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Kaplan ITA's Monthly Inspection Tips - Free Electronic Newsletter

November, 2003
How to Make Contacts and Get Referrals
Issue #19

Dear Inspector,

This month's discussion is by request. A reader submitted the topic "How to make contacts and get referrals."

There are many, many ways to network and make contacts. I would suggest picking three or four and doing them well and consistently. The following are methods that have worked for me, not necessarily the only methods of marketing.

Become active in your local home inspector association chapter. Volunteer on a committee or even the board. Offer to do an evening's education if you have useful information to share. A benefit of becoming active is the raising of your visibility within the inspector community. I found that this leads to referrals for inspections by other inspectors. They can't refer you if they don't know and respect you. Think about it, when an inspector gets a call for an inspection and cannot fulfill the time requirement, what is the next question from the person on the phone? It's "can you recommend someone."

Network in your own local business community. Join a networking club, such as a business exchange club (I believe LeTip is a national formula of this type of club). Their purpose is typically solely to understand each other's business and refer to each other. This type of club usually meets once a week for breakfast, so there is a long-term commitment.

Keep in contact with your existing clients. Develop marketing materials to send to past home inspection clients a few times a year to remind them to refer you to their friends, family and business associates. Remind them you are available for consultation regarding home maintenance inspections, new construction and remodeling inspections and so on. So many home inspectors overlook the repeat opportunity of the home inspection client.

Become the local inspection expert. Write useful information articles for your newspaper or magazine homeowners will read. Your advertising is the line at the end "provided courtesy of ------ home inspection company." Offer to do radio shows about home inspection. All of these activities raise your visibility.

Get a website! Many homebuyers now do their homework on the web. They want to view your service offerings and qualifications online. Some companies even offer scheduling on the web. Purchase your own domain name and have your website designed by a professional. Amateur websites look just that. Consider joining a popular web-based home inspector referral website.

You could consider joining the local association of REALTORS as an affiliate. I always chose to keep my relationship with real estate agents arm's length. However, I hardly ever turned down a referral from an agent, and knew many for over 15 years when I had an inspection firm in San Diego. I volunteered on a couple committees at the local association of REALTORS. Other members on the committee got to know me and referred me to their clients based upon mutual professionalism and competence, not any quid pro quo arrangement.

Above are just a few methods of marketing. There are many others we did not discuss due to space and time constraints. Above all, be persistent!


We'll talk next month,

Mike Casey
Kaplan Professional Schools
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