Marketing Your Building Inspection Business – Some Old Fashioned Tips

As a building inspector you will most likely be in charge of marketing your business, unless of course you can afford to hire a marketing consultant. I write a lot about social media to market your business however there are  a number of other ways that are effective, and will have that little bit of a WOW factor. Here are a few tips:

Keep a Database. 

Even if it’s an Excel spreadsheet it’s always good to keep a database so you can send out marketing emails and keep notes of your clients and prospects. Your clients can be your biggest advocate and once you have finished your property inspection it’s always good to keep in touch. There are a number of ways to do this including a weekly or monthly email campaign.

I personally prefer to keep an electronic database and one affordable ‘in the cloud’ system is www.zoho.com which you can sign up for and add your clients, prospects and suppliers. Here you can also add when your customer last purchased from you and information that you can use to nurture your customers and prospects, i.e. writing down their birthday if you know it, or sending a card to them on the anniversary of purchasing their new home. These sorts of databases or (CRM) as they are called are the best way to keep up to date information on your clients. As well you can set yourself tasks to do and reminders i.e. as mentioned before to send out a Happy Anniversary card on your client’s new home.

Send a handwritten thank you card

Most of us are inundated with email and electronic communication, and it’s rare to actually receive anything in the mail anymore. One tip you can do is send a card to your clients thanking them for their business. I have had branded postcards made up in the past as thank you cards. It’s a nice touch and is memorable.  Here’s an example of something you can design a personalised postcard with room to write a handwritten message on the back (see below). I created this one in www.canva.com for this blog post.

 

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Referral Program

What better way to get new clients than referrals from happy customers? Create a referral program that offers a discount off your client’s next property inspection or send a gift card for referrals that turn into paying clients. For example: Refer a client and if they become our customer we will send you $50 voucher to spend at (name a store). You will need to add terms to your website for doing this with the conditions.

These are just a few little tips that could help you grow your business by making your clients feel appreciated.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Deb Carr is the publisher of a popular Sydney Lifestyle Blog and Social Media Marketer as well as the Marketing Consultant for Housesafe.

www.debcarr.com

 

Template letter for Building Inspectors to lobby Government for Regulation of the Industry

EmailingFor Housesafe Inspectors who wish to lobby the Government or Industry Bodies please copy and paste the draft letter below or download the Word Document and fill in your details.

DOWNLOAD WORD DOCUMENT

 

Your Name
Address

Date

(To Government or Industry Body)

Dear XXX

I wish to bring to your attention the unmitigated risk to property purchasers in Australia who rely on a pre-purchase building and or pest inspector to discover the effects of defects, termites and safety issues in a potential purchase of property.

The risk I refer to is due to this inspection industry not being regulated in all States (except QLD) and allowing building and or pest inspectors to set themselves up in business without the proper training, education, certification and even not having professional indemnity and public liability insurance.

I am aware that Howard Ryan, Managing Director of Housesafe Training and Education (www.housesafetraining.com.au) has been lobbying sectors within Government departments for many years about regulating the industry, which still seems to be falling on deaf ears.

As a professional, insured and trained building inspector myself, I therefore request you urgently look into this matter to help ensure that property buyers are not risking financial ruin.

Yours Sincerely,

 

Name
Company

 

 

Marketing Your Building Inspection Business on Instagram

By HouseSafe’s Marketing Consultant: Deb Carr

Instagram is a great tool for any business owner to help market their business. The trick is not to make your account all about your business, it’s about showcasing amazing photos, using clever hashtags and building a following. Personally, my instagram is also linked to both my websites so as soon as I’ve posted something on Instagram it’s automatically populated to my website. In fact, I have ensured that all my social media platforms are also posted straight to my websites.

Building inspectors may think that instagram would not help their business, however I’d like to challenge that thought becuase there are many ways you can build a following.

Before you create your Instagram account it’s important that you have a really good profile set up with your website. If you would like to see how I’ve done it go please have a look at my Instagram.

HouseSafe InstagramYou will note that I have used a separate line for each of the points I want to get across. I have also included an emoticon on each line for more interest and finally my blog url. NOTE: You can’t actually do the separate lines in each Instagram itself so with my iPhone (and I’m sure Android would have something similar) I wrote my BIO with the emoticon’s in NOTES which does allow me to create separate lines and then I copied and pasted it into my Instagram BIO. This only shows up on the phone though, not when you actually use a computer to check out the profile.

