Even if your home inspection business is the best, you won’t make much money if you don’t invest time and effort into marketing.
It can be difficult to convince people — especially people who perform a task or service — that their ability to do their job is actually less important than their ability to properly market their business. After all, if you’re knowledgeable, thorough, polite, competent, industrious, reliable, and skilled, shouldn’t you be successful?
You should, but you aren’t always. Think about it. Would you buy a product or service that was perfect for you if you didn’t know it existed? You couldn’t even if you wanted to!
That’s why some home inspection businesses that do shoddy work are more successful than those that do a better job; it’s simply because people know they are out there. Maybe their name and phone number are painted on their truck, maybe they bought space on the local diner’s placemats, or maybe they run an ad on the town’s radio station.
Which one of these ideas is the one that gets the company the business?
It can be hard to tell. Professional advertising firms have methods of tracking such information, but a new home inspection business is unlikely to retain the services of such a company, at least in the beginning.
One fact of which you can be certain is that you need to do some type of marketing. You may want to compile a list of possible marketing campaigns you think might be worthwhile to undertake, then map out a strategy. Try each one for, say 30 to 90 days, to see if business picks up, and if so, how much. Then try another method and compare the two to see if one is measurably better than another.
Home Inspection Businesses Need Websites
If your business is new, the first step you will want to take is to create a website. Some may think of this as a marketing strategy, but it’s really more of a survival strategy. In this day and age, it’s almost impossible to do business without a website. When potential customers search online for a home inspector and you don’t even have a website, it’s like you’re invisible.
Remember the Yellow Pages? That’s how people used to search for companies before the internet. Imagine if you said, “Nah, I don’t need to be in the Yellow Pages.” How would anyone find you?
Further, if you have been recommended to a potential customer, they are likely to look you up online before calling you if they don’t know you, and they won’t find anything if you don’t have a website.
It’s true that customers might be able to find your phone number online, but the absence of a website will make you look strange, old-fashioned, bush-league or worse, and it will cost you business.
It’s a good idea to get a professional to create your website for you, but if you don’t have the money for this yet, you may be able to find free templates online if you belong to a professional association. Take a look at some examples from GoDaddy.
Get Your Home Inspection Business on Social Media
Your online presence should not start and stop with your website though. Create a Facebook page for your business as well. This Social Media Examiner post explains how to use Facebook to promote your business. Even though your page will not likely contain pictures of dogs wearing bunny ears, you can still post pictures that will help you engage with your audience.
You will also want your business to be listed on Yelp. You can register yourself, but be sure to ask a couple of customers if they would be willing to post reviews right away. It looks sketchy if you have a listing with no reviews, as if you have never had a customer!
As the ASHI Reporter points out, most people don’t remember who their home inspector was. You spend a lot of time with your real estate agent, hairdresser, or even a plumber or electrician, but the home inspection is only one time, and usually a few hours at most. So the sooner you get a satisfied customer to write a review, the better off you are.
After you get a couple of reviews, don’t just leave it at that. It’s important to continue to accrue reviews and to not have multiple reviews posted within a very short time frame because this makes it look like you paid people to write them.
Make a plan for asking a certain number of customers per month to write reviews so that your listing is constantly updated.
Don’t forget a Google business page. Google review stars show up in searches for your business, unlike Yelp, where you have to go the site and type in the name of the business. It’s an endorsement right along with the search results!
Advertising Your Home Inspection Business Online
These marketing strategies are great because they are incredibly powerful — and free. You are not gambling that the expensive, one-time TV ad you bought that will run at 2 a.m. in your town will bring a healthy return on investment. Creating an online presence is the best way to advertise your business, and most of it doesn’t cost a penny.
However, you can buy online advertising too. You can buy a Google ad so that your business comes up first when people in your area are looking for a home inspector. You can buy ads on other business’s sites, such as real estate agents and property management firms.
Business Cards for Your Home Inspection Business
One method of advertising most home inspectors use is the business card. These are great because you can use them to drum up business anywhere. You can thumbtack them to bulletin boards in grocery stores, libraries, and community centers. You can hand them out at parties and barbecues you attend.
If you belong to your local Chamber of Commerce or other group or association, that is another great place to hand out business cards.
Even though getting business cards printed is an expense, it’s a small one. A local printing shop would not charge much for the job, or you could print them yourself at a mall kiosk or a self-service machine at an office supply store. You can even print them at home on your computer; just buy business card stock.
If you’re going to design your cards yourself — and this is perfectly reasonable if you keep it simple — have someone proofread the text for errors before you print it. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a professional, just someone you trust to know correct grammar and spelling.
Don’t fall into the trap of making the printing too small so you can fit more on. The only information customers absolutely need is your name, address, and phone number. The rest of it you can tell them when they call.
Home Inspection Brochures
If you want to be fancier and spend a bit more money, have some brochures made up. You will need a graphic designer for this, and you may be able to get a package deal with these services included at your local print shop.
Full-color, tri-fold brochures are impressive, especially when they feature pictures of beautiful houses with lush landscaping. People who don’t even need a home inspector will want to pick them up and look at them.
B2B Marketing says brochures are great because they quickly and easily grab attention and are conducive to stuffing into a pocket or purse to take home.
What else should you include in your brochure besides eye-catching pictures? You should include your price list, for one, and any add-ons you might offer, such as termite inspection or water-pressure testing. If you can afford it, consider having the designer create a logo for you rather than just listing your name. You can include this on your business cards, invoices, and even have some car or refrigerator magnets made up with it.
You can leave a magnet on the refrigerator of each house you inspect, keeping your name in front of the eyes of the homeowner and anyone who visits them for as long as they keep the magnet. Sure, they could throw it away, but why would they? Everyone needs a refrigerator magnet.
You can also try direct mailing your brochures. This might be an expensive investment unless you decide to buy a targeted mailing list, and even then, your ROI is somewhat uncertain.
Also, you can put together a letter of introduction along with a brochure and some business cards — and any swag you might have, such as beer cozies or pens — in a kit to local targets like real estate agencies.
Home Inspection Coupons
Offering deals and specials is a great way to get new business as well. When you create your specials, think about what type of offer your potential customers would appreciate. For example, offering a discount during a particular month the way an oil-change place would probably wouldn’t make much sense.
In an article in Working RE, a publication for the real estate and home inspector industry, one home inspector says he prints $25 off coupons on the backs of all of his business cards and leaves one with the owners of every home he inspects. They can pass these cards on to others for savings.
Another idea is to offer a discount on an added service when you get a home inspection, like a half-price lead test. One home inspector on the site says he advertises 10 percent off for first-time buyers. Savvy shoppers are rarely enticed by 10 percent off, so you may want to sweeten your deal.
Decide the Best Route for Your Home Inspection Business
Marketing is important for every business. Big companies spend big bucks on their advertising budget — keeping ad agencies thriving — but home inspection businesses rarely go this route. They are often sole proprietorships — just nice folks performing a service and doing a job they love. So you don’t have to go overboard with your ad budget, but you should put some resources into marketing, especially if you are just starting out.
Begin with the easy and free online options, and later, add in some paid campaigns. After a number of years in the business doing honest work and leaving customers happy, word of mouth might net you most of your business, but for now, get your name out there!
For more information about the home inspector business, check out our website today!