Episode 92

full
Published on:

23rd Oct 2023

Home Inspection Business Insights: Current Landscape and Future Trends

Davy sits down with Mike Crow to discuss what the home inspection business look like today. Mike touches on what the current demand is for a home inspection, how is that affected by the market, how inspection fees are changing and most importantly what you as a business owner can do to adapt for the future.


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Who is Mike Crow?

Mike Crow is a Marketing and Business Expert who has built and managed multiple 7-figure businesses, including two 7-figure inspection firms.

For the past 15 years, he's coached thousands of other inspection business owners and has personally helped 100+ companies grow to $1,000,000+ in annual revenue. He has also helped multiple single-inspector operations earn 6-figure annual revenues (some surpassing $300,000).

Mike can teach any entrepreneur how to systematize and market their business to achieve their personal and professional goals.

Transcript
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Hi, this is Mike Crow and I run a home inspection business.

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In fact, I've run a couple of home inspection businesses.

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The true joy for me though, has been helping literally thousands of

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home inspectors build really solid home inspection business as well.

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We can help a single man operation be able to do over $300,000 a year,

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maybe all the way up to $400,000 a year as a single inspector operation.

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Even better for me is the 80 plus companies that we have helped

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be able to build million dollar home inspection businesses.

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I would like to help you be able to do the same thing.

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Hey, I'm Davy Tyburski.

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You may know me as America's Chief Profit Officer.

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And of course, today I have Mike Crow, the father of home inspector marketing.

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Today's topic is home inspection business.

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So we're going to dive into a few questions we've received and also in

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doing some research to really dive into the home inspection business in general.

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So Mike, I'm going to start with a simple question for you is, you

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know, what's the current demand for home inspections in the market?

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And what do you expect to see as far as growth or declines in the near future?

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These are great questions.

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Okay.

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You know, I've been at this since 1985, right?

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Oh, decades, decades, decades.

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Decades.

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And so when I first came into the home inspection business, you

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know, only about 20 percent of people Even new home inspections

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existed and probably 80 percent of those would get a home inspection.

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So, do your calculations based off of that.

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The good news nowadays is that almost everybody has heard about home inspections

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and probably 80 plus percent of them are getting home inspections as well.

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The demand for home inspections is a very interesting question because it really

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depends on the marketplace a little bit.

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It depends on, you know, if it's a really heavy seller's market.

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People are bypassing their inspection, and we see some people in the last several

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years, and we'll see it again in the future, where people are going, Oh, no,

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no, I, I, I, I will waive my inspection so I get a chance to live in this home, okay?

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80 plus percent of those people regret that, okay?

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And it's a, it's a very interesting thing.

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And then we get to the other side, where, you know, when it's a buyer's

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market, everybody's really thinking about the home inspection and getting it.

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And...

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When I was in the early 85s, 90s even, you know, the question was,

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do I get a home inspection or do I not get a home inspection?

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Nowadays, the question is...

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Who do I use for my home inspection?

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And why do I choose that person?

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So, the current demand for home inspections in the

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marketplace is really good.

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It's very solid.

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In any normal market, it's very good.

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It's very solid.

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80 plus percent of people are getting that.

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And I expect that to grow.

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I expect it to grow.

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And, honestly, I expect us to see, and we'll talk about this probably

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on another, another opportunity, but I expect inspectors to expand

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past just a home inspection for a buyer and other types of things.

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Maybe we'll get a chance to talk about it here in a little bit,

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but so it's very, very solid.

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And, you know, here's the coolest thing.

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Amazon isn't going to start selling home inspections tomorrow.

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Okay.

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Just like the, you know, I went on Amazon today and bought, and I looked at 10

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buyers and went, oh, that one, you know and maybe it's the cheapest, maybe it's

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the quickest, I don't know, whatever it is, but Amazon's not going to do that.

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And in the appraisal world, I was, I was listening to a guy the other day go, I'm

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in the appraisal business, I've been in the appraisal business for all these I'm

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still doing appraisals, but the appraisal business got basically federalized, okay?

