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What to Pack on Your Trip to Success
By John Russell, CEO and Co-Founder of iGo
Home inspection company owners across the country are fast-tracking their path to success, and it’s all because they’ve packed the essentials.
What if we told you there’s an easier and faster way to reach your business and life success goals? When you go on a cross-country road trip, you want to be prepared. Proper planning is what allows you to find the best views, avoid roadblocks, and make the most of the opportunities.
The road to business success is no different. If you’re equipped with the right tools, planning, and resources, you’ll reach your destination faster and easier, all while enjoying the ride. Let’s get you equipped for success:
1. Good Company
“Nobody can do this job as well as I can.” You’ve probably had that thought more than a few times. You may find it difficult to hire people because almost no one can perform an inspection as well as you, write a report as well as you, or handle the ins and outs of the business as well as you.
Well, here’s the bad news and the good news. The bad news is you’re probably right. Let’s face it; you’re a star. The good news is that you can build systems and processes into your business that will help ensure someone else’s work lives up to your standards.
With the right systems and processes in place, they can do a great job for clients and customers today, and as they learn and grow, they’ll do an even better job tomorrow. After all, you have the power to choose the best person for the job. And because they’ll only have that one job to focus on—inspecting, answering the phones, admin work, etc.—they get to specialize and become an expert at it. And though it may be hard to believe now, the work produced in their respective department will most likely surpass what you could have done.
Be relentless in developing the people who work for you. They are your path to a better life for yourself and your family, so don’t skimp on acquiring and investing in great talent.
Top-grade existing employees through added training, and focus on improving their skills in a specific area. When you invest in your employees, you invest in the overall success and well-being of your company. Level up your inspectors’ knowledge and you—and you’ll be rewarded with better inspections, better reviews, and more repeat business.
And don’t forget that you should enjoy your job. When you get to the office, you should be happy to see the faces of your employees. Choosing personnel that embody your company’s values and culture is just as important as hiring people with the right skill set for the job. Your passengers make all the difference, so be selective in who you invite to tag along.
Do you know anyone who started a home inspection business and reached $100,000 in revenue? What about $300,000? $1 million?
Well, you should. And not just their name. You want to know the systems and formulas they used to achieve their successes.
Get to know people who have gone down the path ahead of you. There are some tried-and-true formulas for building an inspection company that have been developed and implemented for success time and again. For instance, there’s someone who can tell you that the formula for building a $1 million inspection business is 6+2B+1.
You want to be in the room with people who are or have been where you want to go. Seek out coaching and opportunities to mastermind with people who have already built and implemented systems and processes in their business. They’ll have an abundance of insight on the road ahead, and you’ll be surprised to learn how willing they are to share. You can find out what it takes to hire inspectors, onboard employees, what questions to ask your accountant, and even which KPI’s (key performance indicators) you should be using as the dashboard to drive your business.
Surround yourself with like-minded business owners who are invested in both your success and their own to create an environment in which you’ll thrive. It sets the tone for overcoming obstacles, acting on determination, and showing up even at the toughest of moments. When you surround yourself with people that expect you to succeed, you will rise to the occasion.
When you form relationships with those in the industry who have gone before you and experienced your struggles first-hand, their perspective, knowledge, and insight will become a priceless resource. When you find those people, you find a roadmap. They’ll help you make turns, see farther down the road, and even point out shortcuts.
The best navigation systems will notify you of traffic jams, road closures, or wrecks ahead. They’ll even suggest an alternative route to keep you on track. Your business GPS is out there, and they can’t wait to help you pave your path to success.
You’re driving between inspections, and instead of enjoying some nice tunes and a little AC, you’re thinking about those numbers you should have entered into QuickBooks, that agent you haven’t called back, or those changes you want to make to your website. All you’ve had time to do is answer the phone, do the inspections, and write reports, and tomorrow’s looking to be the same.
It seems there are never enough hours in the day, and while that may always ring true, building a success schedule will allow you to find some extra time, maximize it, and avoid unnecessary stress.
Your success schedule should include the three types of “time” associated with your business: focus on time, focus in time, and freedom from time.
- Focus On time is spent on your business. This time is where the magic happens. It should be reserved for things like learning, developing your team, and implementing systems.
- Focus In time is spent in your business. Performing an inspection, running your marketing route, or giving a presentation to local agents all fall under this category.
