It’s nearing the end of summer right now and in many places across the country, that means farmers are hard at work growing our nation’s food supply. Home inspection business owners can learn a lot from farmers, especially when it comes to marketing.
Marketing plans, like successful farms, require careful planning, good design, and consistent attention to produce the best results. Today, I’ll share two “seeds” that you can plant as part of your marketing to grow your inspection business over the long haul. Both will take some careful cultivation to produce revenue for you, but both contain the potential to increase your income exponentially.
Seed #1: Expanding Your Agent Referral Base
Real estate agents are a top referral source for home inspection businesses. To keep the referral pipeline full, you have to provide value for your agents before you can expect them to provide valuable referrals to you.
As you research your agents to better understand which ones are your best producers, and which offices contain your rising superstars, consider who you’ve been connecting with lately. Are you reaching out to your best agents regularly, or letting the relationship wither on the vine? Do your best referral sources know they can count on you, and that you’re never too busy to care for them? If not, then start booking lunches and meetings to water and nourish these crucial friendships.
Seed #2: Hiring Additional Inspectors
Expanding your inspection workforce is related to marketing (and to our farming metaphor) because it allows you to focus on providing the same or better level of service to clients while expanding the number of clients you serve. The more “hired hands” you bring on board to help you, the more bountiful a harvest you’ll be able to provide for everyone (including yourself).
I know a lot of inspection business owners struggle to make the time to hire new inspectors. Here are two quick solutions that can help you find a great inspector within the next 30 days.
- Establish or renew your relationship with pre-inspection schools. You and the schools have overlapping interests. Get to know the teachers, and prepare a proposal for hiring new inspectors once they’ve completed their training. Make sure these schools are aware of your reputation and professionalism so you’re top of mind when they have newly minted inspectors seeking employment.
- Get to know your local fire department. Firefighters are physically fit, understand home construction, and spend their days closely observing various types of structures. Additionally, they have large blocks of time off each month, so they may be open to working for you as a side hustle.
Summer is often a very busy season for home inspectors, as it is for farmers. But just as is the case for farmers, if you don’t pay attention to your marketing “seeds” on a regular basis, they will be choked out by your competition, or fail to thrive because they haven’t received the care they need. A lot of business owners only focus on business building when they have a bad week, or a bad month. If you’re new to the home inspection business, you may spend as much as 70 to 80 percent of your time on marketing activities. And even if you’re a well-established business, I’d recommend spending anywhere from 20 to 40 percent of your time marketing, prospecting, or moving your business toward its next big goal.
Some of you home inspectors will claim your schedule is “just too full” to find time to expand the business, but that’s like a farmer not taking the time to water and tend to his crops. The easiest way to overcome this time challenge is to block out two four-hour “appointments” in your schedule EVERY WEEK for marketing and business-building tasks. What you fill those appointments with is up to you. You could meet up-and-coming real estate agents, establish a friendship with a pre-inspection school instructor or a firefighter, or you could draft a document that outlines what you’d expect out of the next home inspector you hire, and why you’re a great company to work for.
Home inspection business owners are fortunate right now that the sun is shining on the industry in terms of a robust real estate market. But don’t take your next harvest for granted. Plan out how you’ll plant new marketing seeds to keep your success cycle in motion, and your business can flourish … indefinitely.