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I mean, all of a sudden there was one way to get you know appraisals.

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I don't see that happening anytime soon in the home inspector market either.

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There's chances of it, but not likely.

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And so I think, I think we're in a great industry.

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We're in a great industry where we have the opportunity to really

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take this thing to the next level.

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As

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a matter of fact, Mike, you know, we, with our private coaching members that are part

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of our home inspector group you know, one of the things we researched recently

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was just approximately how many home inspectors are there in the United States

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and, you know, depending on where you look, it's somewhere between 28 and 32,

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000, but there are, there are significant amount of home inspectors out there.

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And one of the things like you talked about with our private group is,

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You've got to make yourself different.

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Marketing is a big component of that.

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So you don't want to be you know, thrown in to the 30, 000 ish that are out there,

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how do you make yourself different?

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And I know that's one of the things you've been teaching home inspectors

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for years of how do you do that?

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I have a second question for you.

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You ready for the follow up?

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You bet.

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You got it, man.

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So how does the current housing market affect the home inspection industry?

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And, and more importantly, how do you see that changing in the future?

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Because I, I've, you know, you and I've been friends for many, many years, way

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over 12, 13 years, whatever it's been.

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And I know you have this unique ability to like see around the corner.

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So share with our listeners today, what do you see changing in that?

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And again, how does the current housing market affect

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the home inspection industry?

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And then what do you see around

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the corner, Mike?

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Well, and, and if the housing market's just part of the of the scenario,

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it's the industry itself that's growing and changing as well that really

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affects a lot of a lot of people.

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So kind of like what I said, you know, if we're in a seller's

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market, less home inspections, okay?

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If we are in a downturn a recession, a depression even, there's

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probably less home inspections.

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Now, the great part of that is that it matters.

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But for the right guys, it doesn't matter that much.

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So, even if there's a recession, even if there's a depression, even

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if it's a seller's market we are still out there, we're still doing

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inspections, we're still growing.

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Now, in 2007 to 2010, 50 plus percent of home inspectors went out of business.

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Because of the recession, because the market slowed down,

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because of so many things.

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And the big part of that, of course, was that they didn't

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know how to market themselves.

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And as you said, they didn't know how to differentiate themselves.

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So again, people aren't thinking about, you know, whether they

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get an inspection or not.

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Most of them are going to go, yeah, we want to get an inspection.

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They're going, who do I get an inspection from?

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And it's kind of like, well, do I fly Southwest Airlines, you know, or do I

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fly American Airlines, or do I fly Delta?

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And sometimes it's just where you're located, right?

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But in the local marketplace, they're, well, a small marketplace is going to

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probably have five to ten inspectors, but in a marketplace like the Dallas Fort

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Worth area where I'm at, we have well over, you know, probably about 500 to

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1, 000 at any given time home inspectors.

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But the truth is, 80 percent of the business is done by 10 companies, okay?

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And one of the biggest changes in the industry has been companies that are

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growing and pulling on other inspectors and, and setting it up that direction.

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And then, of course, the marketing becomes the, the real big thing.

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One, one last interesting piece of this whole puzzle that inspectors

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need to make sure that they're keeping into consideration, and that

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is the fact that our business is very responsive to the time of year.

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So in June, I'm doing 10 percent of my business and in December,

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I'm doing 5 percent of my business.

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So you have to make sure that you have that all set up in your business to

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make sure that you can handle winter.

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And I go around and then people go, well, that sounds very Game of Thrones.

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I go, winter is coming, you know, you know, and I never even really got into

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the whole Game of Thrones thing or watched it much, but the saying was so big, you

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know, you know, it's kind of like the Godfather thing, you know, I'm going

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to make him an offer he can't refuse.

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You know, that sounds like the Godfather, right?

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But the bottom line is, the industry is in a good place right now, and the

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industry is going to grow, and the industry is going to continue to grow,

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I believe and for the right people.

