Inspection Business Success Tips
Marketing helps others. If you provide a good service you have a moral obligation to let as many people as possible know about, and benefit from, your good works.
Won't�I offend real estate agents by marketing heavily to them?
No. You cannot offend real estate agents by marketing to them. Real estate agents are in the marketing business. Agents may have difficulty distinguishing�a good inspector�from a bad inspector or a good roof from a bad roof, but real estate agents�recognize sharp marketing versus bad marketing. Real estate agents legally represent the very people that need your services. Marketing to real estate agents is the key to a successful home inspection business. Visit www.nachi.org/brochure.htm
How can I market directly to home buyers without relying on real estate agents?
Times have changed. Nowadays, nearly all home buyers shop for their new home online before they ever contact a real estate agent. This is why lending institutions advertise so heavily on the internet. NACHI dominates the internet , finds good clients , and sends them directly to you . You could not buy this much internet exposure if you spent $50,000.00 of your own money. NACHI provides these clients and many other benefits �to you for free. We are way upstream with a big net... the internet. Also, NACHI's Marketing & Lead Generation Department is strengthening the home buying community's awareness of the importance of using only NACHI certified inspectors.
How can I get more inspection business soon?
Nearly every home seller is soon going to be a home buyer. Mail your inspection brochure or flyer to the sellers of every property you recently inspected. Your client (the buyer) probably gave the sellers a copy of your report about their own house you just inspected, so the sellers will have already seen your work. This marketing tip works especially well if you are a thorough inspector. For the same reasons sellers hated your thoroughness when you inspected the house they were selling, they'll love you as the inspector for the house they are buying.
What else can I do to get more inspection business soon?
Be proactive. If you see a for-sale sign or can get hold of a real estate office's list of homes for sale, send the sellers your flyer. Nearly every home seller is a home buyer. Even better, offer to perform an inspection of the home they are SELLING, not buying. Seller's pre-listing inspections are becoming more popular. You often get to perform the inspection on the home they're buying (if moving local) too. Learn more about seller's pre-listing inspections.
How can I get real estate agents to refer business to me?
Real estate agents are hesitant about referring anyone for anything. They don't want to get sued for negligent referral. Giving real estate agents a stack of gift certificates or coupons for a $20 discount off�the cost of an inspection is a way for agents to refer you to their buyers. However, real estate agents would feel safer about giving out your coupons to their buyers if they contain the following sentence: "Not an endorsement of you the inspector by your real estate professional." You might also want to add "Limit one coupon per home inspection." Remember these tips the next time you print coupons. Real estate agents feel safe when you use NACHI's negligent referral program.
I NEVER get any work from a certain real estate office. How can I get some of their business?
Real estate agents, like most of us, are adverse to change. Agents regularly working with an inspector are unlikely to call you just because your prices are�a little cheaper. Try this... go to the real estate office and simply ask the name of their biggest agent. Then go back home, call that agent, and schedule a 5-minute appointment. At the appointment, offer to perform a free seller's pre-listing inspection. You may have to explain what a seller's inspection is. Most agents will take you up on your free offer and allow you to inspect one of their listings. Seller's inspections are easier to perform because you do not have to deal with buyers or time. You only have to generate a professional report at your own pace. When you deliver the report to the agent, ask to be added to his/her short-list of inspectors. You might not be at the top of the list, but at least you will be�on it.� At this point, the seller will have seen your work and may use you on the buying side. This is another chance to work with that agent (this time getting paid). Getting in with the office's top agent will be a stamp-of-approval provides a comfort level for other agents. Learn more about seller's pre-listing inspections. Also read about using NACHI binders. And finally try using NACHI's flyer designed for real estate office presentations.
I am fairly new to the inspection business and a member of another association.��Many real estate agents won't refer their clients to me. What's the problem?
Perhaps you are an "Associate" or "Candidate" member of another association. Agents recognize these types of members as inexperienced. You should not advertise your membership in those associations. NACHI does not brand its new members with derogatory terms like "Associate" or "Candidate."
Should I offer real estate agents cash or gifts for referring their clients to me?
No. Never give a real estate agent a kickback, bird dog fee, finder's reward, gift certificate or money for sending you work. It is appropriate to give them gift certificates or coupons for their clients to use (see above), and it is probably O.K. to send a real estate agent a modest holiday gift. NACHI offers a gift that will boost your business.
Should I give�some promotional items to my buyers during an inspection?
No. You are wasting your money. Homebuyers typically stay in their homes 8 years, so you won't be getting any repeat business from them any time soon. Save your money for marketing techniques that work.
