What is Radon and Do you need an Inspection?

Radon is a radioactive gas that is invisible and odorless allowing it to seep into your home undetected. It comes from the breakdown of uranium in the ground and depending on where you live you might be at a higher risk. No matter where your house is located radon can build up in the confined space of your house and become a serious health risk. Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer so we highly recommend having it inspected on a regular basis. The Radon level will fluctuate depending on how well your home in ventilated and how many cracks you have.

Entry Points

Radon can enter your house through any point where your house is in contact with the ground and there is a small crack. This includes floor drains, joints, gaps around pipes, window casements and any other cracks.

Health & Safety

As long as radon is at an acceptable level then there shouldn’t be any health issues. If the radon level gets too high and if you are exposed to it for enough time then there is a cause for concern. The concern multiplies if you or any of your family members are smokers since the combination of radon and smoking leads to 1 out of 3 smokers having lung cancer.

Radon Inspections

The only way to know if you have high levels is to test your home. It is simple and inexpensive. You have two options for testing:

  • Have a professional inspector conduct an inspection. (recommended)
  • Buy a testing kit and do it yourself. Testing kits cost between $30 and $60 and can be purchased from some hardware stores or online. Test kits include a radon detector that you simply place in your home. The detector after some time (3 months is recommended) has been sufficiently exposed to the fluctuating levels in your home. After the recommended 3 months you can send it to a lab for analysis. The best time to have a test is between September and April since your windows are mostly closed during our winter time.

Reducing the Radon Levels

The level in your home should be less than the Canadian guideline of 200 becquerels/metre³. If the level is higher then it needs to be reduced, the higher it is the sooner you should act.

Sub-Slab Depressurization

Sub-Slab Depressurization is one method you can use to reduce the radon level in your home. A professional will install a pipe through your foundation floor. The pipe will have a small fan attached that will blow the radon to the outside before it enters your home. Sub-Slab Depressurization can reduce the level by about 90%.

Ventilation and Sealing

The levels are related to how well your house is ventilated and how many cracks there are in your house. By increasing the ventilation and/or sealing the cracks in the ground the radon levels will reduce accordingly. This method is not as effective as the Sub-Slab Depressurization method mentioned above.

Do I need an inspection for a Condo?

If your condo is not on the ground floor then it is highly likely that you are safe and don’t need an inspection.

What now?

Clearly having your home inspected is of utmost importance. The risks of having high levels can be very serious and need to be addressed immediately.  In addition to Radon make sure you also get thermal imaging with your inspection. Get peace of mind and book an inspection today.

If you have any questions or need any clarifications get intouch with us today at youredmontonhomeinspections@gmail.com

The Your Edmonton Home Inspections Team

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Target the Right Audience

When you’re developing a marketing strategy for your small business keep the ROI in mind. ROI stands for return on investment, for advertising purposes it measures the return on your ad spend. Small businesses have a smaller budget and need to be careful of how they spend their marketing dollars.  Targeting the right audience is critical in making the most of your ad spend.

Traditionally, small businesses marketing strategies follow a pattern. Many small businesses make use of flyers, branded cars, newspaper ads, and street signs. When I say small business imagine your local plumber or home inspector. These traditional methods throw out a message to the masses without any refined targeting. Usually, the small business owner will realize that the return on investment using the traditional method ends up being low. I always talk about the “Temperature Theory of Marketing”, for those of you who don’t know what that is let me explain.

Introduction to the “Temperature Theory of Marketing”

The “Temperature Theory of Marketing” talks about the market you are serving and the customer profile of that market. Just imagine a triangle representing the market you are operating in. We’ll Edmonton is the example I’ll be using since that is where I am located.

At the very top of the triangle, there is only a small percentage of the market. These are the people actively looking for your services. These people cost the least to convert into paying customers and they also are your most valuable customers. As we go down the triangle there are more and more people.  The more we go down the more it will cost you to convert them, and the less valuable the people are.

