3 Tips to Help Home Inspectors Grow Their Business

Get a Website

The internet plays a major role in our everyday lives and home inspectors must have an online presence. When today’s consumers need something done, they go straight to Google and look at the first few results. Being in this business without a web site is like going to an inspection without a flash light. You’re missing something crucial! Buying a domain name and creating a simple website is easier than you think. Hosting companies such as GoDaddy, Network Solutions, and HostGator all offer domains and easy to customize templates that make building a website simple. It is almost as easy as typing a Word document. With GoDaddy for example, you can buy a domain name for just $12 and then pay a small monthly fee of $5 for them to host it. If an inspector is too busy or not comfortable with computers, there are many companies that specialize in creating websites for businesses.

Every website should have contact information, information about the inspector, the services they provide, a sample inspection report, and any relevant information about the business. It is important to have a quality website with good content so that the site will have a good ranking with search engines. To do this, inspectors should take time to add quality content to their site. Writing informative articles about home inspections, as well as including photos and videos is a great place to start. A home inspector should also use search engine optimization (SEO) tools to increase the visibility of the website with search engines. It is important to focus on keywords and phrases, such as your city and home inspection or home inspector. The term “home inspection” is so broad, an inspector is better off focusing their efforts on ranking high for the city or area where they conduct home inspections. For example, a home inspector in Cincinnati would have more success ranking higher for the term “Cincinnati home inspection” or a smaller town within Cincinnati such as Fairfield of Finneytown then they would “home inspection”.

Get Involved With Social Media

There are many social media outlets, but the main sites are Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube. These sites are great for personal use, but also provide an incredible opportunity to connect with current and future clients. Many well-known companies are using social media today because they see the value in it. It provides them with the ability to be in constant contact with their clients. Social media is becoming so popular, that businesses can no longer afford not to be involved. If they don’t jump on board, they are going to be left behind by their competition. The best thing about all of the sites mentioned here is that they are all free to join.

Create Professional Reports

Professional looking reports created with home inspection software can separate a home inspector from their competition and lead to new referrals. Home inspection reports are passed around by potential home buyers, realtors, and past customers with each report having the inspector’s name and company right on the cover. It is important that the report leaves a great impression on whoever sees it because that can lead to a referral for the inspector. A year or two after the home inspection, the report itself may be all the client has or remembers from the inspection. This is why a professional looking report is so valuable to a home inspector.

The above three suggestions are a great way for a home inspector to grow their business. A company website that provides quality content is crucial in today’s world and a must for any business. Once the website is up and running, inspectors need to join the social media phenomenon. Social media provides a great opportunity to connect with customers for free. Lastly, an inspector should not underestimate the importance of a professional looking report. An inspection report is a direct reflection of the inspector and can be a great tool to gain referrals. If a home inspector takes advantage of these opportunities, they will put themselves in a position to grow their business and ultimately making more money.

Step by Step Guide to Become a Certified Home Inspector

In United States, there are millions of home buyers require the services of a certified home inspector. These inspectors are responsible for inspecting each home thoroughly, including the roof, foundation, plumbing and overall condition of the home. Due to the high demand for certified home inspectors in the market, it will be ideal if ones intend to select this profession as their career. Below is the step by step guide to obtain the license for home inspector.

• Check the licensing requirements in your state. Most states require home inspectors to have licenses before they start to perform their tasks. Under state law, home inspectors are required to be at least 18 years and above and they must attend a certain number of hours in home inspection courses.

• Get yourself the home inspector courses. The courses can be obtained, either online or in a traditional classroom setting, from any accredited schools listed in the Examination Board of Professional Home Inspectors. Topics such as inspection reporting, interior construction and marketing are often covered.

• After completing the courses, you are then required to sit for the National Home Inspector Examination. The exam questions are related to inspection methods, reporting, building systems and professional practice.

