Hallmark “When You Care Enough”

August 8, 2005 · Print This Article

Bob Kille Acuspect Home InspectionI was reading an article about Joyce Hall, the founder of Hallmark greeting cards and thought I’d share his personal motto and how it fits into a business model. His motto is very similar to one I had adopted somewhere in my first year of business.

In his memoirs, “When You Care Enough.” Hall explains how he adapted a sign posted by one of his college professors, “Time is Money – save time” into a motto for himself: “Time is everything – save time”

In my business model I also hold a similar belief/motto, “Save Time – Create Relationships” This has proven itself, dare I say, time and time again.

Somewhere in your business model you have to address the issue of repeat business, how you’re going to get it. In every business there are only thee ways to grow a business; increase the number of customers, increase the average transaction value, and increase the frequency of repurchase.

For most of us, I’m referring to the home inspection businesses under five years, generating repeat referrals from your realtor contacts ( inspections ) may very well be a function of respecting their time. In my area, yours may be different; an average inspection time is about two hours. After that magic number expires the realtor starts to get annoyed and doesn’t really care how good you are anymore, they’ve got places to go and your holding them up. This especially applies to the high producer types.

My business model takes into consideration how long an inspection takes, where can I reasonably save time while still staying within the standards of practice and completing a competent home inspection on site. The business decision of doing the most comprehensive and all-inclusive inspection versus an on site inspection that is competent and referral generating is one worth considering.

For example, I don’t include photos in my residential reports as it takes an extra ten to fifteen minutes. This ten minutes would more times than not put me over the two hour self imposed limit. Remember, I’m doing the report on site, printed and handed over with an explination of the summary items. That’s a whole lota stuff to get in in less than two hours.

I did some homegrown research on the whole business of photo inclusion in the reports and here is what I found out. I asked fifty realtors if they would rather leave ten to fifteen minutes earlier or have photo’s included in the report; here’s what happened. A total of four out of fifty realtors stayed the extra ten to fifteen minutes. All four of them had out of town buyers who weren’t present at the inspection.

Before I get slammed, by all you inspectors who include photo’s in your reports, I will admit that using photo’s is one of the factors involved with getting higher referral rates from past home buyers. At this point in my business I get 70% of my business from realtor referrals. As the years go by, and my prices have increased, so have my past customer referrals. It may be time to start looking at a limited number of photo’s in my report and putting a little more effort into past customer marketing to increase the number of non-realtor referrals.

The “Time Is Everything – Save Time” motto seemed to work out ok for Mr. Hall and my own interpretation of the saying “Time Is Money” hasn’t hurt me any either.

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. www.inspectorsuccess.com

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