January, 2019

Inspection News and Views from the American Society of Home Inspectors


The Real Value of Value-Added Services to Become a True One-Stop Shop

CHRISTOPHER CASEY

According to Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/One_stop_shop), a one-stop shop, store or source is a business that offers a variety of services so that “customers can get all they need in just ‘one stop.’ The term originated in the United States in the late 1920s or early 1930s to describe a business model offering customers the convenience of having multiple needs met in one location, instead of having to ‘drive all over the town’ to attain related services at different stores.” Today, the term “one-stop shop” can be used to describe a website, a TV show or even a home inspection business—essentially anything for which “people can find most of what they need, including information, in one place.”

"Most value-added services help to alleviate fear of the unknown for your client."

Are you providing a variety of value-added services that complement your home inspections and enhance your worth in the eyes of your clients? That is the big–money question.

Value-added services for home inspectors are dominating conversations at educational conferences, chapter meetings and online via social media platforms. So, why all the buzz? Why should you be paying close attention and converting your business into a one-stop shop for your clients?

The answer is simple—if you fail to pay attention to how your industry is changing and what your competition is providing to clients, you will fall behind. Many value-added services that home inspectors embrace today are relatively simple to learn and execute, provide real value to clients and generate tangible incremental revenue to the bottom line. Most value-added services help to alleviate fear of the unknown for your client—for example, they will be more informed about issues like mold, radon, water leaks, poor air quality, sewer backup and termites.

Let’s do a quick overview of value-added services being offered by home inspectors across the country. I preface this list by saying that not all inspectors in every state will either want or be able to offer these services. Some states have protective licensing requirements that create barriers to entry. Some regions have better temperatures for certain services, some have bigger issues with mold, some have geologic issues that create higher levels of gas emissions and so on. Review this list, knowing that you may need to confirm with your peers, association leaders or state agency representatives to ensure that you can offer these services after your research confirms that you would like to. And also confirm by talking with your clients!

What you should understand to become a one-stop shop:

Including infrared (IR) inspection in a basic home inspection service can add $40 to $60 per inspection. 

Including a radon inspection can add $150 to $300. Depending on the region of the country in which you live and work, this service can quite literally be a value-added service that is expected by your clients (see EPA Radon incidence map).



If you’ve been keeping track, you know that the value-added services you could offer can literally double your average home inspection revenue. That should be very interesting to you as a small business owner. 

Why offer value-added services that make sense for your business as well as for your clients? The answer is simplicity! You make the life of the real estate agent (your best source of recommendations and repeat business) easier because the agent can come to the property once, make a single call for their clients to schedule multiple services and rely on you more heavily to be the subject matter expert on a wider array of services. Similarly, you make the life of your client easier because, by being a one-stop shop, your clients can consolidate their efforts to secure an evaluation of their prospective home with one expert. And last, the one reason that I often discuss at length with home inspectors as fellow small business owners, is that understanding how to build a business is different from how to build yourself a job.  

 

Working smart instead of always working hard means recognizing and embracing change. One high-value, high-quality inspection with one or several value-added services each day might not generate as much as completing two inspections in a day, but it might! And then, as your business continues to grow, you could hire and train someone to complete that second inspection per day. That employee then can cover for you when you’re sick, want to attend a child’s event or take a vacation and still generate income. This is just my two cents—I have nothing against one-person operations. I know that hundreds of you are very successful and very satisfied having no employees. But regardless of your goals for your own business, please recognize that being a one-stop shop will help your business grow!

Christopher Casey is President and CEO of Monroe Infrared Technology, a 34-year young, veteran-owned small business based in Brunswick, Maine. He’s a West Point graduate with a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering and a master’s degree in Business Administration from St. Martin’s University. Since 1990, Chris has held leadership positions with regional and national companies for which his expertise in organizational management and creative problem solving has led to substantial growth. Since 2011, Christopher has led Monroe Infrared, a professional infrared training, sales and inspection services company recognized throughout the country for its customer-focused mission to help clients both large and small. He is a Certified Thermographer, a sought-after speaker at national, regional and state conferences, and an active small business mentor around the country. Christopher is the father of five children, enjoys biking, swimming and laughing with family and friends.