• Upon successful completion, the testing center will issue a score sheet and a certificate of achievement to you

• Submit the necessary documents to your state licensing board in order to get the license. In some states, it is also compulsory for you to obtain insurance before the license is awarded to you

• The final part is to obtain membership with the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI). Although it is not compulsory to become a member of the ASHI, obtaining membership from ASHI is beneficial in assisting you to meet the Standards of Practice and Code of Ethics

How to Find and Hire a Competent Home Inspector

Chapter 1: Getting Started and Taking Control

Professional Associations

Before you can even begin to contact and compare home inspection companies, your first goal is to secure a list of likely home inspector candidates from a reliable and trusted source. A good first choice to consider for obtaining a list of names are the nationally recognized associations that many home inspectors belong to. To help you get started, I highly recommend ‘The American Society of Home Inspectors’ (ASHI) and ‘The National Association of Home Inspectors’ (NAHI) not only because both ASHI (founded in 1976) and NAHI (founded later in 1987 by an ASHI member) were the first of their kind but also because they still remain the two most prominent and sought after associations in the home inspection profession today.

The next step is to contact the Association you have chosen to obtain a list of its members within a fifty mile radius of the area where you’re planning to buy a home. For those with online capability, the best way to proceed is to visit the Association’s website to see what they have to offer. If you prefer or have to use the phone, most Associations provide a toll free number you can call in order to speak with someone who can answer your questions and provide you with the information you need. In either case, keep the following points in mind as you begin to build and refine your name list: 1) try to end up with at least six to ten names, 2) always ask for and jot down each inspector’s rank or membership status within the Association including how long they’ve been a member, 3) in some cases you may need to contact more than one Association, and 4) take note that a home inspector may belong to more than one Association.

Referrals From Trusted Sources

Another good source of names to consider are referrals from trusted family members, friends and co-workers you have grown to respect over time, not to mention your attorney. In fact, real estate attorneys are usually very discriminating when it comes to recommending a home inspector who will serve their clients’ best interests, and not the Realtor’s, during the real estate transaction process.

Sources To Exclude

Unless a realtor happens to be in the family or a very close friend with your best interests at heart, all other realtor referrals should be considered suspect and disregarded making sure that none have since found their way onto your list. As for relying upon the phone directory, this is paramount to rolling dice or looking for a needle in a hay stack and is definitely not the way to go about finding a good home inspector!

Candidates And Newbies

As you continue building your name list, you want to be sure to exclude newbie home inspectors. To do this, you have to learn a little bit about an Association’s membership. For example, ASHI has what they refer to as Candidates and Members. By definition, an ASHI Candidate is one who has yet to attain full membership status by satisfying certain criteria as set forth by ASHI. This is significant since Candidates are often newbies to the profession, meaning they are just learning the ropes, and typically have little experience inspecting homes. Given this information, exclude all ASHI Candidates from your list unless you’re willing to hire and pay a home inspector to learn at your expense. In no disrespect to newbies, while all have to start somewhere, there’s no substitute for experience!

Also note I have purposely used ASHI to explain this procedure as I am not familiar with how the other association memberships are structured. Therefore, if any of the names on your list happen to belong to an association other than ASHI, you would be will advised to learn what you can about their membership as well.

State Licensing

Some states require licensing of home inspectors while others do not. If the state in which you’re looking to purchase a home does require licensing, then you need to verify that the inspector is licensed in that state and that their license has not expired so you don’t end up with a worthless home inspection. This information can normally be obtained online as well as over the phone by contacting your local state agency that handles licensing of home inspectors. To find out if your state requires licensing refer to ‘Links’ under table of contents. Incidentally and for what it’s worth, never hire a home inspector based upon licensing alone or you could be in for a rude awakening! More on this later.

General Liability And E&O Insurance

Insurance is somewhat similar to licensing in that the states that require home inspectors to be licensed may/may not also require the home inspector to carry general liability and/or errors and omissions (E&O) insurance. If the state you’re planning to buy a home in requires inspectors to be insured, you should be able to easily verify this along with their license since the state will not ordinarily issue a license to a home inspector who has failed to meet this requirement. It’s also a good idea to ask the inspector to produce a copy of their certificate of insurance before/on the day of the inspection for further verification. Similar to licensing, for states that don’t require home inspectors to carry E&O insurance, never base your final decision to hire a home inspector on insurance alone! More on this later on.

Summary

Secure a list of inspection candidates from a well known and trusted source.

Sources include Professional Associations like ASHI and NAHI, and referrals from trusted family members, friends, co-workers, and your attorney.

Refrain from using Realtor referrals and the phone directory

Exclude ASHI Candidates and all newbie inspectors from your list.

Verify that the home inspector is licensed and insured in your state if so required.