Doing More Than The Client Expects. The Slight Edge Business Model.

Home Inspector with Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC 3380-000723

Doing more than the client expects.  The slight edge business model.

What is your business model?  Do you create a slight edge?

I think exceeding expectation is an important business model.  Or should be.

Clients have expectations in every business.  Are we, as business providers, doing less than the "code" so to speak, do we meet the "code" (meaning the minimum standard or expectation), or to we exceed the "code," attempting to provide best practices.

And what is this slight edge  thing?

On a recent new construction inspection my client was in London and unable to attend.  He wanted extra photos of how the place looked on final walk through because due to the builder's rules he had not been allowed into the property during construction, and was not there for the final walk through.

No problem.  So I took extra sweeping photos of everywhere.  I didn't include them on the report but sent them separately.

But my client had a particular concern.

He wanted to make sure the shower water temperature was okay.

Now I didn't know what that meant.

Does he like it extra hot?  Not so hot?  Is he like the girl in the Three Bears story and wanting it just right?  What's just right?

Again, I didn't know!

This is a condo and the master bath shower was a bit confined.  So I knew my thermal images would be somewhat narrow due to proximity.

Rather than just saying the temperature was this or that, I thought I'd put together a little thermal image panorama.

My computer program can take a number of thermal images and stitch them together into a solid image.

So I took four thermal images of the shower from the swinging door.  It was confined, but I thought I could create an understandable image.

Choosing a palette that would present the image in an artful way, I was able to demonstrate that the shower water was hitting the seat at about 108F.


To make a long story short, he was impressed, I received a very kind email, and all is well.  He wanted the temperature a bit hotter than that and can share that with the builder.  An adjustment on the electric water heater is a simple matter.

My recommendation:  doing the little things, going the extra mile, offering best practices, or whatever you want to call it, is a business model that stands out.  I think this habit gives a business the slight edge.  If everyone is doing the same thing, or offering the same service, how does one stand out?  By creating a slight edge  and exceeding expectations.  That slight edge,  in the long run, goes a long way.  The average score for 18 holes for the #1 golfer in the world is 68.8.  The average score for the #100 golfer in the world is 70.9, only 2 strokes higher!  Imagine the difference in earnings between #1 (Jordan Spieth) and #100 (Scott Brown)!  And, not to slight him because he is an outstanding golfer, how much media attention does Scott Brown get?  The slight edge  in golf is a big deal.  The slight edge  in any business is a big deal!



Posted by

Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC  

Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.

Office (703) 330-6388   Cell (703) 585-7560

Comments (35)

Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Joe - I was looking for a way to provide the client the info he wanted.  And this was a fun, but effective, way!

Tim - it's all relative.  Remember, these are different images stitched together.  In the middle the water is not heating the air around it so by comparison to, say, the seat, it looks cooler.  The seat was heating as was the floor tile, and the water down there was cooling, somewhat, as it approached the drain.

Sep 11, 2017 03:59 PM
Christine Kankowski North SD and Temecula
House Match Inc - Poway, CA
Excellent Sales and Property Management

great post.  Ive never had a home inspector do that for me, but I guess i've never asked.  All is well  good job to you!

Sep 11, 2017 04:09 PM
Stephen Weakley
Nationwide Mortgage Services - Rockville, MD

I couldn't agree more.  I strive to hit it out of the park each time since all of my business is referral based.  I recently had a client who was looking for a house.  I told him that if they went with a builder they would be offered "incentives" to use their lender and that I could not compete with this scenario.  After 3 weeks working with the builders lender, they told the builder to keep their incentives and they were using their lender.  I closed the deal Friday and they are happy in their new home.

Interesting spin on this one.  Got a call from the builder today, they want to meet face-to-face later this week.  Wonder what they might want to talk about?

Sep 11, 2017 07:32 PM
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude


I'm pretty impressed at what you did, as a great example of going above and beyond. We may not always know what clients expect but can often figure out what we can do to exceed them, and often without too much trouble.


Sep 11, 2017 10:15 PM
Susan McCall - - Compass Realty Solutions
Compass Realty Solutions - Portland, OR
Listing and Buyer's Agent

Hi, glad to see you are featured.  I have been subscribed for a while but forget to check in.  When I read your posts I wish AGAIN that you were in my city.  My last inspector caused trouble with the comments he made, basically not being knowledgable about construction, which he shouldn't have done.  I had to get a contractor in to explain the comment.  Then when I asked for a reinspect the fee was an additional amount.  Bye bye.

