I Love My Job
By ASHI President Bill Loden
Every now and then it is a good idea to step back and take a look at your life and assess where you are and what you are doing with it. We only get one go through here and it is important to make the most of it. We all have different paths and I don’t pretend to understand your personal, family or spiritual journey. I will leave those areas to Dr. Phil.
However , we do share a few things in common related to our profession as home inspectors. One thing I’ve noticed is that there is no single path that leads one to become a home inspector. I know only a handful of inspectors who started their professional life as home inspectors and most of those chose the career because they had a parent, usually the father, who was an inspector. But as a general rule, when it comes to paths to the home inspection profession, there are no rules.
So what leads a person to enter the home inspection profession? In my case, it was simple. I needed money! I had a great aerospace career at NASA that I loved, but I had teenage children preparing for college and I wanted to be able to educate them without accumulating a lot of debt. Having an undergraduate degree in construction and experience in the field, I saw potential to make some extra money with afternoon and weekend work as a home inspector.
It turned out to be a great choice and a great way to start in the home inspection business. I was able to grow slowly through client referrals and the extra money from inspections did the trick. Eventually though my part-time job grew to the point that I had to make a choice and I became a full time inspector.
For many of us in the home inspection business, this is our first foray into the scary world of entrepreneurship. The first step and one that is often overlooked, is the development of a formal business plan. During this phase the entrepreneur must look at many variables. It is critical to first do an assessment of one’s own strengths and weaknesses. Questions must be asked and answered. This can be a very painful process.
Do you have the necessary skills and training to meet the needs of your clients? If not, you must budget time and money to obtain that training. I was in the profession for about three years as a part-timer when I discovered ASHI and attended my first Inspection World. I thought I was a pretty good inspector, but at IW it was like drinking out of a fire hose.
Another great venue for education is The ASHI School (TAS). The school is growing every year and producing the next generation of home inspectors. The school offers topnotch education from experienced inspectors who teach both in the classroom and in the field.
Another component of business plan development is figuring out how you are going to get the phone to ring. You can be the most technically knowledgeable inspector on the planet but if clients don’t know that, you are not going to survive in the profession.
ASHI is building the foundation for your individual marketing plans by building consumer awareness of the ASHI brand among consumers. Our public relations firm, PCI, has been very effective in getting the ASHI story in both regional and national publications. We have millions of impressions with consumers every year. PCI has a mix of personnel working our account who understand both the traditional media and the new social media that will be important to reaching the homebuyers of the future.
ASHI is also developing and strengthening relationships with marketing vendors who can provide the services to make your businesses successful. I have personal experience with a number of ASHI service providers including Paul Zak at America’s Call Center, Dee Goldstein at Gem Marketing, and Mr. Fix-It, Tom Feiza, just to name a few.
A new addition to the ASHI family of service providers is Marketing and Business Coach Mike Crow. I attended Mike’s “Three Days of Secrets Revealed” back in 2008. Through his coaching and the tactics he developed and shared with me, I was able to thrive during one of the worst downturns in the real estate market in modern history. I believe Mr. Crow’s Millionaire Inspector Community will be a great new benefit for ASHI members.
Back to my original question, “What leads a person to enter the home inspection profession?” While the answers to that question may be varied, I believe there are two things that keep us in the profession. First is the satisfaction of providing a valuable service that helps families make good decisions when purchasing a home. Second is the ability to convey that message to our market.