January, 2008
From the ASHI President.
Inspection News and Views from the American Society of Home Inspectors



Listening to the Membership

FRANK LESH

I can’t believe it’s been a year! Time really does fly when you’re having fun … and life is just too short. In the January 2007 Reporter, I said, “As incoming President, I have lots of ideas. Some you may agree with, some you won’t. But there is one thing I’d like to promise to you: I will always listen. Shut up and listen. Hear what you say. Incorporate your best ideas. All I ask is that you let me know what you think.”

I’ve heard a lot of good thoughts from the over a dozen chapters, state associations and international associations I visited this year. We’ve managed to incorporate many of the suggestions. Here’s a list of some of the things I heard:

1. We need affordable health insurance.
2. We need more ancillary services to increase our income and diversify our business.
3. We need better communication within the society.
4. We need a way for ASHI inspectors to separate themselves from other inspectors, especially in regulated states.

To answer #1:
We teamed with Empyrean Benefits Solutions. Members can compare/shop for health care coverage by calling toll-free at 866-416-8935 or using the link under Resources/Partner programs on the ASHI Members Only Extranet. I encourage you to shop and compare what you have now with what else is available. You may be able to save a bundle of money.

To answer #2: As I write this, we are finalizing a contract with the premier home energy auditing company in the United States. ASHI will verify that the participants of the course have fulfilled the requirements necessary to earn their certificate of completion. This will allow inspectors an opportunity to bolster their income by providing homeowners with much-needed information on energy savings. This program will also generate much-needed non-dues revenue for ASHI.

To also answer #2: Another income-generating source for ASHI inspectors is the HomeOwners Insurance Survey Form. Around 2,000 forms were used in 2007, generating $300,000 for the ASHI inspectors using them. The form can be used for natural disasters across the country such as hurricanes, wildfires, earthquakes, floods and tornados. We have worked on this form for several years. As you might imagine, getting insurance companies to use something they did not develop themselves is quite a task. But with the persistence of men like Bill Mason, Mike Conley, Jay Balin, Tore Knos and Marvin Goldstein, we are finally able to reap the rewards of this blossoming field.

To answer #3:
Since the Internet is the preferred method of mass communication today, the Board of Directors formed a Task Force to totally revamp the ASHI Web site. If you haven’t seen it yet, you’ll be in for a pleasant surprise because it is much easier to use and will be far more helpful for our members as well as the homebuying public. We’ve also streamlined the First Thing
e-newsletter. It has many useful items with links to more details.

To answer #4:
Better online education is one of our goals for 2008. Separating ASHI members from other inspectors is getting harder. When a state becomes regulated, the line between inspectors blurs because the general public thinks we’re all the same. From a purely marketing standpoint, I’d recommend emphasizing the qualifications necessary to become an ASHI Certified Inspector. But to really rise to the top of the profession, I think all ASHI inspectors should go through a peer review.

I was invited to England this past spring to speak about ASHI. Mike Parrett, the Brit who helped get ASHI’s name in front of the British inspection industry, had been to a Great Lakes Chapter Peer Review and asked me to explain it to the audience. They immediately recognized the benefit of the peer review process and would like to implement one there. The Canadian Association
of Home and Property Inspectors has instituted their Test Inspection with Peer Review (TIPR). Over 200 CAHPI members have taken the review, with a long waiting list. North Carolina ASHI uses the Peer Review process. ASHI Western Washington and Central Illinois ASHI are also interested in using it. These organizations all realize the value this type of education has to boost the credentials of their members. Do you think your chapter is ready to test its mettle? If you want to take the challenge, contact David Bunker, GLC’s Peer Review chair, at david@biconsortium.com.

I hope all of you have enjoyed reading these rants of mine as much as I’ve enjoyed writing them. The fact is, all I did was relate the experiences I was fortunate enough to encounter from ASHI members #1-#248xxx.