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  1. #1
    Tom Orga's Avatar
    Tom Orga Guest

    Default marketing/building the business

    I am looking for any advice regarding ways to build the business, the most effective things you can do the get clients. Marketing to Realtors? To Attorneys? Direct to Buyers? What are some effective ways to do any of these. When you were first starting your business, what did you do? Thanks.

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: marketing/building the business

    Tom,
    This has been discussed many times before. I would suggest you first do a search and read all of the past posts on this subject. I'm sure there will be many more posts this time too.

    There are widely differing opinions on the "best" marketing plan. A lot of it depends on YOUR market. How many inspectors are you going to compete for business with?

    While many of the people on this forum disdain Realtors, I feel that they are a real part of the transaction that brings the inspector into the picture. While most of my business comes from past clients, a good portion does come from the yellow pages and from Realtors. It's just a reality of the business. I just don't market to them, or cater to them. I treat them as professionals that have a sphere of influence over MY clients. I see them as "gatekeepers".

    When I started I did market to Realtors to try to get my foot in the door. My business grew by doing this. I also contacted banks and mortgage companies. As I started doing inspections, my client base grew too. At each inspection, I asked my clients to refer me to anyone they knew that needed an inspection (I still do).

    The difference in my story is I started out in 1989 and again in 1994 when I moved to TN. The internet wasn't really that big of a marketing tool then. While some of my business is internet driven, I can't really say it's a huge amount. In fact, a high percentage of the people that contact me via the internet are cyber shoppers. People that contact me from the ASHI link are usually ready to schedule and are more serious shoppers.

    The yellow pages are generally expensive, and you do get a lot of price shoppers. But the reality of it is, you have to have your name out there for people to find you. I have found that the yellow pages pay for themselves, and when I was starting out, were the largest source of business for me (for a while).

    Things that didn't work for me:
    Advertising in Real Esate books
    Advertising on phone book covers
    Newspaper special ads (where they highlight your business)
    Advertising on programs for local events
    Helping to sponsor a "function"
    Direct mail to a targeted list

    I'm sure others will post with what worked for them, and what didn't work. The bottom line is you have to get your name out there, and get people to use you for the first time.

    After you do a job, you need to cultivate those contacts. At each inspection, you have the chance to "market" to four stakeholders: your client, the two real estate agents, and the seller of the property, maybe even friends or family that have tagged along. And it doesn't cost you anything!

    You can do this by just doing the best job you can, in an ethical manner. You don't have to kiss anyones butt to get business. You don't have to compromise your standards to go easy on a house so you can gain favor from the seller or realtors. Just do the best job you can, inspect it like it was for your own family, AND DO IT FAIR.

    I have been thrown out of house by the seller. I have been asked to leave by the listing agent. I have had many, many clients NOT buy a house because of the inspection. But I have never had a client say I was being too thorough or taking too long during an inspection.

    The seller that threw me out of his house? Called me a week later to schedule an inspection. The listing agent that asked me to leave? Called me to inspect a house she was buying. The agents for my clients that didn't buy a house because of the inspection? Well, some of them move on the another inspector that will make the deal go thru, but others will continue to refer me because they don't want THEIR clinets getting a bad house.

    Hope this helps
    JF


  3. #3
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    Default Re: marketing/building the business

    Jack,

    You left out your standard rant about always supporting whatever POS licensing bill comes your way to help eliminate pesky competition.


  4. #4
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    Default Re: marketing/building the business

    Chapstick!


  5. #5
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    Default Re: marketing/building the business

    Quote Originally Posted by Joseph Burkeson View Post
    Jack,

    You left out your standard rant about always supporting whatever POS licensing bill comes your way to help eliminate pesky competition.
    Tom, you have to forgive Joe. He woke up on the wrong side of the license law!

    My number one source of business is from my website. I would say that 80% of my business is from my website. Next would be the ASHI site and then referrals. I relocated so my referrals are not like they use to be. At one time my referrals were responsible for about 60% of my business.

    Scott Patterson, ACI
    Spring Hill, TN
    www.traceinspections.com

  6. #6
    Matt Hawley's Avatar
    Matt Hawley Guest

    Default Re: marketing/building the business

    Tom,

    A well ranked website has worked very well from me. About 80% of my business is from people that found my website.

    Once you start booking jobs from your website you will increase your network and the referrals and repeat realtors will start coming in. Despite what some may say there are many realtors that want a very thorough inspection for their clients. There are also some that do not, those are the ones that you dont want to work with anyways.

    Good luck.


  7. #7
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    Default Re: marketing/building the business

    Joe,
    Since I have you on IGNORE I can't see your post. I'm sure it was some valuable piece of information - NOT.

    Nice of you to visit and try to help other inspectors when they ask questions. Oh wait, I forgot. I don't think you have ever posted here to try to help someone, it is ony for your own rants and weird ass philosophy. Your derisive posts are a cancer on this forum.

    I can only hope that more people will put you and your brother/lovers on their ignore feature. You're the guy that pisses in the public pool while proclaiming his right to be there.