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The people that really understand how to be responsive and ahead of

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the curve on what's coming in the economy and the industry itself.

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Perfect.

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Good.

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Well, as you know, with our group, right, our private group of home inspectors,

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we talk about the five F's, right?

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We got, we got family, we got faith, we got financial, we got fitness, we got fun.

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So, let's dive a little deeper on the financial side.

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I just looked at a few stats prior to setting up the podcast with

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you today, and like the median, or like, let's say, an average.

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wage for home inspectors, somewhere between 50, 000, 70, 000.

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And obviously the industry is expected to grow somewhere between 2 percent and 5%.

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But my specific question to you is this, in your decades of experience,

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you know, back when your dad started Texinspec all those years ago, what

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do you see the average inspection fee like today for a home inspection?

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And then I think again, same question, what else should home inspectors be

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doing around offering other services?

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Wow.

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Man, you, you are nailing the questions.

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You are nailing the

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questions.

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It's not me.

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These are the questions we receive every day.

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You know, when folks reach out to us to talk about our group

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and some of the other things.

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So these are great questions from potential members

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of our group.

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Well, and, and that, that explains why you're, you're so on track.

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Because, yeah, these are the kind of questions that we hear all the time when

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I go to conference after conference after conference to speak to people, you know.

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And the average home inspector used to be, by the way, that your

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average inspection was very low, and so the inspector didn't make that

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much, but our prices have gone up.

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We'll talk more about that here in a little bit, probably, but the average

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home inspector, you're absolutely correct, should make on the low side

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50, 000 and look, I, I have, I, I have Any, anywhere near from 15 to 20

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inspectors plus, depending on what time of year, depending on, you know, people

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that quit and join us and, and how many, with training and everything else.

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But our guys make anywhere from 50, a year working.

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For us.

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Think about that.

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That's working for us, okay?

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I talked with an inspector the other day that was in business for himself, and he's

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going, yeah, I'm doing pretty good, but I really need to grow the business now,

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I need to take it to the next whole level and he's doing about 100, 000 a year.

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Now, here's, here's the interesting point of that.

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He's doing about 100, 000 a year.

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Now subtract out his cost of doing business, right?

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That's what he's really making.

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So I think the neighborhood of somewhere between 000 is a reasonable

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figure for an inspector to be able to make coming into this business.

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And if you're working for somebody that whole industry now, That's one of the

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big changes is the whole industry now is going towards multi inspector firms.

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And so when, used to be when somebody was going through school, they're

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going, all right, so I need to do this and this and this and this

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to go into business for myself.

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Now what we see when people go through the school, they're going, okay, who's hiring?

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Alright?

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Complete shift.

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Complete shift inside of that.

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And then you have someone like me, that has that ability to see

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around the corner, you know, 10, 15, 20 years from now, that's

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running the business, the visionary.

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But we also have marketing people out there visiting

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offices and doing presentations.

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And we have people that are doing online marketing for us all the time.

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And then we are going after bigger contracts, you know so

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that we can pull in bunches of inspections, not just one or two.

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And so.

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There's so many good things happening in the industry for people.

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So yeah, I think an average inspector could easily make 50 to 75.

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Now, a business owner can easily make a lot more if he's willing to

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take the time to grow his business.

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And honestly, that's who we work with more than anybody else.

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We work with single man operations.

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And we've been able to take single man operations to 300,

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000 plus dollars per year.

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We call, I love to call those guys the Iron Man Inspector, right?

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And I didn't really expect that to happen, but some guys are just stubborn.

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They want to stay a single man operation their entire life, you know?

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And then, of course, we've helped over a hundred companies build

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million plus dollar inspections.

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A million, two million, three million, four million, and so forth.

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And there are some out there doing ten million dollars now.

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And at each one of those million dollar marks, it seems like there's a really

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sweet spot, especially for profit, and being the Chief Profit Officer,

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I knew you would appreciate that.

