After more than 25 years as a property inspector, Tom Sansone of Rochester, New York, feels like he’s s scaled a mountain, and for the former Kodak employee, the view from the top is picture perfect.
Sansone spent nine years working for Kodak, during which time he developed a prototype for a Kodak color copier, when he purchased his National Property Inspections franchise in 1988. He felt like he was facing a mountain when he learned that many of his competitors were licensed engineers.
Sansone didn’t let that deter him, though. First, he took engineering courses at area colleges. Next, he offered to bring along a structural engineer if his clients felt they needed one. Today, his reputation and track record speak for themselves, and his business has grown steadily since those early days when Sansone was looking up at the peak. In fact, he is an NPI award winner for his successful efforts.
“I tell customers who ask that being an engineer doesn’t necessarily qualify someone to do a property inspection,” Sansone said. “More important are credentials, such as my membership in the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI). I explain that the thorough ASHI exams, the continuing education credits and other aspects of membership. I top off my sales approach by touting the many benefits that NPI offers, including the six-month warranty on mechanical systems and appliances.”
NPI’s numerous business benefits were what first attracted Sansone to purchase a franchise. I felt I received the best value for my money with NPI,” he said. Sansone then began the process of building his business by making contacts with the many Realtors in his area and friends who he knew might need his services.
One of his best marketing programs has been to deliver Christmas gifts to Realtors and attorneys who referred business during the previous year. When he’s out delivering the gifts, he restocks his brochure holders with the latest pieces he’s purchased, so his name stays top of mind for his customers. He also distributes free coffee mugs to customers who pass along referrals.
“After so many years in business, I have the reputation of being one of the most thorough inspectors in the area,” Sansone said. “I’m accurate, fair and honest — I don’t want to miss anything. I really strive to do the best quality inspection, and I’ve never had a complaint with the Fair Business Council, which is our version of the Better Business Bureau.”
In his spare time, Sansone has kept his structural and mechanical skills honed by remodeling investment homes he’s purchased.
His advice to new inspectors is, “You’ll get out of the business what you put into it if you consistently market your company. Quality service will allow you to build your business.”