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Flares and Flourish


resqman
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At the association meeting this week, an experienced inspector mentioned he arrives early to every inspection and sets up his ladder in the front of the house, even if he is not going to climb the roof.

He feels that it is part of "the show" that the client expects from an inspection. He sees it as a form of marketing to the client, agent(s), and other attendees that he is prepared and capable.

I always bring a drop cloth and spread it under the attic opening before I open it. That way if any insulation were to fall, it is easy to fold up the drop cloth and leave a clean house. Most of the times nothing falls but those few times when it does, no worries. It shows forethought, prepardedness, and respect. $15 for the drop cloth and few minutes every inspection.

Yes, we all attend continuing education, read and study building science, and other activities that make us better inspectors. But what are doing IN FRONT OF YOUR CUSTOMER that has a potential marketing value. The act may be of low technical value to the overall inspection, but you feel it is something that helps the customer build confidence or tell others their inspector did X. For those who discourage customer attendence, is there something you include in your reports that may have a marketing angle.

What are some of the actions you perform during an inspection for the potential WOW factor or marketing. It may have little technical merit or it might be the signature thing that sets up apart from others.

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I like the idea, but my wow factor is actually getting on the roof, climbing chimneys, crawling in ratshit, doing all the filthy boring stuff, and taking a few hundred photos to document what I did and what I saw.

The pen tablet is kind of a wow factor, but I've been using one since '92 so the factor isn't so wow anymore.

I like the idea of the drop cloth, but I can never keep it in my truck for long. The attics I hate are the little scuttles over the closet shelves; it'd be nice to have a drop for those sometimes.

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I don't do anything for show - at least not consciously. I kind of think people would see through it.

One thing that never ceases to impress people are my Little Giant ladders. I can't understand posters here who say they are cumbersome and hard to use. After you've used them for a while, operating them is simply poetry in motion - a natural fluid movement. People are always commenting on how I "make it look easy". One trick that almost always impresses people (not my intent) is when accessing a scuttle in a high garage ceiling, opening the LG into an A-frame to lift the cover, pulling off the flared end and changing to extension mode to climb into the attic. The pièce de résistance is when coming down, I lay one side of the cover in the opening, with the other end on the ladder. I come down, slide the extension closed, and the cover drops into place. I can't count the number of times I've heard "I can tell you've done that before."

I carry a big black trash bag in my bag. I use it to crawl under decks when the ground is wet.

Another thing that seems to impress people is when in a basement with dim or burned out light bulbs, I pull a couple of 150 watt halogen bulbs out of my bag and brighten things up.

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At the association meeting this week, an experienced inspector mentioned he arrives early to every inspection and sets up his ladder in the front of the house, even if he is not going to climb the roof.

He feels that it is part of "the show" that the client expects from an inspection. He sees it as a form of marketing to the client, agent(s), and other attendees that he is prepared and capable.

Hilarious. A few months ago, I was looking at a house, and one of my competitors--who arrived after I did and left before I did--was checking out another house across the street and down a few doors.

I was outside at some point, and saw the buyers and their big-hair Betty realtor-chick arrive. And yep, an extension ladder was fully extended on the front of the two-story house. The guy working across the street weighs about three hundred pounds and I remember thinking to myself that if he scaled that ladder during his hour-and-a-half inspection, I'd kiss his ass on Main Street and give him an hour to draw a crowd.

Style over substance. Gotta love it.

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I dump a bag of sand on the hardwood floors and do a soft shoe....

That's pretty funny.......

Although, I've thought about getting a dustbuster to keep in the truck. Every once and a while there's a screw up where a vacuum would come in handy.

If we did a little sand man soft shuffle on the floors, I think it's only good business to clean up the sand, don'tcha think?

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Nothing specific,

I just do what I do. They'll be with me between 4 and 6 hours and will get to see plenty without me trying to do anything special to impress them. I climb up onto every roof that I can safely get onto and walk it. I don' need to put my ladder out there to make them think I do.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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I dump a bag of sand on the hardwood floors and do a soft shoe....

If we did a little sand man soft shuffle on the floors, I think it's only good business to clean up the sand, don'tcha think?

.......that is exactly why I carry some contractor grade rye grass seed in a poke tied to my belt.

I know we all do a little show at the inspection. Maybe we don't do the same thing each appt or even realize the show is happening. Inspection with a client present is a show.

The ladder trick is a new one for me and not something I'd be proud of.