Another important first step is thinking carefully about what the name of your Instagram account will be. It’s getting harder to actually find good names on social media these days, as many are taken however do try and keep it close to your business name as you can. For instance I could not get “sydneychic” so I had to go for “sydneychicblog”.

Once you have established your account think of the #Hashtags you will regularly use. There is a good APP you can download called “TagsForLikes” which you can copy and paste popular tags. I try not to put too many tags in because it can look spammy. Think of tags as ‘keywords’ or words that other Instagram users will look for that may help them to follow you.

Next is to think of a way to make a really unique Instagram account. One example of a Tradie friend of mine is www.instagram.com/tradiefit – Andrew is a carpenter who has built a good following by taking photos of himself as a tradie in his fitness. I’ve seen his Instagram account skyrocket in a short time because he takes great photos and sticks to his theme.

Some ideas you could go with as a building inspector are:

  • Great Gardens
  • Amazing Houses in Your Area
  • Your Hobby
  • Foodie
  • Best Sunsets
  • Cars

These are just a few examples, what I am saying is you don’t have to post “building inspection” create a great theme and build from there.

To gain a great following post really good photos. I post one or two a day and I try and do it in peak hour commuter times. I also use a number of APPS to enhance the photos one of those is called “Studio” available in the app store. Your photos can also be enhanced using the many filters that come with Instagram.

One word of warning, never buy followers, it’s so easy to see who buys followers and likes and it instantly screams ‘not authentic’.

Once you start posting on Instagram, the best way to organically grow your following other accounts that you like and start liking and commenting on their posts.

It may not bring you a flood of customers, however it’s another way of getting your brand out there.

If you have a question please don’t hesitate to ask me on the Forum.

Deb is the Marketing Consultant for Housesafe and Editor of Sydney Lifestyle Blog; Sydney Chic.

www.debcarr.com

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The Gulf Between Real Estate Agents and Building Inspectors

The Gulf Between Real Estate Agents and Building Inspectors

Housesafe Certified Inspectors

Housesafe OrangeThe “Housesafe Certified Inspectors Course” Application and Declaration form.

If you wish to become a Housesafe Certified Inspector and move to the next phase in your sales and marketing please complete this form and return to us for matriculation. This course will be released to begin in September 2015, all around Australia.

This has never been done before and based on the research we have conducted both in Australia and Internationally only good can come for its release.
A verification process happens behind the scenes in Housesafe so proof is assessed prior to matriculation into this Certified Course.

DOWNLOAD APPLICATION FORM

Ten tips for swimming pool safety

Ten tips for swimming pool safety:

  1. Have your pool barrier inspected annually by  an accredited Housesafe Swimming Pool Safety Inspector
  2. Ensure the pool barrier is 1.2m high
  3. The gap under the pool barrier MUST NOT exceed 100mm
  4. The pool barrier gate must be SELF-LATCHING from any position
  5. A 900mm NO CLIMB ZONE applies on the outside of the barrier from the top edge out 900mm and radius downwards
  6. The boundary barrier (neighbour’s fence) must be a minimum of 1.8m high
  7. A 900mm NO CLIMB ZONE applies on the inside of the boundary barrier from the top edge out 900mm and radius downwards
  8. The ground under the pool barrier gate posts must be of stable materials
  9. A CPR chart MUST BE clearly displayed 1
  10. No hand holds and foot holds available within a 900mm radius of each other

Mould: It’s a serious problem

MouldMould SporesMould is dangerous and in extreme cases it can call serious illness and death. Notably it is reported that Brittany Murphy and her husband both died of respiratory problems, which could have been related to mould in their home.

Three causes of mould are:

  • Rising damp in the home
  • poor drainage around the house
  • lack of ventilation due to no fresh air, even in winter it’s best to some windows open, especially in bathrooms

Any home with rising damp should be repaired as soon as possible.

