First of all, I know that there are several large companies that have good reputations out there, so I’m not just bashing the big corporations. However, I do believe that the following questions should be taken into consideration when making the decision:
Who is answering the phone?
When you call any company for any service you want to be treated like you are the company’s most important customer. Ever get the “Thanks for calling XYZ company, hold please” routine? Sometimes larger companies are truly so busy that they can’t or won’t give you the attention you deserve. When a company has two hundred appointments and 15 inspectors to deal with each week it is possible that your needs can get lost in the shuffle. When I get a call from a potential customer I actually stop what I’m doing and talk to them to get a feel for their situation. I’ve even sat down in an attic with my tablet to take their information and generate a quote. Capital Home Inspections is founded on my desire to put the customer first, and EVERYONE is a customer.
Can you talk the inspector who you are hiring?
It is likely that if you dial 1-800-XYX-XYXY you will speak with a receptionist who will take your information and be able to generate a quote for your inspection. If you ask the question “What is the name of my inspector?” you may even get a name. There is a significant chance, however, that you will not get to speak with him. Now there is nothing wrong with a larger company keeping their workforce busy and out in the field, but you will be much more likely to be able to interview the inspector who owns his operation. I love it when a customer or their agent asks me questions about myself. This shows that they actually care about the quality of inspection that will be performed. Also, it allows me to get a feel for their situation (How long is their option period? Have they seen specific things they want me to look at already? What’s the stress level of the whole situation?). It usually takes me more time to book an inspection than most because I want to know my client.
How soon can the inspection be scheduled?
If you are in a jam for time and can’t wait for the switchboard that is closed on Sunday to call you back Monday morning then a stand-alone inspector is the man for you. I have had clients that have called me on Sunday morning that had a three or five day option period that went into effect on Friday. This leaves them Monday and Tuesday to get that inspection done!!! I was the first guy to actually answer the phone so I got the inspection. Being a stand alone inspector means being tethered to the phone and ready to take care of a customer at all times.
To sum up, while there is nothing wrong with using a larger company you will likely get a more personal touch from a stand alone operation. Guys like me are driven to keep the customer happy and can afford you the flexibility to meet your immediate needs. Even if it’s not Capital Home Inspections, use the stand alone guy!!!