Focus Your Efforts

If you send out flyers to a neighborhood or drives his branded car around the city what is happening? The message is simply being blasted to many people. Most of these people have no interest in the service being offered. By focusing on the right customers you increase your ROI. When you spend less to get a customer you drive your costs down. If you are targeting the right people you will also convert more customers. So as a result of targeting, you are both decreasing costs and increasing revenue.

Targeting “Hot Customers”

Fortunately, a small business owner can do just that. The key is that these people are actively looking for your service. So where do people looking for your service usually go? Let’s examine 3 ways to do this.

Google Adwords

One way of getting in front of the right set of eyes is to use Google Adwords. The way Google Adwords basically works is that you bid on a few keywords.

Example:

If I am a home inspector in Edmonton I would probably bid on keywords like “home inspection Edmonton” and “home inspection companies in Edmonton”.  What happens is that every time someone searches a phrase that contains these keywords, if I’m bidding enough then my website will show at the top of the search results.

I only pay when someone clicks on my link and not simply see my link. This means that everyone who clicks on my link is searching for my service. These are all “hot customers” customers at the top of the triangle. I can also use negative keywords to make sure my website doesn’t pop up for certain search terms. For example, “how much do home inspectors make per year?” would be a negative keyword. People looking to become home inspectors are not looking for a home inspection.

Classifieds Ads

Google Adwords is a great way to target the right audience, for those that find Adwords overwhelming there is a much simpler way too. You can simply post your ads on classified websites like Kijiji. Many people who see your ads and respond to it are usually looking for your service too. Another benefit of posting your ads on a classifieds site is that most sites let you do it for free.

Lead Generation

The third option of marketing your business is through the use of lead generation sites. The way this works is a site reaches the first page of Google and puts a small quote request form on the landing page.  When a potential customer visits the site and puts in a request for a quote you will receive an email. The email can include things like the size of the property, property type, phone number, and address. Unlike Adwords where you pay every time someone simply visits your site and doesn’t necessarily put in a quote request, in lead generation you either pay a fixed amount per lead or per month. On top of that, you can immediately call up that lead and turn them into a client.

Benefits of Lead Generation

Lead generation is a nice way to develop a flow of customers to your business. It works while you sleep 24/7. Depending on what your services are you could be paying anywhere between a few dollars to over $100 in some cases. This all depends on what your customer lifetime value is, and the quality of your leads. As you can imagine a mortgage broker business would end up paying a lot more per lead than a plumber would. The reason being is that 1 client for a mortgage broker is worth thousands of dollars. A client for a plumber, on the other hand, could only be worth hundreds.

When you are looking for a lead generation website to partner with know the difference between exclusive and non-exclusive leads. Exclusive leads mean the website is only sending you the leads and naturally there is a premium you’d have to pay. When a website sends out non-exclusive leads, that means the customer is going to get phone calls from many different companies. With non-exclusive leads, you end up competing with different companies over the lead and naturally you pay less for this kind of lead.

Measuring ROI

So how do you measure ROI and why should you care? After I first graduated I went and worked at a new startup, while I was there we tried every marketing channel you can think of. We tried radio, flyers, door-to-door, and a lot more. Let me give you a few examples: if you spend $2,000 on printing and distributing flyers and in return, you ended up getting only 1 client that pays you $200 then your ROI is ($200/$2,000) * 100 = 10% (which is what happened when we tried radio and flyers). Remember that these methods target the masses so the conversion rate will be lower.

If on the other hand, you subscribe to an exclusive lead generation website you end up paying only when you receive a lead. If you are paying $10 per lead and you receive 100 leads you end up paying $1,000. Since these are “hot leads” you will convert more than you would convert from the flyers. If you convert 25% of those leads and on average each customer pays you $200 that means that: (25% * 100) = 25 customers. 25 customers * $200 per customer means that you make $5,000. The ROI in this case will be ($5,000/$1,000) * 100 = 500%.

In the first case you effectively paid $2,000 for 1 customer, this was your customer acquisition cost (CAC). In the second case, you are paying $10 per lead and 25% conversion rate. Which means that out of every 4 leads you get 1 customer so the customer acquisition cost is $10*4 = $40 per customer.

