The Hungry Home Inspector by P Nathan Thornberry :: Why Some Inspectors are Always Hungry for More While Others Just Go Hungry

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The Hungry Home Inspector

Why Some Inspectors Are Always Hungry For More
While Others Just Go Hungry


Chapter 6

Pioneers Get Slaughtered

We love our country.
I'm just not sure I would've wanted to be the first one off the boat.


The first time I saw Dominic Maricic at a convention in Las Vegas, I had not heard of him before. I hadn’t heard of Home Inspector Pro. All I knew was that here’s a guy with Chuck Taylors, glasses, slim fit jeans, and a t-shirt selling something to inspectors. He was selling software, but talking about Google, and he was going on and on and on... and the inspectors weren’t leaving!

I had to interrupt him to introduce myself.

That’s Dominic’s style. You go up to his booth, ask him anything about Website design, Google rankings, or any other related topic and he will talk about it until you decide to walk away. Maybe you’re a client of his, maybe you’re not, it doesn’t matter. He’s going to educate you.

He’s the opposite of what you would think inspectors would gravitate towards, but they come in droves.

Why?

His stuff works. It just works.

There are a multitude of ways to get your Website up and going, and there are even some other great providers in the industry- but I see Dominic as the catalyst behind the inspection industry’s Web domination.

Typical home inspections run around $300. The typical homebuyer purchases one house every seven years.  More than 80% of homebuyers will go with the first inspector recommended by their real estate agent. That leaves less than 20% of around five million homebuyers each year in the U.S. and Canada who will be shopping for a home inspector, and while many of them will do an Internet search, it’s still an incredibly small market.

In fact, I would challenge you to find any industry with as many participants in the Internet marketing game.  Search just about any city on Google, combine that with “home inspection”, “home inspector”, or “inspection,” and you’re going to find both paid ads at the top of the page as well as natural results that lead directly to an inspector’s Website. Pages and pages of them. Do the same search for appliance repair, all you get is responses from Yelp and Service Magic and the like. There are probably 20 times as many appliance repairs as home inspections each year, and nearly all of those homeowners are shopping for a service provider. That makes the Internet market in appliance repair more than 80 times as big as home inspection yet home inspectors are light years ahead.

Vendors like Dominic make it easy, and my advice is simple. Spend some money; get your Website up and ranked on Google. Also, don’t rely on your Website and client referrals to be your sole sources of business.

The problem with Web sites that drive some inspection business is that they drive “some” business.  They offer a glimmer of hope to inspectors that don’t want to put the hard work into establishing a real estate-transaction-friendly product, and don’t want to actually get out and do the hard work of marketing their service.  Let the Website do all the work.

This is where the Web pioneers in our industry are getting hurt big time. Every inspector is capable of doing 500, 600, even 1,000 inspections per year and make really good money doing it. Once you get to a certain point, you can create systems that work and start hiring inspectors. It’s called running a business. But if you get your share of the small amount of inspections out there being booked as a result of Web searches, you get a distorted view of what success looks like.

Fact: There is not an inspection company in the country doing $1 million+ in revenue with any significant portion of it coming from their Website.

It doesn’t mean that these companies don’t have Websites. Doesn’t mean they don’t pay for ads or spend money and resources on getting ranked on Google.

It just means that they don’t let the rare homebuyer who doesn’t trust their agent’s recommendations define their business.

There are literally hundreds of home inspectors who have absolutely mastered the art of luring in these paranoid exceptions. I’m truly impressed, but at the same time I feel sorry for some of them who don’t realize that by making these statements on their Website and even at the inspection about how clients should trust them over  anyone recommended by their agent is really just alienating them from real estate offices and making them look really bad. They’re the same kind of inspectors who  inadvertently say to buyers every once in awhile “I wouldn’t buy this house!” (Even if they didn’t use those words precisely.)

It’s the marketing equivalent of a bear trap in home inspection, and chatter on the inspection forums and at local inspector events multiplies its effects.

“I got an inspection yesterday from my Website...and I didn’t have to worry about impressing the damn real estate agent!”

Misguided statements like this make the inspector the envy of his peers, or at least some of them. The statement should really be better qualified or expanded. It would make things more honest, because nobody will speak up and ask the necessary questions, the business questions that should be asked. For instance, how many of these  appointments are you booking per day? How many agent referrals do you get per day? (The answers to these questions are incredibly unimpressive)

The really good inspection business owners out there don’t rely on Web promotion. They know that 80%+ of their business should come from agent referrals. The other  20% that comes from their Website is just gravy.