Vol 6

The Energizer
  • All In Energy Inspectors – Assessor Spotlight
  • Delivering The Goods – New Marketing Materials
  • iOS Home Energy Score App Update

“All-In” Energy Inspectors

Today’s profile builds upon the usual “Assessors in Action” section to spotlight a particular category of inspector – those who have boldly chosen to include a Home Energy Score with every inspection report. We’re recognizing the whole-hearted commitment of this ever-expanding group by dubbing them “All-In” inspectors, and the first name on the docket is Rose Buckley. If you’ve been living under a rock and haven’t heard of Rose, her profile in last month’s ASHI Reporter is a great place to start. We caught her between inspections recently to get a feel for how this 100% approach is working for her business.

How do you market The Score?
I’ve built up a pretty solid platform on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc., so it’s easy for me to get the word out about my services and to explain the HES process and its benefits that way. I also really try to find new ways of getting “facetime” with my agent network, and I’m finding that a lot of offices are really interested in the topic of energy and they’re inviting me to show up and speak. Another pleasant surprise is that after I explain to the homebuyer and the agent on site what the Score is all about, that agent often becomes my best “marketer” to the rest of their office!

How has being a Certified Assessor™ affected your inspection process?

Since I collect about 90% of the information required for the Score as part of my normal inspection process, it probably only takes me an extra ten or fifteen minutes in total to collect the information. Big or complicated homes might be more than that, since I do have to take a few measurements, and I was definitely slower in the beginning. Once I had probably ten Scores under my belt, though, the process really came together and now I’m at most twenty- or thirty-minutes total to deliver a report. It’s a small enough impact that I haven’t raised my base rate yet, but I might do that since I’m seeing that the value of the Score justifies a modest increase.

How do your clients feel about receiving a Home Energy Score? Your agents?

So far, I have to say that both homebuyers and agents respond very positively to the Home Energy Score. It’s just such valuable information for a homebuyer to have, since they tend not to have given much thought to how much they’re going to have to pay for utilities, or to what they can do to reduce those costs if they buy the home. That’s not to say that the Score doesn’t sometimes bring some “hard truths”, though – not every home is a good energy performer. I learned early on to set expectations that way, since it’s easy to tell that some homes – if they’re very old, poorly insulated, have end-of-service-life HVAC equipment, etc. – are going to get low Scores. What’s interesting is that buyers of those homes seem especially grateful to have the information, and I’ve yet to see the Score become any kind of “deal-breaker.” The agents notice that, too, and I think it just kind of shows them that I care about giving the best possible service and the most valuable information to our shared client.

Delivering the Goods

We know from hearing from out network around the country that the Home Energy Score delivers benefits to inspectors in three main categories, and our team has been working throughout the “off-season” to bring some tools to the table that let our clients make the most of all of them.

First, most successful inspectors know that their agent network is one of the biggest factors toward maintaining a consistent client flow, and that remaining “front of mind” with this group is a constant challenge. We have been pleased to see that the HES has proven to be an effective “foot in the door” for inspectors who do outreach with their agent networks, and while the DOE has always provided a “canned” presentation designed to meet this need, we recognized this well-intentioned content as too generic for the hard-to-please agent audience. Inspectors require something more specialized to the agents, something that speaks directly to their needs, and that’s why ID Energy’s new agent PowerPoint that can be customized to specific time ranges and delivers punchy, impactful info to agents detailing why the Score is good for their clients and their businesses without a lot of extraneous government-speak filler. That presentation is available now, and we are on hand to help with visual co-branding and audience-specific editing services.

Next on the list is a marketing task that no inspector has much time to bother with – creating effective collateral material that quickly explains the benefits of a given service. The DOE-provided materials are adequate for this task in a pinch, but again we saw an opportunity to deliver something that would really work for the inspector industry that we know so well. Our new hand-outs and flyers stylishly get the key points across to agents and potential clients, while highlighting the technical expertise and credibility that the Certified Assessor™ title confers.

Finally, inspectors need certainty around the issue of whether the services they’re delivering really matter to their clients. After all, it’s one thing for an inspector to hear that the Score is valuable for someone else’s customers in a different market, but that’s not the same as knowing for sure that your customers are valuing it. To address that need and to enable savvy inspectors to know that they’re delivering the right mix of services, ID Energy is now providing a custom, co-branded Home Energy Score Report Template that not only livens up visual presentation of the standard (and somewhat clinical-looking) Report, but also includes a section where clients are able to rate their satisfaction with the Score, and provide any further comments about their experience. Feedback from buyers thus far has been very positive, and now ID Energy’s network will be able to know without a doubt whether they’re making a smart move by providing the Score.

iOS Home Energy Score App Update

You may be a reader of the ASHI Reporter magazine and regularly see our monthly Home Energy Score column. The March 2019 issue broke down some new data collection features, like our new one-page data collection and photo checklist sheet (the analogue app), but also highlighted the long-awaited Home Energy Score app for iOS devices.

“ID Energy took its extensive experience with both the DOE program and the home inspection industry to develop a handheld tool that pares down the process to generate a Score to the bare minimum, shaving off many unnecessary steps along the way. “The DOE’s Scoring Tool is a great platform,” Brent told us, “but there are so many redundant extra steps. We built in a lot of the required calculations already, which really speeds up the process and lets the inspector hand over the HES Report right there on the first visit if they want to.” The ID Energy team told us that they’re preparing for a surge in demand from home inspectors since many have been waiting for the “drop” of this time-saving app as the decisive factor in their own cost-benefit equations.”

As stated in the issue, the new iOS Home Energy Score app was set to “drop” this week. Unfortunately, the U.S. Department of Energy issued new updates to the scoring tool technology last month and have another round of updates planed for this spring. To ensure all of I.D. Energy clients receive the best possible experience and performance, we have decided to delay the app release and integrate both current and future updates. At the time the ASHI Reporter March 2019 article was written, we were unaware of the updates and delay, I apologize for the announcement as it was already sent to print before we could amend the content.

A week doesn’t go by where I don’t receive an email, Facebook message, or call asking about the new iOS app. The app will be available for FREE to all assessors subscribed with I.D. Energy’s Fast Track Training and Ongoing QA programs! Once the iOS app is released, the Home Energy Score Android app will be updated to the latest content as well to support both users types. I want to thank everyone who has given us feedback and helped I.D. Energy better our services and products to increase your performance and productivity. Stay tuned for a release date soon, it will be worth the wait! – Brent Loya, I.D. Energy Program Manager