    I'm sorry I wasted the minute and a half it took me to type this. Just remember - I CAN'T HEAR YOU!!!!!!!!!!!
    JF


  8. #8
    Rob Thomas's Avatar
    Rob Thomas Guest

    Default Re: marketing/building the business

    Burkeson was trying to assist the questioner by sharing his marketing prowess, but since his marketing plan consists only of riding the coattails of the competent ASHI members in Florida, he didn't have much to offer.

    He lives well, though.

    RT


    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Feldmann View Post
    Joe,
    Since I have you on IGNORE I can't see your post. I'm sure it was some valuable piece of information - NOT.

    Nice of you to visit and try to help other inspectors when they ask questions. Oh wait, I forgot. I don't think you have ever posted here to try to help someone, it is ony for your own rants and weird ass philosophy. Your derisive posts are a cancer on this forum.

    I can only hope that more people will put you and your brother/lovers on their ignore feature. You're the guy that pisses in the public pool while proclaiming his right to be there.

    I'm sorry I wasted the minute and a half it took me to type this. Just remember - I CAN'T HEAR YOU!!!!!!!!!!!
    JF



  9. #9
    Erol Kartal's Avatar
    Erol Kartal Guest

    Default Re: marketing/building the business

    Tom,

    It will also take time. Lot's of time to build your business. Plan accordingly and you may do very well.

    Erol Kartal
    Pro Inspect


  10. #10
    Join Date
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    Smile Re: marketing/building the business

    Tom, The single biggest marketing success that I have had is realtor contacts and office presentations. Many people on this board don't belive in marketing to realtors and I understand why. Realtors will meet your clients long before you will. Many times the realtors will give thier clients a list of inspectors to choose from and let thier client decide on who to hire. But in many cases the realtor will recommend a certain inspector. Now this is where the problem starts. Some realtors will use you because you may be experianced,thorough, and have a nice looking easy to understand report. While others may choose not to recommend you because you are thorough and find things or call out defects and propblems other inspectors miss or simply do not call out, which may kill the deal.

    In my experiance you can effectivly market to realtors by keeping in mind that they are not your client. However how you conduct your businness, how you treat people, and how you can prove that your service is as good as or better than any ones in town will determine your success.


  11. #11
    Russel Ray's Avatar
    Russel Ray Guest

    Default Re: marketing/building the business

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Orga View Post
    I am looking for any advice regarding ways to build the business, the most effective things you can do the get clients. Marketing to Realtors? To Attorneys? Direct to Buyers? What are some effective ways to do any of these. When you were first starting your business, what did you do? Thanks.


    Marketing :: Index





  12. #12
    Ed Moore's Avatar
    Ed Moore Guest

    Default Re: marketing/building the business

    Hey Tom, welcome to the board! I, too, am a new inspector trying to get my foot in the door. I think you certainly need to market yourself to real estate agents. Each Sunday, I go through the paper and make a list of open houses in my area then go and meet the agents face to face. Introduce myself, give them some cards and a simple brochure listing my rates and letting them know I'm available to work weekends. (Many, more established inspectors don't or won't). So far I've had positive results and most say that they were glad that I stopped by. (Face it, they're trapped, sitting in someone else's house several hours, just waiting for someone to talk to.)
    I also market myself to the local closing attorneys. Never know when they may need a last minute inspection and you could "save the day".
    As for working the real estate agencies themselves, at first I will go in and introduce myself to the receptionist, hand her several cards and a rate sheet. Then, just before I leave, I ask if they have a microwave. (the answer is almost always yes), then I go back to my truck and bring in a case of microwave popcorn that I pick up at Sam's club for $6.00 for 30 bags. "Oh wow! you brought us popcorn?" is the usual response. Of course I had already opened the case and glued a business card to each individual bag. That way two weeks from now when an agent I haven't met yet comes in and grabs a bag of popcorn, they get my card. Now on my second visit, (Oh! You're the popcorn guy!) I can ask how the popcorn supply is holding out, replenish if necessary, and move on to scheduling a presentation at one of their meetings.
    I've got several other ideas that I'm trying. But i'll wait to see how they work before posting.


  13. #13
    William Brady's Avatar
    William Brady Guest

    Default Re: marketing/building the business

    HI Tom and welcome aboard, One thing I learned the hard way was don't except loyalty from someone in this business unless they get to know you first. By that I mean the stop into the office thing and see the secertary. It does work but it will not make you a household word in the office. People need to meet you outside the office. If you join the local Realitors board then jump in. Get you feet wet by getting on a panel or two. The others will be the Realtors who have stuck it out and not the part time ones. The owners will be around the board from time to time and while they will not come right over to say hello it will take time. Just remember people are watching and making impression all the time so just be professional and things will happen. All of the suggestion here are great just keep at it and you trends will go up and not down over time.

    Remember to market all the time because when your busy all is well but the phone will start to slow down unless you are getting out in the busy time and the slow times.

