Odd, It was easy to be thankful this year.
I know it sounds crazy but there are so many things to be thankful for as this trying, agonizing, maddening, frustrating, sad, painful, distressing year comes to close.
But as for business and the steady background of the corona virus, the business success far outpaced the virus. We are thankful for so many things, but our list would not be complete without these handful of events.
1. The PPP loan. Somehow we were able to take advantage of the PPP loan and get a much needed assist when the virus stay at home/lockdowns happened. Illinois deemed real estate essential and we kept working through the lockdown but there were some really slow weeks when I was seriously worried we were in trouble if it stayed slow. We kept marketing to our agents and every client knew we appreciated them.
2. My team. My company team was going to keep getting paid no matter what, I was going to make sure of that. Even if I had to cut back and go bare bones on the schedule, I couldn't let them be without a paycheck. Fortunately, the business turned around in a big way and we ended up with our best year ever. We try and stay connected with our customers, the buyers long after the inspection with monthly newsletters and useful programs they seem to enjoy using.
3. The crazies. #1. Had a couple this year that stretch the description of crazy by any means. First was a woman that claimed after the inspection report was delivered, we didn't explain to her forcefully enough during the inspection how old her furnace was. After numerous contentious calls with her back and forth, it became obvious to me the best course of action was have her sign a full release and refund her money. To date I have sent her 2 releases (she lost the first one) and she has never returned a signed release so I have never returned her fee. Keeping my fingers crossed that she has realized we did all we could do without physically reading the report to her as a bedtime story.
4. #2 crazy. The inspection was in April 2016. That is not a misprint. APRIL 18.104.22.168. The call I got was on a Sunday night in August 2020 at 9:30 asking for a copy of her report. Without me asking why, she said she needed the copy to send to her lawyer so she could use the report to help recoup some of the money she spent on her new furnace. The report stated that the furnace was from 1991. In 2016 it was 25 years old. We said in the report summary that it was beyond it's useful life, it was operating as intended, but any additional time should be considered a bonus. So what she wanted was for us was to send her a report so she could sue us. Lesson here was this... we modified our inspection agreement and added a limitations clause and a time limit for filing a claim. I used bold font on that portion of the agreement so they stand out, especially if some crazy decides to go see a lawyer, it will hopefully be stopped before it ever starts. I never sent her the report, still waiting patiently for another call or worse.
This NOT the actual furnace, but it could have been one just as old and she would have still called.
5. Recurring income is always a challenge for many businesses. Same with home inspection companies. As many agents know, clients only buy a new house on average every 5-7 years or longer. We were looking for a way to build some recurring income when we offered warranties for the first time a few years ago. I decided to focus more on it this year. We offer a home warranty to all our clients. It is a 12 month warranty to anyone in the US that orders a warranty from illinoishomewarranty.net . However, If we do the inspection on that house, it extends the warranty an extra 6 months. At 12 months, it's a great warranty. At 18 months, it's the best on the market for our clients. Why yo may ask? Starts at closing, doesn't prorate any of the working sytems and allows the buyer to choose their own contractor if they wish. Plus, it covers many of the options that other warranty companies charge extra for such as appliances. It pays us a small commission on every warranty purchased. My goal for 2021 is for the warranty commission to cover the salary of my marketing rep. Check out the warranty website and see how it compares to the warranty you are using.
Scott Seaton-The Home Inspector With A Heart
SLS Home Inspections @815-644-6271
Inspecting homes like yours in the Kankakee, Bourbonnais, Bradley, Illinois area since 2007.
Real Estate inspections with same day report delivery.
Mold and air quality testing.
FREE 90 day Homeowners Warranty. Included with every inspection.
FREE Sewergard protection for the first 90 days. covers up to $4000 of sewer or water main repairs.
FREE Recallchek appliance recall service. Included with every inspection.
FREE Moldsafe coverage on every inspection.
FREE Platinum Roof Protection Plan with 5 year leak repair coverage.
FREE $100,000 One Year NXT Structural warranty
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