INSPECTION NEWS & VIEWS FROM THE AMERICAN SOCIETY OF HOME INSPECTORS, INC.
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BY HI PRE AS
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ASHI Reporter â€¢ August 2018
Radon Gas Test kit Call For Pricing!
Shopping for Home Inspection Insurance 101 By InpectorPro Insurance
8 Home Energy Score Update: Assesors in Action:
Peace of Mind Inspection Services
By ASHI Staff
10 TECHNICAL FOCUS Beams and Joist End Bearings By Alan Carson, Carson Dunlop
14 Capillary Action Sucks (Water Into a Home) By Tom Feiza, Mr. Fix-It, Inc. HowToOperateYourHome.com
16 The Word: Vent
By Bruce Barker, ACI
Vol. 35, #8
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24 D eveloping Your Marketing Plan By Alan Carson, Carson Dunlop,
28 Can a Home Inspector Perform
By Jamison Brown, ASHI Ethics Committee Chair
Ancillary Services for Clients?
By ASHI Staff
31 You Tell Us 32
A Home Inspector’s Guide to Google Ads (formerly Google Adwords) By Andy Patel, CEO, K-3 Technologies
Avoiding the Top 12 Claims Against Home Inspectors By InspectorPro Insurance
DEPARTMENTS 24 Marketing Focus
By Alan Carson, Carson Dunlop www.carsondunlop.com, 800-2687070
36 Inspector Profile
40 Postcards From the Field
It’s Wacky Out There
44 On My Mind
By ASHI President Tim Buell
August 2018 • www.ASHIReporter.org
ASHI National Officers and Board of Directors Educated. Tested. Verified. Certified.
A S H I M I S SIO N STATEM EN T To set and promote standards for property inspections and to provide the educational programs needed to achieve excellence in the profession and to meet the needs of our members.
Tim Buell, President Marysville, OH, 614-746-7485 email@example.com
Bruce Barker, Treasurer Cary, NC, 919-322-4491 firstname.lastname@example.org
Scott Patterson, President-Elect Spring Hill, TN, 615-302-1113 email@example.com
Michael Conley, Secretary Anna Maria, FL, 941-778-2385 FLinspector@outlook.com
Mike Wagner, Vice President Westfield, IN, 317-867-7688 firstname.lastname@example.org
Howard Pegelow, Immediate Past-President Gilbert, AZ, 414-379-4186 email@example.com
DIRECTORS Bronson Anderson 2018-2020 Waynesboro, VA, 540-932-7557 firstname.lastname@example.org
Darrell Hay 2018-2019 Snohomish, WA, 206-226-3205 email@example.com
Eric Barker 2018-2020 Lake Barrington, IL, 847-408-7238 firstname.lastname@example.org
Reuben Saltzman 2017-2019 Maple Grove, MN, 952-915-6466 email@example.com
Bob Sisson 2018-2020 Shannon Cory 2018-2020 Boyds MD, 301-208-8289 Fayetteville, GA, 770-461-3408 firstname.lastname@example.org Office@inspectionsbybob.com James J. Funkhouser 2017-2019 Manassas Park, VA, 571-214-4039 email@example.com
Blaine Swan 2016-2018 Columbus, OH, 614-506-0647 firstname.lastname@example.org
Bryck Guibor 2017-2019 Tucson, AZ, 520-795-5300 email@example.com
John Wessling 2016-2018 St. Louis, MO, 314-520-1103 firstname.lastname@example.org
Richard Hart 2016-2018 Conyers, GA, 770-827-2200 Ashi1@comcast.net
Speaker, Council of Representatives Hollis Brown, 2017-2018 Manassas, VA, 703-754-8872 Inspectors@ThoroSpec.com
Publisher: James Thomas Editor: Carol Dikelsky Art Director: Kate Laurent Assistant Art Director: George Ilavsky American Society of Home Inspectors, Inc. 932 Lee Street, Suite 101 Des Plaines, IL 60016
ASHI Reporter • August 2018
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR James Thomas, Executive Director, 847-954-3182, email@example.com
EDUCATION, CE APPROVAL, ASHI ONLINE LEARNING CENTER, INSPECTIONWORLD, CHAPTER RELATIONS Michele George, Director of Education, Events and Chapter Relations, 847-954-3188, firstname.lastname@example.org MEMBERSHIP & PRODUCT ORDERS Jen Gallegos, Manager of Membership Services & U.S. DOE Home Energy Score Assessor Coordinator, 847-954-3185, email@example.com Janet George, Membership Services Project Coordinator 847-954-3180, firstname.lastname@example.org George Herrera, Membership Services Coordinator 847-954-3196, email@example.com Michael Krauszowski, Membership Services Administrator 847-954-3175, Michaelk@ashi.org Gaby Nava, Membership Services Administrator 847-954-3176, Gabyn@ashi.org ACCOUNTING Toni Fanizza, Accounting & Purchasing Manager 847-954-3190, firstname.lastname@example.org Beverly Canham, Financial Assistant, 847-954-3184 email@example.com WEBSITE, INFORMATION SYSTEMS, DATABASE Mike Rostescu, Assistant Executive Director & Director of IT 847-954-3189, firstname.lastname@example.org COMMUNICATIONS Dave Kogan, Director of Marketing & Business Development Advertising, Marketing, IW Expo Hall, Public Relations 847-954-3187, email@example.com Kate Laurent, Design & Digital Strategy Manager, “ASHI Reporter” Art Director, 847-954-3179, firstname.lastname@example.org
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ASHI REPORTER – ISSN 1076-1942 – the official publication of the American Society of Home Inspectors, Inc. (ASHI), 932 Lee St., Suite 101, Des Plaines IL 60016, is published monthly. Annual subscriptions: $44.95 to non-members. Periodical postage paid at Des Plaines, IL 60016 and additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to ASHI Reporter, 932 Lee Street, Suite 101, Des Plaines, IL 60016-6546. Copyright© 2018, ASHI. None of the content of this publication may be reproduced, in any manner, without the prior written consent of the publisher. Inclusion of or specific mention of any proprietary product within does not imply endorsement of, nor does exclusion of any proprietary product imply non-endorsement, by the American Society of Home Inspectors, Inc. Opinions or statements of authors and advertisers are solely their own, and do not necessarily represent the opinions or positions of ASHI, its agents or editors. See above for information pertaining to submission of articles, advertising and related materials.
Main Phone: 847-759-2820, 8:30 am - 5:00 pm Mon. - Fri., CST
Bonnie Bruno-Castaneda, Executive Assistant, Human Resources & Project Coordinator, 847-954-3177, email@example.com
Skip Walker 2018-2019 San Bruno, CA, 650-873-4224 firstname.lastname@example.org
Chris Karczewski, Social Media & Digital Strategist 847-954-3183 email@example.com George Ilavsky, Graphic Designer & Free Logos, firstname.lastname@example.org THE ASHI SCHOOL Michele Cohen, Director, 847-954-3178 MicheleC@theashischool.com Michelle Santiago, Education Manager, 847-954-3198 Michelle@theashischool.com Tracy Vazquez, Education Coordinator, 847-954-3181 Tracy@theashischool.com
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August 2018 â€¢ www.ASHIReporter.org
Shopping for Home Inspection Insurance 101
SHOPPING FOR HOME INSPECTION INSURANCE 101 THE TOP THREE FACTORS TO CONSIDER WHEN BUYING YOUR NEXT POLICY By InspectorPro Insurance
InspectorPro Insurance is ASHI’s one and only Premier Insurance Partnership. Through risk management education, pre-claims assistance and straightforward coverage, InspectorPro gives you peace of mind and unparalleled protection. Learn more and apply for a quote at inspectorproinsurance.com. See Page 35 for the first in a new series of columns: Managing Risk, by InspectorPro Insurance.
hether you’re a new or seasoned inspector, buying home inspection insurance can be daunting. With mile-long policies and seemingly identical advertising, it can be tough to determine exactly how insurance providers differ. And without understanding those differences, you can’t make an educated purchasing decision. As a home inspection insurance provider, we get policy comparison questions all the time. And although we’d love for every home inspector to be insured with us, we understand that every inspection company has unique challenges and needs to consider. Therefore, we want to give you the tools you need to figure out what insurance coverage best fits your business’ needs. Below, we describe the three most important differentiators to examine when comparing insurance providers.
APPLES TO APPLES
Has someone ever warned you not to compare apples to oranges? The popular metaphor teaches us that, although apples and oranges are both round fruits, we should be careful comparing them because they are in different subcategories. Instead, we should strive to compare apples to apples. By keeping our comparisons in the same group, we ensure that we draw more meaningful conclusions. When shopping for insurance, you can compare apples to apples by getting quotes for the same coverage from multiple providers. Important coverage elements to keep the same across quotes include the following: • Coverage types, like errors and omissions (E&O), general liability (GL) or both
ASHI Reporter • August 2018
• Coverage limits, such as $1 million occurrence and $1 million aggregate, and sublimits, where applicable • Deductibles, including not just what you pay, but when you pay it • Endorsements (for example, mold or pest coverage) • Claims history per a current copy of your loss runs (available from your current insurance provider) • Estimated exposure, including how many inspections you intend to perform and the subsequent gross revenue you intend to earn Because the elements of this list help determine both what your insurance will cover and how much it will cost, it’s essential that these elements line up in all of your quotes. Any variations in the information that you provide to one insurance provider and another will lead to an apples-and-oranges comparison. The quotes will look different and be priced differently, but not necessarily because one insurance provider is giving you a better deal than the other. Only by comparing insurance providers by using the same standards can you really flush out the disparities.
Now that you’ve received quotes for the same coverage from multiple providers, it’s time to break down the exclusions. Exclusions are inspection services or situations that insurance policies do not cover. Insurance policies may have standard exclusions, optional exclusions or both. Standard: By eliminating business practices that pose too great a risk of frequent or exorbitant claims, insurance companies can offer more competitive rates. For example, sinkholes may not be frequent, but they can be costly and are extremely difficult to spot during an inspection. Big risks like these are excluded, or not covered, by all home inspection insurance policies. However, there are some policy exclusions specific to insurance providers. For example, some providers will not cover drone inspections. Inspecting with a drone while being covered under a policy with this
exclusion could put you at risk of not receiving coverage for a drone-related claim. Therefore, it’s important that you make sure that the types of inspections you perform and the technologies you use to perform them are not excluded in your insurance policy. Optional: A different type of policy exclusion is one that an endorsement can alter. For instance, by default, your home inspection insurance policy may exclude mold inspection coverage. However, for an additional fee, your provider can add the mold coverage to your policy as an endorsement. In these cases, exclusions exist until you opt in to the additional coverage. Most home inspection insurance providers that offer additional services—like mold, pest, and pool and spa—in their standard policies have sublimits. As the name suggests, sublimits cap certain risks defined in your policy. It’s important to note that sublimits may cause you to unintentionally be out of compliance with your state or contractual obligations. For example, if you work in a state that requires $1 million in mold coverage, you might not be getting it if your policy has a mold sublimit of $100,000.
After determining what is covered, you have to learn how each item is covered. The primary principle of insurance—to cover the defense and payout costs of unexpected claims—is the same across the board. But how do insurance providers handle claims? That varies. In determining how an insurance provider handles claims, there are a few questions you can ask:
When you report a claim, what do they do to resolve it? We’ve found that 80 percent of claims against home inspectors are highly exaggerated or without merit. So, even if you are great at your job, you are not immune to claims. Thus, it’s important to know how your insurance provider handles claims. Does your provider have a dedicated claims staff? Do they communicate with you throughout the process? Do they do their best to close claims quickly? Finding out the answers to each of these questions will help tell you whether the provider has a good practice for handling claims.
When do they collect your deductible? Deductibles come in two forms: simple deductibles and self-insured retentions (SIRs). Both are your responsibility to the insurance company in exchange for handling a claim. But the two work in different ways.
With a simple deductible, you don’t pay until the claim closes. That means you get all the defense before you pay out. And if closing the claim costs less than your simple deductible, you pay that lesser amount. Alternatively, self-insured retentions require payment up front. You have to pay your SIR in full before the insurance company can start defending you. If your claim closes at a lower rate than your SIR, it’s not guaranteed that you will get the difference back. Be sure to read your policy to know how your deductible works. Because the industry uses the word “deductible” to describe both simple deductibles and SIRs, it’s important to ask your broker which one applies to your policy. The difference may impact how much money you want to save now to pay your part of a future claim.