My home inspection business needs an immediate boost. What can NACHI do now to get my phone to ring?
Help is on the way! Give your home inspection business a quick boost. NACHI's direct marketing tools are free.
I am scheduled to speak at a Real Estate Office's sales meeting about my inspection services. I am very nervous. What should I say or do?
Feed them, especially if you are not comfortable with public speaking. Most sales meetings are in the morning. Bring fresh cut fruit, bagels, nice pastries, etc. Also, hand out your marketing flyer. The combination of food and a flyer is a winner and will take the attention away from you. If anyone has a question, they'll ask. Prompt them for questions: "Has anyone had a bad or good experience with a home inspection?" It is easier to answer questions than to deliver a speech. Don't forget plates, napkins, silverware, binders , and your business cards. Mousepads work too.
I am manning a booth at a real estate conference. Can NACHI help me?
Sure. We can provide you with a display booth, custom banner, or table skirt. Also, pass out this flyer: http://www.nachi.org/documents/blame-the-agent.doc
Why should agents refer their clients to me?
Because you are a member of NACHI. Click here for advice to offer agents.
I am going to�incorporate my home inspection business�but can't think of a good name. Can you help me?�
Yes. Visit our�home inspection name�search tool. ���
What can I do to distinguish myself from other home inspectors?
Charge more. Prospective clients have almost no way to determine which inspector is the best from brochures. However, they believe that the best costs the most. For example:�If you are in an area where your competition is charging $275, raise your prices $55 to $330. With regard to price, there are only two kinds of clients: The ones that shop for the cheapest price and the ones that shop for the best. When it comes to buying a home, there are more clients in the latter category than the former. That's right! Raising your price will get you more inspection work. If a price shopper acts startled by your prices ask him/her how much the home they're buying costs. Then say "Wow, that's a lot of money. A home inspection is no place to skimp. You'd better spend the extra $55 and have ME inspect it."��Read "How to Convert�every Call into a Scheduled Inspection."
What can I do to distinguish myself�as a local expert?
Form your own local NACHI Chapter. Being President of your own local Chapter of the National Association of Certified Home Inspectors is easy, fun and good for your business. NACHI will pay for everything and help you.
I only have a personal email account but would like a professional one dedicated solely to my inspection business. Can NACHI help?
Yes. NACHI offers free professional email accounts.
I do good work but I don't like�to "sell" myself. Do I need to be a good salesperson to succeed in the home inspection business?
No. Unlike most businesses,�you will rarely meet your client before he/she hires you. Let me repeat that again: You will rarely meet your client before he/she hires you! So there is little need for�direct salesmanship. However,�strong marketing is a must.��The only time you need to sell will be when�a potential client�calls you to inquire about your services.��This of course�requires some�phone-salesmanship (see below). Marketing�is what you do to get�them to call in the first place. NACHI is the king of home inspection marketing and will help you get your phone ringing.
Price-shoppers call me�and ask for my prices. �I tell them. Then they thank me and hang up without scheduling the inspection. What am I doing wrong?
You are answering their question. That is what you are doing wrong. When someone asks for your prices, don't tell them, initially. First ask them if they have a pen and paper. Then tell them everything good about yourself. Talk slowly as if you are expecting them to write it all down. If you act like they should write it all down, they will. Make their notes become your brochure. Have a script ready: "We are locally owned and operated, we are members of the National Association of Certified Home Inspectors, we..." Some price-shoppers are just real estate agents gathering information for their clients. Some price shoppers are just shoppers who don't know what else to ask. Give them the answers to questions they should be asking.
An article which includes a telephone flow-chart script is available in Dear NACHI . This flow-chart is guaranteed to "convert" most price-shoppers into scheduled clients. Also check out http://www.nachi.org/smartchoice.htm .
But eventually callers want to know what I charge. Shouldn't I tell them?
Yes, but instead of telling them over the phone, offer to fax them a price list. Then fax them your brochure,�your NACHI promotional material, your NACHI membership certificate, the NACHI Code of Ethics, reference letters, and anything else you can think of. Oh, and then finally fax them your price quote.
Advanced tip: Emphasize the relative difference between the extra amount you charge above and beyond your competitor and the price of the item (house) you are inspecting. Example: "Two hundred fifteen thousand nine hundred dollars is an expensive purchase. Spend the extra $85 and use me. I know I'm a little expensive, but very little compared to the price of the home you're buying."
I am sometimes asked for references. What should I say?
