A recent newspaper article in the "Home" section warned prospective buyers that home inspectors weren't really qualified to assess the condition of the pool/spa environ & related equipment. Could a hook-up with home inspection services be a new revenue source for service technicians?

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  • I used to do pool inspections for a pool store/builder/service and repair outfit. We did pool inspections for realtors and I was the one that did them.My inspection was billed the same as a service call, which was 55 dollars about 25 years ago. One 2 page form with boxes to check for excellent, good, fair, and poor. Each item inspected was listed on the form, e.g.: Plaster, Tile, Coping, Decking, Pump, Filter, Heater, etc. It was clearly stated that it was a visual inspection only, and reflected the condition of the pool on that particular day, not a guarantee that something couldn't fail the next day. There is an insurance company that a large trade organization uses that always settles any complaint in the customer's favor and assumes EVERYTHING is too risky to do. Life is risky, and so is being in business for yourself! 

    Brian Brennan

    QuickLeakCheck.com

  • Jeremy,
    Though I haven't tried to chase down realtors for this purpose before, one way to approach them would be through a network like LinkedIn. It is very professional, and there are many groups that you can join to target your audience. For example, there are groups made up of realtors, and open to businesses who work with realtors. This would give you the opportunity to showcase your expertise and voice your proposals to a very targeted audience.

    Best of luck to you!


    Jeremy Hine said:
    Jef:
    I'd love to add this to my list of services. What is your recommended approach to the realtors? Are you chasing down realtor associations, independent realtors, home inspectors individually? Have you got a prepared script or brochure? Is the approach different for each type of professional you want to work with?

    -Jeremy
    -I fix broken pools, spas, and hot tubs
    Florida Leisure Pool & Spa
    www.FLLeisure.com

    Jeff Woods said:
    Absolutely. I do inspections for a few Realtors here also. The most recent one I went on was for the home inspector himself. I met him on a previous job....
  • Great post! In my opinion this is probably the biggest largely untapped segment of the pool service market. We have lined up with one large home inspector in the area and it works great. I also incorporate underground line testing with the inspection. The report forms I use is still a work in progress. I will definitely be increasing the inspection jobs this season.
  • I have spoken to two insurance agents (one for UPA and one for IPSSA; both regional pool associations) about inspections. They both said that pool inspections expose the inspector to substantial risk. Look at it from a risk assessment perspective:

    * Upside: You get to charge an inspection fee and maybe sell a service. (You may gain up to a couple of hundred of dollars.)
    *Downside: Something unforeseen goes wrong with the pool that was not noted in your report. (You can be sued for tens of thousand dollars.)

    Based on a risk analysis perspective, these insurance agents recommended (1) charging a substantial fee for an inspection--$700-$1,000, (2) being very through - including pressure check, (3) having a lot of lawyer approved small print, and (4) having errors and omissions insurance--not typically included a pool guy's liability coverage.

    In my opinion, there is simply too much to loose and not enough to gain. I will give estimates to repair items on a house being sold, but I will not call it an inspection, nor will I certify its condition.
  • Bruce

    Good to hear from you, I'm glad I'm not alone on this. I've started charging as well because I give them their moneys worth during the inspection. A home inspection is completely different because we catch things that a building inspector would not.

    Thanks again
  • Brian-

    I have the same problem! The Realtors, or even the prospective buyers, will use your bid as a bargaining chip to get some pricing concessions. I have tried to get the Realtor to pay for my time (and I only ask for between $75.00 and $100.00) and they decline and get somebody else to do it for free. I am sure they find someone a little "greener" who feels that they might get some business in the future for their free estimate/appraisal.

    The sad part (at least in my area) is that the "pool guys" have worked for free for so long. When I was designing and selling pools, we all drew the pool for free (does a landscape architect or home architect do that?!) in hopes of selling the job. Hours upon hours were spent measuring, gathering information, drawing, re-drawing, etc. for free, all with the thought that we'd get the job. More often than not, those ideas (and sometimes the drawings, if they were left behind) were brought to the low bid builder, who got the job and all of our time and expertise was for naught.

    Unfortunately, I think it is time for the pool community to quit acting like we need to be working for free just to get a job! This includes inspections for Realtors and home owners, as well as drawing new pool designs for potential clients. We need to be more professional (like the landscape architects, etc.) and charge for our services. It will be difficult to change this as it has been this way for so long, but it really does need to happen

    Bruce
  • What would be a charge for this service? I've been doing it for free at first but with Realtors they will use your bid against the seller then you never hear from them again.
  • Jeremy,
    No, luckily I haven't had to chase anyone down. I've been in this area for 15 years and the work comes to me in little trickles. Over a period of time they learn who to trust and who tells them what they want to hear. If you want to be aggressive about this, I might not be the one to ask. It's just how I choose to sell. I tell the truth about each type of equipment, listing the pro's and con's of each and try to lead the customer in a positive direction. I don't have exclusive deals with any manufacturer for this same reason. I can sell any type or brand of equipment I choose. I did lose a realtor once because she wanted a fiberglass pool filled with acid so the surface would look brighter. I refused and haven't heard from her again. On the plus side though, we experienced the same exact problem when I met this new home inspector. The "other " pool company dropped the pH too low to measure for the same reason. The heater was disconnected, too. He had no clue as to why. When I told him about the stains and the acid killing the heat exchanger, he was mine.

    Jeremy Hine said:
    Jef:
    I'd love to add this to my list of services. What is your recommended approach to the realtors? Are you chasing down realtor associations, independent realtors, home inspectors individually? Have you got a prepared script or brochure? Is the approach different for each type of professional you want to work with?

    -Jeremy
    -I fix broken pools, spas, and hot tubs
    Florida Leisure Pool & Spa
    www.FLLeisure.com

    Jeff Woods said:
    Absolutely. I do inspections for a few Realtors here also. The most recent one I went on was for the home inspector himself. I met him on a previous job....
  • I am a pool professional in the New York area. Yes, I agree, a home inspector really cant comment on the condition of a pool. If one does, he or she is really at a disadvantage. I perform pool inspections for either home owners or real estate agents wanting to know more about the pool on the property. An inspection consists of an underwater evulation checking on leak status, condition of internal components such as niches and bottom drain configurations, as well as water pressure testing. I dont comment on the electrical or construction of the pools as its now in my expertise to comment on those areas.
  • Jef:
    I'd love to add this to my list of services. What is your recommended approach to the realtors? Are you chasing down realtor associations, independent realtors, home inspectors individually? Have you got a prepared script or brochure? Is the approach different for each type of professional you want to work with?

    -Jeremy
    -I fix broken pools, spas, and hot tubs
    Florida Leisure Pool & Spa
    www.FLLeisure.com

    Jeff Woods said:
    Absolutely. I do inspections for a few Realtors here also. The most recent one I went on was for the home inspector himself. I met him on a previous job....
    Florida Leisure Pool, Spa, Hot Tub Repair, Pumps, Filters, Heaters, Salt Chlorinators, Automation
    We repair pools, spas and hot tubs, pumps, motors, heaters, filters, automation equipment in Gainesville and North Central FL
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