Gromicko on Home Inspection Brochures.
copyright (2004) Nick Gromicko
You Only Get One Chance to Make�a Good First Impression: The home inspection business is different than any other business in that you don�t get to meet your client until after he/she hires you.� This means that the home inspection business is almost all marketing and very little sales.� A key part of successful marketing is your home inspection brochure. �Since your client won�t get to meet you until after you�re hired, your home inspection brochure, not you,�defines your image.� You might only get this one shot, so make it a good one.
Note: For help with sales, visit
The Goal of a Brochure:� The main purpose of a home inspection brochure is to:
  • generate sales leads.
  • provide documentation to justify higher prices.
  • sell additional services.
In short, a home inspection brochure�s goal is to sell more inspection services to more people more often for more money.
Synergy:� A brochure is one�of the�three critical parts of successful home inspection marketing, those�being:
  1. The proliferation of your contact information on the internet (where all the home buyers are nowadays).
  2. Your certification by a prominent industry organization (such as the National Association of Certified Home Inspectors).
  3. The quality and design of your home inspection brochure.
These three critical parts are intertwined. �When a home buyer types �certified home inspectors� into a search they are lead to one of many NACHI-owned websites.� There they will find your contact information�and can request your information (brochure) which states that you are certified� and so on... each part reinforcing the others.� At the end of this article you will learn about NACHI�s plan to offer instant e-brochures from our members directly to internet-surfing home buyers.
Marketing to Professional Marketers:� Real estate agents are more influenced by marketing than the general public.� Agents often can�t tell a good inspector from a bad one.� Many agents don�t even know what a joist is.� However, agents do recognize strong marketing-they�re in the marketing business! �Because agents are so influenced by marketing, the quality of your home inspection brochure has to be much better than what would be required for other industries.� Visit�for more information.
Bad Brochures Un-sell:� A quality brochure implies that you are a veteran inspector and a cheap brochure implies that you are new to the business. �If you are a veteran inspector with a home-printed cheap brochure, you will look like a newbie (the home inspection industry�s slang for novice).� By the same token, you can fool everyone into thinking you are an experienced veteran inspector by having a high quality brochure.� A brochure can sell or�s up to you.
Delivering the Message:��If your brochure design is just a hodgepodge of material without a well-planned, focused message, don�t even print it. What is the message? Answer:
I am the quality home inspector you want to hire.
Headlines:� Your headlines are�often all that are read. �If you can say the same thing using fewer words� do it.� The reader is scanning your brochure so your headlines should read like that of news story.��Brochures are nothing more than garbage on the way to the trash can. �Your job is to get a message delivered on the way to the trash, so keep your headlines short.� If you must break (continue onto a second line) a long headline so it fits on a tri-fold brochure, try to find a natural break and the second line should be longer than the first if possible, but breaking at the natural pause takes precedence.
  • Worst:
    • ABC Home Inspections is num-
      ber one in Kentucky.

  • Better:
    • ABC Home Inspections is
      number one in Kentucky

  • Best:
    • ABC Home Inspections
      is number one in Kentucky
Another mistake is to put a period at the end of headlines.� Periods stop the reader from going further which is why newspapers don�t use them at the end of headlines.�
Nothing to Brag About:� Avoid minimum-expectation tag lines or slogans.� For example:
ABC Inspections
Thorough and friendly service is our motto.
It better be thorough and friendly! There is general overuse of the words thorough, professional and quality within our industry. Avoid such clich� adjectives. Here is a better slogan:
ABC Inspections
Members of the National Association
of Certified Home Inspectors
Inspected once, inspected right. Inspected once, inspected right projects confidence and competence...and implies that if you don't hire ABC Inspections you might have pay to have it done all over.� NACHI members are free to use the trademarked slogan as they wish.
Words that Sell:� The overall impression your brochure conveys is more important than the actual information.� There are certain words that sell inspection services:
  • You/your.� Talk directly to the reader.� Instead of� writing "Our clients receive the inspection report..." try writing "You will receive your report..."
  • I.� If you are a one-man operation, say so.� Customers seek personal service.� Instead of writing "Our company's goal is... " or "We at ABC Inspections seek to" try writing "I will perform..."� Visit
  • Easy.� Home buyers don't want their life more difficult at this time.� So write "The report will be easy to read and understand."
  • Certified.� Anyone can say whatever they want about themselves.� The word "certified" is the ultimate�testimonial (more later).� Use�this word.���
  • Benefit.� Most home inspection brochures do state the benefit of a home inspection.� However, they neglect to actually�include the word "benefit."� So perhaps write "As an added benefit, ABC Inspections..."
Your Picture: A picture of you is a must.� Visit You are not selling a product� you are selling yourself.� You are the product.
