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Practice Inspection Report Evaluation


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Jeremy,

got to garage entrance door and garage electrical outlets - page four, then have to agree with Chad. Those paragraphs are really bad!

actually, page two set me off in the wrong direction - "Inspection Limitations"? heading page two. Page one told me this was "A Smart Inspection Report". I liked the smart inspection report stuff, so head the next page "Inspection Agreement" and don't stress limitations.

I don't understand why you guys abuse yourself like this! just kidding!

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I have to agree with everyone else. It looks like a great deal of the verbaige is boilerplate that it right out of the box. A good deal of the terminology that is being used really does not sound right and much of it does not make sense.

This sentence caught my attention:

The gutter drainage line is missing a screen. The screen prevents rodents from nesting or expiring in the lines, thus causing possible backflows and/or unpleasant odors.

What report program are you using?

On a side note, I glanced at your website!http://www.asmartinspection.com/pricing.htm You are giving your service away! This alone would make me not want to hire you. You are hurting yourself with rates that low. If you break it down to an hourly rate (include taxes, insurance, overhead, etc), you could make more money flipping burgers at the Golden Arches!

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"On a side note, I glanced at your website!http://www.asmartinspection.co...cing.htm You are giving your service away! This alone would make me not want to hire you. You are hurting yourself with rates that low. If you break it down to an hourly rate (include taxes, insurance, overhead, etc), you could make more money flipping burgers at the Golden Arches!"

Scott,

That's a nice call on your response. Jeremy, have you priced your competition? I think Scott nailed it on the head. If I were looking for an inspector and all of the prices seem to be in line with each other, give or take $10-$20, I would be OK with that. If, however, I came across your site and your listed prices were $150 less, It would have me thinking, why. Is it because you are trying to break into the market? If so, there are better ways than to sell yourself soooo cheap.

V/R

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Jeez Jeremy,

I know it's tough breaking into this business - we've all been there - but please don't become low-ball central. We're here to help you do better than that.

A guy recently protested my price of $520 on a job. He works for a very large firm where most of my referrals come from, so I'd automatically given him the same 14% discount I give all employees of that firm. Nonetheless, he still felt the price was too high. He told me that his realtor had assured him that he could get the house done far cheaper and that $500 would be the absolute tops that should be paid for an inspection of a home that size.

Here's my response to him:

Can you find a cheaper inspector? Absolutely. In fact, I can find you a guy that will inspect your home for $150 if you want. Will his inspection be as thorough as mine or his report be anywhere near what mine is? Absolutely not.

Let me tell you a dirty little secret about the home inspection business that most consumers don't realize; about 80% of new inspectors that enter the business this year will not survive more than two years in the business. Most will leave because they don't know how to price their services and they won't be able to make enough to survive. Some will be incompetent and when customers and realtors realize it and spread the word about them, they won't be able to garner enough work. A few will probably get sued and lose their shirts because they'd been more worried about currying favor with real estate folks, in order to get future referrals, than they'd been about taking care of their clients.

Within the profession, this isn't a secret. It means that at any given time the most experienced and competent inspectors are greatly outnumbered by new inspectors who're charging rock bottom prices; in order to lure in consumers that somehow have the impression from their agent that all inspections are the same.

It doesn't surprise me that a realtor told you that it's possible to get the inspection cheaper. Some realtors always push certain inspectors and the fees those inspectors charge is often far less - sometimes less than half - of what very experienced inspectors like myself will charge you. Does that mean that those inspectors are always going to be incompetent? No, sometimes those realtor-referred inspectors are top notch guys; and the only reason that they are charging far less than anyone else is because they know they are inexperienced and they need to get more work in order to develop more experience, so that eventually they'll be able to charge a more realistic price for their services.

However - and this is the real secret - more often than most realtors would like to admit, the reason that many realtors refer the cheaper guys is because the cheaper guys do a quick, not-too-in-depth inspection and write a not-to-critical report that won't kill the deal. The agents put together a small list of inspectors like that and that's the list they provide to their clients. As long as an inspector continues to inspect without going to in-depth, and as long as the inspector coaches the inspection presentation in language that is "friendly" to the house and won't kill the deal, the agent will continue to refer customers to that cheaper inspector. Guys like myself who refuse to play that game? We're not on those lists.

Your co-workers that referred you to me have already told you what kind of inspection I do and what kind of report I write. There are Yugo inspectors and there are Lexus inspectors. You can easily find a Yugo inspector to do a home but don't be surprised if he or she, due to inexperience, misses something that later costs you the equivalent of the price of a Lexus.

I'm waiting for an email confirmation back from a prospective client. If he can't confirm that slot, you've got it, otherwise, we can book the following day.

It's your decision; let me know what you'd like to do.

He emailed me back to book the inspection less than an hour later.

Sorry, Dude, but most of us probably use similar language to help prospective clients understand that hiring home inspectors isn't like interviewing someone for a position at the local burger whopper. When they hire us and then tell their friends, co-workers and relatives about their inspection, doesn't it make sense that they're liable to also tell them how to avoid the pitfall of hiring the cheap guys? Do you really want to be lumped into that basket and be that guy?

