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  1. #1
    Tom Orga's Avatar
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    Default Explaining your in-experience

    Being a new relatively inexperienced HI I am stumped when asked "How long have you been in business?" It seems that its impossible to get beyond this. Of course I answer honestly but its very frustrating because I feel I am not being hired because of this issue. It's as if they themselves were never new and inexperienced. How have you answered this question? Thanks foryou patience with this newbie.

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Explaining your in-experience

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Orga View Post
    Being a new relatively inexperienced HI I am stumped when asked "How long have you been in business?" It seems that its impossible to get beyond this. Of course I answer honestly but its very frustrating because I feel I am not being hired because of this issue. It's as if they themselves were never new and inexperienced. How have you answered this question? Thanks foryou patience with this newbie.
    You always tell the truth.

    We all started with Zero inspections. Depending on a persons personality, age and their confidence level this can be a very difficult question to answer. I came out of a non-trades profession, but I had sold real estate for several years. So when I was asked how long I had been in the profession I would say that I have been in the real estate business for about six years, but I finished my training and I have been inspecting homes for only a year. I told the truth.

    Keep in mind that with the Internet a person can look up just about anything, like a post on this site asking how to overcome being new! About the only advice I can give is to tell the truth.

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

  3. #3
    Tom Orga's Avatar
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    Default Re: Explaining your in-experience

    Scott, thanks alot, I have confidence in my abilities and business acumen. I thought about who might see my post, as you pointed out, but how can I be ashamed of where am i am right now in this career. I'm not, so I posted anyway. My reports are forthright, so is my post. Thanks again.


  4. #4
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    Default Re: Explaining your in-experience

    Tom,

    Like Scott, I would respond something like this: I've been in construction since I was 10, helping my Dad who was an electrical contractor, then I was a remodeling contractor, a general contractor, and now I'm an inspector, so, the answer to your question is two-fold - how long have I been in THE business of homes - since I was 10, and, how long have I been in the home inspection business ... if it really matters ... (I just started, 6 months, 1 year - whatever time it'd been).

    Be honest, but don't sell yourself short - include any related time, like above, as it helps establish their comfort level - that's all they are looking for ... do you meet their comfort level.

    Scott had been in real estate, I'd been in construction, both, and neither, relate to home inspection - but the clients think they do.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  5. #5
    Ed Moore's Avatar
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    Default Re: Explaining your in-experience

    Tom, someone once asked me "What do you call the last fellow to receive his diploma at medical school graduation?" Answer...Doctor!
    Sometimes I remind people that they too were once new at their profession. Doctors, lawyers, REAL ESTATE AGENTS! Everyone had to get their start somewhere. Just present yourself professionally and honestly.


  6. #6
    David Banks's Avatar
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    Default Re: Explaining your in-experience

    Tom. Have you tagged along on any HI before going out on your own?
    I tagged along for 120 Home Inspections before I got my License but that is required for Licensing in MA.
    The truth is always the best policy as others have stated.
    Try this I got from someone else here on Inspection News.
    " Ultimately a thorough inspection depends heavily on the individual inspectors effort. I will give you my very best effort"
    Then go out and do just that.


  7. #7
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    Default Re: Explaining your in-experience

    Obviously you must tell the truth (as others have said).

    There is just no easy way to sugar coat the fact that you don't have that many inspections under your belt. A person has to start somewhere. The key is finding the clients that are willing to give you a chance to show them whatyou can do.

    Clay said, "Guys with 6 months "experience" can be far more qualified than someone with 20 years "experience". While that may be true in a few isolated cases, I think overall, it is not the case at all. I can not imagine how someone could do inspections for 20 years and be so far off that someone with only 6 months experience would be more qualified. Even giving the "lazy" factor, the shear number of inspections is going to tip the scales heavily to one side.

    Tom, I would suggest that you tell them about your education and training (for home inspection) and convince them that you will do the best job you can for them, and suggest they give you a chance. You might even add something like "After the inspection, if you can honestly say that I didn't do a good job, you don't owe me a thing. I have THAT MUCH confidence in my ability, and my ability to be your advocate in this transaction".