    Good Luck
    Bill B


  14. #14
    Tom Orga's Avatar
    Tom Orga Guest

    Default Re: marketing/building the business

    Thanks to all who have taken the time to help out this struggling HI, I love this work and really want to be successful. Thanks again.


  15. #15
    Ed Moore's Avatar
    Ed Moore Guest

    Default Re: marketing/building the business

    Hey Tom, I just wanted to share this with you. Yesterday I made my rounds of the open houses. Of course, the responses varied from those that were happy to see and meet me to the guy that was watching the football game on the customers big screen that seemed really put off that I had interupted his "quality" time. Actually he was the local manager of a big name bank's mortgage dept. just house sitting while the agent was away. Of the people I met yesterday, this guy was the absolute last person I expected to hear from. Well...lo and behold, I just received a call from a young lady that is in need of an inspection and was told that the "big bank mortgage guy" had refered me! Go figure!
    So I guess the point of this is, get out there and meet people and don't get discouraged. Ya just never know. Man, I love this business!


  16. #16
    Tom Orga's Avatar
    Tom Orga Guest

    Default Re: marketing/building the business

    Ed,
    You mentioned that you market to attorneys. How? And thanks for your advice.


  17. #17
    Ed Moore's Avatar
    Ed Moore Guest

    Default Re: marketing/building the business

    Tom, look in your local yellow book. Usually there's a heading for real estate services. There you should find a list of "closing" attorneys. I'll just stop by their offices while I'm out. Introduce myself, shake hands, give them a couple of cards. Occasionally they will get to closing and find the home inspection hasn't been done yet. If you're new like me and not real busy, I'll gladly drop everything and do an inspection for them. I haven't yet...but I would!

    Last edited by Ed Moore; 09-24-2007 at 12:52 PM.

  18. #18
    Bob McAnarney's Avatar
    Bob McAnarney Guest

    Default Re: marketing/building the business

    I suggest obtaining the email addresses of the top 200 realtors in your area and putting together a newsletter to send out to these realtors via an email campaign periodically and consistently. Always offer a way for them to unsubscribe if they desire. Articles are easy to put together from online information. You will become the got to guy.


  19. #19
    Join Date
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    Default Re: marketing/building the business

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob McAnarney View Post
    I suggest obtaining the email addresses of the top 200 realtors in your area and putting together a newsletter to send out to these realtors via an email campaign periodically and consistently. Always offer a way for them to unsubscribe if they desire. Articles are easy to put together from online information. You will become the got to guy.
    New HI here ... how did you find a list of the top 200 agents?

    Wade Hancock
    Hancock Consulting & Inspections, PLLC
    www.hancockinspections.com

  20. #20
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    Default Re: marketing/building the business

    Check out the first-time homebuyer assistance programs from the different cities in your area. They usually require the buyers to attend classes where different realty professionals have a chance to speak. You may try for the home inspection spot. I am currently on classes from four different cities and I get a nice amount of work from there.

    Also find out from the numerous non-profit organizations who help out first-time homebuyers about different home buyers seminars and fairs that they attend on a regular basis. I just attended one of those fairs on Saturday. I made several contacts from home buyers and from the other professionals in the other booths. One of the other organizations at the fair hold first-time home buyer classes themselves. He asked me to speak to his classes. I'm there.


  21. #21
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    Default Re: marketing/building the business

    [quote=Frank Adame;211363]Check out the first-time homebuyer assistance programs from the different cities in your area..... quote]

    Good stuff. Thanks for the advice. I'm in the process of partnering with two different groups now.

    Wade Hancock
    Hancock Consulting & Inspections, PLLC
    www.hancockinspections.com

  22. #22
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
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    Default Re: marketing/building the business

    I just booked two more inspections for this week. One was from a past seller who read my "Dear Homeowner" letter that I left behind. The other is from a buyer who saw the signage on my pickup truck and took down my number. Both of these marketing tools do help every now and then as well.

    The other marketing source is at Thumbtack - We can get you the right service pro. I get a couple of calls a week. The only problem here is that almost all these clients are price shoppers. I've only gotten one job out of this in the past 3 months. I pay $7.95 a month for unlimited referrals. Maybe you'll have better luck in your area.


  23. #23
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    Default Re: marketing/building the business

    Quote Originally Posted by Frank Adame View Post
    I just booked two more inspections for this week. One was from a past seller who read my "Dear Homeowner" letter that I left behind. The other is from a buyer who saw the signage on my pickup truck and took down my number. Both of these marketing tools do help every now and then as well.

    The other marketing source is at Thumbtack - We can get you the right service pro. I get a couple of calls a week. The only problem here is that almost all these clients are price shoppers. I've only gotten one job out of this in the past 3 months. I pay $7.95 a month for unlimited referrals. Maybe you'll have better luck in your area.
    I like both of these .. i'm now listed with Thumbtack. Dear Homeowner letter sounds good, too.

    Thank you, again, for your advice.

    Wade Hancock
    Hancock Consulting & Inspections, PLLC
    www.hancockinspections.com

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