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Podcast Review: Dealing with Competition

Dealing with competition

The true measure of your competition is a lot smaller than you think.

ICA School’s course author and instructor, Steve Preins, regularly takes email questions from students, prospective students and inspectors out working in the industry. You never know which question will pop up next, and he addresses them in a regular podcast series available at no cost.

This week’s question is from prospective student, Tom, in Orlando, FL. Tom is giving consideration to enrolling with ICA School, but has one major concern. He’s discovered that the Orlando area is saturated with inspectors. With that much competition, how can he survive as a home inspector?

Here’s how Steve answered his concern:

The Number of Inspectors Doesn’t Reveal Their Success

Steve explained that when he started in the industry in the early 90s, he was met with loads of competition. But he wanted a home inspection career, so he kept working harder.

Finding home inspectors and finding successful ones are two different things. You can determine how many are licensed in your area, but that doesn’t tell you how much work they get or how successful they are.

Some inspectors don’t want to work full time. They take on home inspecting as a side business, or prefer to work occasionally. Some inspectors don’t do a good job. No matter how nice his truck happens to be, the real proof is in how he works and the reports that he prepares. A much smaller percentage of inspectors licensed to work have a thriving business, and that’s your true competition base.

Dealing with competition

Identify what makes you different and better than competitors, and focus on expanding that.

Find What Makes Your Business Special

When he was just starting out, Steve made a point of presenting himself like a professional. He dressed in nice work clothes, business casual with a collared shirt and khakis. And he paid attention to him communication skills.

His advice to prospective students was to look and act like a proficient inspector, and real estate agents will notice. You don’t need expensive clothing, just nicer looking work clothes. Speak clearly and professionally, be polite and do everything in your power to impress agents with professionalism, not arrogance.

You might think that all inspectors present themselves that way. But he explains that most of them do not. That’s another reason to let go of worries about competition. Your real competition is the much smaller group of real pros, not the rest of the industry who isn’t successful.

Other Things Inspectors Can Do

You might see photos of inspectors using a clipboard, but almost no one does that today. Technology means that you can carry around a tablet computer, take photos, fill out your report as you go and offer customers a quick turn around. Use hard copies, and you’ll work a lot harder.

Although home inspecting has a low startup cost, some things don’t come cheap. One of those is the inspection reporting computer software, which works hand in hand with your tablet or laptop. Steve explains that you shouldn’t skimp on that, since it’s the tangible result of your work and good software makes better reports.

Additionally, think about joining a local chapter of one of the major national home inspecting associations, such as ASHI. If your state has its own association, join that, too. Association meetings are where you’ll meet other inspectors, network, and learn more about how they do business. Look at their websites, check out their sample reports, and you’ll get some good ideas about how to keep yourself on the competitive edge.

Competition isn’t a bad thing in home inspections. That might sound unbelievable, but it’s true. If you compare apples to apples, the largest percentage of inspectors in your area is more of an orange.

Some of them don’t want a high volume job. Some don’t make the effort, and lose referrals as a result. The smallest percentage that’s left is a group of successful inspectors. Those good apples are your real competition, and there’s plenty of work to go around.

Ready to take the first step? Enroll now and find out for yourself just how comprehensive and hassle-free ICA School can be.

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