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.