How much is that bulldog in the window?

Reblogger Ian Niquette
Home Inspector with Square One Home Inspection


Original content by Kevin Welch

I typically have 2 types of people call my office, 3 if you count telemarketers, but who counts them? The first type is a prospective client who needs a house inspected and they have heard from a friend or a relative that I am the only inspector worth calling. It doesn't happen as often as I would like, but sometimes it does happen.  They call to book an inspection and, often times, they never even consider the cost. They understand the value of a thorough inspection and are willing to pay whatever I ask for, no questions asked.

    The second type is the price shopper. You know who I am referring to. The first question they ask is "how much is a home inspection?" As far as I am concerned, that question is like calling a car dealer and asking the price of a car. It is impossible to answer that question without additional information. How big is the house? Single family or multi? how old? Occupied, vacant, short sale, foreclosure, etc.

     Originally, I would begin by quoting a price based on some of that information, only to hear them say, "OK, thanks, I will get back to you." It rarely happened though, because they could usually find someone else later who would agree to do it for a few dollars less. I have to question the wisdom in spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on a home to raise your family and awarding the contract for a home inspection to the lowest bidder. Government contracts are often finalized using this criteria, often with less than stellar results. Can anyone say "Big Dig?"

   My new approach is this; when a prospective client begins by asking how much, I counter by asking if price is the determining factor. This usually changes their focus from the lowest price to the best value. Then it is just a matter of convincing them of the value that I offer. I still don't get them all, but my odds are greatly increased.    

Kevin Welch

American Bulldog Home Inspection

Watchdog for the American Dream


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Jack Gilleland
Home Inspection and Investor Services, Clayton - Clayton, OH

I usually ask what kind of home inspection do they need?  What type of home do they have?  Questions like that steer them away from the price comparison and you can instill the need for expertise at the same time.  Just easier for me that way.

Jan 26, 2009 02:58 PM #1
Jim Mushinsky
Centsable Inspection - Framingham, MA

Excellent approach!  I agree that the value proposition is most important.  I like the way you find out the significance of price before answering the question.  If I were on the other end of the phone, I would think you would inspect the house for its true condition and not just the name brand material or appliance installed. That is a very good way of demonstrating how you go beyond the "first look".

Jan 26, 2009 04:01 PM #2
Not a real person
San Diego, CA

Great approach. I tell them that as soon as I get some basic information, I can tell them the cost, which is good for 30 days. Once I start talking with them about their needs, wants, and goals, they are mine!

Jan 26, 2009 07:23 PM #3
Randy Hooker
Dreamcatcher Realty / Greater Phoenix Area - Gilbert, AZ
Gilbert, Chandler, Mesa, Queen Creek

Welcome to AR, Ian!  Russel Ray pointed me in your direction.  This is a terrific community, and we look forward to your posts!  BTW, nice coat!   :)

Randy Hooker

Jan 27, 2009 02:40 AM #4
Ian Niquette
Square One Home Inspection - Markesan, WI

That makes me laugh Randy! I'm glad yo like it.

Jan 27, 2009 02:56 AM #5
Jen Olson
First Weber Group Realtors - Marshfield, WI


I love how he handles the price shoppers.  That's a great way for me to divert focus when people call about listing a house, and their first question is, How much do you charge for a commission!  Thanks!

Jan 31, 2009 09:19 AM #6
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