Say�"Any inspector can give you a few references. You can better check on us by�calling the National Association of Certified Home Inspectors. Their number is (610) 933-4241."��We at the National Association of Certified Home Inspectors answer our phone 24/7 and will gladly help your clients. You should also read the Advanced Tip at the bottom of the current issue of Dear NACHI , our advice column.
My caller-ID shows that callers hang up if they get my answering machine or voice mail. What can I do to get them to leave a message?
Time is of the essence clauses exist in every real estate sales agreement. Most callers�need to get their�inspection report fast and so�schedule�with the first inspector who answers his phone. Your�business phone should be�answered by a human being. Try using an answering service that will page you if someone wants to schedule an inspection or better still, have your calls forwarded to your cell phone.
But I find it awkward to allow my cell phone to interrupt the�inspection with my client. Isn't it rude to answer my cell phone in the middle of an inspection?
It is more important that you answer your business phone than perform your inspections uninterrupted. Try this...�After greeting your client explain that your prices are�reasonable in part because you answer your own phone. Apologize in advance for�any interruption. Remind your client that�you pride yourself on your accessibility.��Most�clients will�be fine with this. If you sense your client�will be upset by such interruptions or if your�cell phone�begins ringing too much... turn it off. Most clients view your ringing cell phone as�confirmation�that they hired a popular,�reputable inspector. Also, if you take a call that can be handled later, just tell them that you are on an inspection and will call them back. Let the caller wait. But if you take a call from someone who wants to schedule an inspection, schedule it then. Let the buyer you're with wait while you schedule it. If your wife calls to tell you bring home milk just say "I'll call you back to schedule your inspection ma'am." You should also give your client and the real estate agents something to read so that the wait doesn't feel awkward.
Should I get a toll-free number?
No. Most home buyers look for a local area code. Why pay to�dilute your local image. Also, any prospective client who calls you because you have a toll-free number is not a client you should seek.
I am afraid of heights�but sometimes need to inspect roofs that are higher than my ladder is tall. What can I do?
Use NACHI's Spectoscope telescopic roof inspection tool. Marketing tip: Putting a set of three roof pictures of yourself in your brochure will instantly express that you perform thorough roof inspections. Pic 1: using a Spectoscope. Pic 2: inside the attic with a flashlight. Pic 3: ground shot of you on the roof (if safe).
I am too chubby to climb into tight crawl spaces. What can I do?
Don't get stuck like Winnie the Pooh. Use NACHI's Spectoscope with digital camera and lighting.
What can I do on an inspection to impress my clients and real estate agents?
Wear slippers indoors. If you are like most inspectors, you start with the exterior where your shoes can get covered with mud, or worse. Before you come inside, take your shoes off and put your slippers on. This one simple precaution tells everyone that you are careful in everything you do. Besides, many families regularly remove their shoes at the entry regardless. If you don't want to wear bedroom slippers you can purchase disposable slip-overs from a medical supply house. More inspection business tips are available to members only. Join today!
How should I dress on an inspection?
Dress professionally but not over the top. If you have�your oil changed at one of those 10-minute�lube franchises you will notice how professionally dressed�mechanics are. You should dress at least that well. Avoid sneakers, t-shirts, shorts,�sweat pants, and plaid. A�solid white shirt is best. Polo shirts and blue jeans are probably alright but on the casual side. Ties are probably too formal. And of course... no smoking.
My brochure isn't working. What's wrong?
Many home inspectors "fill" their brochure with reasons to have a home inspection. This is a mistake for 2 reasons:
Read http://www.nachi.org/brochure.htm �to find out more.
How can I get more response from my ads, flyers, and brochures?
NACHI has put together a committee of some of the nation's top marketing experts. Simply gather up copies of your ads, flyers, and brochures and send them to the address below. Our experts will write their comments, suggestions, and recommended�improvements on your marketing literature and return them to you. This committee meets once every week so allow 10 business days. This service is free but only available to members. Join today!
Marketing Consulting Committee
National Association of Certified Home Inspectors
P.O. Box 987
Valley Forge, PA 19482-0987
You can also avail yourself of NACHI's free proofreading service.
You can also add My Promise to your brochures.
You should also read http://www.nachi.org/brochure.htm
I'm a one-man operation. What can I do to look like I'm a big inspection company?
Don't do that! Personal service is what counts. Don't use a postage meter, use stamps. In your flyers don't say "our inspectors", say "I."
Read My Promise.
What can I do to improve my inspection service?
