June, 2008

Inspection News and Views from the American Society of Home Inspectors

ASHI Helps Build Members' Businesses


Slow at best: That’s how you might describe the current real estate economy in central Florida. In March, I spoke with Bill Labita, Central Florida Chapter president, and learned the chapter was struggling to believe that there was anything to do but wait it out. Some inspectors have gone out of business. Others have pulled back. That is a natural reaction for people when they get scared or too cautious. When people get cautious, they recoil. That’s usually what causes things to get worse. Yet, when things are slow and seem hopeless, that is when we need to be creative and think outside the box.

During my conversation with Bill, we had an idea. I would meet with chapter members so I could show them how each member could diversify his/her business using the chapter, and strengthen the chapter and businesses together. There are just some things a smaller company can’t do on its own. Some of the contacts want companies that are bigger and cover a larger area. But because as a chapter member you are part of something bigger than yourself, you can diversify and bring in more business with less expenses.

Bill said that he was skeptical about how my seminar was going to help the chapter and the members’ individual businesses. He said the guys in his chapter are a tough crowd. They aren’t sure if they can afford the time to put toward ASHI in these slow times. After seeing the seminar, Bill said it was right on target with specific tools that each person who showed up could use to grow his/her business and the chapter. I did some research and used some of my contacts to get referrals in the Orlando area. These contacts want to use inspectors who could do inspections for their organization as long as they can cover the state of Florida. These organizations will use people from the chapter in the same area as the job.

Neal Fuller from Suncoast chapter, which is on the west coast of Florida, drove three and a half hours to attend this seminar. Neal stated, “Attending this training was a real eye-opener. It started me thinking of many ways to diversify, think outside the box and not be afraid to try different things. I believe these ideas work for any type of market because they promote the security factor. The long trip was so worth it, I would do it again without hesitation.”

Diversifying is not just in income. This is where people limit their beliefs. So, I show them how they can diversify in expenses and income for a better bottom line.

I have put together information from chapters, corporations and businesses across the country and Canada in a form that will help all businesses become more profitable. This is the year that ASHI is bringing this to the chapters. Central Florida was first. Who will be the next success story?

For years now, ASHI has been known in the industry as the leader and continues to excel in technical training. It is now time for ASHI to diversify. Let’s show people how to have successful business, too!

What’s Happening with the Vitality Sheet Information?

Inquiring minds want to know: What does the Chapter Relations Committee do with the vitality sheets the chapters have so diligently been sending in over the past few months?

The committee is taking note of what the vibrant chapters are saying is working for them so that information can be shared with chapters that could use some good ideas. I have been talking with chapters now for the better part of five years, and I’m regularly asked, “Well, what are other chapters doing?” The Chapter Vitality sheet allows us to share information and experiences throughout all of ASHI. When a chapter may need some assistance, we can share ideas from other chapters that have already gone through similar difficulties.

We can help chapters quickly move through growing pains, economic slowdowns and leadership struggles. This is the premise of the program that is being run in ASHI national this year. Some chapters want to know: “What is ASHI doing for the chapters?” Other chapters want ASHI to just let them do their own thing.

This indicates chapters are no different from the national economy. It is widespread and varying throughout the country and Canada. So, thank you all for your effort in filling out the vitality sheets. For those of you who are going strong, thank you for information to help your fellow chapters that can benefit from it. For those of you who are in a bit of a slump or need some information and assistance, thank you for your honesty and effort in filling out the questionnaire. This is one of the things that links us all together. It can make us better as an organization and better than any other inspection association.