You can�t judge a book by its cover but many�readers do, so reconsider using your picture if you:
  • look very overweight. It implies that you can�t inspect the crawl space.
  • look very young. It implies that you are inexperienced.
  • look like a mass-murderer.
If you are male and have a ponytail, hide it in the photograph. You want the reader to identify with you.� Keep your picture as simple as possible. Consider using digital air brushing to touchup your picture.
  • Don�t wear a tie. Except for maybe in My Promise (discussed later). This is too professional and implies that you are so dressed up you won�t inspect the attic.
  • Don�t wear a t-shirt. This is too unprofessional.� You are a step above, inspecting the work done by men in T-shirts.
Try to find middle ground. Perhaps a nice collared shirt with the top button undone.
Other Pictures:� Make sure each picture earns its keep.� A picture of a house within a home inspection brochure is a waste of prime advertising space.� Each picture should help sell your service. �Perhaps the picture could be of you using a SureTest meter. Visit� Sell yourself.� You cannot bore people into hiring you.
Don�t Be Silly:��Avoid cartoons. Cartoon graphics do not present a professional image.� No�Sherlock Holmes characters looking at a house with a magnifying glass.� Would a professional engineer use cartoons?� And don�t make up clever plays on words.� Strike the right tone.
Captions:��Make sure every picture or illustration has a caption below it.� Each caption must be an ad within itself.� If you include a picture or illustration of your report don�t have the caption read: �Our reporting system.� Instead have it read:
�Detailed yet easy-to-read report!� 
Each caption must promise the reader a benefit.� Also, a picture of a sample report is smart. Cooking ingredient ads always show a picture of the finished dish.
Testimonials:� Add a few quotes from satisfied agents or clients. �The use of short�references works, but you should always get permission first.
�ABC Inspections did a great job, finding defects even the seller was unaware of. I highly recommend ABC inspections.�
Mrs. Jane Smith
Toledo, Ohio
Don�t include anonymous quotes�they must include a full name and city.� Only credible testimonials work.
Don�t Preach to the Choir:� Including Reasons to have a home inspection is a waste of prime advertising space.� Anyone reading a home inspection brochure is past the stage where they need to be sold on having an inspection. Don�t waste your time�and advertising budget on helping�the entire home inspection industry.�� Instead of�telling the reader why they should want a home inspection in general, tell them why they should want your home inspection service.
Make Them Want You:� Make your list of qualifications as long as possible. �Your list of qualifications can be broadened to include information such as your reporting system and schedule availability.� Each qualification you have can be broken up and expanded.� For instance, instead of only stating that you are a member of the National Association of Certified Home Inspectors, state something like this:
My qualifications:
  • I am a member in good standing of the National Association of Certified Home Inspectors
  • I have passed NACHI�s Online Inspector Examination.
  • I have completed NACHI�s Code of Ethics Obstacle Course.
  • I have taken NACHI�s Standards of Practice Quiz.
  • I abide by NACHI�s Code of Ethics.
  • I follow NACHI�s Standard of Practice.
  • I fulfill 18 hours of continuing education every year.
  • I own and use high-tech equipment such as a gas leak detector and SureTest meter.
  • I am available Saturdays.
  • I generate easy-to-read inspection reports.
Deliver the message: I am the quality home inspector you want to hire.
Sub-contractor Qualifications:� If you�use sub-contractors to perform any portion of your inspections, include their qualifications.� For instance:� "Wood infestation inspection performed by�licensed pest control inspector #12345"
Act Like You�ve Been in the End Zone Before: �Avoid giving the impression that you are new-to-the-business�even if you are. Don�t put anything in your brochure that would reveal your inexperience. Kiss-of-Death terms include: New to the business, Affiliate, Just-licensed, Grand opening, Associate, Recent graduate, Introductory offer, and the Mother of all Kiss-of-Death terms� Candidate.
Full is Cool:� Avoid using the header: What our basic inspection covers. It sounds like an insurance disclaimer. Instead use: Our Full Inspections include.
If the list of what your full inspections include is long enough, no one will read it-so make it really long!� Rather than listing seven or eight sections your inspections include such as Roof, Foundation, etc., make a longer list. The reader will see the list in entirety without actually reading it word for word.� A long list makes it appear you inspect more.� Here is a sample list:
Our Full Inspections include:
  • Roof, vents, flashings, and trim.
  • Gutters and downspouts.
  • Skylight, chimney and other roof penetrations.
  • Decks, stoops, porches, walkways, and railings.
  • Eaves, soffit and fascia.
  • Grading and drainage.
  • Basement, foundation and crawlspace.
  • Water penetration and foundation movement.
  • Heating systems.
  • Cooling systems.
  • Main water shut off valves.
  • Water heating system.
  • Interior plumbing fixtures and faucets.
