Reuben Saltzman

Q&A: “Why do you charge more money than your competitors?”

Attic inspection

This week’s question comes from a real estate agent: “Why do you price yourselves significantly higher than any other company/individual inspector I have seen in the area?

That’s a fair question that I debated even turning into a blog post. The answer is completely self-serving, but it’s a question that people frequently ask us, so it deserves a good answer. My new initiative for blogging is to write blog posts to answer just about all of the questions that Lisa and Mindy field. Here’s the long answer about why we charge more.

We do charge a little more

It’s true, we do charge more than most other home inspectors here in the Twin Cities. We recently conducted a price survey and found our price for a sample home to be about $80 higher than other ASHI Certified Inspectors here in the Twin Cities. You can see the results of that survey here:
While the typical business model for home inspectors is to do two (and sometimes three) home inspections in a day, it’s not ours. From January to July of this year, our inspectors have averaged one inspection per day. This isn’t from lack of business; I think we’ve turned away as much business this year as we’ve taken on.

It’s all about our people

Our inspectors take as much time as needed to complete a thorough inspection and write an excellent report, and they get paid enough to do so. I’ve heard of home inspectors writing reports on-site, or taking no more than 30 minutes to write reports after the inspection. That can certainly be done, and we used to do it back in the early 2000’s when we were charging $300 for home inspections. We don’t do it that way anymore.
Drive bookHour for hour, our inspectors probably get paid about the same as other home inspectors. They stay busy, which helps to keep them satisfied, but that’s not what keeps them motivated to excel. What motivates the inspectors at Structure Tech and what keeps them happy is autonomy, mastery, and purpose. I learned about the importance of these things from the book Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motives Us.
The same goes for everyone else on our team; they enjoy what they do, and they deliver fantastic service. We say “Do it with a smile or don’t do it at all.”

Quantifiable differences

Ok, so that’s a bunch of stuff about our people that’s hard to quantify. It’s really what makes the biggest difference, but I ought to add a few things that are easier to compare. It’s the stuff that I blog about on a weekly basis. Here are a few things that I can think of off the top of my head:
  • We walk roofs unless it’s unsafe to do so
  • We offer free drone inspections of roofs when we can’t access the roof with a 28′ extension ladder
  • We offer free infrared inspections with our home inspections
  • We crawl through attics
  • We use combustion analyzers on fuel burning appliances such as furnaces and boilers
  • All of our inspectors carry and know how to use the best moisture meters available
Those are the easily quantifiable things, but to really see the difference between what we provide compared to what most other inspectors provide, you’d have to check out our sample inspection report and compare it to anyone else’s. In the second half of my blog post on How to find a great home inspector, I listed the stuff that should be examined when comparing home inspection reports.
We also guarantee our client’s satisfaction; if our client doesn’t feel that we were worth our higher fee at the end of the inspection, they don’t need to pay us. No fine print, no hard feelings.
Also, just for fun, check out our latest photo gallery of home inspection action shots (mostly).

7 responses to “Q&A: “Why do you charge more money than your competitors?””

  1. Mark Parlee
    August 8, 2017, 12:51 pm

    Very well reasoned and accurate answer

  2. Reuben Saltzman
    August 8, 2017, 12:55 pm

    Thanks, Mark!

  3. David Pagenkopf
    August 8, 2017, 2:16 pm

    I have been reading your blogs for about two years now. I am incredibly impressed by your professionalism. I would gladly have paid the $80 (or greater) differential in pricing to hire a firm of your quality. The home inspector we hired for our home missed many critical items that would have only taken a few extra minutes of time and effort. He didn’t for example, crawl through the attic, but only open the hatch and look around. He didn’t notice a number of electrical problems that would have been found with just a little more effort. You could have doubled your fee for me and would have saved me more than your fee in unplanned expenses. Unfortunately, you don’t serve the market where I live.

    Thanks for sharing your knowledge and making us all smarter home owners and buyers of inspection services.

  4. Alan Mackenthun
    August 8, 2017, 6:12 pm

    I am an agent, but mostly only for my own investment purposes. I’ve used you for some of my investments and the last two homes I’ve lived in. I agree that you and your team are worth the extra money and recommend you whenever I can. I’ve learned so much from your blog and much appreciate the extra effort, detailed reports, and professionalism that would be hard to match.

  5. Chuck Bralish
    August 8, 2017, 10:28 pm

    I am a home inspector in Colorado and have been following your blog for a few years now and totally agree with your pricing guidelines. I actually learned that from my ASHI instructors in 2013 to never discount the value we bring. I take alot of pride in my inspections and my customers can see it as I go through the house. I let them know I never overbook myself in case I need to spend more time and they love that. I traverse any accessible space I can fit. I to do everything accept the combustion analyzer, but when I can get some money set aside I will do that also. Keep blogging as I have learned more form you worth a ton of continuing ed credits.

  6. The Case for Charging More Than Your Home Inspection Competitors - Home Inspection Training & Certification Online
    August 25, 2017, 2:01 am

    […] are top-notch, you’ll back up your pricing with undeniable evidence. Reuben Saltzman of Structure Tech Inspections says that’s their approach. They charge a little more, but back up their rates with […]

  7. Timothy Scott
    October 26, 2017, 5:10 pm

    I just had a full inspection from you guys and although the price did hurt, it was nice to have the detail and attention your team provided. The report is thorough and very helpful!

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