Author’s note: With this article, we continue a feature that profiles ASHI members from across the country who are successfully integrating the Home Energy Score into their businesses.
Building in a new feature, toning down its presentation
John Rodkey isn’t one for the hard sell. Fully at ease with the quality of service that he’s provided for more than 17 years and respectful of his clients’ tolerance for being “sold” additional services during an already head-spinning purchase process, John brought the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Home Energy Score into his business recently and decided to simply include it as a standard part of his inspection.
No high-pressure upselling, no decision fatigue for his homebuyer clients, just a minor revision to his highly refined inspection procedure and a low-key approach to presenting that new service to his clients.
“I just tell them that, as part of my inspection, they’re also going to receive a Home Energy Score from the DOE,” John told us recently. “I have a short talk with them about what the Score is and why I think it’s important information for homebuyers to have, and that’s about it.”
He’s had that understated conversation since late 2017 with more than 60 clients and he’s impressed with the results. As a seasoned professional accustomed to receiving positive feedback from satisfied customers, John still takes notice when a small change to his business elicits an uptick in satisfaction.
Not one inspection with the DOE Home Energy Score has failed to receive a ‘Wow, that’s really helpful,’ he’s proud to note.
Boosting an already good brand, supporting an already solid reputation
Pleased as he is with his clients’ enthusiasm for his energy-enhanced inspections, John also recognizes the obvious marketing benefits of associating JMR Inspections with the U.S. DOE. He’s not going overboard with a total revamp of his well-established name, however. “I use the logo on my materials, sure,” he told us, “and a magnet on the truck to raise some curiosity…but for us as a brand, it’s about reminding people that we’re the industry leader in this territory and having a partner like the Department of Energy definitely helps us makes that case.”
Performing his due diligence before jumping into ID Energy’s Fast Track onboarding process, John used the “find an assessor” tool on the DOE website (https://betterbuildingssolutioncenter.energy.gov/content/home-energy-score-partner-map) and was intrigued to see that he would be the first Home Energy Score Assessor to serve his western Massachusetts market. Asked about how his early-adopter service is being received by his extensive and loyal realtor network, John’s approach is subdued and long-game-oriented. “I don’t oversell it,” he said when describing his outreach approach with his network. “It’s great when they can overhear the benefits that come to the homebuyer, but I anticipate that by 2019, the agents will be looking for the Home Energy Score as a requested service for the benefit of their clients. I want them to remember that I’m the one who blazed this trail.”
Including the Score serves deep-rooted principles and new realities
Pressed for any larger motivations for integrating the Home Energy Score into his established, profitable business, you might expect John to cite his clientele’s interest in environmentally sustainable lifestyles that might require him to field questions about the energy “footprint” of the homes he inspects. You’d be mistaken.
“I just hate paying my electric bill!” says a characteristically practical Rodkey, “and so often, it’s plain as day that some poor couple is just going to get whacked by a barely insulated house with terrible ducts. It’s the least I can do to try to give people a sense of what their bills are going to be.” Offering just that kind of information—backed by the US DOE, no less—costs John an extra 30 minutes or so on average, he tells us, and would seem to serve the mission of any business dedicated, to quote the JMR tagline, to “helping you make informed decisions.”
For John Rodkey and his team, offering the Home Energy Score is a logical extension of what got him into the inspection game in the first place—a commitment to putting his expertise to use helping families make decisions that shape their future. The fact that the Score is letting him improve on a solid business in a changing market is definitely good news both for John and for homebuyers in the western Massachusetts area for years to come.
Get started now!
You, too, can make the Score part of your successful business plan. Jen Gallegos at ASHI HQ is always on hand to answer questions and to help you get the ball rolling.
You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or you can save a step and head right to ID Energy to get signed up. They’re waiting for your application at energyscoreusa.com/sign_up.php.