Starting a Home Inspection Business & Creating a Business Plan
For all the diversity among inspectors--particularly InterNACHI inspectors--as defined by age, education, cultural background, work history, current experience, home town, family makeup, income level, and even work ethic, there are some basic qualities that most of us have in common.
We share the hallmarks of the classic entrepreneur.
We prefer to work for ourselves and be our own bosses. We appreciate the challenges that confront our expertise on the job. We take pride in the fact that if we don't have the answer at hand, we are, at the very least, resourceful enough to find it. We make the regular commitment to expand our reach by seeking out the advice and fellowship of our colleagues. We are always learning. We exert the discipline required to increase our education. And we welcome the greater tests ahead so that we can exercise our latest knowledge. For all our varying degrees of perspective, we are a community. Providing for our families, taking pride in our work, and making a daily investment in ourselves and in our clients, and enjoying the subsequent rewards of our labor are what form the foundation of our working lives. Can there be a greater ambition?
Success, then, seems already threaded through our business. It may be modest in terms of finances. But those rewards are available, too. There's more to our workmanship and earning potential as inspectors than being a reliable expert on the job. Our name is always working for us (or against us!) even off the job, and that's where many inspectors seem to give short shrift to the regular care and feeding of their home inspection enterprises. Treating this dual aspect of entrepreneurialism with anything less than equal effort will inevitably drive your business under as surely as making a habit of performing haphazard inspections.
Marketing is often seen as a chore—'the work that you have to do when you’re not working’—and the less-than-enthusiastic result barely goes beyond a sign on the truck, a box of business cards, and a list of contacts. But our success depends on marketing not just our services, but also ourselves. Our credibility is our true calling card, and it’s important to get our reputation out there so that it’s as obvious as that sign on the truck. It’s our first and most important marketing tool because without it, we are nothing.
The good news is: Just as there are logical ways to inspect the various systems of a home, there are equally logical and common-sense marketing tips and techniques that will put us on a trajectory to a greater level of achievement and expectation in our inspection businesses. We have to approach marketing as deliberately as we do our training, education, and even our inspections. Pinning our hopes on random jobs each day is no way to build a business. And for as many inspectors as may populate the town we live in, we’re not so much in competition with them (or each other) as with our own limitations. Our unwillingness to market ourselves is an unacceptable obstacle that puts a fatal limit on what we can become. Overcome that obstacle, and the competition won’t matter.
These success tips are the culmination of years of training, education, experimentation, argument, failure, and breakthrough—all the building blocks of success. In them, you’ll find dozens of straightforward strategies that will have you nodding, perhaps disbelieving, but, ultimately, becoming seriously motivated—perhaps for the first time in a long time—to move up to the next level in your career as an inspector.
To succeed at anything, be it landing on the moon or building a successful home inspection business, you have to do many things correctly. Always work on building your business. If you are not inspecting... be marketing your business, learning more, and improving your services. Remember, if you offer a good inspection service, you have a moral obligation to let as many people as possible know about and benefit from your good work.
Success starts with education. And that is where our success tips begin.
Executive Director, Master Inspector Certification Board