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So, simple formula, you know, 6 plus 2B plus 1 equals a million dollar home

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inspection business, and when you hit that spot, You don't have to do inspections

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yourself as much unless you want to and you get to take home a lot of profit as

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well, so, yeah, an inspector can make anywhere from 50, 000 to 75, 000 depending

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on who he's working for and if he wants to work for himself, he's still going

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to make about the same after you figure off his cost of doing business, but if

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you really want to grow your business past that to having two, three, four,

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five, six inspectors, you could do even, even better than that without having

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to do a single inspection yourself.

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Perfect.

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Perfect.

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We're about halfway halfway through, Mike.

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So a couple other quickies before I ask you the time to complete an inspection.

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I think it's important because we have so many more people that join our

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podcast and listen to kind of what you've established over all these years, but

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I want to make sure that folks that are relatively new to the podcast and new

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to Mike Crowe, That you know, Mike Crow obviously runs a home inspection business.

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So he's been there, done that, he's still doing it today.

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And actually, Texinspec is a prototype company.

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So when, when Mike is answering my questions that came from our members

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and other potential prospects that want to be part of our group, I understand

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he, he's not doing it off of theory.

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Concepts.

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He's answering these questions from his real business that does,

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you know, 3 million plus a year.

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So I want people to understand that, hey, this is not just a podcast

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where we're reading out of a book.

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No, these are real life examples from Mike's prototype company.

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So, Mike maybe in a minute or less, tell me the time it should

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take to complete an inspection.

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The time to take it to complete an inspection will vary on how

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many inspection types you're really doing for the inspection.

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See, most home inspectors are only doing a home inspection, right?

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Our company not only does the home inspection, but on average three

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other or three plus inspections at every inspection, right?

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And that's what I want you

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to dive into because I think a lot of the new folks entering

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the industry, they're like, well, I'm out to do a home inspection.

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But man, what you and the rest of the company has done is really

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expand beyond quote, What I would call the basic home inspection.

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So let's talk more about that and give some ideas to our listeners

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around that.

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And it's a great point because remember how we talked about,

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you know, an inspector could make somewhere between 75, 000.

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A big part of that difference is, you know, what else is he doing?

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So a lot of inspectors, of course, do radon, or swimming pool, and

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spray color, and termite inspections, and septic, and well, and sewer line

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inspections, and mold inspections.

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And that's just the, that's just the ones that come off the top of my head.

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And so every one of those takes a little bit of extra time during the inspection.

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But for just a good solid home inspection, and I, I would say

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probably 80 percent of our home inspections include the termite as well.

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So for the home and termite inspection we, me and my dad started

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calculating this back in the 80s, 90s.

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It's still very relevant today.

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We figure it's about an hour per thousand square feet with no less

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than an hour and a half, two hours.

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And so if it's a 4, 000 square foot home, we figure it's going to be

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about four to four and a half hours.

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Now we have developed our own system.

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And I love the fact that you pointed out we're running a prototype company

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because the guys that we coach, we allow them to come ride with us, see what

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we're doing without having to go join a franchise, you know, and pay thousands

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of dollars for that and then pay 10 percent out, you know per month of

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their gross revenue to somebody or pay a flat fee to some franchise that Keeps

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them from really expanding and doing all the things that are possible, but

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a thousand, about an hour per thousand square feet and for the home and termite

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inspection, plus about half an hour for us to produce the report on site and give

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it to the people right then and there.

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And, you know, our members, we hand them that report.

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It's a, it's a, it's a.

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It's a proprietary thing, but it's basically something I created 20

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years ago, 25 years ago, and we're still using that same system nowadays.

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And one of the things that most home inspectors make the mistake of is getting

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into way too of a complicated report.

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So for some guys out there, and it breaks my heart a little bit they go do the

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inspection and it takes them 2 or 3 hours, then they go home and it takes

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them 2 to 3 hours to do the report.

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Oh, that's, it's, it's just painful thinking about it.

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That goes against,

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that goes against our 5 Fs, right?

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Yeah,

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it does.