Do they offer any benefits for consecutive years without claims? There are ways that providers can reward customers for claims-free years. Some insurance providers offer a diminishing deductible endorsement, which gives the insured party a percentage discount (typically up to 50 percent) on the deductible for the consecutive years they have renewed without incurring any claims. You can find benefits like diminishing deductible endorsements within the insurance provider’s policy.
What do they do to prevent claims before they happen? You expect your insurance provider to be there for you when claims arise. But does your provider go the extra mile to protect you before claims occur? Insurance providers that offer risk management education and pre-claims assistance can help you stifle client complaints before they occur. However, as with most insurance services, just how much a provider’s program will benefit you can vary. Does your provider publish regular risk management content to keep you up-to-date on their findings? Is their pre-claims assistance run by trained claims professionals ready to give expert counsel for your unique situation? And do they have numbers to support the success rate of their pre-claims assistance programs? Asking such questions can direct you to the programs that will serve you best.
SHOP WITH CONFIDENCE
Now that you know how to compare apples to apples, access policy exclusions and analyze claims handling, you’re prepared to shop for insurance. It may seem like a lot of work up front, but securing the right insurance coverage is essential to your business. And if insurance jargon is daunting or confusing to you, be sure to ask questions. Your insurance broker should be prepared and willing to explain clearly how their provider’s policy stands up to the rest.
August 2018 • www.ASHIReporter.org
HOME ENERGY SCORE UPDATE
ASSESORS IN ACTION: PEACE OF MIND INSPECTION SERVICES By ASHI Staff
This article continues the profiles of ASHI members from across the country who are successfully integrating the Home Energy Score into their businesses.
Peace of Mind Inspection Services is a business united by bloodline, and a passion for helping buyers understand home energy use and overall performance courses through its veins. Claude “Cody” Hardy’s Western Michigan–based company delivers a vast array of inspection services, but what really stands out is the extensive energy expertise that this young firm has on tap. Should a homebuyer want to take a deep dive into the gritty details of how energy efficient or safe and comfortable their home will be, Cody’s team can break out the blower doors, duct blasters, CO monitors and all manner of state-of-the-art gadgetry befitting a team that boasts multiple certifications in advanced building science and energy diagnostics.
“HOMEBUYERS ARE ALREADY OVERLOADED WITH INFORMATION, SO THE 1-TO-10 SCALE AND THE UNDERSTANDABLE RECOMMENDATIONS FOR IMPROVEMENT ARE THE PERFECT ENTRY POINT FOR A BROADER CONVERSATION.” And Cody keeps that conversation flowing, too, by following up with clients after they’ve lived in their new home for a season or so to offer the comprehensive energy analysis packages and other services that enable his clients to save money and to enjoy a more livable home.
Despite their impressive energy-geek firepower, however, Cody’s team doesn’t lead with these energy packages—it’s the humble Home Energy Score that gets top billing for his homebuyer clients. “It’s the simplicity of the Home Energy Score that makes it a winner for us,” he said recently. 8
ASHI Reporter • August 2018
Credible energy information delivered in plain language and diligent customer follow-up are key parts of Cody’s “system approach” to offering the best inspection service in their territory. This successful formula also incorporates a well-nurtured real estate agent network and some above-and-beyond touches like a personalized “Home Inspection Book” that provides detailed information on the operation of the home, an ongoing maintenance checklist and access to a Home Owners Resource Service to provide the homeowner how-to support, as well as a list of professional experts in their area.
Home Energy Score Update
The Home Energy Score is a no-brainer inclusion into Cody’s structure because it’s so consistent with a mission to not only point out problems, but also to put those problems in a manageable context (that is, urgency, cost to address) and to guide clients toward clear, actionable solutions that help them keep their eyes on the prize of owning the home that’s right for them. “We try hard to make sure that homebuyers don’t get thrown into panic mode from the information we’re giving them,” Cody told us. “The Score fits into our thorough and high-integrity approach because it doesn’t just identify problems and call it good…and there’s real value in that for buyers and for agents, too.”
Q&A with Peace of Mind Inspection Services Why Home Energy Score? Delivering energy, health and comfort information is a big part of the business model, and we can go very deep with those services. Homebuyers need something simple as a first step, though, and the understandable Home Energy Score report and credible U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) name fit the bill.
How do you work it into operations? We gather the small amount of additional data needed for the Score as part of our standard inspection process and then generate the Home Energy Score report along with the regular inspection report. It’s a very minor addition to our process, so we don’t charge extra for the Score, but we do advertise that buyers get it for free in our marketing.
In all this, there’s the strong impression that Peace of Mind Inspection Services would find a way to include critical energy and comfort-related information to its clients whatever the cost to them operationally. As it happens, however, including the Score as part of their standard inspection service is easy for them—so easy, in fact, that they don’t even charge for it. “We gather almost all of that information anyway,” Cody noted, “so the extra effort required to deliver a Home Energy Score report is minimal, especially considering the value we feel it brings to the table.” The strong growth trajectory of Codys business suggests that Michigan homebuyers—like their counterparts across the country—do indeed see the value of “knowing the Score” when it comes to the home they’re buying, and ASHI is proud to be making sure that their members can deliver on that demand.
What do your clients think? They appreciate the simplicity of the 1-to-10 scale and the clear layout of energy and expected utility cost information. They tend to see it as a really nice bonus; it’s not making or breaking any deals.
What does your real estate agent network think? We work closely with our network, delivering lunch trainings on our services, so being able to highlight the Home Energy Score is a bonus. Agents see the Score as part of our system of delivering solutions to their clients, and they are supportive of that.
GET STARTED NOW! You, too, can make the Score part of your successful business plan. Jen Gallegos at ASHI HQ is always on hand to answer questions and to help you get the ball rolling. You can reach her at email@example.com. Or you can save a step and head right to ID Energy to get signed up. They’re waiting for your application at energyscoreusa.com/sign_up.php. August 2018 • www.ASHIReporter.org
BEAMS AND JOIST END BEARINGS By Alan Carson, Carson Dunlop, www.carsondunlop.com, 800-268-7070
In this article, we focus on end bearing, with the understanding that many other things can happen to joists and beams, including rot and insect damage.
ouse structures are a complex set of interconnected components comprised of different materials. There are many types of failures, but failures at connections are among the most common and the most serious. In this article, we will look at a specific connection—the end bearing of beams and joists. Beams are a critical component in that they typically transfer the large load of several joists to a foundation or column or post. They carry the live and dead loads of large floor areas. They also may carry the loads from additional floors above through walls or columns. Many beams also have intermediate supports and although there are some special considerations for those, we will focus on bearing at the ends of beams and joists.
Joists are smaller and more numerous than beams and less critical, in the sense that they each carry a much smaller load than beams. Nonetheless, joists that lose their end bearing can lead to collapse, especially if several in one area all lose their bearing.
Wood beams can rest on wood shims, although they should provide continuous bearing on the top and bottom of the shim. The shims should be secured in place with adhesive or mechanical fasteners. The shims should be of a wood at least as hard and dense as the beams. Cedar, for example, is soft and doesn’t make good shims for beams. Beams on masonry walls should rest on at least 3 inches of solid masonry. Many recommend that beam ends rest on solid masonry or concrete all the way down to the footing. In any case, a beam should not rest directly on a hollow concrete block. At least the top row of block should be filled with concrete. This can be difficult to determine during a home inspection. The point at which the end of a wood beam is embedded in a concrete or masonry foundation wall is prone to rot. Best practice is to have a ½ inch of air space around the end, top and sides of the beam to allow the wood to dry. In some cases, the end of the beam is coated with pressure-treating chemicals to make the beam more rot resistant.
Steel or wood beams should rest on flat bearing surfaces that are at least as wide as the beam. The beam must project far enough onto the bearing surface so that the end of the beam or the bearing surface will not be crushed, and so that there is no risk that the beam will slip off the bearing surface with minor building settlement. Beams and joists should rest on not less than 1 1/2 inches of wood or steel, or 3 inches of masonry or concrete. Steel beams only should be supported with steel shims. Steel shims should be welded to the beam so they will not move. Watch for shims that have slid out of position. Watch also for wood shims under steel beams. They often crush and creep. Shims often will move because the top surface of the foundation wall is not level.
CAUSES OF PROBLEMS
If the bearing for beams is inadequate, it may be the result of one or more of the following:
• an original construction mistake • deterioration of the foundation material or column • settlement of the foundation or column • sagging of the beam • loss, movement or crushing of shims between the bottom of the beam and the foundation or column 10
ASHI Reporter • August 2018
Joists typically require a minimum of 1 1 ⁄2 inches of end bearing on wood or metal, and a minimum of 3 inches of end bearing on masonry or concrete. At the points at which joists rest on beams, best practice is for joists to rest on the full width of the beam or wall rather than just 1 1/2 inches of it. Good practice also includes splicing joists that overlap from the opposite side of the beam. The joists can be nailed together with three 10d nails, or with metal or wood splices.
JOISTS CAN BE SUPPORTED IN MANY WAYS:
• resting on sill plates on top of foundation walls • being embedded in masonry or concrete foundation walls • being on the sides of beams with joist hangers • being on the sides of beams with ledger strips or boards (not less than a nominal 2 inches by 2 inches) • being on wood stud walls with 1 -inch-by-4-inch ribbon strips and with nailing to the studs • being in a mortise and tenon joint in which the end of the joist is trimmed to form a tenon and the beams have a mortise cutout to receive the tenon • being notched at the end so that only the top part of the joist sits on a beam • being on the bottom flange or top flange of steel beams as long as they have adequate and bearing
DIFFERENT TYPES OF JOIST-END SUPPORT
At the points at which joists are supported on the bottom flange of a steel beam, it is good practice to have the joists slightly taller than the beam and a wooden splice across the top of the steel beam.
The bottom of the splice should be at least 1/2 inch above the top flange of the beam to allow for vertical shrinkage of the wood members. It’s not unusual to get 4% shrinkage across the grain in wood framing members. That’s about 3/8 inch in a 2 by 10 joist.
NOTCHING WEAKENS JOISTS
One of the weakest configurations is when the joist is notched and only the top part of the joist rests on a beam or foundation wall. This reduces the strength of the joist and concentrates loads in the top part. Check for cracks radiating horizontally from the top of the notch. This can result in serious structural movement, especially if more than one joist shows this crack. The solution involves supporting the bottom of the joist, often with joist hangers.
ON BOTTOM BEAM FLANGE
MORTISE AND TENON (NOT DESIRABLE)
EMBEDDED IN MASONRY WALL
• original construction mistakes • sagging joists • differential settlement or heaving of the footing or foundation system • bowing or leaning walls • notched bearing arrangements • rotted joist ends, sills, beams or foundations
A better (but still less than desirable) arrangement is to notch only the bottom inch or so of the joist and rest the majority of the joist on a ledger board or steel beam flange, for example. The joists are weakened slightly by such an arrangement. Again, watch for horizontal cracks running out from the notch.
ON LEDGER BOARD ON SILL PLATE
JOISTS MAY NOT HAVE ENOUGH END BEARING BECAUSE OF ONE OR MORE OF THE FOLLOWING:
NOTCHED & RESTING ON BEAM (NOT DESIRABLE)
ON SIDE OF BEAM WITH JOIST HANGERS
ON TOP OF BEAM
Steel joist hangers can provide excellent support for joists on the sides of beams. This maximizes the head room in basements and crawlspaces because the joists don’t have to rest on top of the beams. However, joist hangers must be installed correctly to work properly.
COMMON JOIST HANGER ISSUES INCLUDE THE FOLLOWING:
• There are differently sized joist hangers for differently sized joists. A joist hanger designed for 2 by 4s should not be used on 2 by 10s. • Joist hangers have lots of holes in them for nails. Generally speaking, every hole should be filled with a nail. It is very common to find that people have skimped on the number of nails. • The right type of nails should be used. Some joist hangers have special nails made for them. Nails used with joist hangers need considerable shear strength and large enough heads so that the head won’t pull through the joist hanger. Many people mistakenly use roofing nails because of the large heads. Roofing nails do not have good shear strength and may not be able to adequately transfer the loads from the joists to the beam. • Joists should rest squarely in the bottom of the joist hangers. When joists don’t sit on the bottom, they will settle to the bottom when loaded. This situation may cause cracking or sagging above it, and it may pull out some nails in the hangers. • Joists should extend fully into the hanger to achieve adequate support. • Perpendicular joist hangers should not be used when joists meet beams at a 45° angle, for example. There are special joist hangers for this application. • Special joist hangers should be used to support doubled joists.