  • Drainage sump pumps with accessible floats.
  • Electrical service line and meter box.
  • Main disconnect and service amperage.
  • Electrical panels, breakers and fuses.
  • Grounding and bonding.
  • GFCI�s and AFCI�s.
  • Fireplace damper door and hearth.
  • Insulation and ventilation.
  • Garage doors, safety sensors, and openers.
  • And much more.
Review our Standards of Practice at for complete details.
The last line is an important one for legal reasons, so don�t leave it out.
Breathing Room:� White space is a tool to use sparingly.� Make related item lists compact. �Then use white blank space around them to clarify related items.� Be consistent with the spacing and margins throughout the brochure but don�t overdo it.� Give your readers enough information to hire you.� Direct mail advertisers use long body copy because it works (and they know).� Your qualifications list and your inspected items list can literally run right off the bottom of the brochure, as if you didn�t have enough room to list them all.
Warranties:�� Be cautious about�mentioning warranties or guaranties. They have a negative connotation�that you�ve taken precautions to offset your ineptitude.� My favorite warranty:
If you are not completely satisfied at the end of the inspection, you don�t have to pay me.
Insurance:Do tout E&O insurance if you carry it.� E&O insurance is expensive so try to offset this expense by exploiting it for marketing purposes.� If you carry E&O insurance, let everyone know.
My Promise:� The following is something you could add to the inside of your brochure (preferably on the right hand side).� It is a promise.� Include a head-shot picture of yourself looking straight into the camera above the promise.� Also add your signature on a slight angle below it. �Few will actually read the promise (word for word), but the message will be conveyed none the less.
My Promise to You
Choosing the right home inspector can be difficult.� Unlike most professionals, you probably will not get to meet me until after you hire me. Furthermore, different inspectors have varying qualifications, equipment, experience, reporting methods, and yes, different pricing. One thing for sure is that a home inspection requires work, a lot of work. �Ultimately a thorough inspection depends heavily on the individual inspector�s own effort. �If you honor me by permitting me to inspect your new home, I guarantee that I will give you my very best effort.� This I promise you.
John Smith
ABC Inspections
To see�My Promise in use visit
Certifications:Use�logos demonstrating third-party certification or qualification if you�ve earned them. They should go on the back of your brochure.
Certified.� The word Certified creates the most positive response from the general public which is why you should write out the words Member of the National Association of Certified Home Inspectors, not just use the acronym NACHI. Various NACHI logos are available for member use in
Licensed.� The word Licensed along with your state license number (Texas for example: TREC# 12345) should be included and its inclusion may in fact be required in some states.� However, consumers give you�little credit for being licensed as they know licensing is a bare minimum standard and they assume that you are operating legally, even in states without licensing.
Society.� Anything with the word Society in it should be avoided as studies have shown that the general public equates a society with a social club, not a professional trade organization.
Training Institute.��Unfortunately the schools or training institutes you attended can work against you a bit.� Schooling is sometimes associated with being a novice.��Use only their logo (if permitted).� Don't write out "graduated from..."� Your qualifications list (discussed above) is the better location for�detailing your educational background.�
InterNACHI.� NACHI and InterNACHI, the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors�recently entered into an agreement which�gives automatic�InterNACHI membership to NACHI members.� NACHI members may use�the InterNACHI logo as well.
NACHI Foundation.� The NACHI Foundation (a separate registered charity) grants sponsorship logo use�to donors.���Civic merit logos are also good to include.
You�re Not Fooling Anyone.� Don�t include an attached discount coupon as part of your brochure. �Such built-in coupons are a silly way of simply charging less and everyone knows it.� Something of value printed directly within every brochure�is worthless.� Don�t make your client cut out and present a $20 coupon when they are buying a several hundred thousand dollar house.� You should also visit
Contact:� Your contact information should be one local phone number and one professional email address. Visit for a free professional email address from NACHI. �Avoid toll free numbers. Customers will nearly always choose the local inspector with the local area code.� Customers want to talk to the actual inspector.� A toll free number implies an impersonal, non-local, corporation who will send someone out.� A very few cheap customers dial toll free numbers first to save a few pennies when buying a home�let your competitors have those customers.� Avoid filler words like Call Today! �Every unnecessary thing you include diminishes the important points you are trying to convey.� And put your contact information at the bottom of your brochure.� Readers will first look for the phone number near the bottom.
