Anytime there’s even a whisper of economic uncertainty, it’s a great time to look at how recession-proof your home inspection business is.
The silver lining of a dip in the economy is that it creates a buyer’s market, which is prime time for great home inspectors. In a seller’s market, where there can be several buyers vying for one property, the tendency can be to waive inspections or to look for the fastest and cheapest home inspections.
The opposite is true in a buyer’s market, where prospective home buyers have many available options, giving them the time to have a thorough home inspection and be pickier about the condition of a home. This is excellent news for you, especially if you’re building your home inspection business.
Along with that silver lining, there are more things you can do to recession-proof your home inspection business so that you can thrive and even grow your business during a recession. More details on how to do this are below!
Recession-proof a home inspection career
As an individual, there are some key things that you can do to give yourself an edge during an economic downturn. By taking action on the tips below, you’ll make yourself professionally desirable and, therefore, less likely to be laid off or have trouble staying busy if work slows down for a time.
Invest in new skills and certifications. It might feel counterintuitive to spend money on certifications and new gear when there’s a downturn in the economy, but it can be the perfect way to give yourself an edge.
InterNACHI offers more than 60 additional certifications to diversify your skillset. Some are useful no matter your region, and some are more niche to certain areas. For example, if you’re in an area where many properties are on well water, becoming a Certified Well Inspector could be very useful. Choosing two or three additional certifications to add to your skillset is a great way to recession-proof your career.
If you’re not sure what additional certifications make the most sense for you, do some online competitor research! Look at other home inspectors and home inspection companies within an hour or two of your location, and see if you can identify gaps or common certifications that you might not have yet.
Aside from niche certifications that are relevant to specific locations, here are a few that are helpful to have no matter where you are:
- Mold Inspector
- Indoor Air Quality Inspector
- Moisture Intrusion Inspector
- Infrared Certified
- Certified Sewer Scope Inspector
Investing in your skills and education not only makes you a better choice for prospective clients but shows that you’re dedicated to your career, even during potentially slower times.
Be notably better than your competition. This might seem like obvious advice, but it’s worth discussing some ways you can stand out in a buyer’s market.
- Tighten up your reports and find additional ways to create even more user-friendly reports. Take a selfie with the family pet as a fun final photo in your report!
- Find some fun safety-related kid’s coloring pages or stickers to leave behind for families that have small kiddos. Small things that take you almost no extra thought or effort on your part can make a big impact on your clients, leading to referrals or a complimentary email to your boss, which never goes amiss!
- If you’re working for a home inspection company, talk to your boss about any certifications that they think would be useful for you to have. Taking the initiative to have the conversation tells your boss that you’re thinking about improving your skillset and how you can best help the company.
Recession-proof a home inspection business
Recession-proofing a home inspection business comes with a few things that you might expect, but also some that might feel counterintuitive. Stick with us; we’ll go through why the counterintuitive ones might be the best ways to build your home inspection business during a recession, not just get through it.
Don’t pull back on marketing spend. When it looks like there might be a slowdown in business, it’s the understandable reaction of many business owners to tighten the old belt, and marketing budgets tend to get pulled back first. Here’s why it’s better to spend more on marketing during an economic downturn, not less:
- We touched above on how a downturn can create a buyer’s market, meaning that there are more potential clients out there looking for home inspectors. They’re not pressured to close quickly and are more likely to shop around for home inspection companies.
- This is when you want to ensure your website is current; you’re front and center on search engines and pay-per-click ads on social media.
- Homebuyers have time to compare home inspection companies, so if your digital footprint is a bit shrimpy or hard to find, they’ll likely go with a company they perceive as more established and trustworthy.
- The majority of current consumers begin their search for a service on Google, then go to a company’s website and social media before reaching out in person. If you’re not present online, likely, prospective clients will never even know your company is an option.
Expand your services and offerings. This also ties back to the marketing point from above — if you expand your services, promote your new offerings! Consider the benefits of having more services to offer during a buyer’s market:
- In a buyer’s market, potential homebuyers are more likely to want to look more closely at a home, which makes it very likely that they’ll ask for additional inspection services, or, it will be an easy upsell.
- Certifications like Radon Testing, Infrared Thermography, Air Quality, Chimney Inspection, Mold Inspection, Sewer Scope Inspection, Home Energy Inspection, Roof Inspector, or Wind Mitigation Inspection are all potential additional services that are easy to add to a home inspection in a buyer’s market.
Work, work work. Many pros can coast for a bit during a recession, but you have the chance to work more than normal, and you should! Make hay while the sun shines, as they say. But, work smarter, not harder with the tips below:
- Consider bringing on great home inspectors that have been working solo. The possibility of a recession can cause inspectors who have been successful working alone to want to join a company for security. If you’ve had your eye on a hotshot inspector that’s currently your competition, it might be time to extend an olive branch.
- Put time into marketing. Take some time to create buyer personas for your target demographics. Once you have those, look for opportunities to market to them in channels you aren’t already using, and see if you can tailor your current advertising to resonate more with those buyer personas. (HubSpot has a great template for this here.)
If you’re not partnering with any real estate agents, this could be a great time to set up a few presentations to realtors to sell your services and get their referral business.
- Up your customer appreciation game. If you think you could be getting more referral business than you currently are, now’s the time to get that dialed in. Schedule follow-up calls and emails post-inspection, with enough time to let your potential homeowners absorb the report results. Many home inspectors deliver their report, and poof – never to be heard from again. This can leave the homeowner or buyer feeling lost about what they need to do with the report, especially if they’re new to the process. Scheduling follow-ups can be just the thing to ease some anxiety and get you a referral.
- Take the opportunity to streamline your workflow. The things we’ve touched on above all add work to your already full plate, but don’t worry, we have a solution for that, too. ISN’s Inspection Support software has features that can help you with everything we’ve discussed in this article and tons more.
If you were rolling your eyes at the thought of trying to remember or find the time to follow up with clients a week after you deliver your report, you can automate that! Email them that you’re there if they have any questions, set the time you want it to send, and you’re done! The same goes for marketing — you can schedule marketing emails ahead, taking the day-to-day responsibility of remembering each task off your plate. So, as we said, you can work smarter, not harder!
Whether you’re a home inspector working for a company or you own a home inspection company, an economic downturn puts you in the unique position of being able to grow your home inspection business during a recession. (You might not want to go boasting about that, though — not everyone is that fortunate!) By taking advantage of our tips and advice from this article, you might just find that not only did you recession-proof your home inspection business, but you were even able to come out the other side even stronger.