Simultaneous Diversity

March 10, 2006

Bob Kille Acuspect Home InspectionKnow what the worst number in business is? It’s the number One. One product, one service, one marketing strategy, one key client, one key market, you get the drift.

Relying on the “One” is a setup for disaster and why diversifying not only your business model but the way you think is worth considering.

Most self-employed inspectors think only in terms of “Present Income”, not in terms of locked-in future income or equity. Think retirement. You need to develop a business strategy that takes “both” into consideration through to implementation. An example of this would be thinking of your business as a job, to pay your bills, instead of as a way to retire with multiple income streams.

Consider this, most home inspectors try to achieve whatever success they seek sequentially. First, they get an education. Next, a job or start a business. Next, attempt to make a good income. Next, after about seven years they start to think about savings and retirement. And so on.

Entrepreneurs who get wealthy, and I’d like to someday count myself as one of them, live simultaneously, not sequentially. This is both a different mindset and the use of a different set of practical skills. Developing new ways to make your home inspection business grow and resources to do it requires “Thinking”, “Next step planning” and action.

The “Thinking” and “Next Step Planning” are two distinct aspects of a project and both must be given equal continual attention. Anytime you have to do something again and again, the systems approach is best. A to-do list just can’t handle the complexities of several open projects.

So, to this end I’ve been setting up a system for a “Daily” routine that involves planning and review of my projects. I’ll post some of my thoughts on what worked and didn’t as the year stretches on.

Copyright © 2005 by Bob Kille. To read other home inspection related articles or to view home inspection software and book publications by Mr. Kille, click on this link.


March 3, 2006

Bob Kille Acuspect Home InspectionSome times people just don’t get it, for whatever reason. Here I was at a re-inspection of a nice new big custom home at the pre-drywall stage. Our site supervisor is insisting that I shouldn’t ding him for a minor staircase imperfection of 1 inch in height difference between the risers.

With a big smile on my face and my head moving slightly left to right I waded in with the motor skills studies that determined why risers can be no more than 3/8ths difference in height.

His argument back to me was that the tile floor was not yet in place and that should bring up the lower riser by about 5/8ths of an inch, which by the way would put him at the 3/8th inch maximum tolerance from highest to lowest risers.

That sounded logical until I asked if the stairs were going to be left bare, without a floor covering of their own. To this he replied that, the carpet would be minimal in thickness and shouldn’t really be considered because it would only put the risers out of maximum tolerance by just a bit.

So if my math is approximately correct, carpet padding is about 1/4″ and the carpet itself even if on the thinnest of sides would measure at least 1/8″ in thickness, leaving a 5/8th difference in riser heights. Just a bit over the max of 3/8ths, a bit being 60%.

I received the same story again on how expensive it would be to start over to fix the slightly over tolerance issue. My first suggestion to him was to let the sub contractor worry about that and his first concern should be to the safety of the occupants. I could tell that I’d lost him on the safety concern so I put it another way.

Imagine, after documenting the safety hazard at the stairs you fail to do anything to correct it and someone get hurt using the stairs. I wouldn’t want to be the one explaining to a judge that it was just a “little bit” over tolerance would you?

Well, I thought I had em, but site supers can be tough minded and this one was no exception. His reply was that the boss wasn’t going to make him fix the dang stairs anyway as an accident is unlikely, so let’s just move on.

I paused a moment, and asked what’s going to happen when the house is resold and the home inspector declares the stairs a safety hazard? It’s clearly out of tolerance and the Registrar of Contractors Workmanship Standards would clearly dictate that the stairs be made safe, i.e. reconstructed.

Add attorney’s fee’s onto whatever it costs to reconstruct the stairs at that late date and your boss will probably see the wisdom in calling back the sub contractor to fix it now. “Whatever” is the educated response mumbled my way as he saunter off clearly disgusted with me, not wanting to discuss the rest of the list.

Funny how things work out. Not one hour after leaving the site I got a call to do a home inspection on a brand new home in the same neighborhood, same builder, different staircase, same stair problem. Yep, a 1″ difference at the first riser on a real nice all finished wood winding staircase, sides wood paneled with a nice custom Newell post at the first tread.

Whatever happens, and it won’t be coming out of my pocket.

Copyright © 2005 by Bob Kille. To read other home inspection related articles or to view home inspection software and book publications by Mr. Kille, click on this link.