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Because they're, that, that's time they could spend with their family

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and heaven help them if they did two inspections that day, and even if

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they spent six or seven hours and they go home and have to spend another

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six or seven hours doing the report.

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In fact, one of the things that I.

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I used to have it happen all the time, and I'm sure it happens to Jonathan,

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my son now, who oversees our inspection business, is that about three months after

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we put an inspector in the field on his own and everything, we get a phone call.

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Hey, Mike, I'm sitting in the driveway, and I'm home, and I did

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two inspections today, and I just realized I'm home, and I'm done.

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You know, and I just want to tell you thank you, because when I was out

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there doing inspections on my own, you know, I would go spend, you know,

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three hours in inspection and, and then come home and spend another two

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hours, three hours on the report, and I don't have to do that anymore.

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I just want to tell you thank you.

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So, you know, how much time does it take to complete an inspection?

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Well, if you do it a systematized way, the way we built it it's pretty, pretty

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simple, straightforward and be careful, because Home inspectors in general love to

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spend way too much time on their report.

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And so that's one of the big things that we changed to make things a little

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easier for the guys that we coach.

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Perfect.

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Great,

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great, great feedback, Mike.

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And I'm sure the listeners are getting a lot out of the podcast.

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So the last question before we land the plane, it's really

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like a three part question.

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I'll try to combine it into one.

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So what are the significant changes in pricing?

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What are the significant changes you see coming in the home inspection

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business, sort of in general?

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And then the last part is, what should home inspectors

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be doing right now to adapt?

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So again, pricing changes, market changes in the business, and the last

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one is, what should the home inspectors listening to the podcast today do

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to adapt to those two situations?

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You know, and When I started working with home inspectors, especially those

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that own businesses, and especially those that have been in business they patterned

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their, their pricing structure off of what was done 30 years ago, or 20 years ago.

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They don't even realize that they're patterning it off of that.

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It's kind of like the, it's kind of like so many things.

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Most people don't realize that Romans decided how wide our roads would be.

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Okay, because of the way that they set up the chariots and the ruts and the road

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and everything, and then that went over to, you know, the, the wagons and that

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went over to the trains and that went over to the automobiles and that, and,

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and today our roads are so wide based off of something that happened then, right?

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And, and let's not say it was a bad thing, but we've improved a lot of

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that in the process, so immediately.

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One of the things that I talk to people is one, how to raise your prices,

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because most guys are undercharging.

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Almost everybody's undercharging.

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So we have a formula three times 90 times two where we, we go through

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the pieces of that on how to fix your formula, raise your prices.

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And then most of them are based off of blocks of square footage and

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and we immediately adjust the blocks of square footage per prices, which

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gives them an increase immediately.

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And then we teach them how to start raising their prices based off of

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what their marketing is and how their, their kill ratio is on the

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phone and do some things along that.

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And immediately, in fact.

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It's so funny because within less than three months, our

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coaching pays for itself.

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Our coaching pays for itself.

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Because once they've made that change on price and, and the blocks, and,

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and learning when to raise prices, and then learning how to add in some

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of those other inspection types that we talked about a minute ago their

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whole pricing structure changes.

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And, and it's not unusual for our guys to go...

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I'm making 100 more per inspection now than I used to.

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I'm making 150 or 200.

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We've seen some guys literally double their prices when they used to make 300.

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Now they're making 600.

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And it's not unusual for a thousand plus dollar inspections to roll.

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And even for our prototype company here and for our guys a lot of times.

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And so there's been a lot of good things along those lines.

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It's like the gift.

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It's like the gift that keeps on giving, Mr.

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Crow.

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It's the gift that keeps on giving.

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That's right.

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And one, one of the things though, that.

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You talked about the future and I want to make sure that you hear this.

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I want to make sure everybody hears this loud and clear is that for the

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last 15, 20 years or so, companies have decided that the information from

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the home buyers is so important that they're giving away the home inspections.

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So there are a series of companies out there, even right now, and

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there's a series of companies that have tried it and have failed so far.

