Our Latest and Greatest

We’re doing a bit of summer cleaning and redesigned our report pickup page. Not only does it adapt more readily to the screen of mobile devices, it also adds a bit more color and pizzaz with a larger photo of the home.

Just like your current pickup page, this page will display the Report Attachments you have uploaded via you account dashboard as well as any Pickup Message you have defined. The sample attachments and the link to the survey are for demonstration only.

We hope that the new pickup page makes your reports look just a touch more professional and provide your clients with all the information they need along with your report.

Check out the Sample Report Pickup Page Right Here.

We also wanted to thank who volunteered to help us test out our new features. Our clients are the heart and soul of our company and it’s people like you who are willing to go above and beyond to make our product better that truly make Tap Inspect a family. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

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Our Family is Growing

Aaron Westerburg!

Aaron Westerburg!

Tap Inspect is getting bigger! Last month, we welcomed Aaron Westerburg to our support team. Aaron is the co-founder of Inspection Tech in Cleveland, Ohio, and will be our first e-mail support agent, helping us field some of your questions about how to make Tap Inspect work for your business. Since Aaron is a working home inspector who uses Tap Inspect, he will be a great resource for your questions on how to use our service for your daily inspection needs. We’re very excited to welcome Aaron to our team!

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Field Notes: July 2013

Every month, Field Notes highlights some of the best, worst and just plain weird home inspection and real estate videos we’ve ever seen. This month’s winner comes from Home Inspection Carolina for their take on what happens when the three little pigs get a home inspection. Bonus points for featuring children dressed as wolves.

 

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June 24, 2013 · 8:12 pm

News You Can Use: July 2013 Edition

Here’s what’s coming up this month in home inspections:

 

  • Home inspection conferences are lighting up the east coast this summer. The North Carolina Licensed Home Inspector Association holds their regional conferences in Asheville, NC from July 27 through 28, New Bern from August 17 to 18 and Greensboro from August 24 through 25.

 

 

  • Save the Date – ASHI announced the dates and location of Inspection World 2014. The mega-inspection conference goes down in Nashville, Tennessee from January 12 through 15. Registration doesn’t open until September 1, but we’ll keep you updated on early bird specials.

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Bring on the Biz

Wade Palmer and family

Wade Palmer and family

With the summer months here and economy steadily bouncing back from the recession, inspections are ramping up and schedules are filling up fast. It may be time to think about bringing on a new hire, either to do some inspections or take up some of the administrative slack. Safely growing your business can, in some respects, be just as difficult as weathering the tough times. Wade Palmer, owner of the Central Oregon WIN Home Inspection franchise, knows that first hand. Palmer first purchased his franchise about ten years ago and has since brought on his wife to handle marketing and his son as a second inspector. Palmer has been around long enough to grow (and shrink and grow again) with the times. Here’s how he’s handled company growth.

Do the Math
During the busy months, it’s tempting to get burnt out, hastily decide to hire someone new and wind up regretting it months later. If you’re thinking about taking on an employee, you’ve got to be sure you can financially swing it says Palmer. Before bringing on his wife and son, Palmer did some serious calculations ahead of time to see how much business each new employee would need to bring in to keep the company financially stable.

“We decided that in order for my wife to leave [her former job], she would have to increase our bottom line by about five inspections a month to be able to make up the income,” he explains. “…She was able to do a lot more marketing than I was ever able to do as an inspector/owner. She was able to increase our numbers by way more than five per month.”

Having a specific goal in mind for a new employee, whether it’s a dollar figure or an increase in inspections, can help you as a business owner decide whether you can afford to take on a new hire.

Factor In Everything
If you take on a new hire, you’ll also be investing in a lot more than just a new salary. When Palmer hired his son, he not only added someone else to payroll, he also had to purchase equipment, a new company vehicle and additional tools before ever taking on a new inspection.

In addition to paying a new employee, you also may need to invest in additional workspace, uniforms, a new computer, taxes, worker’s compensation and company benefits and you’ll need to time to train them properly. For Palmer, factoring in all of the non-salary costs meant having to adjust what he planned on paying his son.

