Setting yourself up for success, and Avoiding Client Zero

I am going to start today’s post talking about the one subject that you don’t want to hear about: problem clients. Yes, I know: you already deal with problem clients enough in your business; you don’t want to read about them too! Let’s just pretend they don’t exist, and maybe they’ll magically go away…

magician pulling a great home inspection client out of a hat

The reality is that we all deal with problems clients. It doesn’t matter how good of an inspector you are, how professional your appearance and demeanor or how in-depth a report you produce. The fact remains that you will encounter some problem clients and, probably even end up in a court case.

No matter what, problems are unavoidable. Even if you are perfect in everything you do (and we all know that’s not going to happen), eventually you are going to cross path with “that person.” You know the one. He/she could win the lottery and complain because they have to drive across town to pick up the money. “Client Zero” is out there, just waiting to meet you. You might as well be prepared.

Approaching each job as though it’s for “Client Zero” can go far in helping you to avoid problems later. Be thorough in your job and meticulous in your documentation, and you can certainly stack a few of those odds in your favor.

I do a lot of work analyzing problem home inspection cases, often aiding in the inspector’s defense. As I am pouring over the documents, looking for things that can help explain what happened, I am all too often left with little to no ammunition. The inspector really gives me nothing to use in their defense.

The reports are often sparse, with little to no information provided beyond the typical report’s checklist. Bare-bones reporting, few pictures and little (if any) recommendations for the client. I am often at a loss to figure out how to effectively defend the inspector from even the weakest accusation.

Remember, your report is your business.

You can be wonderfully impressive in person. You can write the best report in the state. You can leave the client with a warm and fuzzy feeling and hi-fives all around. Six months from now, standing in front of the judge, an arbitrator or your state licensing board, all you are is that inspection report.

Spend the extra time needed to perfect your craft. Do the extra work. Take more CE classes than you need. Take classes that don’t even count for CE credit. Read some books. Watch some training videos. Listen to a podcast or two. Do something extra, just because you want to get better.

reaching for the best home inspection clients you can get

I will leave you with a quote from the championship winning football coach, Lou Holtz, who said: “Winners embrace hard work. They love the discipline of it, the trade-off they’re making to win. Losers, on the other hand, see it as a punishment. And that’s the difference.”

Yes, it’s hard work getting better when you don’t really have to.

And that’s the difference.

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I welcome all feedback (positive and negative) about my take on this subject.  Please leave your comments below.  Thank you!

Thanks, Joe

pic of me, Joseph Cook Jr, home inspector