Contact your clients a week after you perform their inspection.��Ask them what they think you did well. Ask them what they think you did poorly. Encourage them to be critical. Feedback is important to any business. You might also ask them for a letter of reference and permission to reproduce it. If they agree, immediately send them a postage-paid return envelope. You should also ask them where they got your name: NACHI, Target Marketing System , real estate agent, Featured Inspectors page , yellow page ad, NACHI owned website , NACHI mousepad , NACHI binder , www.FindAnInspector.US , www.InspectorSEEK.com , or a friend. And finally read this message.
I'm new to the business and I'm not yet confident during an inspection. What can I do?
Market yourself in another town. Doing your first�inspections�outside your local market�is a good way to build your confidence. After you smooth out all your rough edges, start marketing locally.
What can I do to improve my skills?
Read about and take our free online inspection exam (interactive learning tool), take our free online inspection course ,�visit NACHI University , take our free online Standards of Practice Quiz , and take our free online Ethics Obstacle Course. You should also browse our visual aid inspection frames , our inspection community photo web gallery , and our inspection glossary. ��All are categorized and searchable.
How can I objectively compare my skills to other inspectors?
Take our free online exam and then visit the National Statistics page. Also, most of your fellow NACHI inspectors offer free ride-alongs.
I can't afford to advertise much. Where is the best place to spend my advertising dollar?
It is difficult for most inspectors to design and run an ad that pays for itself (breaks even). You should run your ad by our free Marketing Committee first. Having said that, your membership fee of $289 already�provides you with tremendous internet exposure and advertising benefits. ��Running $50,000.00 of your own local ads would not have the same marketing effect as membership in NACHI. Your membership fee is by far your best bang-for-the-buck. Read about NACHI"s new client generators. Also carefully read about NACHI Binders �and visit www.nachi.org/brochure.htm . And visit NACHI's Marketing & Lead Generation Department.
My State licenses home inspectors. I'm licensed. Isn't that enough?
No. Being licensed is like being up to code. If you did any less it would be illegal. In other words, licensing�sets a bare minimum. NACHI members are on the other end of the scale.
If I join will I get listed in any online inspector locators?
Yes, of course. Over�4,500 of them including the internet's most popular inspector search engines: www.InspectorSeek.com and www.FindAnInspector.US . We own many more websites �which�we use to promote your home inspection service directly to online home shoppers.
Does the marketing technique branding work for home inspectors?
No. Branding works great for athletic shoe companies but not for individual home inspectors.��The home inspection business is a people business. Put your NACHI logo on the back of your brochure and�put your�smiling face and company/franchise name on the front. Never�let any association or advertising company charge you to brand their name/logo. Read the Forbes Magazine article 'Branding Is Dead. Billions�are�Spent�on Useless Strategy' at: http://www.forbes.com/asap/2002/0325/068_print.html
I am willing to drive far to do an inspection. How�can I expand my market area?
NACHI can provide you with inspection work in a large geographic area. Just�submit your name and�up to�20 zip codes you�service. All search engines�will be�updated�to include your�expanded market�area. No charge. Then check it�by�visiting www.FindAnInspector.US or www.InspectorSEEK.com .
I am a new inspector and I see�that NACHI makes a distinction between working and full members (level of experience being the difference). So why isn't this distinction made public?
No law requires you to publicly announce the level of your�NACHI membership, so you are simply a "Member." This is true for many other professions. For instance, a lawyer is not required to warn his first client about his lack of experience. Also, no law�recognizes experience and knowledge gained outside the performance of inspections (many inspectors were once involved in construction). Since every inspector's experience is different there is likely no correlation between real experience and level of membership. Furthermore, since�no law�requires a public disclosure of an inspector's experience (or lack of it), NACHI doesn't require it either. If you are only a new�working member you need not alarm your clients. If you are a full member there is nothing preventing you from touting it. You must be one or the other though. NACHI does not brand new inspectors with�derogatory terms such as�"Associate" or "Candidate" because NACHI has an entrance exam . Many agents blacklist associates and candidates.
I�am new to the inspection industry. I plan to distribute a flyer announcing the "Grand Opening" of my business. Is this a good idea?
No. This is a bad idea. New inspectors should not advertise their lack of experience ("Grand Opening").��Nor should you join any association that brands you with derogatory terms like "Associate" or " Candidate." Many REALTORs blacklist Candidates.
I am a member of NACHI and I want to use the NACHI logo in my marketing. May I use it?