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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Don't forget, too, Mike, that sometimes the callers are a little slippery.

If a former client has sent you a referral, that referral almost assuredly asked how much the former client paid you for your services. Telling you a realtor said the fee should be a certain amount may just be a disingenuous way to negotiate a lower price.

Lots of times, my customers don't even ask how much the fee will be, 'cause they've spoken to their friends and know what to expect. Or . . . they ask in an oh-by-the-way manner and, once I tell them, say, "Yeah, that's about what so-and-so said it would be."

I do lose business sometimes because people think they've found a better deal in someone else. What are you gonna do, though? Life goes on.

I had a pest inspector tell me recently that he showed up for a gig after the home inspector had arrived. When the pest guy walked around to the back of the house, the HI was kneeling on the ground, checking out the crawlspace with a pair of binoculars.

This pest inspector is my friend and would not lie to me. A home inspector was checking out a crawlspace with a bloody pair of binoculars.

I'll never be able to compete price-wise with that guy.

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As long as Mike is in a sharing kind of mood, maybe Jeremy should replace his price page with a copy of that on his website.

BTW Jeremy, your crossed out prices are too low, never mind the sale prices. I'm also a relatively new inspector and I charge close friends and family more than that, and I charge extra for detached garages or funky HVAC (like out door wood boilers and back up systems). Case in point, last week I got nearly your 1000 SF fee to verify that two CMU were properly replaced on a detached garage for a refinance, I drove by then faxed a letter to the bank.

Get that report system under control, and stop selling yourself short.

Tom

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Thank you all for the feedback.

The changes to the pricing on the website have been made. You are right, I was trying to lure clients in to get some more experience under my belt. I believe the scratched out pricing is about what this area can handle (there is a member here who's prices are cheaper, so I do not want to go much lower than what I have now). And the "intro" rates are $50 less across the board.

As for the report, unfortunately it is the result of several reports I have looked at from a couple here and some from one of the national organization's members. A Lot of pain went into the report as it is all mine completed in Word. While I am changing my report meet your sugguestions I would love to see some of yours. If you do not mind sending them to me, that would be much appreciated (jdpaschedag@hotmail.com).

If anyone is interested, from my small sample audience, the colored borders were there to separate the sections from each other. And to identify when one section was finished and another one begins. The Areas of Concern is for those who do not care that I looked at a bathroom fixture that didn't have any problems. It seems some people only report problems and some report everything they looked at. I liked that latter, but wanted to provide the issues upfront so they do not have to look at the entire report.

I did change the Inspection Limitations area to match my Inspection Agreement. And I moved the General Conditions info to the cover page.

The rest will take a bit of work. As I told my wife, I LOVE the inspection part, but the reports are a killer. Can't we just do an inspection and verbally tell them the problems??? lol Then the onus is on them... (Just Kidding!!!)

I will repost the updated report when all of the changes are complete.

Again Thank You for your time and feedback!

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Thank you all for the feedback.

The changes to the pricing on the website have been made. You are right, I was trying to lure clients in to get some more experience under my belt. I believe the scratched out pricing is about what this area can handle (there is a member here who's prices are cheaper, so I do not want to go much lower than what I have now). And the "intro" rates are $50 less across the board.

As for the report, unfortunately it is the result of several reports I have looked at from a couple here and some from one of the national organization's members. A Lot of pain went into the report as it is all mine completed in Word. While I am changing my report meet your sugguestions I would love to see some of yours. If you do not mind sending them to me, that would be much appreciated (jdpaschedag@hotmail.com).

If anyone is interested, from my small sample audience, the colored borders were there to separate the sections from each other. And to identify when one section was finished and another one begins. The Areas of Concern is for those who do not care that I looked at a bathroom fixture that didn't have any problems. It seems some people only report problems and some report everything they looked at. I liked that latter, but wanted to provide the issues upfront so they do not have to look at the entire report.

I did change the Inspection Limitations area to match my Inspection Agreement. And I moved the General Conditions info to the cover page.

The rest will take a bit of work. As I told my wife, I LOVE the inspection part, but the reports are a killer. Can't we just do an inspection and verbally tell them the problems??? lol Then the onus is on them... (Just Kidding!!!)

I will repost the updated report when all of the changes are complete.

Again Thank You for your time and feedback!

Jeremy, I've been designing sites for inspectors for years. This year we started doing tests with different inspectors in the same cities and similar Google rank (i.e. both page one). Some had detailed pricing, some gave nothing but an intro price and told to call to get exact pricing due to variations due to age, size, etc... The inspectors that gave as little info as possible had their calls go up several hundred percent within a week (anyone wants to know who shoot me an email and I'll give you some email addresses).

The moral here is you need to get the client to call you. Then you can sell yourself to the client. You'll hear some inspectors on the phone talk to clients in such as way that the client practically forgets to even ask the price. Ask them about the property, show familiarity with the area and connect with them.

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Thank you all for the feedback.