ASHI Reporter • August 2018
LEDGER STRIPS AND BOARDS
Ledger strips and boards need to be well secured to beams to transfer the loads from the joists to the beam. Watch for inadequate nailing— generally, you’re looking for two nails securing the ledger board to the beam below each joist. The joist should also be toe-nailed into the beam.
Mortise and tenon joints are rare in modern construction because they are labor-intensive and not particularly strong. The mortise and tenon joints are weak because the joist end is notched both at the top and bottom. Cracking along the bottom of the tenon is common. Extra support below the joist often is required to stop movement.
Where possible, look carefully at connections on beams and joists. Look for movement, including cracking and vulnerable conditions, that may lead to problems. Carson Dunlop - Consulting engineering firm devoted to home inspection since 1978. ASHI@HOME Training Program, www.carsondunlop.com, Carson@carsondunlop.com.
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SMART INSPECTOR SCIENCE
CAPILLARY ACTION SUCKS (WATER INTO A HOME) HERE’S YOUR MIND-SPINNING SCIENCE LESSON FOR THE DAY:
ROOF-TO-SIDING SPACING To prevent capillary action, builders usually allow a space of about 1 inch between asphalt shingles and siding material or trim. If siding is tight to the roof, water will rot the siding.
By definition, capillary action is a manifestation of surface tension by which the portion of the surface of a liquid coming in contact with a solid is elevated or depressed, depending on the adhesive or cohesive properties of the liquid.
Or, try this explanation: Capillary action is defined as the movement of water within the spaces of a porous material due to the forces of adhesion, cohesion and surface tension.
OK— GOT IT? In practical terms, capillary action moves water through the thin spaces of a porous material. For instance, capillary action moves water from the roots to the leaves of a tree. Capillary action draws water into a paper towel. Water has very strong cohesive and adhesive properties; it can climb to the top of a 300-foot tree and travel through a masonry surface.
WHAT THIS MEANS FOR HOME INSPECTIONS Capillary action sucks water into any small opening in a home. The smaller the opening, the higher water will climb. When the gap is larger than about 3/8 inch, capillary action stops. The size of the gap is important to home inspectors and builders.
ASHI Reporter • August 2018
PROBLEMS WITH GAPS AND CUTS IN TRIM Trim should be cut to shed water. The side trim in this photo is cut improperly and butted against the horizontal trim, which traps water. This synthetic trim, just one year old, already is swelling from moisture. If this trim were natural wood, capillary action would carry the water even farther through the natural pores of the wood.
Tom Feiza has been a professional home inspector since 1992 and has a degree in engineering. Through HowToOperateYourHome. com, he provides high-quality marketing materials that help professional home inspectors educate their customers. Copyright © 2018 by Tom Feiza, Mr. Fix-It, Inc. Reproduced with permission.
TRIM WITH NO CLEARANCE TO FLASHING CAUSES PROBLEMS
Trim and siding should always be spaced at least 3/8 inch above horizontal flashing. Often, 1/2 inch of spacing is specified. If trim or siding is tight to the metal flashing, water will be drawn up into the material and water damage will occur. The flashing is there to direct water outside of the wall assembly, so it is designed to be wet.
By Tom Feiza, Mr. Fix-It, Inc. HowToOperateYourHome.com
Understanding the capillary action of water will improve your inspection skills. Review installation instructions for siding, trim and modern synthetic or composite materials; all of them will call for gaps and clearances to stop capillary action. If you see these issues during an inspection, make sure to note the condition in your report. And if you see rot, you’ll know why it is occurring. To learn more, attend Tom’s technical presentations at educational sessions for ASHI chapters. Tom will be presenting “Describe That Defect” and “The Practical Science Behind Great Home Inspection” at InspectionWorld® 2019 in San Diego. Tom can also provide his knowledge for your educational event; contact him at Tom@HTOYH.com.
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262-303-4884 15August 2018
The Word: Vent
t n e
r d o : W e h By Bruce Barker, ACI
Bruce Barker, owner of Dream Home Consultants in Cary, NC, is the author or editor of several books, including Everybodyâ€™s Building Code, Deck Codes and Standards, The NHIE Home Inspection Manual, Codes for Homeowners and Commentary on the ASHI Home Inspection Standards of Practice, The Complete Guide to Wiring, and The Complete Guide to Plumbing. Bruce is an ASHI Certified Inspector who currently serves as the ASHI Treasurer. Bruce has been building and inspecting homes for over 30 years. He is an ICC-certified Residential Combination Inspector, a licensed contractor and a licensed home inspector in multiple states.
ASHI Reporter â€˘ August 2018
The Word: Vent
Once again, The Word invites you to travel into the dark realm of subjects that are sometimes misunderstood by home inspectors. The Word hopes you will find this trip informative and maybe a little entertaining. Our subject this month is wizard words. The Word finds this subject interesting because words are powerful. One of the first lessons young wizards are taught at Hogwarts is to learn the true name of a thing. Knowing the true name gives the wizard power over it. The same concept applies to inspection wizards. Itâ€™s difficult to inspect something, and to communicate your findings to your client, unless you know the true name of what you are inspecting.
August 2018 â€˘ www.ASHIReporter.org
The Word: Vent
VENT: ONE WORD, MANY NAMES The word “vent” is used in many ways when applied to building components. Vent describes a component of the plumbing system. Vent describes a component of many combustion appliance systems. Vent describes openings into attics and crawlspaces. Vent describes systems that remove moist air from the house, such as from bathrooms, kitchens and clothes dryers. Vent is also used as a verb to describe the operation of these systems. Finally, vent is used as an abbreviation for ventilation.
One of the dictionary definitions of vent is
“AN OPENING PERMITTING THE ESCAPE OF FUMES, A LIQUID, A GAS, OR STEAM.” Given this definition, none of the ways we use the word vent are completely wrong, but neither are they completely right. The Word wonders if the true names of these components are something else—something that better describes their purpose and function.
PLUMBING VENTS Use of the word vent in the plumbing system is well established and reasonably descriptive of its purpose and function. The primary purpose of a plumbing vent is to protect the water seal in a trap. A vent does this by letting air into the drainage pipes to avoid siphoning water out of a trap, or blowing water out of a trap, when water flows. Air provided by a plumbing vent also helps water flow freely in the drainage pipes.
The atmospheric vent pipe sticking out of the roof is the traditional way to provide air in drainage pipes. Atmospheric vents work well when properly installed, which is easy to do when venting one or two fixtures. Atmospheric vent installation gets more complicated when trying to use one vent pipe to serve multiple fixtures, such as when using wet vents and circuit vents (see Figure 1). Installation also gets more complicated when trying to vent fixtures in islands and peninsulas where there is no convenient wall in which to run a vertical vent pipe. Atmospheric vents are expensive to install. Each piece of pipe requires materials and labor. Then, of course, there’s the problem of the leaking vent pipe boot on the roof. Eventually, most vent pipe boots leak. The air admittance valve (AAV) cures most of the problems created by atmospheric vents. AAVs were invented in Sweden in the 1970s and introduced in the United States in the late 1980s. AAVs are often called Studor vents, which is the brand name of the original AAV manufacturer. Acceptance of AAVs was slow at first, but they are now accepted by the model codes and in most jurisdictions. An AAV opens to let air into the drainage pipes when the valve senses negative pressure, thus serving part of an atmospheric plumbing vent’s purpose. It can be used just about any place an atmospheric vent can be used. When the correct size AAV is installed, it can serve one or many fixtures. An AAV can be installed in attics and crawlspaces, and in any other interior space with adequate ventilation and accessibility. An AAV may not be installed outside, nor may it be the vent for a sewage ejector (Photo 1). One might think that the AAV could eliminate the need for the atmospheric plumbing vent. Air admittance valves certainly reduce the need for the atmospheric vent, but AAVs do not eliminate the need for one atmospheric vent per house. The one atmospheric vent per house provides air to avoid trap seal blowouts (unlikely, but possible in residential construction) and helps water flow freely.
Figure 1. Each fixture drain must enter a circuit-vented pipe individually and horizontally.
ASHI Reporter • August 2018
The Word: Vent
Beware that a false AAV is out there waiting to fool the unsuspecting wizard. This is the check vent, also known as a cheater vent. These vents are spring-operated devices that will usually fail more quickly than the more expensive AAV. Check vents are approved only for installation in manufactured homes. Know a check vent by its small size, usually black color, visible spring and lack of a UPC symbol.
Knowing the true name of the vent system components is important because whether or not the vent system is properly installed is determined, to a large degree, by how the individual components are installed. The rules for installing a vent connector are different from those for installing a vent. Vent systems that are improperly installed can backdraft and can allow condensation of acidic water in the vent. Knowing a few simple rules can help alert you to a vent system that may be improperly installed. Vent systems that run afoul of these rules are not necessarily deficient, but it may be wise to pay special attention to them and, in some cases, recommend evaluation.
• Two 90˚ elbows (or any combination of fittings that is ≤ 180˚) are assumed in a vent connector. Each additional elbow impedes combustion gas flow.
• Single-wall vent connectors that exceed 75% of the vent system height and Type B vent connectors that exceed 100% of the vent system height may impede combustion gas flow.
Use of the word vent to describe systems that help combustion products get from combustion appliances to outside is also well established, and descriptive of its purpose and function. The problem is that some wizards do not know about the true names of the vent system components.
• Single-wall vent connectors may not be installed in attics and crawlspaces, and may not be installed in garages in cold-climate zones.
• A vent connector that does not rise about 12 inches vertically before the first elbow may impede combustion gas flow.
Photo 1. AAV incorrectly installed at an angle.
The following refers to vents serving natural draft combustion appliances such as low- and medium-efficiency furnaces and water heaters. Manufacturer’s instructions rule for high-efficiency appliance vents and vents that use a fan to either push or pull combustion gasses through the vent. A combustion vent is actually a system that usually consists of several components. Beginning at the combustion appliance, a vent connector runs from the appliance to the vent, which terminates with a cap. If the vent system is entirely vertical with no laterals, then there is no vent connector, just the vent and a cap (Figure 2).
Figure 2. The vent is the vertical section. Everything before that is the vent connector.
• Flexible vent connectors usually may be installed in the same way as a solid Type B vent connector, except that they may not: • penetrate a combustible partition such as a wall, floor or ceiling; • be cut or altered; • be compressed more than 20% of their full extended length; • be bent at more than 90˚; • be installed in a concealed space.
Photo 2. Flexible vent improperly penetrates a ceiling and has been improperly modified. Photo 3. Way too many bends!
The Word: Vent
EXHAUST SYSTEMS Note that instructions for various models of flexible vent connectors are different and other restrictions may apply, especially for the DuraVent brand DuraConnect single-wall flexible connector (Photos 2 and 3). • Vent system components should not be installed exposed in places where accidental contact is likely, such as in closets and garages. • Vent connectors should be supported about every 4 to 5 feet and near fittings. Vents should be supported at the roof penetration. All vent system components should be supported per manufacturer’s instructions. • Vents should not extend above the roof farther than necessary to achieve the minimum roof clearance. For example, a Type B vent should not extend above a roof with a 6/12 pitch much more than 12 inches (and not less than 12 inches) (Photo 4).
Use of the word vent to describe systems that remove moisture and odors from inside the house is well established; however, The Word again submits for your consideration that vent is not the true name that describes the purpose and function of these systems. The Word, and the International Residential Code, submit the term “exhaust” as the true name of these systems. This true name makes it clear that these systems are intended to move air containing excess moisture and noxious fumes out of the house, and it makes a clear distinction between exhaust systems and plumbing vents and combustion vents. Until very recently, exhaust systems did not receive much respect. Respect wasn’t necessary because it didn’t matter much if the systems worked well or not. Houses were built with many openings that allowed many air changes with the outside. In these leaky houses, moisture inside the house was removed with reasonable effectiveness by multiple air exchanges per hour with the outside. Now, houses are built with far fewer openings and far fewer air changes per hour. Moisture remains in the house or, worse, migrates into the attic and wall cavities if the exhaust systems do not work effectively. There are three types of exhaust systems frequently found in houses. They all have three components: a fan to move the air, a duct to conduct the material outside of the house and a termination at the outside. Low-volume exhaust systems are mostly found in bathrooms and usually move air at a rate between 50 cubic feet per minute (cfm) (minimum) and 100 cfm. Kitchen exhaust systems usually move air at a rate between 100 cfm (minimum) and 400 cfm. Clothes dryer exhaust systems usually move air at a rate around 200 cfm. Bathroom exhaust systems get the least respect of all. Many HVAC contractors believed that these fans were intended to remove odors when, in fact, their primary purpose is to remove moisture from a place where a lot of moisture is created. In tight houses, it is essential that these exhaust systems function properly. Functioning properly means getting the amount of air that the fan is rated to move through the duct and out of the house.