- Freedom From time is spent away from your business. Dedicate this time to family, friends and hobbies. Set yourself up for success by scheduling time to rest and recover.
Create a calendar and carve out blocks for working on, in and away from your business. Reference it often and stick to it. If it’s not on your calendar, it doesn’t really exist.
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Let’s guess what keeps you up at night: cash flow, how much you should be paying yourself, how much you should be paying your inspectors and employees, and what percentage of your profit you should be able to get out of your business. We’re spot on, aren’t we?
That’s because you’re not alone. Countless home inspection company owners have pondered these same questions over and over again. However, there are also many out there who are getting a good night’s sleep—and that’s because they have the power of knowing their true numbers.
Budgeting is crucial to make any long journey a successful one. A business that doesn’t budget sets itself up for a host of financial problems down the road. Developing a budget for both short and long-term business objectives will create a road map for financial success and opportunities to expand.
Budgeting is particularly important for small business owners. While money isn’t the end-all be-all, it can make or break any small operation. It’s worthwhile to hire a skilled in-house or outside accountant, or even a business manager who has experience in finance. This individual can help establish an accounting system, track expenditures, and produce reports that will help you make calculated and informed decisions about your business’s operations.
Fuel can come in many forms. As you hit the open road, you’ll be glad to have snacks, some listening material, and quite literally, a full tank of gas. You know these things will power you through the long drive ahead.
Marketing is the fuel that runs your whole ship. It’s what lands you inspections and keeps them coming.
As a home inspection business owner, you have multiple audiences: real estate agents, home buyers, sellers, and owners. You also have lead generation partners like iGo Network and consumer websites like Yelp and HomeAdvisor. Segment your audiences and have a marketing plan for each.
A significant portion of your efforts need to focus on attracting and retaining agent referrals. Relationships and trust are a big part of driving those referrals, and so stopping by their offices used to be the crux of a successful marketing effort. Although that tactic can still be effective, it’s just not enough in today’s online world because relationships are now formed and nurtured through social media, search platforms, email and text. Digital marketing is an essential part of communicating with people today, and therefore it’s critical to your marketing strategy. Seek and find employees or partners who can help you set up CRM software such as Active Campaign to manage and segment your contacts, with a communication sequence for each segment.
Your business should have well-defined USPs (unique selling points). These attributes make your company or service different, provide special advantages to your clients, and make your company memorable. Ultimately, these factors persuade a potential client to choose you. Examples may include guaranteeing the inspection report within 24 hours after the inspection, heightened education of your inspectors like iGo Certification, or that you are a veteran owned business. Whatever you choose, make sure it’s realistic. Making sure that you deliver on your promises is the most important factor for driving repeat referrals, and will become the lifeblood of your business.
If you want to go on a road trip, you don’t start preparing by learning how to fix a car. Instead, you call a trusted mechanic to change the oil, adjust the suspension, and examine the tires. You know you’ll be more likely to make it to your destination if you don’t do everything yourself.
Don’t be afraid to partner and outsource. No business owner can be an expert in everything: marketing, customer service, finance, inspections, human resources, and so on. Seek trusted and recommended partnerships that can fill specialized needs. There are expert tools and resources that can take your business to new heights. And when you find the right ones, that is when you unlock your full potential.
Not sure where to begin?
Our network of home inspection companies experienced a world of difference when they brought in an expert call center, accounting, or digital marketing team. Here are their favorites (spoiler alert, one of them is us):
- iGo for call center and iGo Network.
- RTC Accounting for all your finance needs.
- Forward Marketing for social media and digital marketing solutions.
No matter what stage you’re currently at along your path to success, keep in mind that it’s never too late or too early to pull over and repack your bag. You can do things today that will change your entire course, taking you to even greater heights than you initially set your sights on. And the view will look a whole lot sweeter when you have a community by your side to experience it with. Learn more about these business tools and resources at igocoaching.com/resources.
About the Author
John Russell leads iGo in its mission to transform the home inspection experience. His ability to optimize back-end services carried him into the home inspection industry, where he met Chad Hett, co-owner of Elite Group Property Inspections. Chad partnered with him to grow the business from $6 million to over $10 million in revenue. He is deeply committed to community advancement and establishing philanthropy and job creation opportunities.
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