Last month, I shared the story of how I unexpectedly fell ill and had to go to the hospital during an inspection. I’d like to follow up this month and talk about how that sort of situation can affect your business. I’m sure most of us think about this once in a while, especially when we don’t feel well. I’ll speak to the issue from the point of view of a single inspector company.
Several things can come into play when you can’t make it to an inspection. Let’s look at the simplest scenario: It’s the day of an inspection and you just are not feeling well, so you decide to cancel or postpone. Depending on how you booked the inspection, you’ll call either the client or the agent as soon as you know that you won’t be able to do the inspection. Making this call as early as possible is of vital importance to maintain that element of trust with your clients. Remember, several people have planned this day to be the one for completing the inspection. If you think about it, you’re not the only player involved. The buyer’s agent has scheduled time with the selling agent to have access to the home, and the selling agent has arranged for the seller to accommodate this time. It’s possible that the buyer has scheduled some ancillary services, such as a termite inspection, a chimney inspection or a sewer scope, so the timing of those appointments could be affected as well. Hopefully, you can reschedule your inspection for another day and any others can keep their scheduled appointments.
Short-term illnesses are usually not a problem, although they are not what we desire. A worst-case scenario is when a short-term illness turns into an extended condition that puts you out of commission for several weeks or more. This could have a dramatic effect on your business and income. A good business plan should include a plan of action. But where do you start and how do you put a plan together?
Previously, I’ve mentioned how important our chapters are and how getting involved can help you get to know other inspectors you can trust. Having someone you can call on in case of an emergency or an extended illness is another reason why it’s so important to know other inspectors and be known by them. These relationships are built at chapter meetings. Once you’ve established these relationships, it’s much easier to work out a plan for someone to help you out until you get back on your feet. For example, at chapter meetings, you could seek out newer inspectors who maybe don’t have a full schedule yet and approach them to be your contract employees if and when you need someone to fill in for you. My point is, if you don’t think about this possibility ahead of time and have a plan in place, you could be left struggling to set up things when you are least able to spend your time or energy figuring it out.
Call to Action! I’d like to ask ASHI’s chapter leaders to think about making this a discussion topic at your upcoming meetings. It makes sense that this would be a great conversation to start among inspectors. Many times I’ve heard Russell Daniels, ASHI Assistant Executive Director and Director of Membership and Chapter Relations, say, “Welcome to the ASHI family.” This is exactly the sort of “family thing” he’s referring to—inspectors helping inspectors.
Too many times I hear people complain that “chapters are archaic” and “times have changed” and “I can get all I need online.” It’s just not true. You can do more for yourself and your business by developing personal bonds with other inspectors at your chapter meetings.
Let’s face it—at some time you may need help with your inspection schedule because of an unexpected situation. You need to have a plan in place to deal with these kinds of bumps in the road, and your chapter is the best place to start. I encourage you to attend your chapter meetings. Get to know other inspectors and become known by them. Then, above all, do the best job you can do and earn others’ respect.