This afternoon I quoted a 2700 square foot home inspection (with in-law apartment) at $360. The home buyer (our client) was shopping for an inspector on the first call to me and said she would let me know. Notice I said client... I got the job. The second call from this home buyer came with more questions and revealed that a competitor quoted $250 for the same job.
Our general stance is that we provide a high quality service which more than earns the price we charge. We charge the normal going rate in our area. Home inspection fees are small compared to home value and other fees involved in the purchase.
Good inspecting can reveal significant and costly defects. We need good inspectors in the industry and they need to earn a reasonable living to become good inspectors. My response to this client was that this is a slower time and home inspecting can be competitive. "Our price is our price and you will see in the end that we are more than worth it". I got the job and scheduled it for tomorrow afternoon.
I earned the job because I answered her questions and addressed her concerns about a pool, roof, etc. with the thought that I can solve her problem of needing to know the condition of the home and I can make her less stressed about the purchase. I really wasn't thinking much about "winning the job over my competitor". I think this kind of attitude comes through when you can talk with prospective clients.
Home buyers who pick an inspector based on $10-50 difference don't usually want to talk which makes it difficult to help them. A service first mentality comes through when you can have a conversation with potential clients. My competitor made our client wary by pricing below the market.
You will lose a number of people based on price when you take the high road. This means you shouldn't criticize your competitors but know the difference between you and them so you can speak to your strengths. Be high quality, consistent and confident and use totally open communication while "selling" a prospect.
Our profession needs to act professionally to maintain and earn higher fees. Unfortunately the "industry of creating home inspectors" churns out a lot of home inspectors. The more paranoid among us might blame the "Inspector Industrial Complex". By not participating in price cutting and focusing on improving the craft of home inspecting we elevate our profession overall and elevate the fees we can earn.