“[Originally] we thought ‘Well, we’ll pay him 60/40 [per inspection in his favor] and then after a couple of months we realized that it wasn’t enough to pay the bills,” he says, adding that offering an employee/employer split would provide incentives for the new employee to do more inspections. Palmer switched to a 60/40 split in favor of the employer for the first 20 inspections, then reverted to a 60/40 split in favor of his son.

To get a better ballpark figure of how much a new employee will actually cost with everything factored in, multiply the new employee’s salary by 2.5. That means that if you’re hiring a new inspector with a $40,000 per year salary, you’ll need to be ready to fork over $100,000 in additional costs (though how much you’ll actually need to pay will vary significantly from company to company).

Protect Yourself Legally
When eyeing new hires, keep in mind that your newest trainee could one day become your biggest competitor, particularly if you’re hiring another inspector says Palmer.

“When you hire somebody and they quit to do their own business, you have to be ready for that,” Wade says. “You have to have some sort of legal documentation in place like a non-compete clause for a year or two.”

Non-compete agreements are fast and easy to do—you can whip one up online right over here—and they can save you years of headaches down the road.

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Field Notes: June 2013

Every month, Field Notes highlights some of the best, worst and just plain weird home inspection and real estate videos we’ve ever seen. This month, we’re giving you a taste of what your real estate agent compatriots go through every day. Here’s a compilation from TheResourceTVShow of things agents and loan officers wish they could say:

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Four Ways to Prepare Now for the Down Times

Game of Thrones has it right—winter is coming, and not just meteorologically.  

While most of us are swinging into the busy season, now is the time to ensure we’re making all the right moves for when the down time comes. Carl Babin is an expert in surviving the hard times. The owner of  All Points Inspection, Inc. in Atlanta, Georgia, Babin had a thriving home inspection business until construction projects stopped in 2008.

“When the recession hit, everything just ground to a halt,” Babin says. “Some months there were only six or seven inspections to be had…I lost about half of my business in the recession.”

Though Babin’s business has almost entirely recovered, he’s spending the feast months making sure that he’s prepared for the next economic curveball. Here’s how you can too.

1. Diversify

One way that Babin got through the recession was to offer more than just standard inspections.

“With all the foreclosures that took place, one of my realtors started hiring me to winterize and de-winterize properties and also to go change the locks,” he explains. “That worked pretty well for a while until HUD changed the rules and only used HUD contractors…I just sort of took whatever I could.”

To make sure your business is more recession-proof, Babin recommends adding auxiliary services that are relevant to your area such as radon, mold or stucco inspections. Babin also maintains licenses in contracting and certification as an electrical and commercial building inspector in case the residential markets dry up.

 

2. Protect Yourself

If the cash is coming in, now is the time to stash some of it away for the bad times. While many business experts recommend that companies save anywhere from five to fifteen percent of profits for rainy days, small business owners need to financially protect themselves separate from their company.

A study by economist Jules Lichtenstein shows that small business owners are more likely than waged employees to have woefully underfunded retirement accounts. Perhaps even more scary is that many haven’t even begun to think about it. A separate study from The American College shows that about one-third of all small business owners don’t a retirement plan and among those who do, another third don’t have an estimate of how much they’ll need to retire.

If you’ve got some extra cash coming in, squirrel it away or invest it in making your business bigger and better.

3. Make Connections

The home inspection business revolves around having connections. Whether your business target real estate agents or buyers directly, establishing and nurturing connections with new business prospects is crucial while your bank account is in the black. Before ever reaching out to new contacts, you have to have a reputation for delivering good service says Babin.

“You have to be consistent. You have to take every job you can and you have to be good at what you do,” he says. Having some serious education credits doesn’t hurt either. “Whatever you can do to improve yourself and make yourself the best you can be is really necessary. I don’t think you can be mediocre and last.”

Once you’ve got a solid rep, devote some time to marketing. According to Bill Corbett, Jr., a marketing expert and president of Corbett Public Relations, Inc. in New York City, you should be devoting at least six hours per week marketing and making networking connections. Anything under two and a half hours is statistically ineffective.

4. Remember It’s Temporary

Nothing lasts forever and that includes both good and bad times. To stay on the power-producing track, Babin says to keep in mind that your feast days, at some point, will transition back to famine days and vice versa.

“There are cycles in the real estate market,” he says. “If you have great times, they probably not going to last and if you have lean times, they’re probably not going to last. That’s ok.”

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