For two years, the ASHI Certification Committee (ACC) worked to set up and implement the ASHI Certified Inspector (ACI) program in accordance with the requirements of the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA).
The program was built on the three pillars of ASHI membership, which have served as a foundation for successful home inspection businesses nationwide. Clients know that ASHI members have earned their credentials by:
1. Gaining actual experience inspecting 250 homes,
2. Having reports verified to ensure the inspections and reports are to the ASHI Standards of Practice, and
3. Demonstrating technical knowledge by passing a psychometrically validated exam used by 26 states to license home inspectors.
Having fulfilled all of NCCA's requirements in 2010, the ACI program was recognized and approved as the only home inspector certification that meets the rigors of a recognized third party like the NCCA. No other home inspection association has stepped up and met these stringent requirements. This is the difference between ASHI members and members of other home inspector associations.
During 2011, the ACC worked with the Membership Committee to develop a new logo designating the new certification program and the ACI was born. Today, we are building recognition of the ACI Gold Standard and actively informing the ASHI membership, the real estate industry and potential clients about the program and its value in creating and maintaining the difference between ASHI members and other home inspectors. ASHI press releases and marketing messages all incorporate the value of the new ACI program.
This brings us to the final phase of developing the ACI program. The rubber really meets the road at the member level as ASHI members start incorporating the ASHI brand in marketing their businesses. ASHI was able to complete this program within budget, without raising membership dues during these challenging economic times, but it's not a success until it brings new business to you. For that to happen, members must use the tools that we have developed for them.
Over the next six months, the ACC will publish articles designed to help members build on the work that ASHI has done. Marketing does not have to be expensive, but it does need to be done in a comprehensive manner, sending a focused message to potential clients and real estate contacts. There always
is some expense; that is the nature of business today. You have to make an investment to see a return on that investment.
You can start by going to the ASHI website and logging in
. (If it's the first time you are logging on your password is "password". Please email email@example.com
with any problems logging in.) On your membership page is a link to "Downloads and Forms" and "ASHI Logos
." This will take you to a page with links to the new ASHI ACI gold logo, as well as other marketing tools you can use to successfully integrate the ASHI ACI brand into your personal marketing.
It is spring of what we hope will be a busy year. So, it's time to pass out your existing marketing materials with the old logo. Use up all your existing materials, then integrate the new "Gold Standard" logo into your business cards, stationary, advertising, website and email signature line. The cost is minimal, but it takes time and effort to get everything incorporated. Once we get busy it's hard to find that time.
While you are on your membership page, also update your "Membership Profile" and "Find an Inspector and Web Settings." These are two components that the ASHI Find an Inspector Web tool uses to provide referrals to people looking for home inspectors in your area. If you haven't updated this important tool, then you are missing out on potential referrals. I typically get enough referrals from the ASHI website each month to pay my ASHI dues for an entire year.
Our next article will focus on other ASHI tools you can use to build your brand and a marketing program to take advantage of your ACI membership. If you have not upgraded your membership to the ACI, we encourage you to step up today to take full advantage of all the promotional tools that ASHI has to offer to build your business.