Photo 4. Vent is too close to the roof, too close to the sidewall and too close to the window.
ATTIC AND CRAWLSPACE VENTILATION Use of the word vent to describe openings that provide air to attics and crawlspaces is well established; however, The Word submits for your consideration that vent is not the true name that describes the purpose and function of providing ventilation to attics and crawlspaces. The Word submits the term “ventilation openings” as the true name of these openings. This true name makes it clear that these openings provide ventilation to the attic and crawlspace. Attic ventilation and crawlspace ventilation, and the alternatives involving unventilated spaces, are complicated topics. These topics deserve their own separate discussions, which The Word will do in other articles. 20
ASHI Reporter • August 2018
The cheap 3-inch diameter, flexible plastic duct installed in many houses just doesn’t cut it. It is not allowed under current standards. Even a 4-inch diameter duct is limited to 50 cfm fans and limited in length to 56 feet without bends. A bathroom exhaust duct should be at least 4-inch diameter, smooth-wall metal. Larger ducts may be required for larger fans. A damper should be installed at the exterior termination. So, is a 3-inch flexible duct a defect? Probably, unless the length is very short, just a few feet in length. A 50-cfm fan will not provide 50 cfm of air movement when connected to a small flexible duct, either metal or plastic. That said, The Word is not advocating that inspectors start reporting as defective thousands of bath exhausts with 3-inch diameter ducts. The ducts may be defective, but it’s not clear that the cost of replacing these ducts would exceed the benefits.
The Word: Vent
A kitchen exhaust system with a duct run to the outside is only required when there is no operable window in the kitchen area. There almost always is an operable kitchen window, so a kitchen exhaust system is not usually required. It is, however, highly recommended, but lack of one is not a defect. In fact, even a recirculating hood is not required if clearance to wood cabinets is maintained (at least 30 inches vertical). A kitchen exhaust duct should be installed per manufacturer’s instructions. The duct must be smooth-wall metal and be airtight from the fan to the outside. There should be a damper either at the exterior termination or at the fan. If there is no damper at the exterior termination, there should be a screen to keep critters out. Manufacturers of fans rated around 100 cfm usually recommend a minimum 6-inch diameter duct or a 3-inch-by-10-inch rectangular duct. Ducts that are not smooth-wall metal and ducts that are not airtight are a reportable defect because they are a fire hazard and a sanitation hazard (Photo 5).
Inspectors should look closely at the clothes dryer exhaust exterior termination. A damper should be installed at the exterior termination. There should be no screen installed (Photo 6). If there is a lot of visible lint at the termination, there is a good chance there is lint in the duct (Photo 7). Lint is a fire hazard, so reporting lint at the termination is prudent. Photo 6. In case you need convincing why there should be no screens at dryer exhaust terminations.
Photo 5. The flex duct from the fan is bad enough, but to air couple it to a bath duct?
The clothes dryer exhaust duct system consists of two ducts. The transition duct runs between the dryer and the smooth-wall metal exhaust duct. The transition duct may be a flexible metal duct that is not more than 8-feet long. The old plastic transition duct should be replaced. Transition ducts may not penetrate walls, floors and ceilings, and may not be installed in attics and crawlspaces. The dryer duct should be 4-inch diameter, smooth-wall metal—not larger and not smaller. The duct should be not more than 35 feet long, developed length. Developed length means adding 5 feet for most 90° elbows and 2 ½-feet for most 45° elbows. We are not required to measure the dryer duct developed length, but an inspector faced with a laundry room in the middle of the house can take a good guess at the dryer duct developed length (Figure 3). Figure 3. Summary of clothes dryer exhaust duct requirements.
Photo 7. Wonder what the inside of the duct looks like?
THE BOTTOM LINE Knowing and using the true name of a component is important. The true name helps give you the power to inspect and report about a component. The true name is also important for avoiding misunderstandings, as illustrated in the following example: A question was asked of The Word about a temperature reading taken at a furnace vent. Confused, The Word asked why the inspector would measure the temperature of a furnace (combustion) vent and what the inspector hoped to learn from this out-of-scope procedure. It turns out that the inspector was measuring the temperature at an HVAC supply register (the true name of this component). It’s okay to confuse The Word. It’s not okay to confuse a client.
MEMO TO THE MINISTRY OF MAGIC The Word does not reside on Mt. Olympus (just at its base) and welcomes other viewpoints. Send your lightning bolts or emails to Bruce@DreamHomeConsultants.com. The thoughts contained herein are those of The Word; they are not ASHI standards or policies.
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DEVELOPING YOUR MARKETING PLAN By Alan Carson, Carson Dunlop, www.carsondunlop.com, 800-268-7070
marketing plan outlines and organizes all the ways in which you intend to market your business. It often covers a two-year window, but there is some flexibility. A marketing plan functions as a point of reference or guide; it reminds you of your goals and your action plan. It’s a dynamic document that you modify as you go. As you gain experience in your business, you will find out what works and what doesn’t. If an item on your plan doesn’t work, you can change it or abandon it.
GENERAL PRINCIPLES OF A MARKETING PLAN
Marketing plans vary widely depending on where you find a template and what you are offering. But they all share some general principles. General overview and mission statement: This is the basic information you need to know about your company. Start by asking yourself the following simple questions: • Who is the company, including principals and employees?
Over time, you will refine this document into something more like a reference of proven successful marketing strategies. Some marketing strategies will have a better fit with your personality, ability, budget, market and goals than others.
• What is the product or service? What is the company’s goal?
Another good reason to have a marketing plan is so you can present it to a third party, such as a bank, when needed. If you are trying to get a business startup loan, for instance, having a marketing plan gives you legitimacy to the banker—it shows the banker that you are serious about your business.
• Why is your product or service superior to existing services?
A marketing plan helps to prevent you from trying every marketing opportunity that comes along, without regard to budget. If you follow your plan, you will realize that adding a new activity means dropping a planned activity or changing the budget. A marketing plan is a subsection of a business plan. As a service-intensive business, your marketing plan is likely the most important section of your business plan. The good news is you already have the content for your marketing plan at your fingertips. All you need to do now is organize this information into a plan of action. Remember, a marketing plan is just that—a plan. It is not a guarantee of profit. But with a plan, you stand a better chance of realizing your financial projections. The plan gives you a foundation on which to build your business. Remember, too, that a marketing plan will not make you money until it is well executed. There are those among us who are wonderful planners, but hopeless implementers. If you know or suspect that you won’t follow through on the items in your plan, you should save yourself a lot of time and don’t bother with the plan. Not only do you already have the content for a plan, but you also have a basic template for your plan. There are also many templates for marketing plans on the market, online and in books. At the end of this article, we’ve listed a few books that might be helpful. An Internet search will bring up plans that you can purchase and plans that are free. Most marketing plans are based on the assumption that you have a product to sell, but remember that you are looking to build a plan for a service business.
REMEMBER THAT A MARKETING PLAN WILL NOT MAKE YOU MONEY UNTIL IT IS WELL EXECUTED. 24
Carson Dunlop - Consulting engineering firm devoted to home inspection since 1978. www.carsondunlop.com
ASHI Reporter • August 2018
• Where is the location of your business and what is the service area? • How does the company plan to accomplish its objectives and sales volumes? • When are your services purchased and who does the purchasing? For instance, the client purchases your service on site but, in a sense, it is the agent who sets up the purchase beforehand. Once you’ve written your general overview, you are ready to dig into the meat of the plan. Features and benefits of service: List the features of your service and the related benefits for customers. Describe what agents look for in an inspector and what homebuyers look for in an inspector. Then describe how your services meet those needs. Unique selling proposition: What is the one benefit of your service that others cannot offer? Budget: Develop a budget before you get into the rest of your plan so that you have an idea of what you have to work with. Be prepared to adjust your budget after you have developed your plan, and to add or omit any strategies that you’ve changed your mind about. If you’ve already made a tentative budget, insert it into this section of your plan. Target market segments: Describe your target market. Home inspectors have to break these into segments, which can include homebuyers, home sellers, homeowners, real estate agents, lenders’ title companies, real estate lawyers and others. You may break some segments down into subcategories. Homebuyers may include buyer of new homes, first-time homebuyers, buyers of condominiums and so on. Market size and penetration: For every market segment, define the total potential sales within this proposed market. This includes all the possible home inspections in the segment, for example. Then project your penetration into the market over 6 months, 12 months, 18 months and 24 months. This will be based on your estimate of how much demand you can create for your service in the market segment. Compare your service output capacity to your estimate of market demand. This is a check to make sure that if you create the demand, you will be able to provide the service. Competitive analysis: This section outlines what your prospects want and the competition you face as you try to respond to that demand. You are competing with inspectors who already have established relationships with agents. To know more about your competition, ask yourself the following questions: What are your competitor’s service areas? How many years have they been in business? From whom do they get referrals? What are the features and benefits of their business? The more you know about your competition, the better your chances of knowing how to overcome the hurdles.
WHAT ARE YOUR STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES COMPARED TO YOUR COMPETITION? Find out what market share your competitors enjoy. One way is to conduct an informational interview with an inspector who works in a completely different service area. That way, they won’t feel like you’re encroaching on their territory, but you should make sure that the service area shares similar qualities of the service area that you intend to break into. What are your strengths and weaknesses compared to your competition? Consider location, size of resources, reputation, services, report type, speed of delivery, flexibility of hours and so on. Here are other questions to consider about your competitors: • How many firms offer your service? • Is your desired service area saturated with building inspectors? • How many of these firms look prosperous?
The more detailed information you provide about the following, for example, the better idea you’ll have of how to price your business and ensure profit: • Operating expenses • Computer, printer and software • Inspection tools • Insurance (property, auto, general liability, errors and omissions, health and dental) • Association dues, training and continuing education • Communications expenses such as telephone, Internet and website • Marketing materials including business cards, brochures, stationery and an inspection report writing system
• How many services such as yours went out of business in this area last year? Can you find out why they failed?
• Car expenses such as gas, repairs and reserve for replacement
• How many new services opened up in the last year?
• Administration time
• Which firm or firms in the area will be your biggest competition? Why?
Service pricing and financial projections: When you get to this part of your plan, you need to consider four main elements:
• Inspection time
Provide a sales forecast of the market share that you think your company can realistically expect to generate. It’s a good idea to set up a financial projection page.
• Operating expenses
Some items to consider are the following:
• Planned profit • Competition’s prices These elements will help you develop a pricing structure that is fair to the customer and to you. Not only must you cover all expenses, but you must also allow enough to pay yourself a salary. Don’t sell yourself short! Inspection fees can vary dramatically by geographic region. For example, in areas that have no basements and no fossil fuel furnaces, the inspection tends to be a little faster and the inspection fee tends to be a little lower. However, fees also vary with the cost of living; more expensive places to live have higher inspection fees. Analyze the particulars of your pricing by doing the following: • Describe the generic price range and rationale for home inspection services. You can look at this in a few different ways. If you’ve decided to go for a price that is higher than your competitors, show how you might lose a percentage of sales volume, but how you will make up any financial shortfalls through the price you charge. Charging more than the competitor can send the message that your service is high-quality. If you are planning a promotion, show how you have modified your price structure to accommodate your promotional prices, discounts or coupons. • Show how this price covers your expenses and has appropriate margin for profit. You need to know what your costs will be to ensure that you can cover them. Hidden expenses will crop up when you least expect them, so build in room for incidentals. Include a breakdown of all service costs in your plan.
