Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Asbestos Removal in Your Home

There are still a large number of homes spread across the nation that were built with asbestos-containing products. Thousands upon thousands of these homes are still occupied. If you own a home that was built prior to the early to mid-1980s, there is a chance you’re living with asbestos. This isn’t meant to scare you, but to help understand what you can do to ensure the safety of you and your family.

Asbestos Locations in Homes In the late 1970s, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) placed strict regulations on asbestos use in the U.S. Over the course of the next several years, manufacturers and construction companies began phasing asbestos out of their products, in order to adhere to the EPA’s new rules. Yet, the homes that were built prior to the EPA’s regulations weren’t demolished or even abated for asbestos unless homeowners took it upon themselves to do so. This was, and still remains, a task that many homeowners are unaware of. Some homeowners start renovation and repair products without even considering that there may be asbestos present in their home. In turn, they not only put themselves in danger, but anyone in the vicinity as well. Asbestos fibers are almost weightless, and can easily permeate throughout areas without anyone ever noticing.

 According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), the following are the most common areas and products in older homes where asbestos may be present. Many of these areas are frequently worked on by homeowners who’re unaware of the dangers that asbestos can bring: Roofing and siding shingles (made with asbestos cement) Insulation Walls Floor Vinyl floor tiles Hot water pipes Oil furnaces Coal furnaces Shingles and siding Door gaskets Do You Have Asbestos in Your Home?

First of all, if you live in an older home, there’s no reason to panic. Asbestos is only dangerous when it’s disturbed and asbestos fibers become airborne. This generally happens when people start DIY projects on their home or repair and renovation products, without first having their home properly abated. Water leaks and damaged materials in the home can also increase the risk of asbestos exposure, but you should never try to repair them yourself until you’re certain that your house wasn’t built with asbestos materials, or if your house does have asbestos, it’s been properly removed and disposed of by a professional.

Keep in mind that asbestos fibers are tiny, odorless, colorless, and impossible to detect with the human eye. You’ll need to call a licensed professional to check your home thoroughly. If asbestos is found, you’ll need a licensed professional to properly abate the dangerous materials. Asbestos exposure can be seriously dangerous, leading to numerous mesothelioma lawsuits after workers were negligently exposed and ended up developing life-threatening illnesses. Even the smallest amount of asbestos has the potential to cause significant health damage, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Any home project that has the potential of disturbing asbestos is not worth risking your health over. Before you start any home project, make sure you have your home thoroughly checked, and if needed, abated by a professional trained to detect and remove asbestos the safe and legal way.

Thank you to Katherine Keys who provided the above guest blog post. Helping to spread the word about home safety and asbestos.

Canspec Home Publishing - Helping Inspectors Succeed.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

HomeReport® Binders vs Coil Inspection Books

Differences between the HomeReport® 3 Ring Binder Books & Coil Books

As far as the inside content is concern there is no difference between the binders and the coil books. Everything from the front Welcome to HomeReport® page right through to the six filing envelopes in the back is the same. The only difference is the exterior shell of the book. The coil books don’t open the way the 3 ring binder books do and the coil books are more compact in size.

The actual front and back covers are softer on the coil books but still firm enough to offer a strong professional presentation. The coil books also offer a horizontal pocket inside the front cover and slots for your business cards like found in the original binder books.

The reason there is such a price difference between the original binder books and the coil books is that the process to manufacture the 3 ring binders and the cost of the raw materials for the 3 ring binders is greater. In addition there are more labour costs involved in building the 3 ring binders than the coil books. We have taken this difference and passed it along to you our client in savings.

The newer coil books allow you to offer your customers the same great content as our original binders in a more compact presentation. Little comprise has been made in the overall professional look and feel of the reporting system.

While we feel the coil books are a great way to offer onsite reporting, and help our clients reduce their costs our original 3 ring binders still remain available to our clients. The higher priced original 3 ring binder books are necessary for clients who wish to switch out the ASHI SOPs for other standards of their choice or who wish to use their own contracts. With the coil books there are no rings to open and therefore switching out any part of the content is an easy task. We have very few clients who switch out these items and more have requested a way to make HomeReport® a little more compact.

As far as shipping is concerned the more compact coil books ship in case of 10 rather than 8 like the 3 ring binders and each case of 10 coil books ships for the same of slightly less than a case of 8 binder books. This means on a unit basis you will also notice a savings on the cost to ship the coil books to your address.

