You don’t need fancy uniforms or high-tech gadgets to run professional home inspection business. In fact, all that you really need are a few hand tools and a home inspection report form to fill out. Thing is, competition is tough. While your report is the most important part of your work, customers, real estate agents and homeowners aren’t immune to forming opinions about your professionalism based on how you present yourself.
Looks do matter, especially in a business that relies so heavily on referrals, says Working RE associate editor, Isaac Peck. Your clothing, the way you communicate with customers and agents, and the tools you use on the job all help form the impression that you leave behind.
Opt for Tidy Over Dressy or Messy
There’s a delicate balance between professional and ready for work. If you’re too polished, customers might wonder if you’ll really shimmy under the house, climb onto the roof or anything else that could dirty your clothes. If you’re too casual, they might believe that you don’t take your work seriously.
What’s appropriate? Some inspectors, like Peck, wear khakis and a button-down shirt. If that’s too stifling, there’s nothing wrong with jeans and a polo or T- shirt as long as they’re in good condition. What’s important is to avoid looking sloppy and always wear clean clothes without rips or stains. A logo on your shirt, no matter what style you wear, is a good business branding tool.
Certain Technology Lends Credibility and Makes the Job Easier
While you can perform a home inspection with a clipboard, a form and a pen, some technology is worth the investment. One of the most important is a digital home inspection report form. Installed on your smartphone or a tablet, it lets you type in the information instead of writing it longhand. With a built-in camera, you can take photos and upload them on the spot. Customers get a professional report in their email or printed out.
Other technology, such as a drone for roof inspections and thermal imaging that reveals energy efficiency issues, also help give the customer confidence in your abilities. Just choose your gadgets carefully. A drone can set you back thousands.
Communication Can Trump Almost Anything
Maybe you’ve just left one job and rushed onto the next with grass stains on the knees of your pants and dirt under your fingernails. And maybe the most technologically advanced thing that you own is an LED flashlight. The way that you communicate with customers, agents, and others attending the inspection can overcome almost anything.
While your appearance gives an impression, the way that you relate to people shows them who you really are: knowledgeable, confident and ready to get to work. Another home inspector in your town might have the nicest vehicle, the best wardrobe and the hottest tools on the market. If they can’t communicate effectively with customers, no amount of accessories can fix it.
Clothes don’t make the inspector. Neither do gadgets and fancy tools. But the way you present yourself does have an effect on how customers perceive your ability to perform a quality home inspection. Peck says, “Perception is reality.” Strive for a professional appearance that’s still casual enough to let you do your job. The image that you present lends credibility, and that helps you get more referrals.
Home inspectors have a rare opportunity to build a business from the ground up. It’s all in what you’re willing to make of it. If you’re ready to take charge and build your own home inspection business brand, enroll now with ICA School and start transforming your life tomorrow.