• Sales forecast • Budget • Profit margins, including variations due to promotional pricing or coupons • Provide a projection of the next few years of your business. Distribution channels: How do you plan to get your service to the end user? This is an especially important question in the home inspection business. Your end user is your client, the homebuyer. But getting to the homebuyer directly may be an inefficient use of your resources. Many inspectors reach their clients through real estate agents. How do these distribution channels help you meet your time frames? In your case, developing a relationship with agents may save you time because you don’t have to solicit homebuyers directly. Once you’ve invested time pitching agencies and agents, you will be able to decrease that time investment in the future and increase your inspection time availability.
Remember that all good marketing plans should be “living” documents. It’s a good idea to make changes from time to time. And remember that no matter how good the plan is, the marketing plan in itself won’t make you any money. The only way a marketing plan will lead to success is through your diligent and effective implementation of the plan.
ASHI Chapters and Council News
NORTH CENTRAL ASHI Central PA
www.ashicentralpa.com Second Monday, 6 pm, except Jan. & July, Hoss’s Steakhouse 1151 Harrisburg Pike, Carlisle, PA Kevin Kenny, 717-226-3066 email@example.com
www.keystoneashi.org First Monday, 5:30 pm Double Tree, 10 N. 5th Street Reading, PA 19601 Robert H. Conner, 610-375-9675 firstname.lastname@example.org
www.ohioashi.com Ken Harrington, 614-507-1061 email@example.com
North Central Ohio
www.ncohioashi.com Paul Wancata, 216-571-1074 firstname.lastname@example.org
OHIO SOUTH ASHI Meeting: Third Tues. every month, 6:30pm @ Kriemer’s Bier Haus, OH-128, Cleves, OH 4500 P.O. Box 532197 Cincinnati, OH 45252 Chris Green, 513-939-4036 Email email@example.com
www.pocono-lehighashi.org Third Tuesday, Tannersville Inn Tannersville Ronald Crescente, 570-646-7546 firstname.lastname@example.org
Heartland (IA, MN, ND, SD, WI) www.ashiheartland.org Reuben Saltzman, 612-205-5600 email@example.com
www.inashi.com Quarterly Danny Maynard, 317-319-7209 firstname.lastname@example.org
www.iowaashichapter.org Fourth Tuesday, 6:00 - 8:00 pm Iowa City Area Assoc. of Realtors Education Center 847 Quary Road, Coralville, IA Craig Chmelicek, 319-389-7379 email@example.com
Kentuckiana (IN, KY)
www.ashikentuckiana.org Allan Davis, 502-648-9294 elitehomeinspections@ insightbb.com
www.midmoashi.com Second Thursday, 12:00 pm, even months of the year; Columbia Board of Realtors office: 2309 I-70 Drive NW, Columbia, MO Mark Kelsey, 573-356-5305 firstname.lastname@example.org
www.nicashi.com Second Wednesday (except Dec.) 5:30 pm - 9:00 pm Allegra Banquets, 237 W St. Charles Rd. Villa Park, IL 60181 Joe Konopacki, 630-283-2248 email@example.com
www.proashi.com Second Wednesday of Jan., March., May, Sept. & Nov. Ray Fonos, 412-461-8273 firstname.lastname@example.org
Tri-State (DE, NJ, PA)
Great Plains (KS, MO)
www.tristateashi.org Second Tuesday except April, Aug. & Dec., Dave & Buster’s Plymouth Meeting, PA Jules Falcone, email@example.com
Great Lakes (IL, IN, IA, KY, MI, MN, OH, WI) For monthly meetings: www.greatinspectors.com/ schedule-of-events/ Carol Case, 734-284-4501 firstname.lastname@example.org
Greater Omaha (NE)
www.ashiomaha.com Jon Vacha, 402-660-6935 email@example.com
ASHI Reporter • August 2018
www.azashi.org Bryck Guibor, 520-419-1313 firstname.lastname@example.org Quarterly education on azashi.org
www.ashinm.org Bi-monthly meetings are held on the second Saturday of the month at Drury Hotel (Jan., March, May, July, Sept.) located at I-25 and Jefferson in Albuquerque. Meeting starts at 8:30 am. Lance Ellis, 505-977-3915 email@example.com
Northern Rockies (ID, MT) Steve Jenicek, 406-949-6461 Steve@taskmasterinspections.com Secretary: Kelly Campeau 877-749-2225 Kelly@inspectormt.com
Rocky Mountain Fourth Tuesday, 6:30 pm Bob Kadera, 303-588-2502 firstname.lastname@example.org
www.ashi-southerncolorado.org Second Thursday each month, 6:30 pm Valley Hi Golf Club, 610 S. Chelton Rd. Colorado Springs, CO 80910 Aaron Hunt, 719-334-5455 aaron@huntproperty inspections.com
www.ashiutah.com First Tuesday, 7 pm Marie Callender’s, Midvale Fred Larsen, 801-201-9583 Fred.email@example.com
Lonnie Moore, 479-530-5792 firstname.lastname@example.org www.ashikc.org Second Wednesday of even months The Great Wolf Lodge, Kansas City Doug Hord, 816-215-2329 email@example.com
Midwest PRO ASHI (KS)
Ray Fonos, 412-461-8273 firstname.lastname@example.org
St. Louis (MO)
www.stlashi.org Second Tuesday, 5 pm Creve Coeur Government Center Multi-Purpose Meeting Room 300 N. New Ballas Creve Coeur, MO 63141 Mark Goodman, 636-391-0091 email@example.com
PACIFIC Alaska Meeting dates: Jan. 1, March 1, Aug. 1, Nov. 1 Location varies each meeting David Mortensen, 907-243-4476 firstname.lastname@example.org
www.ashihawaii.com Alex Woodbury, 808-322-5174 Woodburya001@hawaii.rr.com
California Randy Pierson, 310-265-0833 email@example.com
Central Valley CREIA-ASHI Peter Boyd, 530-673-5800 Boyd.firstname.lastname@example.org
Golden Gate (CA)
www.ggashi.com John Fryer, 510-682-4908 email@example.com
Inland Northwest (ID, WA) Vince Vargas, 208-290-2472 firstname.lastname@example.org
Orange County CREIA-ASHI (CA) www.creia.org/orangecounty-chapter Third Monday, 5:30 pm Hometown Buffet 2321 S. Bristol, Santa Ana Bill Bryan, 949-565-5904 email@example.com
www.oahi.org Fourth Tuesday, 6:30 pm 4534 SE McLoughlin Blvd. Portland Jon Nichols, 503-324-2000 firstname.lastname@example.org
San Diego CREIA-ASHI First Tuesday each month Elijah’s Restaurant 7061 Clairemont Mesa Boulevard San Diego, CA 92111 Ray (Cliff ) Sims Jr., 619-334-1138 email@example.com
San Joaquin Valley (CA) Third Thursday, 6 pm 1736 Union Avenue, Bakersfield, CA Raymond Beasley, 661-805-5947 firstname.lastname@example.org Mail: 3305 Colony Oak St. Bakersfield, CA 93311
Silicon Valley ASHI-CREIA (CA)
www.siliconvalleyinspector.com Skip Walker, 650-873-4224 email@example.com
Southwestern Idaho Second Monday David Reish, 208-941-5760 firstname.lastname@example.org
Los Angeles-Ventura County ASHI-CREIA First Thursday, 5 pm Holiday Inn, Woodland Hills Bob Guyer, 805-501-0733 email@example.com
South Bay (CA) Webinar meetings Randy Pierson, 310-265-0833 firstname.lastname@example.org
www.ashiww.com Chapter Meetings held at chapter seminars in March and Sept. Karl Nueffer karl@G4inspections.com
NEW ENGLAND Coastal Connecticut
www.coastalctashi.org Third Thursday, 6 pm, Westport VFW Lodge, 465 Riverside Avenue, Westport John Hamlin, 203-912-1917 email@example.com
New England (ME, MA, NH, RI, VT) Third Thursday (usually), 5 pm Hilton Garden Inn, Waltham, MA Michael Atwell, 617-630-5629 firstname.lastname@example.org
Northern New England (NNEC) (ME, MA, NH, VT) www. ashi-nnec.org Third Thursday of Jan., April, June and Sept. Tim Rooney, 603-770-0444 email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org
Hudson Valley (NY)
www.novaashi.com Fourth Tuesday, Associate hour 6-7 pm, Membership meeting 7-9 pm, Northern Virginia Resources Center, Fairfax Tony Toth, 703-926-6213 email@example.com
Long Island (NY)
Piedmont ASHI (VA)
www.liashi.com Third Monday, 6 pm, Domenico’s Restaurant, Levittown John Weiburg 516-603-5770 firstname.lastname@example.org
New York Metro
www.nyashi.com Last Thursday, 5pm Travelers Rest 25 Saw Mill River Road Ossining, NY 10562 Chris Long, 914-260-8571 email@example.com
Southern New Jersey (NJ)
NEW YORK/JERSEY/ DELAWARE Capitol Region (NY)
www.goashi.com Richard W. Askew, 518-383-4804 firstname.lastname@example.org
Central New York
www.cnyashi.com Third Wednesday each month, 6 pm Tony’s Family Restaurant, Syracuse Richard Alton, 315-415-4847 email@example.com
First State (DE)
www.firststateashi.org Third Wednesday, 7 pm The Buzz Ware Center 2121 The Highway, Arden Mark Desmond, 302-494-1294 firstname.lastname@example.org
Garden State (NJ)
www.gardenstateashi.com Second Thursday The Westwood, Garwood Ernie Borsellino, 973 761 0050 email@example.com
Greater Rochester (NY)
www.ashirochester.com Second Tuesday, 6 pm Jeremiah’s Tavern, 2200 Buffalo Rd. Gates, NY 14624 Jim Brennan, 585-520-5575 firstname.lastname@example.org
NOVA-ASHI (MD, VA)
Second Tuesday, 6 pm Daddy O’s Restaurant 3 Turner Street Hopewell Junction, NY 12533 Michael Skok, 845-592-1442 email@example.com
www.southernnjashi.com Third Wednesday, 6:30 pm Ramada Inn, Bordentown Rick Lobley, 609-208-9798 firstname.lastname@example.org
Western New York Second Thursday, 6:30 pm Tony Rome’s, West Seneca Andy Utnik, 716-636-9676 email@example.com
MID-ATLANTIC Central Virginia
www.cvashi.org Second Tuesday, 6:30 pm Independence Golf Course 600 Founders Bridge Blvd. Midlothian, VA 23113 John Cranor, President 804-873-8537 cranorinspectionservices @gmail.com
Hampton Roads (VA) Second Thursday, 7 pm, Cypress Point Country Club, Virginia Beach Gregory Murphy, 757-535-4355 firstname.lastname@example.org
MAC-ASHI (MD, VA)
www.mac-ashi.com Second Wednesday, Rockville, 6 pm Senior Center, Rockville Mark Mostrom, 301-536-0096 email@example.com
Robert Huntley, 540-354-2135 firstname.lastname@example.org
SOUTH ATLANTIC ASHI Georgia
www.ashigeorgia.com Shannon Cory, 404-316-4876 email@example.com
www.etashi.org Third Saturday of Feb., May, Aug. and Nov. Paul Perry, 866-522-7708 firstname.lastname@example.org
Mid-Tennessee Ray Baird, 615-516-5511 email@example.com
Mid-South (TN) Steven Campbell, 901-734-0555 firstname.lastname@example.org
www.ncashi.com Meeting TBA Bruce Barker, 919-322-4491 email@example.com
South Carolina First Saturday of Feb., May, Aug. & Nov., 8 am Roger Herdt, 843-669-3757 firstname.lastname@example.org
Louisiana Quarterly Meetings Michael Burroughs 318-324-0661 Mburroughs2@comcast.net
www.ashisuncoast.com First Tuesday, 6:30 pm; Please see our website for meeting locations. Steve Acker, 727-712-3089 email@example.com
www.swashi.com Serving Manatee, Sarasota & Charlotte Second Wednesday, 6 pm Holiday Inn, Lakewood Ranch 6321 Lake Osprey Drive, Sarasota Michael Conley, 941-778-2385 FLinspector@outlookcom
CANADA CAHPI Atlantic
www.cahpi-alt.com Lawrence Englehart 902-403-2460 firstname.lastname@example.org
www.oahi.com Rob Cornish, 613-858-5000 email@example.com
Alberta Professional Home Inspectors (APHIS) www.aphis.ca Meetings held 3 times a year Alan Fisher, 403-248-6893 firstname.lastname@example.org
www.aibq.qc.ca Pascal Baudaux, 450-629-2038 email@example.com
ASHI South (AL)
www.ashisouth.org Quarterly, Homewood Library Homewood John Knudsen, 334-221-0876 firstname.lastname@example.org
www.ashiwiregrass.org Second Wednesday, 6:30 pm Sleep Inn Hotel, Wesley Chapel Nancy Janosz, 813-546-6090 ProTeamInsp@aol.com
Gulfcoast (FL) First Thursday, 7 pm, The Forest Country Club, Fort Myers Len Gluckstal, 239-432-0178 email@example.com
Lone Star (TX)
www.ashitexas.org Bud Rozell, 214-215-4961 firstname.lastname@example.org
Request for Interpretation: Ethics for Home Inspectors
Can a Home Inspector Perform Ancillary Services for Clients? By Jamison Brown, ASHI Ethics Committee Chair
Question Is it ethical for a home inspector who conducted a structural pest inspection on a home to then perform structural pest repair work on the same home, assuming the inspector is representing separate companies?
