Many established home inspectors have proudly built a business that fills their calendars with inspections every day of the week, but this work consistency can be both a blessing and a curse. On one hand there’s stability associated with having such a high volume of sales – if a client backs out, it won’t be difficult to fill in that spot with an alternative. On the other, operating at maximum capacity can establish a salary cap year to year, unless you can figure out how to make more money on your scheduled inspections.
These are good business problems to have though. They mean you’ve been successful at increasing your number of customers and clients through methods like improving referral rates, increasing retention rates, and enhancing sales techniques. While this is by far the most time consuming method of growing your business, it continues to be the most sought-after solution for inspectors who are trying to grow their business. However, after a certain point, customer acquisition won’t help a business that cannot accept any more.
Improve Your Process To Save Time
For established home inspectors, time is the most limiting factor when looking for ways to influence your bottom line. You can’t work eight days a week, you can’t be in two places at once, and you may not be in a position to contract inspectors to work under you. Some estimate that inspectors can make an additional $8000 per year by employing efficient business practices to reduce their average inspection time by just 15 minutes.
They recommend that having clients sign contracts ahead of time instead of on site can not only save time but also reduces liability and opens the door to early payment. Leaving unnecessary details, like the weather, out of written reports getting to the meat of the inspection quickly to spend less time on each individual report. Similarly, quality home inspector software like report builders or HomeBinder can help inspectors provide a better service in less of the time.
It’s not about cutting corners, it’s about trimming the fat in your inspection process.
Increase the Price of Inspections
The ASHI Reporter recommends including ancillary services such as testing for lead paint, radon, carbon monoxide or asbestos. Homeowners also really appreciate the value in offering additional property reports from BuildFax, EDR or HouseFax. Experts explain that offering these services to homeowners can help set you apart from your competition; however, they note that these standard upsells often require extra time and expertise from the inspector.
The ASHI Reporter cites raising inspection prices as the preferred method of expansion, saying that “if you’re different than your competition, then price yourself differently.” They engage in a dialogue about different pricing strategies for inspectors to consider.
You know though that price changes can be met with skepticism, and inspectors worry that charging more may end up hurting their business more than it helps. While most jobs offer employees at least 3% in wage increases yearly to offset for changes in the cost of living, inspectors often feel that they can’t move prices that have been consistent for an extended period of time in fear of how the market will react, which may explain why home appraisers don’t earn much more on each home than they did 20 years ago.
The problem home inspectors encounter is justifying the raise in their service rates to homeowners or agents. Even if you feel that you’ve earned that raise, crowded markets and a lack of product differentiation can be challenging if you raise prices higher than the local competitors without proper reason. The ASHI Reporter mentions that inspectors should “focus on value by providing more benefits to your clients and partners instead of lowering your price.”
To inspectors price signifies personal worth. A low price tends to send a negative message to clients, and can lead to inspectors being pigeonholed as a cheaper or less experienced service provider. Charging more than your market’s average can communicate that you are providing a superior service than your competitors. But assuming that potential clients will find that a higher price suggests quality is a bit risky, especially considering how little homeowners generally know about the service they’re paying for.
Demonstrate Value to Your Clients
Expertise, reliability, and thoroughness seldom ring true as justifications for anything more than humble jumps in inspection pricing, so in the midst of high price elasticity and ample competition what is an inspector to do? To effectively increase prices above the market average, you must find other ways to create a higher perceived value for your work.
Guiding apprehensive clients to understanding why you’re worth the extra expense can allow you to combat pushback on premium pricing. To identify and capitalize on a “hot button” topic for a client is a very effective method to quickly turn a conversation around. For example, if a real estate agent finds that it’s important for inspectors to be “even-keeled” and keep details in perspective, then use appropriate opportunities to communicate that you exhibit that quality in your work. Offering proof of your value through researched statistics and personal testimonials will further address clients’ concerns.
Give Homeowners What They Want
Fortunately most buyers share a specific point of view on what they’re looking for in an inspection report, and positioning your work around these preferences can make selling your value much easier.
According to a homeowner survey, customers called for a simplification of home inspection reports so they would be more accessible and user friendly. The majority of responses from their past customers found that inclusion of an executive summaries (96%), simplified formatting (81%), less details (80%), topic headers (98%), highlights of important details (99%), photos (87%), and prioritization maintenance of issues (98%) would have made their inspection reports more valuable. As Carson-Dunlop notes, buyers want “short and sweet,” “concise and specific information.” Are your current reports what customers are looking for?
The fact of the matter though is, home inspection reports that get stored on a bookshelf simply won’t be used by the tech generation who now find finance, fitness and dating answers in online applications. A third of all buyers are first time homeowners and a quarter are between the ages of 19 and 39. These individuals know less about owning property than any demographic before them and they’re dependent on digital solutions. If you want to best educate and help new homeowners, then you need to find ways to connect with them through the digital platforms they now use for all areas of their life.
Offer HomeBinder to Earn More Money
Enter HomeBinder, the online tool that has led to home inspectors successfully increasing their inspection prices by over 10% on average. HomeBinder is a complete online home management system that is being adopted as an expectation of many homeowners regionally. With features that provide utility to homeowners and the inspectors, including maintenance reminders and online record keeping, both groups are embracing the ease and functionality it adds to the buying process.
Through HomeBinder maintenance reminders you can provide exactly the sort of simplification homeowners want without sacrificing the thoroughness of a traditional inspection report. HomeBinder can also make available to your clients contact information for local service providers, decrease clutter associated with cumbersome inspection reports, and otherwise aid in their home care experience. HomeBinder will allow inspectors to provide more accessible reports to their clients, in addition to providing them with built-in drip-marketing campaigns and opportunities to partner with and win more referrals from real estate agents.
Binders are simple and fast to set up and provide many of the services that inspectors pay for already for a fraction of the cost. Digital file storage and recall notifications are all included in a package that for most inspectors will work out to less than $2 per inspection! Binders are quick to set up at the end of any inspection, taking just minutes to complete alongside a traditional report.
Despite the low cost investment of just $49 per month for unlimited Binders, inspectors find that opening Binders on the behalf of their clients either indiscriminately or à la carte style allows them to raise inspection prices $20 to $80 with no pushback from clients.
HomeBinder offers a free trial to inspectors, so you can see how simple and effective this tool really is. Navigate to the Inspectors’ page and hit the Request Free Trial button to get started, no credit card required – just your name and an email address. Any inquiries can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.