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I don't do anything for show - at least not consciously. I kind of think people would see through it.

One thing that never ceases to impress people are my Little Giant ladders. I can't understand posters here who say they are cumbersome and hard to use. After you've used them for a while, operating them is simply poetry in motion - a natural fluid movement. People are always commenting on how I "make it look easy". One trick that almost always impresses people (not my intent) is when accessing a scuttle in a high garage ceiling, opening the LG into an A-frame to lift the cover, pulling off the flared end and changing to extension mode to climb into the attic.

Amen - I do that all the time.

In the newer homes the attic scuttle, in the garage, is remarkably high (I have no idea why the ceiling height in the garages has to be that high - to justify the high price of the home - who knows). The LG has the feature of being able to convert into a good size A frame - something that can get you up to the hatch safely.

I only carry two ladders, my LG and my 6' step. If I can't reach it with the LG folded out to the max then I ain't going there (yep, bit of a chicken, I admit it).

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Sometimes, I take my shoes off if the carpet is white - not to impress, but to avoid an irate seller. That's as far as I go. Other than that, I just show up and go to work.

In fact, when I used to show up in khakis and a button up shirt, sometimes folks would worry that I wasn't willing to get dirty. Now, it's carpenter jeans and a monogrammed sweatshirt.

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A tie has worked for me over the years. Long ago I showed up for an inspection where there was a pickup truck out front with ladders attached (I drove a Ford Club Wagon with my 16' articulating folding ladder and 8' folding ladder inside) so I figured work was being done on or in the house. I rang the door bell and a guy in gray pants and a gray shirt (name patch above one pocket, something written in script above the other pocket) answered the door. I asked him if he was there to fix something. No was his reply, he was there to inspect.

An agent came form the back of the house and ask me why I was there, which I replied that the buyer called me. As we waited for the buyer to show up I had a nice conversation with the Inspector, seemed like and still is a nice guy.

Buyer shows up, agent tells her that agent ordered inspection with fellow Inspector, but buyer could choose. She chose me. Later said that other Inspector looked like he was there to service furnace, but I looked professional. I could of kissed her, but that wouldn't have looked professional.

Tie, blue oxford shirt, and Khaki pants have never stopped me from entering crawls or attics. Nor does tipping the scales at well over 300 lbs. (but falling, 30 lbs in 5 weeks) keep me off the roof. You might say I weight test everything I walk on.

One this subject of Flares and Flourishes, I say to each his own.

Ezra Malernee

Canton, Ohio

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Exactly, I'd be willing to bet that a lot of the veteran inspectors here ARE the standard, and could show up in shorts, a polo shirt and hiking sandals, WHICH I HAVE DONE on a 98 degree day - no questions asked. When I think of the associates in my life I consider to be true professionals, the last thing I think about is how they look. It's what they do that has earned them that perception.

Once you have a following and a reputation, the only thing left is to keep your edge - don't become complacent. Deliver the goods.

But, for me, I like the jeans and sweatshirt, because Richmond is a town of crawlspaces. Probably 90% of the homes here are on them. And, some of them are unbelievably tight - so tight that I must, in some areas, exhale as hard as I can to get through a space and hope I can exhale hard enough to get back out. The old row houses can be pretty close to the earth.

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Ties have a bad habit of being sucked into fans and getting hung up on things unless you're really careful with them.

Then allow me to introduce to you a contraption called the tie pin. The number of home inspections that I've done in the last seven years without a tie can be counted on the fingers of one hand. No problems with it getting caught or drawn into a fan.

I do get tired of getting a smudge of dirt on the top of it when I exit a tight crawlspace. The coveralls don't cover that high. Summers are awfully hot down here for ties too. I keep an extra set of clothes in my truck for when they get soaked or dirty.

No plans to stop wearing the tie yet. Funny thing is, I rarely wore a tie before becoming an inspector.

Marc

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Marc:

If the tie thing works for you, that's great. Me, I seem to have trouble just keeping my shirt tucked in through the inspection.

Joe

I have the same problem.

Look at my photo I have done inspections dress like that and have done them in jeans. Always with a nice shirt.

I always do the best inspection I can no matter how I am dressed.

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FTR, I used to do chinos, white button down, tie, and topsiders. I was a walking preppy advertisement masquerading as a home inspector.

Nowadays, jeans, tshirt. I'm big on the technical clothing ala Mountain Hardwear, Marmot, Patagucci, etc. Lottsa pockets and waterproof-breathable stuff.

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