In this and future issues of the Reporter, ASHI’s Ethics Committee will address dilemmas faced by home inspectors.
Interpretation by ASHI Code of Ethics Committee: The ASHI Code of Ethics (CoE) states in item six, “The member will promptly disclose to the client any interest in a business which may affect the client. The member will not allow an interest in any business to affect the quality or results of their inspection work which they may be called upon to perform. The inspection work may not be used as a vehicle by the inspector to deliberately obtain work in another field.” The ASHI Standards Committee reviews the CoE in relation to the potential for conflicts of interest in areas involving ancillary services or fee-paid services beyond the home inspection. Among these ancillary services are pest control inspections. ASHI has long recognized that qualified members can offer these ancillary services to a home inspection without violating the CoE. Although inspecting for wood-destroying organisms and other inspection or consultation activities are allowable activities for qualified ASHI members, the potential for conflict enters the equation when the same inspector, or the firm with which he or she is associated, goes beyond the inspection and offers or performs remediation, extermination, repairs or alterations. The CoE states that “members shall avoid association with any enterprise of questionable character, or apparent conflict of interest.” This does not say a blatant or an immediate or a real conflict, but simply an apparent one. Of course, a real conflict of interest is a violation, but an apparent conflict of interest also should be avoided. The appearance of a conflict is sufficient to create doubt. The prohibition against apparent conflict of interest has been established to avoid the temptation to make—or to create the suspicion of having made—an intentional misstatement concerning a given condition in hopes of eliciting additional work.
ASHI Reporter • August 2018
The findings and recommendations of an ASHI home inspector are too important to be clouded with this suspicion. This is why any ASHI member performing additional, for-profit services as described here would be in violation of the ASHI Code of Ethics. The distinguishing aspect is that these activities (that is, corrective measures such as remediation, extermination, repairs or alterations) that provide for additional compensation (beyond the inspection fee) normally require a separate contract and are no longer ancillary services. Any work or service requiring a home improvement contract or a special permit is for-profit work that violates the intent of the CoE. These works or services should be performed only by properly licensed firms working under an appropriate contract. Jamison Brown is the owner of Home Inspections by Jamison & Company, Poquoson, VA. Before becoming an ASHI member in 1988, Jamison was a project manager, and supervised the construction and remodeling of more than 10,000 housing units for the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Jamison is a former member of the Carpenters and Joiners of America and a former licensed plumber in the state of Virginia. He is a member of the International Code Council, International Association of Electrical Inspectors (IAEI) and a certified member of the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI). He has been a member of ASHI’s Technical and Membership Committees, and was chair of the CEPP Committee. Currently, he chairs the ASHI Code of Ethics Committee. Jamison has personally inspected over 18,000 residential and commercial properties. Contact him at email@example.com.
YOUR INSPECTION IS THE BEST REFERRAL TOOL
Trade-up to better inspecting Call 800 745 6126 and ask about our special trade-up oﬀer for competitor software or check out our Specials at www.3dinspection.com
Attention, ASHI Members in the Military! We are planning a Reporter article that will feature stories of ASHI members who are or have been active service members in the military. If you’d like to participate, please email your name and contact information to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you for your service! 29August 2018
ASHI CHAPTER EDUCATION
When: Sept. 8-9, 2018 Where: American Legion Post, Cincinnati, OH CEUs: 16 ASHI CE hours Contact: email@example.com
North Central Ohio ASHI Fall Seminar 2018
When: Sept. 21-22, 2018 Where: Akron/Fairlawn Holiday Inn Akron West, 4073 Medina Rd. Akron, OH 44333 Topic: Radon measurement - 8hrs, Electrical with Mike Twitty - 4hrs CEUs: 8 ASHI CE hours per day Contact: Mark Goodman, firstname.lastname@example.org
IMPORTANT REPORTER DEADLINES: • SEPT 2018 ISSUE - 7/7/18 • OCT 2018 ISSUE - 8/7/18 • NOV 2018 ISSUE - 9/7/18 • DEC 2018 ISSUE - 10/7/18 • JAN 2019 ISSUE - 11/7/18 The Reporter is produced 6-8 weeks ahead of the week it arrives in your mailbox.
To have your chapter seminar listed here, email all information about your chapter seminar to: email@example.com. BE SURE TO INCLUDE ALL INFORMATION: seminar subject, when, where, CEUs & a link for more information or contact information.
ASHI ASHI Reporter Reporter •• May August August 2018 2018 2018
ASHI Western Washington Fall Seminar When: Sept. 28-29, 2018 Where: Mountaineers Club, Seattle, WA Speakers: Mark Parlee, Clay Lamb, Charles Buell CEUs: 16 ASHI CE hours Contact: Joanne MacKintosh, firstname.lastname@example.org
Rocky Mountain Chapter of ASHI-Education
When: September 29, 2018 Where: 2200 S. Monaco Pkwy., Denver, CO 80222 Topic: Report Writing, Water Intrusion Into Buildings, The Practical Science Behind Great Home Inspections, Boilers Speakers: Tom Feiza (Mr. Fix-It) and Tom D’Agostino CEUs: 8 ASHI CE hours Contact: Mike Dryer, 303-717-6178
ASHI Great Lakes Chapter Fall Conference
When: October 5-6, 2018, Where: Holiday Inn, 8555 Stansted Road, Indianapolis, IN 46241 Topic: 10/5 - Peer Review/Education Review & Hospitality Suite 10/6 - Chimney Safety Institute Tour, Phone Skills & Handling Complaints, Protecting Your Business & Increasing Revenue CEUs: earn up to 16 ASHI CEs Contact: Carol Case, 773-2844501, www.greatinspectors.com
Keystone ASHI Educational Event
When: October 12 & 13, 2018 Where: DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel, 701 Penn St., Reading, PA 19601 CEUs: 16 ASHI CE hours Contact: amanda@brsinspect. com
LDC ASHI 2018
OHSO ASHI Chapter Fall Seminar
DES PLAINES, IL
OCTOBER 25-27, 2018
You Tell Us
S U L L E T U YO Author Response: Reader Response to “Making the Case for Measuring Voltage” (June 2018): In the article “Making the Case for Measuring Voltage” (June 2018), Charles Buell pointed out that water heaters, clothes dryers and ovens will take 25% longer to heat up and perform their specific task if they are dual-rated 208VAC/240VAC. One thing that Mr. Buell did not point out is that the total amount of energy in each case is the same (kWH), even though the run-time is longer. Another thing that he neglected to mention is that there are 208VAC-specific heating elements available to restore the heating capability of any normal tank water heater for around $50 for the pair of elements (3500, 4500 and 5500W units are all available). The recovery rate will be restored, or nearly restored, to the rating plate value. He also stated that voltages measured at any other point will be a bit lower than expected if measured, say, at a dryer receptacle than on the main lugs. This is simply not true if there is no load on the circuit (i.e., the dryer is unplugged to measure the voltage [voltage drop, V = IR, and if I = 0, the voltage will be the same as the entry point if your measurement device is high impedance]). Going further, regardless if the voltage is 110V-rated or 130V-rated, we should be recommending LED bulbs, which are typically rated for 100VAC-250VAC and consume around 80% to 85% less power per lumen than incandescent bulbs, for our clients to save power and money. I know I may be nit-picking, but I, too, am a member of the ASHI Technical Review Committee and have been an electrical engineer for 36 years. If we are going to go the extra mile, let’s give our clients the best information we can (and yes, I do measure the voltage in several places in the house, including the main lugs). -- Victor G. Faggella, ACI, Centurion Home Inspections, Inc., Woodbury, CT
To keep the article from getting too long, I could not include all the possible paths that this topic could take. Of course, the amount of energy consumed will be roughly the same—even while taking longer. Also, I did not discuss 208-specific elements for the same reason. It would not help all the other appliances involved and it could result in having to rewire as the wiring already installed might be too small. Certainly, I should not have said the voltage would drop over distance. It does under a load, but otherwise it will be accurate to measure anywhere in the system. To add some further context to the article, although I cannot speak for ASHI, if anyone does not want to do this measuring, they certainly do not have to. I discuss in the article how an inspector can comment if they do not measure. In addition, per the ASHI Standard of Practice, we are required to remove the panel cover as long as we deem it safe to do so. Once it is off, it is nowhere near as dangerous to do measuring as it is to take the cover off in the first place. Both can be accomplished safely. Measuring can be done at any 208/240 receptacle and would be no more complicated than using a three-light tester that most inspectors routinely use. -- Charles Buell, ACI, licensed home inspector in the state of Washington, and instructor, residential home inspection courses, Bellingham Technical College, Bellingham, WA
If you would like to share your thoughts and comments about the articles you read in the Reporter, please email Kate Laurent at email@example.com. We look forward to hearing from you!
A Home Inspector’s Guide to Google Ads
A HOME INSPECTOR’S GUIDE TO
(FORMERLY GOOGLE ADWORDS) By Andy Patel, CEO, K-3 Technologies
f you are looking to grow your home inspection business and attract new customers, Google Ads is a great marketing tool to consider. Each day, Google processes 3.5 billion searches, which translates into thousands of potential customers looking for home inspection services. In this article, we break down some common questions regarding Google Ads and explain why search engine marketing (SEM) has the highest return compared with traditional advertising methods.
WHAT IS GOOGLE ADS?
Simply put, Google Ads (formerly Google Adwords) is Google’s online advertising platform. It works with Google’s algorithm to target potential customers and strategically place ads before top organic listings, without extensive search engine optimization (SEO). Here’s an example: You have a home inspection business and you want to attract people in your service area who need an inspection on their home. A potential customer types in “home inspectors.” Google combs through billions of web pages, blogs and other listings to find the most relevant results. The search query returns thousands of pages of organic results, many of which are other businesses offering similar home inspection services. Research shows that the first page of results gets over 75 percent of the clicks. Google Ads allows you to take advantage of these searches by prominently displaying your ad above relevant search results.
HOW DOES GOOGLE ADS WORK?
The concept is simple: You define the words or phrases most relevant to your services, and Google Ads lets you choose when and where you want your ads to show. Google Ads offers incredible tools for audience targeting and segmentation. You can target ads to show only to a certain demographic, during a certain time, on a specific device and to people in a particular state, region, city or even zip code.
ASHI Reporter • August 2018
You can be as detailed or vague as you like. For example, you can target the following subgroups: • • • • •
only males between 35 and 65 years old in the top 50% of the national household income level on Tuesday between noon and 4 pm in a specific zip code
Any time a search query matches the keywords and audience criteria, the ad will be displayed.
WHERE CAN MY AD APPEAR?
Your ad can appear in more than just search results with Display Ads. Google’s Display network shows your ad across thousands of apps, websites, blogs and YouTube.com. Every day, millions of people access the web from their smartphones. According to Statista.com, American adults spent almost three hours a day on their mobile devices in 2016 (www.statista.com/chart/9539/smartphone-addiction-tightens-its-global-grip/). They search products and services and local businesses. Your customers are on the move and with Google Ads, your business can be wherever your customers are.
your site. This is called Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising. You can set your PPC budget based on the potential revenue earned per lead. Remember, you only pay per click. The goal with Google Ads is to… • show up for the right keywords • create catchy ads that make sense for each group of keywords • create high-converting landing pages
With search engine algorithms always changing, it is essential for businesses to implement up-to-date best practices to claim high search rankings. Internet marketing has expanded beyond SEO and Google Ads has proven success in the home inspection industry. Ready to take your online marketing to the next level? For more information or to schedule a free Google Ads review, call Andy Patel at 404-441-3539. Andy Patel is the CEO of K-3 Marketing, an internet marketing firm located in Atlanta, GA. Working directly with Google, Andy has got the “art” of internet marketing down to a science. Since 2005, K-3 Marketing has helped many home inspectors attract qualified visitors and convert them into optimal leads. He believes in ethical practices and doesn’t think anyone should pay for a service which doesn’t yield some sort of return on investment.