Sure. A hi-resolution downloadable copy of NACHI's Trademarked logo is available to you. All members (both working and full) may use it as they like. NACHI�makes no public distinction between working and full members�so we only have one logo. Get your NACHI logo. � However, the general public does not respond to the logo as well as they do the actual full name of our association. Google at www.google.com says the phrase most used to search for a home inspector is "certified home inspector" so for best response, use the full words: "National Association of Certified Home Inspectors" written out. You should also use our consumer certification verification�seal at http://www.nachi.org/webseal.htm . Also, you may use our InterNACHI logo at http://www.nachi.org/internachilogo.htm .
I am a member of NACHI who employs a non-member assistant. May I still use the NACHI logo?
Yes. You may use the NACHI logo provided you are the lead inspector and the non-member is merely an assistant. NACHI also permits secretaries and spouses to assist on an inspection without they themselves being members. However, if you employ inspectors who perform inspections without you and write their own inspection reports, they should each join NACHI before anyone in your firm uses the NACHI logo. In other words, as long as every inspection is performed and every report is written by at least one NACHI member, NACHI logo use is unrestricted. Multi-inspector companies receive membership discounts:
You may also use the InterNACHI logo at http://www.nachi.org/internachilogo.htm .
My buyers/clients always hang all over me on an inspection while my assistant gets to perform his duties without this distraction. What can I do to reverse this?
If you have an assistant, it is better to split up and have�your clients go with your assistant (assuming your assistant is confident in his�duties). Have your assistant dress better than you. When you arrive, have your assistant introduce himself to the clients while you carry all the tools. Your�clients will attach themselves to your assistant�and you�will be free to get the inspection done.
I am a member. Can I call myself�"certified?"
Of course. All members are "certified" by NACHI. The general public�looks for the word "certified"�more than anything else. Also use our consumer certification verification�seal at www.nachi.org/webseal.htm .
I want some ideas for my�website. What can I do?
Add our Cool Links , visit�our Website of the Week and Month section , and see what other inspectors have on their websites (30 second download time), and get a NACHI banner.
Can I put a link to www.NACHI.org on my website?
Sure. Anyone may put a link to www.nachi.org on�his or her�website, even non-members. A hi-resolution downloadable copy of NACHI's Trademarked logo is available for members to use. Get your NACHI logo. However, the general public does not respond to the logo as well as they do the actual full name of our association. For better response, use the full words: "National Association of Certified Home Inspectors" rather than just the acronym "NACHI." You should also add other cool links and banners. Also add our consumer certification verification seal at www.nachi.org/webseal.htm . Also use the InterNACHI logo at www.nachi.org/internachilogo.htm .
I have my own website for my inspection company. How can I promote it?
If you are a member your website and email address will be automatically posted in the real estate referral network, on NACHI.org, and in every Find an Inspector form nationwide. You should also add it to your member profile . The power of this network is growing every day. You can also add your own site to our Useful Links section by using the free link exchange program .��You can also use the automatic�Target Marketing System . You can also add other cool links . NACHI.org receives millions of�hits a month! All�4,500 of our sites combined with www.FindAnInspector.US �and www.InspectorSeek.com produce nearly a billion impressions a month for our members. NACHI will also promote your website through our exclusive deal with Google .��Members may also enter their site in NACHI's Website of the Week and Month contest. All this is free to members. You should also visit www.nachi.org/site-comparisons.htm
I am a member of NACHI. May I make copies of my NACHI certificate and include them with my reports and marketing packets?
Sure. You know you're a member. We know you're a member. The purpose of the certificate is to let everyone else know you're a member. You should also include them in your binders.
I would like to put NACHI's articles on my website and brochures. May I do this?
Sure. Members may use all of our articles royalty free. You need not credit us. Just use them. What Really Matters by Nick Gromicko is very popular. Members need NOT credit Mr. Gromicko or NACHI. Members can put their own name on them if they wish. You should also add other cool links.
My local competitor operates a well-known national home inspection franchise. How can I compete with these big franchises?
This is an easy one. Simply add the following line (in big proud print) to the top of all your flyers:
LOCALLY OWNED AND OPERATED
NOT A FRANCHISE!
I own a franchise and a territory. My mailing address is outside of this territory. How can I add this territory to the inspector search engines?
Simple. NACHI can provide you with inspection work in any geographic area you want. Just submit your name and�up to 20 zip codes you�service. All search engines�will be�updated�to include your extended areas. No charge. Then check it�by�visiting www.FindAnInspector.com . This service is available to all members, not just franchise owners. You can make any changes you want, anytime, by visiting our member-only profile editor.
