Vriend Home Inspections Ltd.
After 26 years as a construction contractor, in 2000 Jim Vriend began a new career as a Registered Home Inspector. Like many new businesses of the day, Jim advertised in the “yellow” business phone book. As an experienced entrepreneur though, Jim wanted to know if his advertising was providing a return on investment and asked all of his customers how they had learned about his business. When he realized that less than 1% found him in the directory, Jim had his answer – a resounding NO.
Jim decided to drop the directory advertising and try a different approach. Since his services were primarily used by home buyers, Jim didn’t get frequent repeat business but thought that word of mouth referrals were still his best bet. He joined a local business networking group and while the group obviously shared Jim’s belief that networking was important, they also encouraged him to get a website.
By 2009, Jim was facing increasing competition. With greater consumer awareness stemming from the “leaky condo syndrome” among other factors, the Home Inspection Industry had become one of the fastest growing professions in North America. At the same time, home sales were down, shrinking his overall market size. Still, Jim wasn’t convinced that a website was the answer.
Talking it over with a friend who was a web designer, Jim voiced his reluctance. Jim figured that his website would just be buried among so many others that no one would ever see it. That’s when Paul told him about search engine advertising. Still not completely convinced, Jim thought it was worth a try.
Internet Advertising built Jim a website and set up an AdWords campaign with Google. Over the following year, Jim watched his ROI appear in conclusive fashion with 15% of his customers reporting that they found him on the web. Now Jim was convinced.
In 2012, there were 89 home inspectors in Abbotsford and 138 in the Fraser Valley. The year ranked as the second slowest year for sales in the Fraser Valley since 2003 with just 13,878 and only 1,813 in Abbotsford.
Assuming that all homes were inspected and that each inspector would get an equal share of the market, Jim would have done a mere 20 inspections in Abbotsford or 101 in the region.
Jim’s actual results? 200 inspections!