By Kevin Wagstaff • July 23rd, 2020 • 9 min read
- Set concrete goals and have a clear vision for what you want your business to look like & what your unique value will be
- Make networking and building personal relationships one of your top priorities
- Put thought and time into understanding and refining your communication skills
- Make sure you get the necessary technical training and continue ongoing education
- Get your legal structure, accounting and time management in line from the start
As one of the co-founders of Spectora, I've spoken a lot of home inspectors over the years.
I always ask them about keys to their success.
I also ask new inspectors what their challenges are.
Here are takeaways on how you can set yourself up for success as a new home inspector.
Set Goals & a Vision
I am a huge fan of goal setting & visualization. No matter how small or big.
This is a commonality of the largest home inspection companies in the country. Their founders had a clear vision.
How else can you know what you're doing is working? How else can you adjust and improve?
Here are some examples to get you started:
- By January 1, 20xx - I will have done XX of paid inspections and average XX inspections/mo.
- By Q4, 20xx - I will have taken xx Realtors out to coffee.
- By the end of my first year in business I will have $xx,xxx in revenue.
- This month I will sponsor 3 brokerage lunches.
At the end of each week/month you should be asking yourself, "Did I spend my week doing activities that work towards my goals"?
It's ok if you start small. This builds momentum over time and you gain confidence. Your vision won't be clear right away. Going through the exercise builds that muscle and it holds your internally accountable to hit those goals.
Unique Value Proposition (UVP)
What unique value are you bringing?
This is a tough one so make sure to carve out time to really think about it. This is what you will fall back on when speaking to agents and clients. Here are some examples to get the wheels turning.
Tip: Get creative and look outside of our industry for examples. Too often new inspectors will copy from other company's UVPs. Now it's not unique!
Network, Network, Network
After setting your goals this is the most important part of your business. Hands down.
Realtors will be a major source business, probably forever. That is the game. Accept that now if you think otherwise.
Take every opportunity to ask people what they do and tell them that you are a home inspector.
One common mistake is telling people "I just started a business. I'm a brand new home inspector, tell your friends!". No, reframe this in your mind so you can position this correctly.
"I have a home inspection business so if you know any Realtors or anyone buying a home, I'd be happy to help!"
That's it. Almost no one wants to give the brand new home inspector a try. There is a little "talk-the-talk-before-you-walk-the-walk" needed here.
Once our world gets back to face-to-face interactions take every opportunity to go to a networking event, Meetup groups, BNI, community events, etc.
You are in the business of networking and building personal relationships.
One big point here...
This needs to be (or become) part of who you are.
This has to be a genuine interest in people, who they are and how you can help them.
If you can't get your mind to that space, you're in the wrong career.
Wrong mindset - You're after a 6-figure career where you can make your own schedule and people will be lucky to have someone of your unique background inspecting their home.
How Well Do You Communicate?
This is one of the top 2 most important factors to your success.
On almost every episode of Spectora Spotlight this is cited as the key to their success.
"I learned how to communicate in layman's terms".
"I learned how to explain things in a way that didn't freak homebuyers and agents out".
"I obsessed over being a clear and concise communicator".
Ask your spouse how you can be a better communicator. Read books.
I don't care how great you think you are at this, it can be better. And it will need to be great to win business.
This is a topic for another blog post coming soon on communicating before, during and after the home inspection.
Communicating comes in multiple forms...
A bonus tip here is consider how you are communicating through your website and your home inspection report.
Your website is the modern day brochure. Don't skimp here. Have a professional do it. You'll be glad you did.
I see too many home inspectors skimp here early only to circle back and pay for quality down the road. Agents definitely judge you by the quality of your website.
Your home inspection report gives a last impression on your buyers and agents. If it's hard to read, dated and looks like it was done on Microsoft Word - you'll have a hard time retaining agents.
I'm not telling you to use Spectora, but rather pay attention to what your report says about your brand. Make sure your report makes their lives easier and puts you in the best possible light.
Many of you have a background in construction, engineering, electrical, etc. That is a great start.
Know that you will always be learning and researching. It's impossible to know everything about everything and that's ok.
Seek out mentors and peers that have expertise in areas you're weak in. Don't know much about HVAC? Connect in our user group with someone who used to be a technician.
InterNACHI has amazing resources and training to keep you up-to-date. There is no shortage of knowledge out there.
Be sure to have balance. I see too many new inspectors obsess over the technical side over networking and generating business.
Time Management & Logistics
Make sure you are buttoned up from the get-go with your business structure (usually an LLC), accounting (even if you're starting a Google spreadsheet), calendar system & agreements.
Knowing what to spend time on and how long is critical to your success.
Time boxing your week will help you focus on the most important areas and not neglect others. Here is a sample of structuring your days:
8-12 - Business Development & Agent Outreach
1-3 - Studying for XX certification
3-4 - Find logo designer
4-5 - Network online/outreach to inspector peers & mentors
Generally speaking you want to allocate at least 50% of your time to networking and connecting with agents. Whether by social media, phone calls, emails or in-person events. Relationship building is your lifeblood.
Many mistakes and shortcomings are overlooked due to a personal connection.
Remember, you are in this for the long haul. Treat your relationships accordingly!
What are your biggest concerns and challenges as a new home inspector?