I am in Canada. Does NACHI's real estate referral network function in Canada?
Yes. NACHI�has members in�34 countries,�and our real estate referral networks�function�in all of them. Check out our new at www.nachi.ca . NACHI also recently formed InterNACHI, an international organization for home inspectors in other countries. NACHI has released a 100% Canadian-friendly site at www.InspectorSEEK.com .� Our member-controlled profile editor is Canadian-friendly. And finally our Consumer Recovery Fund is managed by our Canadian non-profit organization.
My community has many affluent Asians and Hispanics. How can I reach out to�these markets?
NACHI will do it for you. We constantly seek out home buyers who do not use English as their primary language. We can also provide you with�links to put on your website that speak to these ethnic groups.
What can I do to keep from losing a lawsuit?
The single best thing you can do to keep from losing a lawsuit is to use the NACHI Agreement. In one page, this Agreement (between you and your client) sets forth your obligation as an inspector: to generate a written report identifying the major defects you observed. That is all. If you promise to do more, then you are selling insurance. Don't. If during the course of performing the standard home inspection you don't observe a major defect, then you have no duty to report it. Do yourself a favor. Read the NACHI Agreement carefully. You will be convinced that it is better than the one you are using now. All inspectors can benefit from our challenge: If you or your attorney believe there is any way the NACHI Agreement can be improved, let us know and we will send you $250 and redraft the Agreement accordingly. The NACHI Agreement is�periodically tweaked and free to members. Join today!
What else can I do to keep from losing a lawsuit?
Adhere to the NACHI's Inspector-friendly Standards of Practice . They�provide you�an additional layer of legal protection. Take our free online Standards of Practice Quiz . It will tell you if you are inspecting too little or too much. And participate in our Consumer Recovery & Legal Defense Funds �and our Alternate Dispute Resolution Service.
What clauses can I add to strengthen my own home inspection agreement?
Here are some suggested clauses for your attorney only. Your attorney can explain why they strengthen your agreement and determine which ones are right for you. If you are a member of NACHI, your attorney should also review the NACHI Agreement. The NACHI agreement has been fine-tuned many times and is a one-page work of art. It is downloadable under NACHI Documents.
What if later my client argues that he/she didn't have time to read or understand the agreement?
If you have a website, post your inspection agreement on it. This upfront, forthright move will counter any argument that your client didn't get an opportunity to read it. You can also email the inspection agreement to your client. The NACHI agreement is periodically tweaked. The agreement and future revisions are available to members for free. You might also want to add links to other documents.
I am a member and would like a copy of the NACHI agreement (between me and my client) so that I can make some changes. Is there a charge for this?
No charge. You can�download the latest version which is posted under the NACHI Documents section. NACHI also has a negligent referral�(real estate agent hold-harmless) clause you can add.
Someone has contacted me with a complaint. Is there anything NACHI can do to help?
Yes. Complaints should be addressed quickly. Law suits cost money and cause damage to your public image. NACHI can try to help resolve complaints before things get out of control. Sometimes a client or real estate agent will be more receptive to a response from a third party like NACHI. NACHI's mediation services are provided to members at no charge. NACHI also has a separate Inspector Arbitration Service for member use and�Consumer Recovery & Legal Defense Funds.
A disgruntled client is complaining to�the real estate agent about the inspection I performed. The real estate office is in my local market and is a good source of my business. What can I do to save my reputation?
I want to buy Error and Omissions insurance. Do NACHI members get any discounts?
Yes. NACHI members get deals on E & O insurance and everything else. Remember though: NACHI does not require you to purchase E & O insurance unless your state/province requires it. Even then, you should not purchase it until just before you perform your first fee-paid inspection. No sense in paying a premium for nothing. Help NACHI reduce your premiums�by taking our E&O insurance survey. � Also participate in NACHI's Consumer Recovery and Legal Defense Funds. Also check out NACHI's Alternate Dispute Resolution Service.
What can I do to improve the appearance of my inspection report?
First impressions are everything. The front cover page of your inspection report should be about the home you are inspecting, not you and your company. Take a photograph of the front of the home and use it on the front cover page of your report.��You can use a digital camera if you know how. Some inspectors use digital photographs throughout their entire report. A front photo also makes it easier to remember the home if you have to refer to the report later.��You should also�consider using a binder.
What can I do to improve the clarity and thoroughness of my report?