HOW DOES GOOGLE ADS GROW MY BUSINESS?
ASHI MEMBER ANNOUNCEMENT
In terms of return on advertising investment, home inspectors see the greatest return from internet marketing when it is done correctly. Also, Google Ads helps you manage and control how much you spend on online advertising. You set the maximum amount you are willing to spend, and you only pay when someone clicks on your ad and visits
ASHI Officer & Board of Director Matrices must be submittted by August 15th, 2018. If you are interested in submitting your matrix please use the link below to enter: http://www.homeinspector. org/Downloads-and-forms/ Officer-Matrix-Form
For more information on how to use Google Ads or Bing Ads for your business, contact K-3 Marketing at www.k3.marketing, or contact Andy directly with any questions at firstname.lastname@example.org or connect on twitter @ andyk3marketing.
Correction to Distribution Panels: Fuse Fundamentals Article in the July 2018 ASHI Reporter The article indicated that 14-gauge copper wire may be adequately protected by 20-amp fuses (overcurrent protection devices) if a dedicated circuit served an electric-resistance heater. This is incorrect and is not permitted by the National Electrical Code. (Interestingly, it is permitted by the Canadian Electrical Code.) All 14-gauge copper conductors should be protected by 15-amp overcurrent protection devices (fuses or breakers). My apologies for the mistake. - Alan Carson 33August 2018
EXPERIENCE INSPECTIONWORLD ® Plan to attend InspectionWorld® San Diego 2019!
The educational conference and expo is the largest gathering of home inspectors and provides an excellent opportunity to grow your business.
REGIST RATION BE
VISIT THE EXPO HALL
. SEP TEMBER 1, 2018 FIND DE TA IL S AT
world.com w w w.inspection
rt TOBER 1 to be pa REGISTER BY OC . ON TI RA ST GI EE RE of a raffle to W IN FR ive ce re ch ea s will Three lucky winner IW conference ry ta en lim one comp n— a $5 95 education regis tratio value !
ATTEND EDUCATIONAL SESSIONS
Attendees can select from a wide variety of educational topics including the following:
EXPLORE SAN DIEGO
San Diego has earned the well-deserved nickname “America’s Finest City.” Arrive early or stay later to visit the exciting city—take a boat ride, go to the zoo or enjoy a walk along a beautiful beach. It’s easy to get around on public transportation or the trolley.
NETWORK AT IW Enjoy swapping stories with other home inspectors, learning from industry leaders and gaining information on the latest in tools and technology all at one time and in one place.
ASHI Reporter • July 2018
The conference kicks off at 2 pm, Sunday, January 20, in the Expo Hall, a great place to meet home inspectors from all over the country. More than 100 vendors will share the latest information on industry tools and services.
INTRODUC TORY COURSES IN PLUMBING, HVAC, AIR CONDITIONING, ELECTRICAL, WATER PROBLEMS AND MORE BASIC TO ADVANCED LE VEL TECHNICAL SUBJECTS
HEAR THE K EY N SPEAKOTE ER Don’t m iss t
BUSINESS MANAGEMENT SESSIONS ABOUT THE MOST CURRENT ISSUES IN METHODS AND TECHNOLOGY
TAKE PRE- AND POST- CONFERENCE CL ASSES re Take advantage of even mo - or Pre a for up training by signing remp Co ss. Cla Post-Conference rthe e lud inc ics hensive course top and ns tio pec ins mography, deck commercial building inspections.
ENJOY SPECIAL SOCIAL EVENTS
ut these Watch for exciting details abo events, to come soon!
INSPECTPAC RECEPTION GALA DINNER/DANCE
fas t Mo he A nnual Me eting Br nday, Ja eaknua up o n A SHI new r y 21. You’ll catc s h , and he dynamic ar from ke y n exciting ote speaker wit a h an p er positive sonal s tor y and messag e to tell.
PLUS A SPECIAL TRACK DESIGNED WITH CALIFORNIA HO INSPECTORS IN M ME IND — TO INCLUDE PLUM BING MECHANICAL CODE / S, STRUCTURAL ISSU ES, EARTHQUAKES, POOL SAFE TY AND SOLAR The INSPECTIONS education
program provides 20 ASHI continuing education (CE) units, 18 CREIA CE units, as well as other organizations’ CE units (for example, ICC and ACAC). Many classes also have received state approval.
E D® ! C N IE ORL R E EXPTIONW feeling EC ave IWd and ar of P S IN ou’ll le ergize ew ye
s n n r e - e t ar t a busines s y t o n g y o u r r d. d a r e mo v i f or wa m t or ld.c o i s i V onw c t i t a i l s. e p s n i . r de w w w fo Y
AVOIDING THE TOP 12 CLAIMS AGAINST HOME INSPECTORS By InspectorPro Insurance
n an industry as complex and litigious as that of home inspection, it’s important to manage risk. The most important work begins long before you’re reporting a claim to your insurance company. It begins with you doing what you can to prevent potential claims. Claims prevention can be difficult, especially when you don’t know what claims are common, why they’re common or how to avoid them. That’s where this column, “Managing Risk,” comes in.
For the next 12 months, we’ll be educating you, the ASHI inspector, about the most common allegations in the industry. After a decade of defending inspectors, we know exactly which claims home inspectors face frequently. We’ll share our knowledge with you so that you can inspect with more confidence.
Here’s our list of the 12 most common areas of inspection for which claims are made against home inspectors: 1. Water damage (non-roof) 2. Water damage (roof) 3. Foundation 4. Mold 5. Plumbing 6. Structural 7. Pest 8. Wood rot 9. HVAC, air conditioning or both 10. Electrical 11. Septic 12. Window
We’re excited to break each of these allegations down with you over the next year. We hope that, by doing so, we can take some of the guesswork out of claims prevention and put the power back into your hands.
But you can start mitigating risk now by applying some basic practices that prevent all claims types. We list a few below.
SET CLEAR EXPECTATIONS
Most of your clients don’t have much of an idea what an inspection is and isn’t until you tell them. By reviewing with them what you look for, what you don’t and how you’ll conduct your inspection, your clients will be less likely to accuse you of missing something outside the ASHI Standard of Practice. By explaining what happens during the inspection and what you may uncover, clients are better equipped to understand your findings. You can set and reset expectations in person and in writing. Set expectations on the phone call when booking the inspection and during
the inspection itself. Make sure your inspection contract and your report frame your clients’ expectations, too. Reminding your clients what’s realistic will make them less likely to file claims without merit.
GET YOUR PRE-INSPECTION AGREEMENT SIGNED EVERY TIME
Pre-inspection agreements are a home inspector’s first line of defense. These agreements define inspection parameters, limit your liability and control dispute resolution. Without this agreement, clients are left to assume what your inspection covers and what repair expenses they can put on your shoulders. For most of you, getting a contract signed is second nature. But are you getting it signed prior to the inspection 100 percent of the time? If not, you’re putting your business at risk.
TAKE LOTS OF PICTURES
Although it’s important to write your inspection observations, your photos prove them to be true. Take pictures not just for your report, but for your own reference in case questions or concerns come up.
When photographing the house, be sure you have multiple pictures of defects. By having several close-ups and wide shots, you ensure that the client can recognize the defects. Having multiple photos can illustrate what the defect is, where it is and even how serious it is.
As snapshots in time, your photos can testify to the home’s condition at the time of the inspection, too. That means if a client says that you are responsible for something that appeared after you left, you have proof that it wasn’t there. So, it’s important to not just take pictures of problem areas, but to also capture areas with no defects.
KEEP YOUR APPROACH CONSISTENT
You are less likely to make mistakes if you use the same procedure for each inspection. Develop a procedure that dictates how you walk the house, including what you look for and when. By never deviating from your inspection procedure, you’ll be less likely to miss a step from one client to the next.
Continue to be consistent in your communication with your clients. To avoid confusion, you should strive to make what you say and what you write relatively the same. For example, if you say something to the client, make sure that same message comes across in your report.
WATCH FOR MORE TIPS NEXT MONTH!
We hope that these tips make you better equipped to prevent claims. In our next column, we will discuss water damage claims. InspectorPro Insurance is ASHI’s one and only Premier Insurance Partnership. Through risk management education, pre-claims assistance and straightforward coverage, InspectorPro gives you peace of mind and unparalleled protection. Learn more and apply for a quote at inspectorproinsurance.com.
Common Threads in Home Inspection
GEORGE MEEGAN Each home inspector is unique, but many paths toward a career in home inspection have a common thread or two. In this and upcoming Inspector Profiles, we will bring you stories of ASHI home inspectors across the United States and Canada. We hope you’ll be inspired by the stories, notice the common threads and see how ASHI helps weave them together. If you’d like to share your story with the readers of the ASHI Reporter, please email email@example.com and we will get in touch with you.
eorge Meegan owned and ran an HVAC company for many years. During his 30-year HVAC career, he accumulated many contacts and a lot of knowledge. Not long after he retired in November 2014, he realized that he just wasn’t enjoying having “a slower pace” as much as he expected he would, so he started thinking about what might make a new, good fit. George lives near Des Plaines, Illinois, and had driven past the ASHI HQ on Lee Street many times. He had a feeling that home inspection might match up well with his HVAC experience. So, one day early in 2015, he called The ASHI School, signed up for the two-week class and decided that he’d give home inspection a try. Turns out, that step led George right into a second career, one that he thoroughly enjoys. George immediately noticed the vast knowledge of the instructors at The ASHI School. With their guidance, and with his experience in HVAC, he said, “Everything else I needed to learn came together fairly easily. The instructors helped build my confidence. After taking the class, I took on two jobs with inspection firms and both positions helped me build my inspection skill set. Now I work on my own and I’m an instructor for The ASHI School, teaching others about HVAC and electrical topics.” When George joined ASHI, he also joined NICASHI, the Northern Illinois Chapter of ASHI, and his experiences with the chapter further fill out his days in “retirement”—he has served as an educational leader and chapter vice president. In 2016, he was named Associate Member of the Year and in 2017, he received the Iron Man Award. He also represents NICASHI on the ASHI Council of Representatives. As an active chapter member and leader, George enjoys attending the ASHI Leadership Training Conference, now called the Leadership Development Conference (LDC) each October. He said, “LDC presenters dig into the topics of building chapter relations. There’s a cross-section of members from all over the country, learning strategies for setting chapter goals, implementing changes and ensuring accountability.”
ASHI Reporter • August 2018
InspectionWorld® (IW) is another event George looks forward to each year. “At IW, I learn perspectives that I don’t typically encounter in my own town or region. The presenters share personal experiences and offer practical tips or different applications. Plus, the networking at IW is phenomenal—just walking down the exhibit hall, I bumped into Alan Carson! Talking with him was an excellent experience.” George said, “By taking classes and joining a chapter, I found that ASHI members are very willing to share knowledge and they want to see you succeed. There’s no price on that—it is so valuable. And when you attend events like IW and LDC, you see that it’s not just a hallmark of The ASHI School or our local chapter, but it is the ASHI way across the United States and Canada.” George recognizes that another important way ASHI helps its members is by encouraging seasoned inspectors to be mentors to newer inspectors. He said, “My philosophy on mentoring is this: If I can help someone else get the education they need to be a better inspector, it will also make me a better inspector. My mentors showed me things I didn’t learn in school and they pointed out how I could avoid pitfalls, which was really helpful.”
MY PHILOSOPHY ON MENTORING IS THIS: IF I CAN HELP SOMEONE ELSE GET THE EDUCATION THEY NEED TO BE A BETTER INSPECTOR, IT WILL ALSO MAKE ME A BETTER INSPECTOR.