Causes of dampness can be:

  • gardens with ponding waters
  • lack of drainage
  • lack of ventilation in the subfloor
  • damaged gutters and pipes

One very serious issue with mould is it can cause mycotoxins or ‘toxic mould’. Only a qualified expert should remove these types of moulds. When cleaning mould from the home, be cautious that you could be breathing in the spores and the bottom line is you need to get to the cause of the problem. This is why only a qualified inspector specialising in mould should assess the situation and recommend a solution.

Mould can cause breathing problems therefore any household members suffering from such ailments, mould should be investigated as the cause.  Temporary accommodation for the patient is recommended until the problem is resolved.

 

Asbestos Dangers

Housesafe Asbestos TrainingAsbestos is thought to have been only used in buildings, however it was also used in car clutches, paints, roofing, floor tiles and cement, to name a few.

Asbestos is a fibrous mineral with properties that make it heat and fire resistant and was used extensively prior to the discovery of the material being a high risk to human health. Unfortunately asbestos causes many health hazards and is notorious for causing lung problems such as Asbestosis (scarring of the tissue) Mesothelioma (a form a cancer of the mucous membranes of lungs and chest) and Lung Cancer. All dreadful and painful diseases.

The reason that Asbestos is so dangerous is because of the fibres which can become airborne and lodge into the lungs. Asbestos in home building materials does not become a health risk unless the material is deteriorating or disturbed producing dust that contains the asbestos fibres.

In the past, Asbestos was used as an insulator for buildings and many buyers are deterred if Asbestos is discovered in the home. A qualified building inspector should be able to find any signs of Asbestos during the inspection and give you a report and recommendation.

If your building inspector finds Asbestos it may not necessarily be dangerous, however make sure it is mentioned in the building report and negotiate with the vendor to reduce the price of the home and/or have an agreement that the vendor pays for an Asbestos removal specialist or to have the Asbestos encapsulated.

For building inspectors wishing to specialise in Asbestos and Mould please consider the Housesafe Mould and Asbestos Identification Course

Hidden water damage

Hidden water damage can be extremely harmful to your home and can arise from a number of sources including: burst pipes, leaking roofs, floods and seepage. Unfortunately you may not be able to immediately see the damage and the cause could be from a slow flow of water, which can result in problems such as damage to foundations, corrosion of pipes, mould and unpleasant smells.

If you suspect hidden water damage or mould then leave it to the experts and call a qualified building inspector to access the situation and recommend solutions. Repairing hidden damage will depend on the source and it may not be covered by insurance so check your insurance policies.

Mould can cause severe health problems and is a situation needing a qualified inspector to remove it who will be equipped with the relevant protective clothing and knowledge. Attempting to remove mould yourself is not recommended due to the risk of health problems.

To find a Housesafe trained certified inspector click here.

The photos below consist of:

  • Mould damage to a lounge suite
  • Wet and damp sub floors
  • Leaking roof in new construction damaging plasterboards under
  • Wall damaged paintwork caused by roof leaks
  • Roof flashings installed incorrectly and in reverse
  • Roof tiles poorly installed causing roof leaking under
  • Leaking under sliding doors
  • Waterproofing installed in a bathroom and sometimes the shower screen trades cut this flashing to install their shower screens on top of the tiles without the intended water stop angle = a shower leak

Water Damage in Homes

How to find the most qualified building inspector

When looking for the services of qualified building inspector Housesafe recommends the following:

  • Ask if they HouseSafe accredited? Ask this question. Housesafe Accredited means they have had the appropriate training with housesafe.
  • Ask the inspector to supply a copy  of their current PI insurance (Certificate of Currency for Professional Indemnity.) This way you know both YOU and the inspector are covered in the event that something is not shown in the report.
  • Check the background of the inspector; most States don’t require the inspector to have a builder’s licence or background.
    A Pre-Purchase Inspector does not need to hold a Builder’s License. However a Building Inspector should!
  • Ask for a recent copy of the inspector’s report to see how much detail has been noted.
  • Here is our directory of qualified inspectors that we recommend.
  • Do an internet search on the building inspector to check any negative feedback and also positive feedback.
  • The cost of a standard Pre-Purchase Building Inspection Report will depend on ability. As a guidance only, the fee should be between $400 and $1,000 depending on the inspector’s experience and the size of the property. You get what you pay for so take this into consideration.
  • If a building inspector can’t provide you with any of the above information then keep searching for someone who can.
  • Ask for references.