The Inspection Cloth

by Nick Gromicko, CMI®

Want to save time, impress your clients, and never leave a tool behind at an inspection again? Try my Cloth Trick. I was reminded of it while giving advice to a young inspector who didn't want to be viewed as not knowing what he's doing on the job. 

First, lay a large soft cloth on the kitchen counter. A table placemat or two will work. Much like shoe covers, this step shows everyone that you're careful not to damage or dirty the seller's property. Then, take all of your meters out of your toolbox and lay them out on the cloth to prepare for the inspection. Everyone in the room will begin asking you what this or that meter does.  Having specialized meters demonstrates professionalism.
Another thing I did was that I drew an outline using a permanent marker around all my expensive tools onto the cloth.  I adopted a post-inspection procedure of putting my tools back onto the cloth in their correct positions before I put them back in my toolbox.  The cloth alerts you if you left a meter on the job somewhere.
This simple system accomplishes three goals:

  1. Specialized tools put on display like this for your clients (and any agents present) can make you look more experienced and professional, instilling consumer confidence.

  2. The cloth protects the seller's counter, which demonstrates consideration for the seller's property, even if they're not your client.  That message subliminally extends to how you'll conduct your inspection, write your report, provide customer service after the job, etc. It's details like this that can do your marketing for you.

  3. The outlines drawn into the cloth ensured that I never accidentally left behind any tools on the job. It's not fun to lose a $600 meter!  It also demonstrates an attentiveness to detail and organization, which further transmits a sense of your positive work ethic to your clients (and the agents).  And you can add more outlines as you acquire more tools. 
It's on-the-job strategies like this that can benefit both you and your client, which can very well translate into more referrals.  Your client (or the agent) might not even remember that you specifically used this trick, but they'll likely come away with a sense that they hired the right inspector because you conveyed that you're meticulous, caring and professional.