To start off 2017, I'm going to discuss where we've been and where we're going. This is going to be a tradition, and it's probably the "bloggiest" blog post that I write each year.
We switched web hosts last year and our website has been more reliable ever since. It still doesn't load as quickly as I'd like it to, however, so I'm having the whole thing re-done at the moment. The folks doing the work are calling it a "re-skin". The look won't change much, but it should load a lot faster, and people with mobile devices should have an easier time reading the font. This is all being done through our new host, a local company called BizzyWeb; they call themselves a Digital Marketing agency, I call them awesome.
We added two new full-time home inspectors to our lineup this year, Jim Tobias and Tessa Murry, both of whom are fantastic home inspectors that we're proud to call our own. We're also in the process of training two more home inspectors at the moment; one is a guy with a construction background, and the other is someone who has been working on his own as a home inspector here in the Twin Cities for the past eight years. They're both sharp guys who will be a great addition to our team. They'll probably be ready to start inspecting on their own for us by this spring.
New services added
We added sewer inspections and level 2 chimney inspections to our list of services offered this year. We partnered up with some extremely knowledgeable trade professionals to offer these add-on services to our home inspections. It's funny, I actually end up seeing those guys more frequently than any of the other home inspectors in my company.
I'm teaching a ton of CE classes to real estate agents again this year; two classes per week up until May. For a list of upcoming classes, scroll down to the calendar on this page: http://structuretech1.com/education/
One of the new inspectors on our team is already licensed in Wisconsin, so we'll be offering home inspections in Wisconsin soon enough.
I meant to add drone inspections to our list of services offered last year, but it never happened. The FAA has strict rules on how drones can be operated for commercial purposes, and using a drone for a home inspection is considered commercial use. Because of the red tape and logistical problems associated with having drone inspections done for a company of our size, we're going to be using an outside party for drone inspections.
For our customers, this means that if we encounter a roof that is too tall to inspect by ladder, we will arrange to have the roof inspected by drone within 1 – 2 business days. If a roof is not safe to walk, we'll still inspect it the way that we always have; from multiple ladder settings at the eaves. Because this is new territory for us, we're going to simply be eating the cost of these inspections until we have the process completely figured out. At that point, we may start charging enough to cover our costs, but it will never become a money-maker for us. Drone inspections will simply be a service that we offer to help make sure that we're staying at the top of our game.
Free infrared inspections
We will no longer be offering infrared inspections as an add-on service; this is something that we'll simply be including for free with every home inspection. It's not going to be an energy audit, but rather one more tool that we can use during our home inspections as we see fit. In fact, now that I think about it, it's probably time for me to update our gallery of infrared images which showcases the kind of defects that we find with infrared cameras. Look for a blog post on this topic in the near future.
Well water & septic inspections
Now that we've added sewer and chimney inspections to our list of services offered, the #1 requested service that we don't offer is well and septic inspections. That changes now. We've partnered with a well & septic inspection company to start offering this inspection service as an add-on to our home inspections.
We're looking forward to another great year. Happy 2017.