In the market for a new home? These tips from a Louisville, KY home inspector are sure to help you “hit the mark”!
Garr Home Inspections, LLC
Mark and Karen Garr of Garr Home Inspections are a seasoned husband/wife home inspector team that make purchasing a home a pleasant experience.
A now retired aircraft engineer, Mark Garr started his home inspection business in 2004 working nights and weekends while working full time at UPS. Today he shares with us his experience and many tips and tricks on starting a new business – no matter what industry. Here’s the nuts and bolts of what he had to say.
What’s Your Adventure?
Like so many small business owners trying to make it today, Mark started his side hustle while working a full-time job. He funded his venture with personal funds and sought out further training for areas in which he needed additional training.
He does state, however, that even though he doesn’t feel a college education is a prerequisite to own a small business, he does feel that training in your area is key to success!
When asked why he chose this particular field to work in, he said, “I figured if I could technically troubleshoot and fix an airplane, I can do the same for a house.” Garr sought out additional training that he felt he needed in this area, and he attributes his willingness to further his training as a part of his eventual success.
Speaking of success…Garr schedules about 10 – 15 clients per week. How much time is this? He says it takes about 3 ½ hours to complete an inspection of an average sized home and an additional 1 – 2 hours to write up the report.
Let’s do the math, shall we? On average, Garr worked his side hustle anywhere from 45+ hours per week – all the while working a high profile, full-time job at UPS.
Out of 168 hours in a week, he worked 90 – 100 of those hours between his 2 jobs.
He only recently retired from UPS earlier this year. So while working full-time days, he scheduled 1 – 2 inspections after work for most of his weekday nights. On weekends, he scheduled 2 – 3 for a Saturday and occasionally worked on Sundays as well. Now that’s commitment!
So if you’re thinking of taking a passion to the next level, you better have some MOXY. Being self-employed isn’t for the faint of heart.
His marketing tips and tricks? Actually, 95% of his business is referrals from real estate agents and satisfied clients. Although he does maintain a website and dabble in certain social media advertising like Angie’s List and Home Advisor, he attributes his success with these 3 assets that make him stand out from his competition.
1. Home Inspection Software
His home inspection software program is essential to maintaining a flow during the inspection as well as within the report. The report includes a defect summary along with an average of 300 photographs of damage or potential problems.
Garr inspects the entire interior and exterior to include roofs, electrical panel, plumbing, heating/air, windows, flooring, and so much more. The software he uses enables him to deliver a complete report to the client within hours of the inspection. Now that’s service!
The Takeaway: Keep Up on Industry Technology
Everything today is technology based. Clients are results-driven, and they will hire the company that meets that need for instant gratification. If having a social platform or an industry specific program helps you stand out from the rest, do it!
2. Working as a Team
Both claim that working together actually strengthens their relationship. Karen’s responsibilities are to prepare the interior (turning on lights and putting layout of rooms into computer) while Mark is inspecting the exterior. As a result, they create a seamless flow that lessens wasted time and increases accuracy.
The Takeaway: Copasetic Work Environment
Balance, balance, balance! If working with your spouse or partner causes you to lose it, work it out. If you are unable to work as a team, you may have to find an assistant that complements your practice or work alone. Either way, you may have to make it up to your loved one by spending some quality time together with all the money you are going to make at your new gig.
3. Be Honest: Building Strong Client Relationships
“We are not alarmists. We just tell it the way it is and don’t pull any punches”, Garr says. “And this helps us create a great rapport with our clients and treat them like family”, Karen adds. They agree that remaining consistent with every single job and being honest is what agents and clients expect – nothing less!
Be Honest! (mic drop) What else is there to say? Creating a cohesive network of clients through being an upstanding small business owner is a rare and refreshing concept. You cannot and will not create a strong and supportive business with anything less than the truth and respect for others.
Home Inspector Mega Stars
When asked if there was to be a book written about them, what would the title be, Mark said “Determination” (to be played by Keanu Reeves)…really? And Karen said “Sleuth” (to be played by Julianne Moore).
Okay…back to reality! I can’t think of better titles for anyone who is starting a new business. Garr certainly had DETERMINATION to have achieved the level of success that he now enjoys. And his side-kick Karen, the SLEUTH, brings forward a good point. If you don’t know something, investigate it, figure it out, ask questions, and don’t settle until you have the information you need.
About Today’s Author
I am happily married with one daughter and two step-sons. I have owned and operated a small wedding cake business for over 25 years and most recently started a new company handcrafting carved egg shells. A truly unique talent.
In owning and operating small businesses, I have personally experienced many successes and failures along the way that have made me a seasoned DIY entrepreneur. I don’t claim to be a professional marketer or consultant. Just consider me your new best friend that is sharing my personal knowledge and experience.
I welcome your comments and input, so please feel free to share. Each week, I post a new topic or interview with a successful small business owner.
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Hope to see you next week!
Believe in yourself and your dreams!