Sep 12, 2017 12:07 AM
Kat Palmiotti
406-270-3667,, Broker/REALTOR® - Kalispell, MT
Helping your Montana dreams take root

Giving an edge can certainly make one person stand heads above another! Although I'm thinking the edge you give is more than "slight."

Sep 12, 2017 03:04 AM
Corey Vandenberg
Success Mortgage Partners - Lafayette, IN
More home mortgage loan options!

Great job, and I agree, a little more than slightly above the competition, good food for thought for all of us... 

Sep 12, 2017 04:37 AM
Anne Corbin
Long and Foster - Lake Anna - Spotsylvania, VA
Serving Lake Anna & Central Virginia

I never heard of taking thermal imaging pictures. Good thing you are knowledgeable about that. I would have just tested the water temperature, as the hot water heater is usually set at a temp and can be adjusted. My brother, brother-in-law and father are plumbers. I would have been running to them for assistance!

Sep 12, 2017 06:02 AM
Fred Hernden, CMI
Superior Home Inspections - Greater Albuquerque Area - Albuquerque, NM
Albuquerque area Master Inspector

I think you have to call that thermal art! Cool pic, and using that camera is a big edge!!

Sep 12, 2017 07:34 AM
John Wiley
Fort Myers, FL
Lee County, FL, ECO Broker, GRI, SRES,GREEN,PSA

I love your post. Yes indeed, it only takes a little more effort to give the extra edge.

I know from experience that people will see you as standing out from the crowd with that extra effort.

Great reminder for us all.

Sep 12, 2017 08:54 AM
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

My same wishes to you, Christine.  Ask nicely and maybe the inspector will have a thermal camera!

Stephen - you'll have to tell me what happens at that meeting!  I'm not up on builder incentives.  I usually hear the opposite of incentives from clients who have complaints.

It wasn't hard to do that Jeff, and I thought it came out nice!

We inspectors should observe and report, Susan, not blowficate thoughtage.  Yes, I just invented two words.

That's very nice of you to say, Kat.  I appreciate you stopping by my posts!



Sep 12, 2017 04:48 PM
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Corey - mix in a little here and a little there and before you know it the bread smells great!

Anne -  I've been doing thermal imaging for 14 years now.  And I did images of the ovens too, to prove they work!

Some of the palettes are very fun, Fred, as you know.  I do crazy images of my wife too, and show them to her.  Sometimes she looks like a Peter Max or Jackson Pollack painting!

Thank you John.  I have tried to make that my business practice.


Sep 12, 2017 04:52 PM
AndreaBFerreira CRS - SRS - CLHMS
Keyes Co. - Davie, FL
Miami Dade, Broward and Palm Beach County in FL

Nice...I'm sure the picture means much more than a temperature information. Priceless memory for your customer. Congratulation!

Sep 13, 2017 06:27 AM
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Thank you Andrea, and I think you may be right!  Good to see you have electricity and a computer!

Sep 13, 2017 11:09 AM
Stavrula "Sam" Crafa, RNC,GRI, CDPE, PSA
Future Home Realty - Seminole, FL
Providing the integrity and service you deserve.

Very creative idea doing the thermal images. I would not have thought of that. That WAS going the extra mile. Great post. 

Sep 16, 2017 08:11 PM
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Thanks Sam, but I've been doing thermal imaging for 14 years now.  I have nearly 100 thermal imaging posts on AR!  For me it's normal business.  Doing a creative panorama of something my client wanted was, in our opinions, the extra mile!  Thanks!

Sep 17, 2017 02:57 AM
Tony and Suzanne Marriott, Associate Brokers
Serving the Greater Phoenix and Scottsdale Metropolitan Area - Scottsdale, AZ
Haven Express @ Keller Williams Arizona Realty

Jay Markanich "If everyone is doing the same thing, or offering the same service, how does one stand out?  By creating a slight edge  and exceeding expectations."

Right on target - and - re-blog!

Oct 09, 2017 05:27 AM
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Thank you for the reblog Tony and Suzanne!  I agree, it's a good model!

Oct 09, 2017 01:28 PM
Paul S. Henderson, REALTOR®, CRS
Fathom Realty Washington LLC - Tacoma, WA
South Puget Sound Washington Agent/Broker!

I have tried  to exceed expectations over the years however only a few clients appreciate the time involved to create a positive experience in real estate Jay Markanich 

Feb 16, 2019 05:29 PM
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

That's the ticket, Paul.  It sets realtors apart from salespeople.

Feb 16, 2019 05:46 PM