February, 2006
Inspection News and Views from the American Society of Home Inspectors

2005 ASHI Annual Reports - Report of the Executive Director


Tooting Our Horn

Rob-P.gifHow well do you promote yourself? How well do you “toot your horn,” so to speak?

I admit that promoting myself is not something that comes naturally to me. I figure if I’m consistently doing good work, people will know. Unfortunately, in these days of bombarding messaging via the internet, e-mail, blogs, media coverage, etc., it seems the only way to get noticed is to incessantly promote yourself and to tell people why you are so great.

The founder of another inspector association out there has mastered the art of telling anyone who’ll listen just how wonderful he believes his association is. I’m sure you’ve heard from him or about his group at some point. It’s common to see announcements of 5,000, 7,000, 10,000 members (the number changes often) or that his association has been approved, endorsed or blessed by someone as being the best organization on the planet. He even laid claim to hosting the largest inspector conference of the century! Actually, it’s humorous. What’s not funny, however, is that some folks actually believe this stuff. No proof required, no need to question unbelievable claims. I guess they feel if it’s in print and being shouted loudly and long enough, it must be true.

Don’t get me wrong; I’m not against competition. I believe fair competition is healthy; it forces us to do our best. ASHI has fair and worthy competitors out there that we’re comfortable competing with. It’s the situation like the one above that complicates matters. The entire profession suffers as a result of its unprofessional antics. Do you ignore them? Do you stoop to their level? Or do you keep your focus on what you do best and work to improve in other areas?

ASHI has worked for 30 years to make this a profession of highly-skilled and qualified inspectors, and 2005 again brought about significant enhancements and new benefits designed to make your experience with ASHI worth the investment.

Our public relations efforts put ASHI’s name and Web site address in front of millions, and that’s a fact that can be substantiated. If you want to see the data, send me a note. We’ve reported in previous issues of the Reporter about our media tours and the constant stream of media coverage on ASHI Inspectors.

Go to any of the major Internet search engines; do a search on ASHI in the News category; then compare those results to the results for other associations. Did you know that ASHI’s Public Service Announcement (PSA) on hiring an ASHI Inspector was selected by Wal-Mart to air on its in-store television network (Yes, Wal-Mart has it’s own network)? Our spot ran 336 times in stores nationwide during October 2005, resulting in an audience impression of 120 million people. Additionally, the ASHI PSA ran on radio stations all over the country to an estimated audience of 214 million listeners in 2005.

You may say, “I never heard it” or “No one called me as a result.” Nevertheless, these spots aired repeatedly, delivering the message over and over to choose an ASHI Inspector. PSA airings, however, are not for you. They’re for the general public to reinforce the need to use ASHI Inspectors when having a home inspection.

At the same time, we’ve been working on better ways to communicate with you. The Inspector, a monthly e-newsletter, is distributed in two versions to all full Members and Candidates. The ASHI Reporter, which received the prestigious honor of being the country’s #1 Professional Society magazine for 2005, is now making its electronic debut, offering an in-depth experience with every issue. Also, you should have your inaugural edition of The Complete Home Inspection Product & Service Directory, providing you with a resource no other association offers. We also conducted the largest-ever study of business operation trends and published the 2005 Edition of the Home Inspection Business Operations Study. Over 2,400 home inspectors provided data on how they run their inspection business. Again, only ASHI has the ability to conduct and provide this type of benefit.

As I write this, I’ve just met representatives from Japan’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport. They came to get a perspective on inspection in North America and for advice on what steps they need to take to boost the profession in Japan. A similar meeting took place back in March with Japan’s Ministry of Trade. Did these groups seek out other inspector associations to meet with? No. One of our officers was invited to attend a meeting of The Institute of Maintenance and Building Maintenance in England in an effort to help get their inspector audience up and running in advance of a 2007 government requirement for mandatory home inspections. Did they approach any other inspector associations to do this? No. HUD recently contacted ASHI to let us know they eliminated the Valuation Condition Sheet, an item that ASHI has expressed ongoing opposition to. They called to notify us and to ask for our assistance in communicating changes to both inspectors and homebuyers. We also were invited by HUD to participate in a series of roundtables on possible revisions to RESPA. Did they approach any other inspector associations on these items? I suspect you know the answer to this question by now.

Sound like I’m tooting ASHI’s horn a bit? You bet I am. Frankly, you should, too. You belong to the oldest, largest and most respected national home inspector association in North America. Your professionalism and involvement in ASHI keep us strong and growing. Don’t ever be afraid to tell other inspectors about ASHI for fear of helping your competitors. It’s far better to compete on an equal level with one who is worthy and fair than with one who has no interest in being so.