    Good luck
    JF


  8. #8
    Richard Rushing's Avatar
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    Default Re: Explaining your in-experience

    I absolutely agree with Jack... what Clay stated is alot of hooey that just basically shows how some new guys try to talk their way into getting an inspection by attempting to say that 'experience' is overrated...

    If you are the dumbest son-of-a-female-dog on the planet and walk around with an experienced inspector and pick-up what he is inspecting, you will learn more about your home than trying to find out from someone fumbling inexperienced inspector attempting to BS his way through the process.

    If you are inexperienced and new in the profession, it's best to get a few testimonials and references from some clients and put them in a format for prospective clients to see/ review. This is not only professional, but it also gives the client some comfort level that, well... maybe this person has earned the confidence of others so maybe I should give s/he a chance.

    Honesty is the best policy. Providing back-up and testimonials of 3-5 previous clients goes along way. People just want to be re-assured that they are getting quality. Testimonials provide the re-assurances they seek-- give them what they need...


  9. #9
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    Default Re: Explaining your in-experience

    I always gave a response similar to what Jerry said.... For me it was something like this -

    Doing actual inspections? X years/months.... but I grew up around construction... My grandfather was a builder and I worked a lot with him when I was younger.... I also worked in property management for years which gave me a good overall understanding of houses. I also worked off and on in several different trades but happened onto home inspections and really feel it's a good fit for me.

    I'd often use that as a lead in to a quick property management horror story or something else.. I found it wasn't so much the question but how you answer it... if it scares you they'll smell it.

    Nothing I said is untrue or embelished at all.... It is/was a bit of a sales speech in that I had thought it out beforehand and 'rehearsed' it in that I had told it many times.

    As someone mentioned, people are just looking for some reassurance. They want to hear a good answer at that point. They're not so much second guessing you as they are trying to get comfortable with you and the process.

    Focus on the experience you have and don't be afraid of the question.... be ready for it.... but don't make it sound too scripted.


  10. #10
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    Default Re: Explaining your in-experience

    "Focus on the experience you have and don't be afraid of the question.... be ready for it.... but don't make it sound too scripted."

    But do have a phone script. Nothing sounds worse than fumbling over your words and searching for answers to a callers questions. Have a routine, know it, stick to it, and feel confident in it.

    When I started and got the same questions about how long I had been in business, my answer was while I obviously lack longevity in the business, I make up for it by being thorough, taking my time, and taking time to answer their questions and if I don't know the answer, I'll get it for them.

    Be straight up and honest with your callers. It's not going to work with everybody because some people just won't consider somebody that is new. But as long as you handle your phone contacts well and can maintain an open dialogue with the caller, inspections will come your way. The longer you can keep somebody on the phone and engaged in a conversation, the greater your chances are of getting their business.


  11. #11
    Don Belmont's Avatar
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    Default Re: Explaining your in-experience

    I'd say don't get hung up on what you think of as inexperience. Of course be confident and answer the question factually. That way you won't have to remember what you said.

    But what the potential client is really asking you is "How do I know you have what it takes to give me the service I need?" They are just using years (or number of inspections, or affiliations, or education

    I know that there's is always someone who will have more of whatever benchmark you care to name. So when I get such a question ( a rare occurrence actually) I answer the question expansively with the things I believe show I am qualified and competent to do their inspections.

    Don Belmont


  12. #12
    Dennis Davis's Avatar
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    Default Re: Explaining your in-experience

    Great post for the new inspectors. Being a newer inspector is tough mentally. You cannot exhibit self-doubt in front of a customer. The best option besides experience is being prepared for this question. Offer to do discounted inspections for your friends in exchange for honest references. You may learn more about your inspection methods and reporting than you wanted to. Friends can be brutally honest and helpful.


  13. #13
    Stephen Houmard's Avatar
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    Default Re: Explaining your in-experience

    You can say that you learend Home Inspections while you were in a Federal Prision for murder.....This is your second inspection.


    That will shut them up.


  14. #14
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    Default Re: Explaining your in-experience

    I always use the old.... "that light bulb may have burned the longest but it is not always the brightest". I usually get a good chuckle.