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Somebody will figure it out eventually, and we need to be prepared when they do.

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I call this my what's next question.

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What's next, that if you don't see it coming, is that at some point,

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you may be doing home inspections.

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And somebody is going to start putting out a flyer going,

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Hey, home inspections for free.

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And how are you going to compete with that?

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If you don't know how to compete with that and how to understand that and

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how to build your business around that, you're, you're sunk, you're sunk.

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So we are teaching our coaching members.

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One of the biggest things about the home inspection business is that

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honestly, it is the first business.

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Okay.

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And then you want to add this business and add this business and add this

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business so that when this happens.

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You are actually in a position to do exactly the same thing if you have to

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because these other businesses will really be where you're making your money and

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doing different things down the line.

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Now, I honestly hope it never gets to the point where

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inspections are just free, okay?

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You know, there, there are automobile shops, right?

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Free oil change.

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It's free to get in.

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It's not free to get out.

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And, and so, but it could happen in our business.

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If somebody figures it out, somebody puts enough money behind it, they

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could literally, they could literally crater our company, implode our

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industry within two or three years.

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And if you're not prepared for that, you're, you're going

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to be in serious trouble.

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So there's ways to be prepared for that.

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That's one of the things we're coaching our guys on.

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So.

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The pricing is important.

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There's significant changes in the pricing.

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One, is our guys are making more right now.

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Let's take all that home.

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But let's also be prepared for when some idiot company comes in here and

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goes, Oh, we'll give that away for free so we can get to all of this.

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Okay?

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And we need to make sure we have that in place.

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Well, good.

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Well, Mike, I believe we're coming to the end of this episode, man.

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Always a blessing to have you share your wisdom with

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our home inspectors out there.

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And again, thanks for your, your listenership.

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Those of you that have tuned into the podcast.

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Again if you want to learn more about us, you can go to MikeCrowReturns.

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com.

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Obviously you can look around the description here and find our other

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links, but we'd love for you to join us at one of our upcoming meetings.

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So we can show you how we can serve you moving forward.

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So again, I'm David Tyburski, America's Chief Profit Officer

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here with my brother Mr.

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Mike Crow, the father of Home Inspector Marketing.

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And we look forward to seeing you very soon.

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So Mike, close us out, brother.

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Thank you so much.

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So everybody listening, remember, you know, around here in our, in

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our community, our village that we live by the five F's, okay?

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Family, faith, financial, fitness, and fun.

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And by the way, I could, I could list six more F's, but

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those are my high five, okay?

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Those are the ones that help us be able to every day kind of stay focused

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on what's important in our world.

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And don't forget the people you hang around, those are the people that

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are going to influence you the most.

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And it's one of the reasons I say be successful and be around

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those that are successful.

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You want to have better family, then hang around people that

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have better families, okay?

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You want to have better financial in your world, better, better finances, hang

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around people that understand finances.

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You want to be more faith driven, hang around people that are more

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faith driven, so forth and so on.

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It's so much fun watching the people Hang around in our circle

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to be able to take all of that to the whole next level as well.

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And like I say, be successful and be around those that are successful,

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because the more money we make, the more people we can help.

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So Davie, I want you to know, I love having a Chief Profit Officer that can

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help us get to that That bottom line and make sure that the bottom line is growing

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as well as the top line and everything.

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So thank you for your questions today.

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And thank you for the time that you put into helping, helping

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me help others in the process.

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Absolutely.

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We'll see you on the next podcast.

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Bye bye.

Show artwork for The Home Inspector Marketing Podcast

About the Podcast

The Home Inspector Marketing Podcast
Marketing and Business Building Strategies for Home Inspectors.
Join Mike Crow as he shares his insider secrets and proven strategies for building a thriving home inspection business. In each episode, Mike will cover the latest tips and best practices for growing your business and improving your inspection skills. Whether you're a seasoned inspector or just starting out, you won't want to miss this valuable advice from one of the industry's top experts. Tune in now and take your home inspection business to the next level!