Whichever report you decide to use, the binder or coil, we are confident your customers will appreciate the thoroughness and overall professionalism you provide by using HomeReport® in your inspection business.

As always, I wish you great success in your business and welcome you to contact me should you have any comments, questions or concerns that I might be able to help you with.

Kind regards,
Sharon Purtill, Canspec Home Publishing www.canspechomepublishing.com Please visit our website for more information.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Saving Our Home Inspector Clients More Money!

I am happy to announce that we have been able to negotiate a lower price on two of our products with our suppliers! We are passing these savings onto you, our valued clients, effective immediately. HomeReport® Coil Books are now only $19 per unit (sold in cases of 10) vs. our previous $21 price point. Our HomeReport® Content only packages are now available for $18 (sold in cases of 20) vs. our previous $19 price point.

We have not had the same good fortune negotiatin...g a lower price on our HomeReport® vinyl binders. However, we have managed to absorb a recent price increase in both material and labour on the three ring binders without having to passing it on to our clients. Thank you for your continuing to entrust your businesses to us, we hope the Home Inspection Business continues to reward you greatly!

Kindest Regards, Sharon Purtill   www.canspechomepublishing.com

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Proposed CSA Standards - Will They Help or Hurt Consumers?

Helping or Hurting Consumers?
While well intentioned, the recent move towards tightening up the home inspection industry may do more harm than good for the home buyer.

The new proposed standards (CSA A770 Home Inspection New Standard) for home inspectors require far more on the part of the home inspector than the current, industry accepted Standards of Practice do. The length of a home inspection will likely be three fold what it is today if the new regulations are put in place. This is because the new proposed regulations require a much more in depth review of the home.

A home inspector is a generalist. While some home inspectors may come from one particular background or another giving them specialized knowledge of that area, when performing a standard home inspection, they are doing so as a generalist in all areas of home inspection. However, the way the new proposed standards are written it may require a specialist for each area of the home. For example, a licensed plumber for the plumbing systems, a licensed electrician for the electrical system, a heating and air conditioning specialist for the heating and cooling systems, a structural engineer for the homes structural components, a roofer for the roofing system and the list goes on. As you can imagine, the cost of a home inspection would need to sky rocket if the inspection is going to take many more hours to complete and many more professionals on site. This additional cost may very well place a home inspection outside the budget of the average home buyer.

Now if a home buyer opts out of a home inspection due to the high cost (likely in the thousands of dollars) what kind of protection do they have? The answer is NONE. This is a genuine fear to consider. If you make the home inspection so complex that it is priced out of reach, consumers are more likely to waive their right to the home inspection altogether. Is this really what we want?

While I agree the new proposed standards offer a far more in depth home inspection, the question is should it be required? I would argue that most major issues are caught during the course of a home inspection today, provided of course we are talking about visible issues, not hidden or concealed problems and for a very reasonable fee. Before I can get behind these new proposed standards I’d like to see real statistics that show that so much more can be found with this proposed more in-depth inspection. If most major issues can be found with today’s standard home inspection where the majority of consumers still opt in on their right to conduct an inspection, why should we risk pricing such a service out of the consumers reach? Wouldn’t this do far more harm than good when consumers are forced to turn away from such a valuable service due to cost restraints? One of the things home buyers may choose to do is have "Uncle Harry" or a friend look at the house. The problem with this is that while "Uncle Harry" or the friend may know a bit about how a home was constructed, they are not at all trained to know how it fails.

If you want to offer such an expensive, in depth inspection service, terrific, but don’t make it the all or nothing service. Consumers should have a choice to hire a home inspector who works under the Standards of Practice as they are today where they are a generalist not a specialist in all areas. Consumers should have a choice to have a fair and reasonably priced review of the home they are looking to buy and not forced to spend thousands of dollars and many more hours of time conducting an inspection that may or may not turn up much more information.

What has begun as an effort to help consumers may just turn out to be the most detrimental thing we can do to consumers if these proposed standards are passed. I would so much rather see consumers continue to opt in for their home inspections than waive their rights to one, because they can’t afford it.

Review the proposed regulations for yourself here: http://publicreview.csa.ca/Home/Details/1368

I would love to hear your thoughts on this. Please comment below.

Sharon Purtill
Owner Canspec Home Publishing

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Looking to Grow Your Home Inspection Business?

Taking the step to expand your home inspection business can be hindered by a lack of time in the day.  As an individual inspector there are only so many inspections you can do in a day and burn out should never be an option.   That wont serve you and it certainly wont serve your clients.  Once you build your business to the level that you are turning away inspections it may be time to consider bringing on another inspector.  