NACHI has put together a committee of some of the nation's best Master Inspectors. Simply make hard copies of your latest inspection reports and send them to the address below. Our experts will write their comments, suggestions, and recommended�improvements on your reports and return them to you. This committee meets once every week so allow 10 business days. New working members�should use this free service for their first 100 inspections. This service is free but only available to members. Join today!
Inspection Supervision and Mentoring Committee
National Association of Certified Home Inspectors
P.O. Box 987
Valley Forge, PA 19482-0987
I'm a terribel spellor. What can I do?
Make yourself a little�inspection dictionary of words you frequently use�in your reports.��Add to it every time you come across a�word like recepticle... receptical... receptacle . Also, it is "peace" of mind, not "piece" of mind. Run your flyers by NACHI's free proofreading service.
I found some mouse poop on an inspection. Should I report this?
Yes. Evidence of rodents should be noted.��Mouse traps, poison, or damage�should be�reported as well. Oh, and�don't refer to it as "poop",�"crap", or "s#%t" of course, call it�"rodent droppings."
Some buyers expect that everything I mention in the report should be addressed by the seller. This upsets some real estate agents. What can I do?
Include a copy of "What Really Matters " with your report. Or, simply refer all parties to www.nachi.org/what_really_matters.htm . Sometimes it is better if it comes from a third party like the National Association of Certified Home Inspectors. Real estate agents love this short article because it keeps everything in perspective.
If something is beyond the end of its useful life -- for example, an old hot water tank that is not leaking--�is it (by itself)�a material defect?
No. A material defect is a problem with a residential real property or any portion of it that would have a significant adverse impact on the value of the property or that involves an unreasonable risk to people on the property. The fact that a hot water tank is beyond the end of its normal useful life is not by itself a material defect. Refer your clients to www.nachi.org/what_really_matters.htm .
I want to offer additional environmental inspections too. What should I do?
Offering additional environmental inspections is a great way to boost profits. Typically these types of inspections are offered in addition to a typical home inspection. They are high profit because you have already paid your overhead and marketing that got you the home inspection and you are already going to the home anyway. Reminder: When someone calls you to order a home inspection, ask if he or she would like a lead paint, mold, radon gas, or water quality inspection as well. Another tip: Take pre-packaged environmental kits with you to the home inspection. Offer them for sale (including analysis) to everyone at the home inspection. Often homebuyers will purchase them from you to use after they move in. Inspectors can order environmental kits directly from our laboratories. NACHI members get preferred pricing and priority analysis in some cases. You should also visit our advice column and read our current issue which pertains to this subject.
I've�been asked to�perform one of the ancillary inspections I offer, but not the whole home inspection.��What should I do?
Don't turn down the little jobs. But while performing the ancillary inspection look around out of the corner of your eyes. If you see a�defect, alert your client even though you were not hired to perform a whole home inspection. Your conversation might likely lead to you getting the whole home inspection.��By the same token, when performing whole home inspections let your clients know you can perform other inspections while you are there.
I would like to offer ancillary inspections like radon, wood infestation and septic. However, I'm not yet qualified to perform these inspections. What should I do?
Subcontract out�these inspections to people�who are qualified. For instance, if your state requires you to be certified to perform radon inspections, ask your state to provide you with the list of those that are already certified. Contact a few that are local to you and ask them if they would be willing to perform�radon inspections when you do your home inspections. You might even ask them for permission to use their credentials in your marketing literature.� For example: "Radon gas inspections offered for additional fee and performed by a certified radon inspector, license # 1234". Homebuilders use subcontractors all the time. You should too.
I don't want to do septic inspections but I want to offer�them by subcontracting these inspections to a local septic company. Any advice?
Contact the septic company and explain that you want to sub-contract them when someone orders a septic inspection with the home inspection. Explain that all you want in return is a no-conflict-of-interest statement from them first. This statement from the septic company promises that they won't offer a bid to repair any septic system they inspect for you. You can then publicize that your add-on septic inspections come with a no-conflict-of-interest promise. Smart real estate agents will order septic inspections through you rather than direct, just to take advantage of the promise.
Because I perform radon, mold, water, lead, and other environmental inspections for real estate transactions, I need to get my laboratory analysis done quickly. What can I do?
NACHI has negotiated special agreements with many laboratories across the country. These laboratories have agreed to analyze our member's samples first and fast. NACHI provides its members with priority analysis stickers that distinguish your samples from others. If your laboratory has not yet entered into such an agreement with NACHI, please let us know. We want you to receive your laboratory results as fast as possible.
How can I build a tamper-resistant radon cage for real estate inspections?