From the example above you can clearly see that targeting the “Hot Customers” has a much bigger payoff than blasting a message out to everyone. It’s this kind of marketing that will enable you to grow your business even if you’re on a budget. Get more customers for your home inspection business using exclusive leads services. It will only be  a short while before you start flourishing in Edmonton.

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How much does a Home Inspection Cost in Edmonton?

Home inspection costs vary depending on a few factors that include: market, property location, property age, property size, competition, and extras.  In general, the cost usually falls between $400 and $700 but let’s take a closer look at the Edmonton marketplace.

Property Location

For most properties, the price of the home inspection would not be affected by the location of the property. In some cases, however, if the property you are looking to inspect is in a bit of a remote location then there might be a driving fee which shouldn’t be more than $50.

Property Age

Some home inspectors factor in property age when valuing a quotation. The reason some home inspectors do this is that there is a higher chance that an older property would have more issues. The more issues the home inspector finds the more time they will have to spend on the home inspection. This is just the home inspector making sure they are not undercharging when you look at it at an hourly rate.

Property Size

Of course, there is also the size of the property. A bigger property will simply take more time to inspect so the bigger the property the more they’re going to charge. Let’s look at an example below:

Upto 1500 sq.ft. 1501-2000sq.ft 2001-2500sq.ft. 2501-3000sq.ft 3001-3500sq.ft +500sq.ft
$499.00 549.00 599.00 649.00 699.00 +50.00

 

Market

Depending on the economic situation of the city you are in the prices will vary. If there are many people buying property then the prices will go up, otherwise, they will go down. Simple demand and supply. In Edmonton, there are a handful of home inspection companies that take the bulk of the business and then there are dozens more that take many smaller slices. The few companies that have the larger chunk of the business have done more home inspections as a result and probably are more experienced. But remember that all home inspectors should be certified so there is a minimum standard that they all meet.

The bigger companies probably have pretty good customer service to help maintain their reputation. The smaller companies can vary from very good customer service to needs room for improvement. You should also consider looking at the smaller guys since they might have some lower prices to try and get some customers in the door.

The bigger players have a dominating online presence that provides them with the constant stream of customers. On the other hand, the smaller players are heavily depending on referrals. I’ve talked with a few of them and there were cases that had only 2 bookings for the entire week. Alternatively, I talked to some of the larger players as well and many of these guys were fully booked for the weekend.

Extras

The Packages offered by home inspection companies in Edmonton vary. Some inspection companies offer Thermal Imaging included with the standard package while others have it as an extra. Common extras include the following:

  • Mold inspection  $50 and up
  • Radon Inspection   $100 and up
  • Allergen Inspection $50 and up
  • Pool Inspections   $200 and up
  • Air Quality Testing  $150 and up
  • Asbestos Inspection $50 and up
  • Lead Inspection  $50 and up
  • WDO (Wood Destroying Organism) Inspection $100 and up

 

So depending on these factors property age, property size, market, competition, property location, and extras the price of the home inspection will vary from about $300 to more than $1,000 for large properties with a few extras.

What can you do to lower the price of a home inspection?

For most people, lowering the price is not easy. If you are representing an entity that can supply the home inspector with a constant stream of leads you could reach a deal with a home inspector. Some people think that they can negotiate with the home inspector to lower his price while he is at the property since he already went through the trouble to arrive at the property. People also think that if an inspector seems to be light on bookings they can pressure him to lower his price since he needs the booking.

All these people forget one thing. Almost all the home inspectors would have you sign a contract beforehand. In most cases, you will receive the contract via email for you to sign and agree on items relating to conditions, liability, and price. They will only show up at the property if you signed the contract which also means that you can’t really change the price anymore.

So while the cost of getting a home inspection is very small in terms of the total costs involved in buying a house, it is important to have an idea about how much you should be getting charged and make sure that you don’t end up overpaying.

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