In case you haven’t noticed, our business is changing and our association must also change. The branding project accomplished a great deal to help with internal changes. And, ever-changing technology allows us to communicate with each other more often and with greater ease.
Other changes are external to our Society —not within our control or influence. While that same technology makes it possible to perform inspections faster, there is more to inspect; along with that comes more responsibility and exposure to liability.
You may have noticed there are more inspectors operating in your service area, resulting in market shrinkage and forcing creative pricing tactics. Or, maybe you are now operating under legislative controls that may not have existed when you started your business. Real estate activity in some markets is downright dismal. There is little to do but watch, wait and plan marketing strategies.
Then, there are competing virtual association groups tugging harder for your dues dollars and confusing inspectors and consumers alike. The truly funny thing is there isn’t a group out there that doesn’t have ASHI’s fingerprints somewhere in its standards and ethics, which originated from within our committees.
Another change for many is the face and language of our clients–some are bilingual and have recently immigrated to this country. I always consider it a small honor to perform an inspection service for someone who doesn’t speak our language, yet puts his or her trust in my hands to highlight building conditions that might affect his or her purchase. Imagine if you just landed in another country with your family and had to rely on a complete stranger to complete a large purchase that will affect your family. Interestingly, my most-distant inspection referral to date came from a client who read my company name and contact number from a recommended list of stateside businesses to contact when purchasing a house in North Jersey... that list was located in a Taiwan relocation office. Talk about cool beans!
Speaking of languages, ASHI recognizes this trend and the need to print our Standards and Ethics in Spanish. There are some in our society who consider this an affront to their sensibilities, desiring instead to hold fast to the belief that our materials should be printed in English and only English. Remember this simple fact: all breathing souls reading this message have roots in a different land. Don’t worry...your association is not promoting that we have a second language, any language for that matter, other than the one language that binds us all. Nevertheless, the simple act of offering two documents in Spanish has already produced big dividends, including invitations to address the National Hispanic Caucus in D.C. Your association is on the move and being recognized by significant players. A big thank you goes to Joey Caballero, an outstanding ASHI Member from Florida, and Frank Lesh, our president elect, for doing a great job representing us in a recent D.C. meeting.
ASHI also was invited to present home inspection information and legislative trends to interested parties on the Commonwealth island of Puerto Rico. I can hear it already: sun, fun, surf (which was smoking at over eight feet) and Joe working on his tan...I only wish. That will have to wait until I return to the island with my wife. This meeting took months to coordinate and it generated island interest that packed a meeting hall, including attendance by our Caribbean member Adrian Bishop, St. Thomas, Virgin Islands, who is excited to be part of a new Caribbean Chapter that’s starting out as a SIG of the FLASHI Florida Chapter. To say ASHI was well received at the several meetings that occurred over the two-day visit is an understatement.
Other changes are afoot as ASHI continues to reach out and foster goodwill with fellow groups within our industry that adhere to real standards. If ever there was an association that resembles ASHI it is CREIA—the California Real Estate Inspectors Association. I personally refer to them as a ‘sister’ group of true professionals.
In January ‘07, we will have the honor of co-hosting InspectionWorld with CREIA in Anaheim, California. I encourage everyone to attend and be part of the largest, most respected conference representing our profession. I hope to see everyone there: participating, learning and supporting our association.