What Do You Want?

It’s a fact of life: we’ve all got to work for a living. One way or another, we’ve got to do something to make money. It’s hard to live in today’s world without an income. If we like food, shelter, and the creature comforts available in our modern world, we’ve got to figure out a way to earn money to pay for them.

customer pulling out their wallet to pay for a home inspection

So, we became a home inspector.

It’s a job. It’s not incredibly tough. There’s a (relatively) low bar to entry, and we have a good bit of control over our own level of success. All in all, being a home inspector is a pretty good gig.

Now, all we have to do is figure out where we want to go.

What is it that we want from our job?

Where is it that we want our home inspection career to take us?

And how will we know when we get there?

Sitting down and thinking about our long-term goals is important. It’s hard to get somewhere in life without knowing where we’re going. Without a destination we’re not traveling, we’re simply driving. And while there’s something to be said for taking a random Sunday drive just to see where we end up, operating without a game plan is a poor way to run a business.

If we don’t know where we’re going, how will we ever know when we get there? We need to have a plan, so that we know what we’re working toward. We need to know what we want, so that we have a metric against which to judge our success.

If you don’t know where you are going, you’ll end up someplace else.

Yogi Berra

We’re all unique individuals. So, it follows, that our goals, in life and in business, are going to be unique. Each of us is looking for something different from our career, so it’s up to us to figure out what that “something” is for us.

Our challenge, as small business owners, is to figure out exactly what it is we’re trying to do with our business. Are we looking to serve the masses, trying to do more inspections each month than any other inspector in our state? Are we trying to get every real estate agent and every potential home buyer to use our company for their inspections?

In Louisiana, the state board of home inspectors keeps track of the number of inspections that are done by licensed home inspectors in our state. This list is available for anyone that’s curious enough to want to look at it. And some people do.

Some inspectors are fixated on this list and run their business with the sole intent of being at the top of the list. They want to be number one. They want to do more inspections than anyone else. They’re not concerned with quality. They’re not worried about their reputation. They could care less about who they’re working with or what they think about them once the inspection is done. They’re only worried about one thing: being number one.

It’s easy for us to say that we’re looking to make as much money as we can. “I want to be rich” is an easy statement to make. We all want to be profitable in our business. But is that our only goal? Is that the only thing we’re looking to get out of our business? Is the balance of our bank account the only thing that matters to us?

The answer to this question is deeply personal. Each of us has a different relationship with money and success, and it’s solely up to us to figure out what it is we’re working for.

People don’t buy what we do; they buy why we do it.

Ultimately, it comes down to one thing: what is it we’re trying to measure? What are we using as our guide to success? Are we going to consider our business successful only if we’re number one? Are we looking to maximize profit at any cost? Are we looking only to enrich ourselves at the expense of our customers? Exactly what is it we’re looking to get out of our career?

What do you want?

Now don’t get me wrong. Profit is obviously an important metric for any small business owner. Without it, we won’t be a small business owner for long. But is the almighty dollar the only reason we do what we do?

If we’re only motivated by money, then why are we in the inspection business? There are any number of things we could be doing to make more money than the average home inspector. If we’re really intent on worshipping our bank account, we could move into any number of illicit activities and surpass our yearly profits in scarcely a week’s time. For people that care about money over all other things, the opportunities are almost endless.

But the fact that we’re not peddling black market wares must say something about us. We must have some morals. Even though we like making money, there is some line we won’t cross to get it. We do care about something beyond money.

And that’s a good thing.

The tricky part comes in when we try to figure our exactly what our priorities are in life. What is it that motivates us to do what we do? Exactly where is that line we won’t cross? Are we looking for just a paycheck, or is there something else that comes along for the ride when we’re making money?

making money from your home inspection business

Talking about it is the easy part. Sitting down and figuring out what those priorities are is where the problem comes in. What is it that makes us tick? What are we trying to accomplish with our business, other than enriching ourselves? Are we trying to help people? Are we intent on developing a good reputation? Are we looking to advance the inspection industry, making it better than it was when we got here?

These are all questions that we’ve got to ask ourselves if we really want to figure out what our goals are for our business. Knowing what our objectives are is an important part of running a successful business. And if money is our only goal, that’s OK too. Everyone is different and needs to follow their own path.

Knowing where we’re heading makes it a whole lot easier to get there.

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Thanks, Joe

pic of me, Joseph Cook Jr, home inspector