You can learn a lot from home inspectors with years in the industry. Experience is often the best teacher, at least once your formal education is out of the way.
What do some of the most well-known inspectors in the industry want you to know? Here are 4 pieces of advice, all of which can make you a better inspector who earns more referrals.
#1: Take Attic Inspections Seriously
Attics are more than unfinished spaces. They’re freezing cold in winter and can be blistering hot in summer. You never know where danger might lurk in an attic, so stay aware and use extreme caution with where you step.
Alan Carson of Carson Dunlop writes for ASHI Reporter that attic inspections are dangerous.
“You may fall through a ceiling, damage finishes, get an electric shock or irritate your lungs, eyes or skin with insulation materials.”
You might also encounter spiders, wasps, bees or larger critters such as cats, rats or raccoons.
Unfinished attics aren’t made for walking around. If you can’t see where to step because insulation is thick, don’t take the risk. And watch your head. Roofing nails can penetrate roof decking, which means the attic might have numerous tiny spikes sticking through.
Carson says you should wear a hard hat, respirator, goggles and protective gloves when inspecting any unfinished attic.
#2: If You’re Comfortable Making Recommendations, Do It
It flies in the face of the way many home inspectors operate. But Reuben Saltzman of Structure Tech Inspections says he has no qualms about recommending another pro to a customer if they ask.
The issue is liability. The more cautious school of thought says a recommendation equals an endorsement. So an inspector who recommends a plumber or HVAC technician could assume the risk if the technician performs poorly.
“Most of the home inspectors that I know take the opposite approach to referring other professionals. We go out of our way to get acquainted with knowledgeable professionals in all different types of trades, and we’re happy to refer them.”
He recommends only referring to contractors you “know and trust.” But he also says if you don’t guarantee their performance, “a referral is simply a referral.”
#3: If You Want More Business, Learn About Marketing
What does home inspecting have to do with marketing? Without it, you’re much less likely to get a steady stream of referrals. With it, you can start driving in customers no matter how young your business happens to be.
Brian Bell, VP of Sales and Marketing for Carson Dunlop, says at Working RE magazine that home inspectors chronically neglect marketing.
“Building your Home Inspection business is not a one-time event; it requires an ongoing commitment and effort.”
Bell says inspectors should decide on sales goals and build a marketing plan to meet them. It’s not that simple, though. Fortunately, ICA School teaches marketing fundamentals to give you a good head start.
#4: Inform the Customer with a Thorough, Professional Report
The home inspection report isn’t just the final step in a home inspection. It’s the customer’s only evidence of the home’s condition. A good report is thorough, has plenty of photos and speaks a language that customers understand.
Charles Buell, home inspector and ASHI Technical Review Committee Chair, writes at Working RE magazine that reports should be written for the client.
“Home inspectors sometimes forget that, above all else, their inspection report is meant to communicate meaningful information about the property that is understandable and useful to all the readers of the report, most importantly, to the client.”
Remember that industry jargon might not make sense to your customer. Convey information and give plenty of it. Your customers will thank you, and you’ll earn a great reputation.
There’s no substitute for industry experience. You’ll gain plenty along the way as you step out and build your new business from the ground up. The important thing is to always keep learning. Before you know it, you’ll have advice of your own to offer the next generation of certified home inspectors.
ICA School training puts home inspectors on the right foot. And that helps you start a thriving business. Ready for a new challenge? Enroll now and learn home inspecting at your own pace.