Just remember, you are busy because you are doing something right and clients appreciate the level of service you offer.  It's important to maintain the level of service that got you busy in the first place.  Many inspectors worry that if they bring another inspector on, they may not offer that same level of service.  Have you thought this?  Is this a concern that's been holding you back from growing your business?  There is a way to ensure that any new inspectors you bring on do offer your level of service and attention, and it's with their proper training and integration into your company.   This is not as difficult as many inspectors believe.

Here are some great training tips to help you, if and when, you take the leap to becoming a multi-inspector firm:

1.  Tag along inspections.   It doesn't matter how experienced the inspector you are hiring is, having them tag along on your inspectors for a period of time before you ever send them out on their own, under your company name, is critically important.

The reason tag along inspections are so important, even with the most experienced inspectors, is we all have different ways of doing things.  The key to making a successful transition from a single inspector firm to a multi inspector firm is consistency!   Remember, you got this busy because you are doing something clients like.  How would they feel if all of a sudden an inspector sent out by your company, while good, did things quite differently?   Consumers like consistency, they like to know what they will be getting when they call up a service company.   To be a truly successful multi inspector firm you will need to ensure that regardless of which inspector you send out the experience from the perspective of the client is the same.

By having inspectors first tag along with you, you can train them to do the actual inspection in as close as possible to the way you do them. 

2.  Ensure all inspectors are using the same vocabulary to explain the scope of the service and to explain the common types of deficiencies and findings inspectors come across.   Having a script is very helpful.   You can create scripts for the introduction of the inspector and the initial explanation of what you'll be doing for them that day, you can have a scripted response for many common questions and problems.   This will ensure that your inspectors always present in a similar fashion and everyone will sound professional and concise. 

In addition to how your inspectors speak to clients you'll want to ensure they approach the inspection in the same way as you do.   For example, if you start with the outside, they should too.  If when inside the home, you start at the top and work your way down, they should too.   If you use certain tools they must use the same tools you do, nothing more, nothing less.   This ensures consistency during the course of the inspection.

3.  The report, must be the same report all  your inspectors use.   Sometimes this is an issue from seasoned inspectors who have been using one report for a very long time and they are resistant to change to what you have been using.  However, this needs to be a condition of them being hired, you need to ensure they are consistent with their report too.   You are one company, and your company image or brand needs to stay consistent and professional throughout your inspection team.    After all you're the one with more business than you can handle so you must be doing something right.  Don't let the inspector looking to work with you dictate how you run things or how they will do things once going out under your company name.

4.  Dress Professionally.   Lastly, dress, there need to be consistency here too.  Use your own success as a guide line, but do create a dress code policy.  It is important that everyone show up dressed in the same fashion.  Company shirts are a great idea.  Have your logo put onto the shirt and ensure each inspector has a few so they have enough to keep them going between laundry days.  Decide on the colour of the pant you'll all wear and stick to it.   Decide if you will allow shorts in warmer weather and what type of shorts will be acceptable.   Have all new inspectors agree to this dress code BEFORE you agree to hire them.

There are many other smaller details to consider, but you get the idea.  In order to add inspectors to your company and be successful at making the transition from a single inspector firm to a multi inspector firm consistency is key.

I have worked with many inspectors helping them successfully make this transition.  There are even things you can do when you have a referral that is hell bent on only working with or referring you personally.  They can become accepting of your new hires and may even like working with them better, if you do the integration correctly.  Don't let that bruise your ego.  That's exactly what you want when you become a multi inspector firm.  You want people to call up your company and ask for an appointment based on the date or time they need never the individual inspector they want.  When the integration of new inspectors is done correctly the calls for a specific inspector will be greatly reduced, if not completely eliminated, and that, is just good for business!

Wishing you continued success with your home inspection business!

Kindest regards,

Sharon Purtill, Your Home Inspection Marketing Coach
Canspec Home Publishing

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Home Inspectors Need A Website

4 Ways a Website Can Help Your Small Inspection Business

When was the last time you used the Yellow Pages to look up a business? When looking for a home inspection company to hire, most homeowners and realtors search the internet instead, and often judge whether or not to do business with your company based on your website or lack thereof.

If you are a small company, you may doubt the necessity of having a website, but even a simple 3 to 5 page site can help engage and convert interested business prospects. Consider the following benefits of having an online presence for your business.

