June, 2014
From the ASHI President.
Inspection News and Views from the American Society of Home Inspectors



On my Mind

BILL LODEN

Public Relations Benefits ASHI

Why is ASHI “The most respected association for professional home inspectors?” First is the fact that we have the highest standards and the most rigorous certification process. Second, we work hard in promoting our association and members to the media.

Public relations are critical to the success of a professional association and its members. While we would like to think the public knows who we are and understands the benefits of the services our members offer, there will always be a need for us to promote our story to the public, creating a better understanding of the tremendous value of home inspections and all the services ASHI members provide.

In 2016 ASHI will turn 40 and compared to other professions, is still in the early stages of development. As a professional association, promoting the services provided by our members is vital.

To ensure ASHI has an effective public relation program, we have contracted with the public relations firm, Public Communications, Inc (PCI). With decades of experience promoting professional associations, PCI brings a wealth of experience to bear in crafting an effective PR campaign for ASHI. To the best of my knowledge, ASHI is the only association representing home inspectors with a public relations firm working to promote its members to a national audience.

This year PCI has been busy placing ASHI members in front of national media outlets. As a result of their work, in January during Inspection World I was interviewed by two national publications. First I spoke with Money Magazine about what prospective home buyers need to know about the inspection process for an article to be published in the next few weeks.

I then spoke with an editor at This Old House Magazine covering the topic of when a home inspection should be performed. I stressed that homes should be inspected not just by a buyer after the contract is signed but even earlier by the seller as they prepare the home for listing. While still a rarity in most markets, public awareness of the advantages of a pre-listing inspection has enormous potential to expand markets for home inspectors.

In the interview I also stressed the importance of “Peace of Mind Home Inspections” every five years for homeowners who are remaining in their homes. I explained that hidden problems can develop and the magnitude of the problem will grow with every day that it goes undetected. ASHI inspectors can provide homeowners with an unbiased assessment of the home and make recommendations on corrective action where needed, giving them peace of mind that their home is sound and safe.

In April, I was off to New York City on a PCI coordinated two day media tour to raise awareness about ASHI and cultivate future opportunities through strong relationships with media. During the course of the tour I met with editors and writers from four major national publications with a combined print circulation of 3.4 million households. In addition to the print publication, many of the articles from these magazines find their way to internet publication where they are viewed by millions more.

During the media tour I sat down with senior editors and writers from:

  • Popular Mechanics (Circulation 1,234,691)
    • We discussed material for an upcoming article on mistakes first time homebuyers make. Our message, “Always get a home inspection and you can find the most qualified inspectors at www.ashi.com.”
    • o We also talked about the changes in technology used by home inspectors over the past 20 years. Now it is rare to find an inspector without a moisture meter, digital camera and a computer generated report. Infrared was also pointed to as an up and coming technology to assist inspectors in providing a higher level of service. The editor was very interested in the patent issues currently surrounding the use of infrared by home inspectors, energy auditors and water remediation contractors.
  • This Old House (Circulation 966,817)
    • The assistant editor was interested in inexpensive home improvements and hidden home hazards.
  • HGTV Magazine (Circulation 350,000)
    • The senior editor was interested in material on winter home maintenance and wanted to know more about home safety issues for their “How Bad is it?” column.
  • Dr. OZ The Good Life (Circulation 800,000)
    • o The editorial assistant wanted information about indoor air quality along with summer and fall maintenance tips.
  • A post-tour interview was arranged with “The Money Pit,” a national radio show focused on home improvement and renovation. This show streams to more than 300 stations across the nation and its weekly podcast is downloaded by 200,000 listeners.

This is just a small sampling of the PR work being carried out by ASHI. PCI also calls on ASHI Certified Inspectors from across the country to work with local media to promote ASHI. Every dime spent by ASHI on PR brings back dollars to ASHI Inspectors. You can take that to the bank!