Home inspecting can be a dirty job, but do you really want to meet a client wearing your Saturday worst? Maybe worse than that is dressing up too much, considering that you’re going to get dirty. There has to be a happy medium.
Your inspections should be the focal point of your business. Any client that you meet will certainly be more interested in your report than what you wear while preparing it. But your appearance represents your business, so that’s an important layer for your public relations efforts. You’ll want to look your best. Here’s why, and how to do it.
Would You Want You for an Inspector?
Imagine that you’ve hired an inspector who is a total stranger. And then imagine that he or she arrives at the home wearing what you currently think is appropriate. What would your impression be?
Perception is everything for a small business owner. Working RE magazine says that extremes don’t do you any favors, regardless of which direction they’re in.
An inspector who shows up wearing dirty or unkempt clothing poses a few problems for a prospective client, even if you think that dirty clothes are perfectly normal for the job. First, the inspector doesn’t exude much professionalism, regardless of the level of experience. And second, a messy inspector doesn’t appear to have much respect for him or herself, which translates to little respect for the house and client.
On the other hand, imagine that the inspector shows up wearing sharply pressed business attire and shiny shoes. The client might then imagine that the inspector can’t or won’t do a very thorough job. Take a look in the mirror and be honest: Would you want you for an inspector?
What’s Most Appropriate for Inspectors
Too casual and too dressy options are out, but that leaves a lot of ground in the middle. The right balance is clean, obviously, and well-maintained clothing that you can launder and wear again and again.
Some inspectors like a uniform look. Tidy work shirts, such as the time-tested Dickies or something similar, stand up to repeated washings and stay looking great. Working RE also says that a nice but casual button-down shirt (skip the tie) works well, and so do polos. Any of these styles let you embroider your name or logo on the chest, which promotes your business.
With shirts out of the way, what about pants? Dickies still work well, as do any khakis or utility pants in the traditional uniform colors of tan, navy or black. Jeans can look just as appropriate for the job as long as they’re not faded out or damaged.
Now about those shoes. Guessing that you won’t wear flip flops, wing tips or ballerina flats, you’ll need something that looks good and protects your feet from hazards. You never know what you’ll encounter at any house, so a good pair of work boots or work shoes could save you. Steel toes aren’t necessary, but a steel shank is a good idea. If you step on a nail, Workboot Authority says the thin metal shank will block it. Add in Electrical Hazard (EH) protection, and you have a well-rounded shoe.
What you wear isn’t as important as the job that you do, but appearances do go a long way. There are likely many inspectors who don’t pay much attention to their clothing and still get plenty of business. But a clean, neat inspector who is dressed appropriately for the job won’t offend anyone. Show up in shorts and flip-flops, and that might not be the case. There’s no reason to take that risk.
Being an inspector is part knowledge about home systems and part promoting your business. And a good impression makes promotion a lot easier. If you’re ready to start on the path to a new career, enroll now and earn your certification at your own pace.