1.      Potential new clients will be able to learn more about you. A website can be an easily accessible resource where referrals can learn more about your home inspection services. Rather than calling to follow up, leaving voicemails and playing phone tag, potential new clients will be able to simply search your business online.

Make sure to clearly state your name and the inspection services available on your website’s homepage. According to John Zhuang of Web-design and SEO-optimization firm Winning Interactive, a clear description will attract visitors’ attention within 2 to 3 seconds and encourage them to stay on your website longer.
2.      Find and connect with new clients. Many home inspection companies rely on word-of-mouth advertising from past clients to book new jobs. A website, however, can help expand your client base to realtors and homeowners searching for inspection services online. Through search engine optimization, your site will appear when a keyword related to your website is searched. 

Once they’ve landed on your website, make sure interested visitors know how to get in touch with you via phone or e-mail. The best place for contact information is the top left or right corner of your home page, according to Entrepreneur.com.  

3.      Making updates on a website is easier and less expensive. Advertising your services with a lawn sign, on your vehicle or through the mail are great ways to gain more exposure. However, updating the text or design of a marketing piece and then paying to print new material can add up. With software like Adobe Contribute, you can make simple edits to your website yourself for a much cheaper cost.  

Ron Wright, founder of business Web design and online marketing firm Accentix, suggests incorporating a regularly-updated blog or connecting in social media feeds to keep content from getting stale.  

4.      Your company will look professional and established, while extending your brand. A website can help your business make a positive first impression by letting visitors know you are stable enough to have a dedicated Web presence. If potential clients’ questions can be answered in an attractive, well-written, easy-to-use website, they are more likely to form a good opinion of your company.  

Customer testimonials will also help potential clients build trust in your brand, so ask those who have had a good experience with your company to write a review for your website. 

In 2013, your home inspection business simply can’t afford to be invisible online. Although a website will require extra time and money to create and maintain, you will soon find that having a good website is well worth the effort!


The above article was written by guest blogger, Marie Bumbalough.  Marie Bumbalough is a home improvement content wrangler for Protect Your Home and covers topics from home security to heating and cooling. 

"Happy Inspecting"
Canspec Home Publishing


Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Protecting Our Property From Copyright Infringers

It seems my own clients aren’t the only ones who appreciate the great qualities of HomeReport®.  Some months ago, I hired a copyright lawyer to serve cease and desist letters to two separate large home inspection firms.  At this time, lawyers for those two firms are passing letters back and forth with my own lawyer and we are still hoping to come to a peaceful resolution. 

The documents in question pertain to the HomeReport® contract and page opposite entitled “What You Should Expect From Your Inspection”. We are now in our 12th edition of HomeReport®, but the publication dates back to the first edition which was written in 1999.

Let me be clear, I have never licensed my material to any third parties, ever.  So, if you are using a home inspection report that incorporates a “What You Should Expect From Your Inspection” page or such a page is near, or is referenced in, the body of your contract page, your report may contain material that has been misappropriated from HomeReport®. HomeReport® starts the What You Should Expect From Your Inspection Page off with the following wording: “A home inspection is part of the path to making a more informed home purchase decision.  It is intended to provide peace of mind by offering a technical review of the home.  This review usually entails a VISUAL INSPECTION of the major systems…..”  
Don’t be fooled by the pretenders, get the full benefits of HomeReport®, not the cut and paste imitations that are floating around the market.  We know why others want our material, it’s because it’s the best.  Our Contract and What You Should Expect From Your Inspection pages are invaluable portions of the industry leading HomeReport® Home Inspection Reporting System.
If you are in doubt, or at all concerned, about the validity of the contract or “What You Should Expect From Your Inspection” page in your inspection reports, you can contact myself, Sharon Purtill, founder of Canspec Home Publishing and co-author of HomeReport® for more information.   You can reach me through the website at www.canspechomepublishing.com or email me directly at sharon@canspechomepublishing.com

It is sad that anyone can just take copyrighted material and use it and it’s up to the owner of such material to pursue justice and have them cease and desist.  It can be a very draining and costly process protecting copyright, something the thieves don’t seem to care anything about.   Stolen copyrighted material should be no different than stealing a book right out of your house.  Theft is theft, or at least it should be.  However, the Canadian courts don’t see it that way.  They say we must fight for our rights to protect our material in civil court, not criminal court.   So, that is what I will do.  I believe in honesty, integrity and honour, but it seems not all businesses run on these principles. 
Sharon Purtill,
Owner, Canspec Home Publishing