  15. #15
    Jon Randolph's Avatar
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    Default Re: Explaining your in-experience

    Inspect as many friends homes as possible. The more you see, the more comfortable you will feel with a live client. It will also give you the experience that you need to perform the inspections. Take your camera and all tools with you. Treat it as a real inspection, report and everything.
    Using word of mouth, advertise to do free inspections (for a limited time) for people at your church, wife's work, kid's school teachers, etc. Do these as pre-listing inspections, maintenance evaluations, whatever. If you do a good thorough job, they will be giving your name out as referrals to people they know are buying homes.

    As a home inspector, you may be able to get a HUD key. I have had one for years. HUD has one lock set that they use in my area. All HUD owned homes are opened by the same key. Take your key and inspect as many HUD homes as your new inspector schedule will permit. All HUD homes are vacant and there is no reason to have to schedule the inspection. Keep in mind that most homes will have only some or no utilities activated, but do the inspection anyway.

    When you are asked, you can honestly say "I'm fairly new to the inspection business but have XXX years of experience doing XXXXXXXXX. In fact I have performed XXX inspections in the past month." You don't have to tell them that they were not paid.

    The key is to do as many inspections as possible. Knowledge is the key to success in this business. The more homes you inspect, the more you will learn.


  16. #16
    Brandon Chew's Avatar
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    Default Re: Explaining your in-experience

    Quote Originally Posted by Jon Randolph View Post
    As a home inspector, you may be able to get a HUD key. I have had one for years. HUD has one lock set that they use in my area. All HUD owned homes are opened by the same key. Take your key and inspect as many HUD homes as your new inspector schedule will permit. All HUD homes are vacant and there is no reason to have to schedule the inspection.
    If you don't own the house and you don't have the owner's permission to enter it, you'd better have a good bail bondsman and defense lawyer... in some places a kevlar vest would be a good investment too.


  17. #17
    Richard Rushing's Avatar
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    Default Re: Explaining your in-experience

    Quote Originally Posted by Brandon Chew View Post
    If you don't own the house and you don't have the owner's permission to enter it, you'd better have a good bail bondsman and defense lawyer... in some places a kevlar vest would be a good investment too.

    Boy... I agree! DO NOT GO INTO HOMES YOU ARE NOT AUTHORIZED TO DO SO!!!

    That is unless you would like to end up on the 6:00 pm news.... Yikes!

    rr


  18. #18
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    Oklahoma City
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    Default Re: Explaining your in-experience

    You can't be as good of an inspector when you are new as you will be after doing thousands of inspections. It is not possible. Most bad inspectors are weeded out long before they have done even 500 or so. However, lucky for those starting out, not that many people ask the question. Most, unfortunately, just want to know your price. Then you just have to sell them on what you are going to do for the price and why they should use your service.

    If you are personable and sound confident, they will not ask you how long you have been in business in most cases. You should ask them questions like do you have any particular concerns about the home etc. This will throw them off their script in many cases, which would have included the question about how long you have been doing inspections. Besides, how long is not near as important as how many IMHO.

    Some inspectors only do 50 to 200 per yr. Someone that does 500 per year could be far more experienced than someone that has done it for 10 years even though they have only been in business for 5. So it is all subjective.

    If it weren't for lawyers, we would never need them.

  19. #19
    Ken McConnell's Avatar
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    Default Re: Explaining your in-experience

    I started performing home inspection about 10 years ago. Back then a home inspector was hard to find in my area of the country and realtors were not interested in promoting them. And when I was ask about my experience I was ready to be honest with whoever ask the question. In this business honesty and good communication skills go a long way. Professionalizm and confidence comes with each and every inspection you perform. Knowing what to say and how much to say, also works well with most people. No one likes to hear someone go on and on when ask a question, I sometimes referr it as keeping it simple. We all started out in this profession as being new at performing home inspections, and we all most likely made alot of mistakes in how we delt with different personalities, but staying focused on doing a good home inspection for the client is our greatest responsiblity.

    Just always keep it simple
    Ken


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