It took me a couple of phone calls over a week's time to put it together.
But I did.
It was a husband and wife tag team. With the same foreign accent. With the same questions about my prices. With the same suggestions about what discounts I should offer. All on an inspection they wanted to schedule in the same area of the same city.
They found my website and knew all about me. They knew my pricing backwards and forwards. They started by trying to negotiate down my inspection price. How much could I discount it? That didn't work.
Then they took a different tact - that I should do an IR scan on their whole house as a part of the inspection. It should be free. I would make more money if I offered free IR inspections because more people would call me and that I should begin on their house.
Oh, then there was the "other" inspector out there who will do an inspection cheaper than I, and throw in IR and a free termite inspection. It got comical.
Amazingly, I quoted them each the same price for what they were asking. I do discount an IR exam $100 IF it is done at the same time as the home inspection. That is on my website and beyond that I didn't budge on my pricing.
They were consistent with this negotiating technique while each calling me independently over the course of many days. I eventually put them together.
Then yesterday the wife called to say there was an inspector they called who would give her, in addition to all of the above, a free 6-month home warranty and she wanted me to offer her one too. I called her by her husband's name and she got dead silent.
"You are very clever," she said.
"Not really. I started bowling when I was 8 and I can add really well. But as you see, I don't subtract well. Not only do I not offer a home warranty, I have you sign an agreement which specifically states that I do not warrant anything in the house beyond the day of the inspection. I can't warrant that my furnace will be working 6 months from now, how could I possibly warrant yours? You probably also think the government is going to provide you better medical coverage then you have now and for free! If you are looking for a free home warranty, you are looking for the other company to do your inspection. You should call them. And good luck." (Yes, I said that...)
I hung up.
Of course I blew them off! Free IR? Free termite? Free home warranty? I know there are those home warranty programs out there and I have read the exclusions. Those companies are making a LOT of money offering "peace of mind."
My recommendation: Be who you are. Don't be who "they" are. And remember the very time tested economic principle - There is no such thing as a free lunch. Because there isn't...
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC
Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.
Office (703) 330-6388 Cell (703) 585-7560