The use of�of tamper resistant techniques in real estate radon inspections is sometimes required. Learn how to build an�inexpensive radon cage that looks and works great. This cage does not rely on electricity or batteries.
I want to�make sure I'm operating ethically. What can I do?
Take NACHI's free online Ethics�Obstacle Course .
I want to�make sure I'm following the Standards of Practice. What can I do?
Take NACHI's free online Standards of Practice�Quiz .
What else can I do to improve my inspection skills. What can I do?
Go to�NACHI's Free Book and Video Library where you can have an inspection video mailed to you today. Also, non-members can take our free, online inspection course . You need not be a member to take our free course . You can also take our free online exam which determines your weak areas.� And finally, read this message .
Can I go on a live inspection with another NACHI inspector?
Certainly. NACHI can find an inspector not too far from you who is willing to let you tag along for a day. Typically, he will be outside your projected market area so that he is not a future direct competitor, so expect to drive about 50 miles to get to him. These live inspection ride-alongs are the best way to learn. Performing this service to help new working members is requested, but not required of full NACHI members.
Does NACHI publish an advice column?
Yes. Dear NACHI, our advice column �is open to all. The current issues deal with handling complaints and boosting profits.
Does NACHI publish a newspaper?
No, but InterNACHI does. Download your copy now.�
Does NACHI offer free inspection courses?
It would help if I could chat online with other inspectors. Does NACHI operate a message board?
Yes. NACHI operates the industry's most�popular message board that has some advantages over other message boards:
Visit NACHI's message board �(open to all).
I heard that there are sections of NACHI's message board that are invisible. Why are they invisible?
Most of NACHI's message board appears to everyone. However there are some sections that only appear once you register, others appear only to registered members, and still others appear if you�join a committee. All members can join a committee, there are no restrictions. NACHI is completely cyberspace operated and membership driven. Everyone is welcome.
How do I view�invisible or�password-protected areas of NACHI.org?
Most of NACHI.org is open and accessible to all. Some areas require a password. Click here to access invisible and password-protected areas.
I often have to turn down inspections because I am too busy or have a personal conflict (vacation) the day the customer wants it done. What can I do other than let my competitors have the work?
If you can't schedule an inspection, for any reason, direct the customer back to www.FindAnInspector.US �or www.InspectorSeek.com .��Or if you prefer, you refer them directly to another NACHI member in your area. Reciprocating referrals between NACHI members is requested but not required. What goes around comes around. Let's keep the money in the family.
I am spending too much time writing my inspection reports. What can I do to speed things up?
There are many things you can do to speed up report generation. Most include the using a computer to access pre-written portions of the report. However, the best thing you can do is to stop wasting time "describing" components. Many inspectors spend more time describing things than inspecting them. Unfortunately this is required by several other inspection associations' standards of practice. Members of those associations have no choice. Here at NACHI we think differently. Your client wants you to say two things: "I inspected it and it appears to be O.K." and "I inspected it and it appears there is something wrong." Your client doesn't need you to waste time reporting the color of the vinyl siding, especially when your client is essentially paying for that time.
I am afraid to go on high steep-pitched roofs. My ladder doesn't even reach some roofs. What can I do?
NACHI has designed and manufactures the Spectoscope . Check it out.
What's new with the inspection industry?
I'm not an inspector yet, but I'm thinking about it. What is my first step?
Take your first step toward becoming an inspector.
I need to�take an additional state exam. Can NACHI help me pass?
A few states require the passing of an additional state exam. NACHI will help you pass your�exam. Also visit NACHI's Online Inspector University.
I'm a member of another association. Can I join NACHI?
Sure! All inspectors are welcome here. Many belong to more than one association.
Does NACHI support any charitable work?
Yes. The NACHI Foundation, a separate charitable organization supports many good works and also provides disaster relief to victims of uncertified inspectors.
I want to join a big association. Does size matter?
Not when it comes to home inspection associations. Your clients don't care how big the association you belong to is. Don't join NACHI just because we are the largest inspection association in the world,�join NACHI because NACHI gives you a whole lot.
I have more questions. How can I get answers?
You can visit NACHI's Frequently Asked Questions section, you can email questions to our Executive Director, Nick Gromicko, submit a question to our advice column , download Inspector's Quarterly newspaper , or�post your questions on our message board (open to all). NACHI operates 24 hours a day, every day.
Copyright�� National Association of Certified Home Inspectors, Valley Forge, PA��� 2002. All Rights Reserved.