January, 2016
Inspection News and Views from the American Society of Home Inspectors



On My Mind - Promoting ASHI as a Household Name

ALDEN E. GIBSON

At the Leadership Training Conference in October, some members asked about my experiences as ASHI President. One person wondered if being president had improved my business. My answer was no—although I’ve promoted ASHI in my region for years, it’s an ongoing battle to keep agents informed about the qualifications of home inspectors. I’ve used ASHI’s logo on my promotional materials, shirts and vehicles, but most real estate agents would prefer to use an inspector who is not as thorough and experienced as I am. Newer inspectors tend to miss things or soft-sell to the client to get referrals.

Agents who refer me will use my services regardless of what position I hold within ASHI, yet I believe it is every member’s responsibility to promote the organization. Having 6,000 members promoting ASHI can help make it a household name.

One person asked: In hindsight, would you serve as president again? Yes, I would. My home inspection business has provided a good full-time living for 23 years, and I also present seminars to realtors and first-time homebuyers. ASHI has given me and my business the direction required to be successful. I’ve received advice and knowledge by attending InspectionWorld® and chapter meetings and by holding chapter and national offices. I’ve learned practical information from my colleagues at events and activities. Home inspectors are willing to share their successes and failures—all you have to do is ask.

Another question was whether I lost money as a result of being ASHI President. Putting a price on friendships gained and knowledge acquired is impossible. That said, I spent 53 days on the road for ASHI last year, and I didn’t track the time spent handling communication or attending meetings. The time commitment definitely cut into the bottom line of my business; however, I was aware of what would be required before I ran for the position, so I have no regrets and will continue to pay it forward.

The theme “40 Years of Trust” highlights ASHI’s reputation and provides an opportunity to inform Realtors,® lenders, insurers, lawyers and the public about ASHI. Several years ago, ASHI launched a “branding” program with the hope of informing the public about the organization. Unfortunately, this program did not have full support and, as a result, it failed, wasting time, effort, money and volunteer resources.

Fortunately, ASHI learned from this experience because branding is still necessary. Using ASHI’s logo along with your company’s logo can help make the ASHI brand more recognized. Consider putting the ASHI logo on your uniform, communications and promotional materials to increase your own company’s credibility.

In St. Louis, it’s difficult to establish a successful home inspection business if the owner is not an ASHI member. ASHI’s St. Louis chapter has done a tremendous job educating realtors and the public about the qualifications of ASHI inspectors. Their branding has paid off for chapter members, and I congratulate them on their hard work in this area.

With 10% of all real estate agents completing 90% of the transactions, informing newly licensed agents of ASHI’s reputation can be a positive step toward ensuring your business’ continued success. Conducting seminars for agents and homebuyers can keep others informed of ASHI’s reputation and showcase your training and experience. You can use the presentations available on the “Member” section of ASHI’s website as part of your business marketing plan.

Years ago, I was invited to present information to a group of Realtors. Each inspector had 10 minutes to speak on a specific topic. The first three inspectors used most of their time to describe their business and express why they should be the home inspector of choice. The fourth inspector and I simply stated our names and used most of time to explain our topics, illustrating our knowledge and experience. You can guess which two of the five presenters were well-received and later received referrals from most of the agents in the audience. (The other three presenters? They lasted less than two years in the business.)

As I conclude my year as ASHI President, I ask you to do three things:
  • promote ASHI by using the logo on your business items
  • present at least one seminar for homebuyers and Realtors
  • bring a new member to ASHI

Finally, as ASHI celebrates its 40th birthday, I’d like to thank the founders and volunteers who made ASHI’s success possible. Thank you all for being a part of ASHI’s 40 Years of Trust.