Naming and Branding Your Home Inspection Business
It’s amazing how much a name conveys. The label under which a company operates is often the first impression made on a customer. A company name like “QuickInspect” conveys something a lot different than “A – Z Inspections” does.
These are just some made up names that popped into my head, I know nothing about these companies even if they do exist. It is immediately implied by “QuickInspect” that you can get an inspection fast. This could mean that the booking time is short, or it could mean that the actual inspection is speedy. Either way, speed is top of the mind. “A – Z Inspections”, by contrast, implies a thorough and detailed inspection, with speed not being a factor (except for the fact that the inspection might take longer).
Now the funny thing is that neither of these two impressions is necessarily better than the other, and neither necessarily reflects the way the business actually operates. QuickInspect could be the most thorough inspection company in town, and A – Z Inspections could be the fastest.
As you start your business, you have to make a decision: will you only choose a name so that you look legitimate and not take it any further than that? Or will you brand your company from top to bottom and live up to your company name? Both decisions have advantages and disadvantages.
Just a Name
If your goal is simply to find a name that works well and sounds good, you’re not necessarily doing anything wrong (unless you’re intentionally being deceptive about what the business is known for). The inspection business is actually the kind of industry where this is more likely to work, whereas the food industry promises failure if you cannot successfully deliver that special feeling food brands typically convey, such as Hershey’s. You just need a name that looks like a real business name and is also attractive, but beyond that your work will speak for itself. Much of the business leads in this industry come from referrals anyways, so as you build a reputation people will start to take notice. What’s more, you save time and money by not having to think about major branding efforts. It’s hard to brand “Joe’s Inspections”, but at the same time it could be enough.
More Than a Name
I’m not the first to say that the younger generation of today seems to make buying decisions based on not just price and convenience, but also on experience. I personally love Amazon because of how much fun it is to shop there, and not just because I get free two-day shipping and great prices. Granted, if the two-day shipping and great prices went away it wouldn’t help, but these qualities plus the overall enjoyment I get from ordering on Amazon work together to create a powerful experience, all of which are contained in a feeling when I think of “Amazon”. They have managed to create an experience that takes the stress out of shopping and instead makes it fun.
In the same way, your business name can be selected in such a way that it is easily “brandable” and then combined with stellar service to really make you shine. This will require some extra work. Your website will need to promote whatever feeling your business name was intended to convey. Your business cards, promotional flyers, and the clothes you wear can all be tweaked to serve the same purpose (think, for example, how much of an effect the UPS delivery person’s clothing has in extending the company’s brand all the way to your front door).
You will have to work hard to do this effectively in the home inspection industry, as you are not simply a bag of chips on the shelf of a grocery store, where almost all of the branding can be self-contained in the packaging; you’re a person offering a service, and your branding will be spread over multiple things: your vehicle, your equipment bag, even the jacket you are wearing. More challenging still, is that a customer will probably only use your services once, not multiple times. This means you have a limited number of opportunities and a short time frame to give the experience. You need to deliver a short-term, powerful experience that will cause your clients to tell others about your business.
Most importantly, your service must live up to your business name, or the experience will be lost. If you can make “Same-Day Inspections” work, you’ll have a definite competitive advantage. It will just be a hard brand to build because it will likely require multiple inspectors to make the experience happen. If you fail to offer same-day inspections or are consistently late, your brand will be destroyed.
How Far Should You Take It?
I wouldn’t be surprised if the majority of home inspectors rely on the first option (to just pick a name and leave it at that). It is much easier to do this, though it is still likely to work if other factors are also in place. However, this gives opportunity for new inspectors to target the next generation of home buyers by focusing on heavy branding, if they are willing to put in the extra effort to make this happen. But whichever option you choose, make sure your work speaks for itself!
-November 3, 2016