Company Name Placement:� Put your company name up at the top of the front of the brochure, not the bottom.� Brochure holders often hide company names when they are placed on the bottom.��Many inspectors do business under their personal name.��If you are going to incorporate or if you are having trouble thinking of a company name, visit
Nothing Says Quality Louder:� If your pricing is much higher than you competitors, flaunt it. High pricing is the sure-fire way to convince a customer that you are one of the best. Americans believe that you get what you pay for.� If your brochure is making the contention that you are the best home inspector in town, your pricing has to support this contention. �Charging too little contradicts this claim.� Read
Huh?� Avoid complicated or ambiguous pricing formulas. Example: �base price + $1 for every $1,000 in home price over $250,000, additional fees and Saturday/mileage surcharge applies, call for quote.� Instead keep your price structure straightforward and respectably high.
Help Them Read: �People are accustomed to reading in lower case.� Capital letters are a mistake in that they make it hard for the reader to recognize the words. They tend to be read letter-by-letter.� Look how difficult it is to read the all caps version of NACHI�s slogan:� INSPECTED ONCE, INSPECTED RIGHT.� As opposed to:
Inspected once, inspected right.
When in doubt, avoid ALL-CAPS.
Fonts:� Avoid using many different fonts.� It diminishes the continuity of your brochure.� Stick to two fonts, one for headlines and one for the body text.� Impact fonts are best reserved for headings.� Impacts command attention�they help the reader determine what is important. �Choose a Serif font for the body text.� Serifs exist for a purpose�they help the reader�s eye pick up the shape of the letter.� Bolding or italicizing do not necessarily count as separate fonts.� However, only use them as emphasis to add clarity.� And never use comic fonts�you are a professional, not a clown.
Spelling:� Check your spelling and grammar. �NACHI provides this service for free at� By the way, Piece of mind is spelled Peace of mind, and your automatic spellchecker won�t catch that one!
Size matters:� Size your brochure to fit in a #10 envelope.� You will want to be able to mail it and encourage others to mail it so make sure it fits in a standard envelope. �Besides, most brochure holders are this size.
Paper:� Use heavy cardstock.� Brochures printed on your home printer using 20lb paper look cheap and flop over.� Cardstock is not expensive.� Gloss paper with bold colors creates an upscale image.� Plain copier paper creates a poor image.
Ink:��Avoid light colored ink. It is hard to read.� When a real estate agent learns a buyer�s offer has been accepted the buyer is usually at work. �Under time constraints, an agent will often copy several home inspection brochures and fax them to their client so that the client can schedule the home inspection.� Light colored ink is difficult to copy and fax.� If your brochure has light colored ink, try test copying and faxing it to yourself to make sure it comes through.� Also, avoid reverse copy (white text on a dark color).
Ownership:��If you are having your brochures printed professionally, make sure that upon final payment, all film, color separations, art work, etc., become your property.� This leaves you free to switch printing companies and keeps you from becoming a captive customer.
Use It or Lose It:� A home inspection brochure should be:
  • provided to real estate agents to give their clients.
  • direct mailed to home sellers (who are likely local buyers).
  • left behind after each home inspection.
  • displayed in banks.
  • delivered to attorneys.
If you are planning on printing only 1,000 copies of your brochure, you are planning to fail.
More than One Weapon:��Consider having a separate brochure for every target audience. Brochures targeted specifically to:
  • home buyers are the most common and should emphasize your:
    • thoroughness.
    • the ease of understanding your report.
    • ancillary services you offer.
  • real estate agents are less common and should emphasize:
    • schedule availability.
    • risk-reduction (such as E&O insurance or your hold harmless clause).
    • the speed at which you generate the report.
  • home sellers are least common and should emphasize:
    • price.
    • the marketing advantage of a seller�s inspection.
    • disclosure liability reduction.
Remember, your brochure is not likely for the general public. Rather it is intended for a targeted niche.� Also, if you do create more than one version of your brochure, keep them all somewhat consistent looking.
So Sad:� A home inspection brochure, like all marketing, is a catalyst or a magnifier. If you offer a poor service, marketing will lead you to your demise quicker.� If you do good work, marketing will magnify it.� Your brochure is only second to�YOU as the key ingredient in achieving success.��If you are a good home inspector you have an ethical duty to market so that�more of your fellow citizens can learn about and�benefit from�your good works.� It is so sad to see a good home inspector with a bad brochure.
Online Brochure Builder:� NACHI is developing an online sample brochure builder which walks you through the steps of creating a home inspection brochure that works.� Enter your information, choose colors and fonts, upload pictures, and shazam!... a beautiful home inspection brochure. �Your brochure template can then be custom re-edited as much as you like and printed.� Or download it into color separated files all ready for a professional printing company to handle.� This will be a member-only tool.
Bypassing Real Estate Agents:��Nearly all buyers shop for their homes and mortgages online nowadays.� NACHI�s online brochure builder is another step toward NACHI�s e-brochure project which automatically emails online home buyers the 3-D e-brochures of the NACHI members who service their area.� The future belongs to NACHI.
Nick Gromicko
Executive Director
National Association of Certified Home Inspectors

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