“ASHI membership has helped me in many ways. I created my business logo for free and I appreciate the online education available. The Reporter is a great resource for me. Reading the articles, I get the sense that I can make it in home inspection. Some of the articles reinforce what I already know and others give me new information or remind me not to shortcut things on the job. I enjoy reading ‘The Word’ articles by Bruce Barker, the technical and marketing articles by Alan Carson, the blogging articles by Reuben Saltzman and the encouraging messages from the ASHI President.” George said, “I’m happy to be a home inspector. It’s very fulfilling. I enjoy it. Okay, maybe I don’t always enjoy writing up the reports, but looking back, I thought that home inspection might be a part-time business for me and it has become so much more. I like it because things are changing all the time and to keep up myself to speed, I need to keep reading and taking courses. It suits me well, as I’m constantly thirsting for knowledge so I can be on the top of my game. When people perceive home inspectors as being well-informed professionals, it elevates the entire profession.” You can reach George at 847-732-2503 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Choose our E & O / GL insurance and save 15% on the cost of outstanding coverage. As ASHI’s endorsed provider for E & O and General Liability Insurance, Target Professional Programs offers ASHI members the highest premium discount available anywhere – a full 15% on any amount of coverage purchased. More Attractive Advantages In addition to covering all inspectors in the firm (including interns), Target’s policy covers your administrative staff, referral agencies and even spouses. Plus, Identity Theft Coverage up to $25,000 is a no-cost bonus with every policy. Target includes coverage for specialized inspections: • 4 Point • Infrared Thermography • Commercial (Up to 100,000 Sq. Ft.) • Pool & Spa • Construction Draw • Radon • Code Compliance • Septic / Well • EIFS • Water Testing • Energy • Wind Mitigation • HUD / Section 8 Optional policy endorsements let you purchase only the extra coverage you may need for inspections you actually perform: Carbon Monoxide, Lead, Mold and/or Termite inspections. Coverage for Drone Inspections At a low premium of only $100, this optional endorsement provides $50,000 in coverage per policy term for damage or injury caused by an inspector’s drone during the course of an inspection. We’re happy to offer you (or your insurance agent/broker) a no-obligation quote at any time. Visit: www.TargetProIns.com for an application and more details about coverage features & benefits. Or contact us: Fausto Petruzziello 973-396-1790 FPetruzz@TargetProIns.com
TARGET PROFESSIONAL PROGRAMS Insurance for Particular Professionals
FREE ASHI Member access to past IW sessions. 1. Go to www.ASHI.org 2. Under Education & Training 3. Click on:
ASHI ONLINE LEARNING CENTER
CURRENT ASHI MEMBERSHIP ASHI Certified Inspectors: 3,542 Inspectors: 234 Associates: 4,295 Retired Members: 126 Affiliates: 53 Total: 8,250 Members as of 7/6/2018
ASHI MEMBERSHIP BENEFIT PROGRAMS ASHI-ENDORSED PROGRAMS ASHI’s E&O Insurance Program: Target Professional Programs www.targetproins.com 860-899-1862 ASHI Personal Lines Insurance Program: Liberty Mutual www.libertymutual.com/ashi ASHI’s Protecting Home Inspectors From Meritless Claims Program: Joe Ferry – The Home Inspector Lawyer 855-MERITLESS (637-4853) email@example.com www.joeferry.com/ashi ASHI Service Program BuildFax Tricia Julian, 877-600-BFAX x161 TJulian@BuildFax.com www.buildfax.com http://go.buildfax.com/ASHI ASHI Customer Appreciation Program: Moverthankyou.com Brent Skidmore, 864-386-2763 www.moverthankyou.com Brent@POWRsoft.com HomeAdvisor.com Brett Symes, 913-529-2683 www.homeadvisor.com firstname.lastname@example.org LegalShield Joan Buckner, 505-821-3971 buckner.legalshieldassociate.com email@example.com InspectionContracts.com Dave Goldstein, 800-882-6242 www.inspectioncontracts.com firstname.lastname@example.org
ASHI Reporter • August 2018
OneSource Solutions 877-274-8632 www.osconnects.com/ashi/ Porch.com Eliab Sisay, 206-218-3920 www.porch.com Eliab@porch.com ASHI Rebate Program Quill.com Dana Fishman, 800-634-0320 x1417 www.quill.com/ashi email@example.com ASHI-ENDORSED EXAMS ASHI Standard and Ethics Education Module Go to www.homeinspector.org, click on Education, then click on the link for the ASHI Online Learning Center. NHIE Exam: 847-298-7750 www.homeinspectionexam.org ASHI-ENDORSED TRAINING PROGRAMS ASHI@Home Training System 800-268-7070 firstname.lastname@example.org The ASHI School Michele Cohen, 888-884-0440 MicheleC@theashischool.com www.TheASHISchool.com PLATINUM PROVIDER Millionaire Inspector Community Mike Crow www.mikecrow.com email@example.com Mention that you are an ASHI member.
Augu st Anni versa ries
James Conk Stephen M. Duffee David Graves
Thirty-five Years Greg Marell
Twenty-five Years Willis Buehrle Richard Contonio Brian Crewe Michael Del Greco Randy Foege David I. Goldberg James Hollifield Kenneth Salvo Stanley W. Sawa
Twenty Years Jeff Barnes Gary A. Boesker Jim Ellis Scott Feeser Robert McFarland
Fifteen Years Luis Alcaraz Vincent D. Black Tim Connors Chris Datka David (Nabil) Haddad Ken R. Harrington Andrew Lee Randy Pierson Tim Reilly Nori Shirvanian Randy Sipe
Five Years James Arnest, II Brian K.Brucker Todd Caisse Douglas R. Cook Paul Cummins Leonard Curto Gary B. Drake Frank Dugger David T. Fields Stephen M. Gaspar Charles J. Graf Steven W. Howland Chris Jackson Thomas Miller Norman Tyler
COMPENSATION FOR CULTIVATION BY BOLSTERING OUR ASHI MEMBERSHIP, YOU WILL EARN
IN GIFT CARDS WITH EACH NEW MEMBER
EASY. EDUCATION. EXCELLENT. ACCESS ONLINE 24/7 EARN ASHI CEs and STATE–APPROVED CEs Includes new recordings from IW 2018. www.HomeInspector.org/OnlineEducation
TO REFER A MEMBER: Download the Membership Application form, have the new member fill it out (including his/her member number in the referral field). SCAN AND EMAIL IT TO:
MEMBERSHIP@ASHI.ORG OR FAX TO 847-759-1620.
Questions? Contact Jen Gallegos, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Postcards from the Field
NEW POSTCARDS EMAIL!! Please send your name, city, state, photos, headings & captions to: email@example.com Note: By sending in your postcard(s), you are expressly granting ASHI the right to use the postcard and your name with it in the ASHI REPORTER and in other publications ASHI may select.
At least it was installed by a plumber.
Creative Plumbing, LLC
Christopher Feroli A Quality Home Inspection, Inc. Mashpee, MA
Alvin Miller Hawkeye Home Inspections, LLC Iowa City, IA
WOOD you please go reset the breaker?
I think the sag is gone...
Alvin Miller Hawkeye Home Inspections, LLC Iowa City, IA
Who needs trusses?...
Stephen Comer C’ville Home Inspection Charlottesville, VA
...We need space!
Uli Sommers Sommers Home Inspections, LLC Beaverton, OR
ASHI Reporter • August 2018
Uli Sommers Sommers Home Inspections, LLC Beaverton, OR
American Home Warranty Company
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Sign up today for FREE at www.ahomewarranty.com August 2018 • www.ASHIReporter.org
Postcards from the Field Homeowner says: “Never been a flood!”
Matthew Steger WIN Home Inspection Lancaster, PA
Redneck engineering becomes more sophisticated.
NEW POSTCARDS EMAIL!! Please send your name, city, state, photos, headings & captions to: firstname.lastname@example.org Note: By sending in your postcard(s), you are expressly granting ASHI the right to use the postcard and your name with it in the ASHI REPORTER and in other publications ASHI may select.
Strong push for the green movement.
Matt Leahy The Edge Home Inspections Tuscon, AZ
“Bird” Home Inspections
Clay Ridings Preferred Inspections Arden, DE
Chris Lucke Missouri Property Inspections St. Louis, MO
Electrical Fun House 42
ASHI Reporter • August 2018
Trey Hargus Premier Home Inspections, LLC Springdale, AR
Roof repair? More like poorly applied Band-Aid.
Matthew Steger WIN Home Inspection Lancaster, PA
• Drone Roof Inspections - NEW!
• Sewer Line Inspections - NEW!
August 2018 • www.ASHIReporter.org
ON MY MIND
YES...YOU ARE A LEADER By ASHI President, Tim Buell
Leadership is about improving anything—your business, your family and even ASHI—so that it’s better when you leave it than when you started being involved with it.
hen I joined ASHI in November 2002, I never expected to be its President 16 years later. So, what happened? Some folks took an interest in me (as well as in others) and, consequently, I got active in the Ohio Chapter of ASHI. From there, it was on to the national board, serving as Treasurer for two years and now as President. Again, I was encouraged by my colleagues to take on these roles. I’ve received more from ASHI than I can ever give back—especially the many friends I have made along the way.
So, if someone or some people believe that you have leadership abilities, do not discount them. Who knows? Someday you, too, may become President of ASHI. People tend to volunteer for a nonprofit organization for one of two reasons: to fulfill a personal agenda for personal gain, or to give back and create relationships. In either case, volunteers are leaders and how you lead is a direct reflection of your character, integrity and honesty.
With so many members (ASHI has more than 8,500 members), why do organizations sometimes have difficulty getting people to volunteer? In my opinion, there are four reasons: time, money, fear and rejection.
Someone once asked me,
“How will you know if your presidency is a success?” My reply was this: “If I am thrown under the bus at least 200 to 300 times, my year has been successful.”
Leadership is not for the faint of heart or for those who focus on money, time and selfish ambition. Leadership is for those who want to “give back,” to work hard to make sure every member has support to have a successful business, and to create friendships and long-term relationships with colleagues. 44
ASHI Reporter • August 2018
“Nearly all men can stand adversity but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power. — Abraham Lincoln Many people say, “I’m not a leader,” which is totally false, according to a legendary NFL coach, who said the following:
“Leaders are made, they are not born. And they are made just like anything else, through hard work. And that’s the price we’ll have to pay to achieve that goal, or any goal.” — Vince Lombardi
It might surprise you to hear that you may very well have “hidden” leadership qualities that can help not only your business and your family, but also ASHI. Leaders are taught through education and experience—both provide opportunities to build important skill sets. In my opinion, if a leader is truthful, transparent and always tries to do what is right, he or she will be just fine, despite what others may say or think. Right always prevails.
“Do the right thing. It will gratify some people and astonish the rest.” — Mark Twain
Q: Where can you begin to find your hidden leadership skills? A: At ASHI’s October Leadership Development Conference (LDC) in Chicago! (Continued on Page 46)
READY TO MAKE THE LEAP?
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Visit us on the Web at: AmericasCallCenter.com/ashibusyseason 45August • www.ASHIReporter.org Or2018call us at 888.462.6153 45
(Continued from Page 44) For this year’s program, I asked Chapter Relations Committee Chair Forrest Lines, Board Liaison Jim Funkhouser and ASHI Staff Liaison Michele George to “think outside the box” so that we focus on building your leadership foundation and skills. The LDC program will provide opportunities to help you become a leader by giving you the tools and information to be successful.
Commit to “giving back,” improving your leadership abilities, making friends and developing relationships that can help your business, your family and your chapter of ASHI. By attending LDC this October 24-26, you can become a better leader and make ASHI a better organization.
YOU’LL LEARN TO DO THE FOLLOWING:
• • • • • • •
employ strategies for successful leadership educate new or younger members about future leadership roles run an effective educational program use social media, websites and webcasting direct a program that grows chapter membership manage a quality peer review program and much more!
IN ADDITION TO ALL OF THIS, YOU’LL BE TREATED TO THE FOLLOWING:
• A special evening of entertainment that will make you laugh • A keynote session led by Kevin McCarthy, a nationally renowned motivational speaker, who will explain how his leadership skills took him from prison to a successfulbusinessman…more than once.
The challenge of leadership is to be strong, but not rude; be kind, but not weak; be bold, but not bully; be thoughtful, but not lazy; be humble, but not timid; be proud, but not arrogant; have humor, but without folly. — Jim Rohn
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ASHI Reporter • August 2018
ASHI Reporter â€¢ August 2018
Home inspection news and tips for inspectors, home owners and realtors.