rate.

Note: my record for repeat inspections---7 times before she finally bot sumptin!![8D]

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  • 8 months later...

In a case like that I usually say sure..... how much was that house? when they answer how many HUNDREDS of thoushands I say well I just saved you That many hundreds of thousands in heart ache. I do this mainly to make the point that I did my job and it was worth it for you to order an inspection. I personally feel that if the buyer comes out of the other side of the inspection well informed and with new insight decides to walk, you did your job and should be paid in full, worth every dime. Should happily pay full price on the next inspection. But in reality it is not always the case.

If a customer walks on a deal because the house turned into more work than they were ready for I usually don't give a discount on the next inspection as I feel they got their money's worth. Under certain circumstances I will. I like many here write a report in my office and not onsite. I tell people that have doubts and are ready to walk before we finish the inspection I tell them that I can hold off writing the report until they are sure they need it i.e. are moving forward. If they agree I charge full price for that inspection and add the discount to the following inspection if they deside to move on to the next home with no report. I also will offer a discount if they lose the house because the seller backed out, bank backed out things like that I truely feel bad about and the discount in this case comes with out asking. I always ask a client that calls for another inspection what happened on the last house. depending on what they say depends on if they get a discount or not. I've had clients call me a few weeks or day later to a year or two later still looking for a house that whole time.

This also has personal feeling discounts like if they are single parents, barely making it into the home as it is. I will make acceptions but its how I feel about the situation. I have many realtors call and ask me in advnce about a discount for the net inspection and I always say to them sure we should get together and you should give them back some of your commission money too... because it would really help [^]. Again so they understand they are asking me to take money out of my pocket not because I think they will EVER in life work for free or less...but that is what they are asking me to do.

When it comes to family and friends I still charge money ( usually half price of a normal inspection ). I do this for a couple of reasons and you guys should consider this also. They will 92% be likely to be getting an inspection regardless. So if they don't pay you they will pay someone else they should feel so lucky they happen to be close to someone that is an inspector and they can get a good discount. It cost you money to do an inspection: paper, supplies, electric, ins. fuel lic.and time., at half price you would be breaking even on the inspection by the time all is done. Lastly, if you do not charge your family and friends and do not ask them to sign an inspection agreement and something happens to that house, they will NOT be covered under your insurance. Not only do you need to have them sign the agreement, You need to charge them for it to be a ligit inspection. Even if from now one you write that you charged them a dollar ( that you happen to never collect ) you need to charge them something.

I have customers that have pipe dreams with forclosures that the price is a deal and not that the house is priced correctly and has many problems. after a couple of those they usually pick a better home that is more money but they learned alot. They all tell me they were able to make a better decision about the next house because of what they learned from me along the way about homes and what to look for. Isn't that what they pay us for? our education and experience?

By the way......My record is 7 inspections with one client over a 2 year period. What is the most you have done for one client during one buying process?

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