The changes to the pricing on the website have been made. You are right, I was trying to lure clients in to get some more experience under my belt. I believe the scratched out pricing is about what this area can handle (there is a member here who's prices are cheaper, so I do not want to go much lower than what I have now). And the "intro" rates are $50 less across the board.

As for the report, unfortunately it is the result of several reports I have looked at from a couple here and some from one of the national organization's members. A Lot of pain went into the report as it is all mine completed in Word. While I am changing my report meet your sugguestions I would love to see some of yours. If you do not mind sending them to me, that would be much appreciated (jdpaschedag@hotmail.com).

If anyone is interested, from my small sample audience, the colored borders were there to separate the sections from each other. And to identify when one section was finished and another one begins. The Areas of Concern is for those who do not care that I looked at a bathroom fixture that didn't have any problems. It seems some people only report problems and some report everything they looked at. I liked that latter, but wanted to provide the issues upfront so they do not have to look at the entire report.

I did change the Inspection Limitations area to match my Inspection Agreement. And I moved the General Conditions info to the cover page.

The rest will take a bit of work. As I told my wife, I LOVE the inspection part, but the reports are a killer. Can't we just do an inspection and verbally tell them the problems??? lol Then the onus is on them... (Just Kidding!!!)

I will repost the updated report when all of the changes are complete.

Again Thank You for your time and feedback!

Glad to see you changed your price. Now, in 3 months raise them about 20%. Then in another 3 months raise them another 20%!

As for your report, all I can say is Wow! The way you assembled it explains why it is so convoluted and difficult to read. Taking bits and pieces of other reports (reports that to start with have horrendous boilerplate) and making a new one is a disaster in the making.

I do have a suggestion...... Get a set of standards (ASHI or NAHI) and go line by line comparing it to your report. Right now MO is not a licensed state, but that won't last for long. Your report should follow one of the major association SOP's if your state does not have one.

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The moral here is you need to get the client to call you. Then you can sell yourself to the client. You'll hear some inspectors on the phone talk to clients in such as way that the client practically forgets to even ask the price. Ask them about the property, show familiarity with the area and connect with them.

Well said. Ditch the pricing.

Many times the first thing asked during a phone call is, how much do you charge? Make it the last question you answer.

"Can I get some information about the home your buying?" Age, square feet ECT.

"Have you been through the process of a home inspection before?" "You have?" "Great. "Let me tell you a little bit about who I am and what I do." Sell yourself and your service.

"Will that work for you?" You care about what they want.

"When is the best time for you?" Book it.

Then, try to remember to give them the price before you hang up. I had to call a guy back once.

Nothings bullet proof but, that works for me.

You've got to learn to give good phone.

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Thank you for the pricing sales pitch ideas! I had no idea people would call. I'm guessing the ones that call are more serious about the inspection. And the ones that don't are probably just price shopping.

Still working on the report changes. There was one brave sole who sent me a sample report (and I APPRECIATE it). That will certainly help. If anyone else would like to send me a sample of their's, I assure you I will not distribute it. And I will delete it once my report has been rewritten.

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Hello, I finally have a report ready for critique. Please take a look and let me know what you think. I'm looking for all input, bad and good.

It's a critique, so please do not hold back.

http://www.aSmartInspection.com/docs/samplereport.pdf

Thank you!

OK. Here's the first sentence in the report:

This report is intended only as a general guide to help you, the client, make an informed decision about

the home, and is not intended to reflect the value of the premises, nor make any representation as an

advisor of purchase.

Who is doing the intending? Does the client not know that he's the client? How is the "home" different from the "premises"? What does, "nor make any representation as an advisor or purchase" mean?

Once we clear those things up, I'll move on to the second sentence, which, by the way, is far worse than the first.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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Thank you Jim, and everyone who has sent me an inspection report.

For now, I would like to call a cease fire on reviewing my report. I have much more to correct than I thought I would have. When my report has been rewritten, I will open the flood gates again.

Again, Thank you all. And thank you all for not holding back.

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I've held off on this because I couldn't get past the first sentence. That, by itself, told me the report wasn't worth reading. It's significant that Katen, who is a rather tidy report writer, would zero in on this.

Here's some basic advice.

1) Do not use any report software at first. Apologies to Rose and Mike, Dominic, and any other person in here that supplies pretty good software, but don't use it at first; it will only clog your head up with things you don't need. Eventually, you can use software to your advantage; at this stage of the game, it's really screwing you up.

2) Write down what you see, what you think it means, and what your client should do about it. Simple sentences, as few words as possible. Start with the location so folks know where it is you're talking about.

3) Inform your client. Don't deluge them in useless information. Inform them about what's important.

4) Avoid trying to sound smart or inspectorly, and avoid completely all attempts to talk like an engineer. Leave the engineer talk to engineers; you're just talking to a homeowner that doesn't know anything about what you are trying to say. Write to the customer, not a bunch of goofy HI's.

5) Don't write disclaimers into the report everywhere. Disclaimers are for your contract. Write so your customers are protected; that way, you don't need disclaimers.

After you have your defect identification down, and what to say about it, you can figure out all the material and system inventory stuff however you want to.

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