November, 2017
Feature
Inspection News and Views from the American Society of Home Inspectors



Score One for the Big Guys!

ASHI STAFF



T
he Home Energy Score fits multi-inspector firms like a glove. The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Home Energy Score is a perfect example of an ancillary service that pays dividends for a home inspection business of any size—it’s a proven winner for any inspector who wants to offer a full range of solutions to homebuyers and to be seen as a leader in a changing industry. 

That said, there are some aspects of the Home Energy Score that make it especially well-suited to larger firms, and since the program is now gaining some real traction in that sector of our industry, this article will speak to those larger operations in particular.

Getting on Board
Ask any home inspector who’s been through it—the DOE’s simulated, video-game-style (“Sim”) training for the Home Energy Score might be a great source of building science knowledge, and a nifty technological achievement besides, but it also can be a lonely slog if you’re left to tackle the training on your own.

Larger firms usually turn a group of inspectors loose on the Sim at once, which means that they can help each other through any sticking points they encounter (tech-savvy young people helping the older ones, for a change) and share in the celebration of passing the test.

If you can bring together even a small group—people within the same firm or people within the same ASHI chapter, for example—the DOE team and their partners at ID Energy will conduct a Sim training webinar for the team at no cost. And if you put together a group of 20 or more people, that same DOE team will come to your office to conduct “boot camp” training so that your team members can be scoring homes in record time!

The Home Energy Score report is easy for homebuyers to understand, contains valuable (and marketable) information and can be completed in 30 minutes. 


Sales Pros Know the Score
As you read in previous issues of the Reporter, we’ve been covering the fact that a home’s energy performance is more on the minds of homebuyers than many inspectors realize. This trend is becoming undeniable and it can be seen by a taking a look at any of the online real estate portals, where energy information about home is being incorporated faster than anyone can keep track.

Business-savvy inspectors across the spectrum are responding to this new market. Large firms in particular are directing their sales and marketing efforts toward providing a service that meets this growing market need, offers exceptional credibility benefits and generates attractive margins.

Firms are leveraging the expertise imparted by the Home Energy Score Assessor designation and logo in their messaging, using DOE-developed sales presentations to impress their real estate agent networks and employing the Score as a great way to reach out to former clients with a valuable follow-up service.

Similarly, larger firms often are better able to uphold the “one-stop shop” business model, in which they make available the fullest range of profitable inspection services to every client.Many of them are adept at recognizing the competitive advantage that comes with being an early adopter of those same offerings. This is the position that new firms taking on the Score find themselves in right now. 

Bigger Shops Can Mean Better Processes
Many big firms became “big”, in part,  because they learned how to do things efficiently. When it comes to programs like the Home Energy Score, a single operator who delivers a Score only every now and then might never develop a smooth enough process to achieve “efficient” status. A larger firm, on the other hand, has the ability to truly evaluate the program’s in-field requirements, cut out unnecessary steps and maximize inspector productivity through trial and error—essentially, to get the most customer value and operator profit from a service.

Furthermore, large firms have the inspection volume and field-won expertise to offer a loud and welcome voice for the DOE’s program itself. ASHI members’ inspection firms were instrumental in developing the Home Energy Score’s current inspector-friendly structure, and the energetic inspectors now taking part in the program can expect to earn a seat at this expanding table as the industry evolves toward high-profile energy information.

For more information or to get your firm on the fast track to offering the Home Energy Score to your clients, please contact Jen Gallegos at jeng@ashi.org.