I can’t speak for other parts of the world, but certainly here in the US there are as many business models as there are businesses. In fact many businesses use models to help them sell everything from soap to soup to sex.
Usually to save money, the models will wear as little clothing as possible.
What is that you say—you mean it isn’t about saving money? Silly me!
The fact that there are so many ways to make the same type of business “successful” means that you merely have to find a model that works for you. Of course if you pay them, they most likely work for you, but that does not mean that the model will work.
Well of course it is—it is meant to be. The more confusing it is, the less people will be willing to take the plunge and create their own business.
I will repeat:
You have to find a business model that works for you.
Given the quizzical look on your faces I think I see the problem. Perhaps it is the word “model” that is getting your mind going in an “interesting” direction instead of a “correct” direction. I don’t mean “Business Model.” I mean “Business-model.”
Does that make it clearer?
I hope so—because now it is time to get to the point of this post.
Being a home inspector, I will use the business of being a home inspector as my example. One inspector’s “business-model” might be to do 3 inspections a day. To make this model work they are going to have to spend a great deal more time selling themselves. They might even have to hire sexy models to help with the publicity. Typically—and there are inspectors with this business-model—the ultimate goal is the bottom line—hence the “bottoms” and the “tops” and other “gimmicks” in the advertising. This approach is no different than selling beer or cars, and everyone knows that it works. The downside is that EVERYONE else is using this business-model as well, so newer and better gimmicks have to be found all the time.
If you want to set yourself apart from the competition, you need to create a business model that essentially eliminates the competition.
In a sense, this approach refuses to compete. You set your own terms and the consumer can take it or leave it—pure heresy to other business-models. For this approach to work however, there is a key ingredient that MUST be present.
You have to be selling something that someone wants.
Of course the inspector with the models and the bling has something that everyone wants too—an inspection. But the inspection is defined by the constraints dictated by the business-model. For example if the buyer wants more from the inspection than what can be delivered in a time frame that allows the inspector to get to two other inspections on that same day, they are SOL. Or they have to “settle” for the product offered. This product usually translates to less information, less time at the inspection, less willingness to be available—before, during and after the inspection. This can set the stage for an unhappy buyer as things get missed or the buyer ends up disillusioned with the whole process because expectations were set so low. But the inspector has collected his “Dollar-three-eighty-seven” and moved on to the next inspection. Law suits and angry phone calls are just part of the cost of doing business.
My own business-model is geared more toward doing fewer inspections for more money. What this buys me is time. Time to give away to the buyer and the house, to create as much information as I possibly can. While there is no way I can get the number of clients with this approach that other business-models can, there are enough people that want this type of service to allow my business-model to be successful. Plus it sells itself with happy consumers. The interesting thing is that most people will say they want this kind of service. But when it comes down to paying for it, there are only so many people that can be convinced to spend the extra bucks.
These folks are my clients—and why I do not have to compete with anyone.
While people not choosing better is mostly a matter of lack of information and misinformation. The very business-models that depend on short inspections with little information transmitted, have a vested interest in promoting the idea of short cheap inspections. I feel that things are shifting a bit because of the Internet—people are becoming more informed. People’s expectations of inspectors are rising—and justifiably so.
The other day I had a buyer that verbalized what I am saying perfectly. I had done the inspection several weeks ago and we met again at the house to re-inspect the repairs that had been done. At the end, they paid me for the re-inspection and said they wanted to thank me for all that I had done. They said they were so glad that they had listened to their agent who had insisted they use me—even though it was going to cost them more than $100.00 more than another inspector. Of course this was on top of the re-inspection fee as well.
This shows a couple of things. The business-model works and so does the agent. This agent knows for a fact that his buyer is going to be taken care of. Why would they recommend someone cheaper—just because they were cheaper?
Why would any buyer choose an inspector because they were cheaper—just because they were cheaper?
It is due to lack of information and mis-information—-both of which the consumer might end up with when choosing the cheaper inspector.
(This post has also been published on ActiveRain)
Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector