April is National Home Inventory Month: Find out more
02 Jul 2019

Structure Inventory Course Released

continuing education creditsOur newest course, Structure Inventory, has been developed and now available for members and non-members.

This is the 2nd-most requested topic for 2019’s course development. During a home or business contents inventory project, you might be asked about carpet, flooring, built-in bookcases, attached fixtures, etc. These items are typically not included in a personal property inventory report because they are considered part of the building.

There are times, though, when one needs to have documentation of a commercial or residential building and its fixtures – sometimes as a stand-alone service and other times in addition to a contents inventory. These structure reports detail the condition of the building interior and exterior, as well as additional buildings on the property, along with other structures such as walls and fences. This service is called a Structure Inventory.

In this course, you will receive guidance on how to develop, conduct, and market structure inventory services. Successful completion of Structure Inventory will provide you with 3 Continuing Education Units (CEUs) for those working on achieving their CIS or for those renewing their certification.

Following are the modules and topics included in this course.

Module 1 – Introduction to Structure Inventory Services

  • What is a Structure Inventory?
  • Purposes of a Structure Inventory
  • Structure Inventory Report
  • Insurance

Module 2 – Preparing for and Conducting the Inventory

  • Preparations Prior to the Visit
  • Inventory Equipment – Materials and Tools
  • The Inventory Process
  • Storage and Updates

Module 3 – Marketing Your Structure Inventory Services

  • Marketing Your Services
  • Business Affiliations
  • Pricing Strategies

Click here to purchase this course.

13 Jun 2019

Marketing Minute – Search Engine Optimization

This Marketing Minute is provided by Associate Member Mary Gillen, who is an expert in SEO, marketing, responsive websites, and ADA compliant websites.

Whether your website was built years ago or is fairly new, it’s a good idea to periodically review the keywords you’re using and evaluate whether you should add new words or edit them.

Trends change, and using the proper keywords will help keep your website an easy site to be found when people are searching for your home inventory service. Following are some tips to help you with Search Engine Optimization for your website.

Conduct keyword research

Determine the words and phrases your potential clients use when searching for your service. Once you find the keywords, build a master list of them to be used in your online marketing. Following are three websites that provide keyword tools:

Wordtracker: https://www.wordtracker.com
Ubersuggest: https://ubersuggest.org
Google Keywords: https://adwords.google.com/select/KeywordToolExternal

When using Google’s Keyword Tool, select “Exact” as the Match Type on the keyword results page. This will filter your results so you have a more concise list.

Search for “long tail” keyword phrases

“Long tail” keyword phrases contain between three to five words. Use a keyword tool (listed above) to find these keyword phrases for the services you offer (i.e., specific to home inventory, collections inventory, loss inventory, appraisals, etc.). Create and download a list (either as a text or Excel file) of these long tail phrases. Be sure to incorporate these phrases in your website and blog content

Add Facebook “Like” buttons to your website and blog pages

As far as the major search engines are concerned, the Facebook Like button acts like a trusted referral. Facebook Likes act as a “link-back” to your Website or blog content, and you receive search engine ranking credit as a result.

Use responsive web design for Google SEO

Smartphone use for business grows every day. How does this affect your site’s search engine optimization? Google recommends marketers use responsive web design, which is the process of serving the same HTML code for all devices (laptops, tablets, smartphones) and using different CSS stylesheets to serve up the correct content formatting for each device (so your website will respond – expand or contract – according to the size of the devise screen). This ensures that all devices are working off the same set of URLs with no content duplication…something that Google likes a bunch. Find out more about responsive Web design by contacting Mary Gillen.

30 May 2019

Structure Inventory Course To Be Released In June

NHIM LogoA survey was distributed late last year that asked for input regarding new topics for our Continuing Education Curriculum. In response to members’ interest, a new course is being created and near completion. The soon-to-be-released course is Structure Inventory.

Home inventory professionals are known for documenting the contents of a home or business. Often during an inventory project, discussions with the client turn to carpet, flooring, built-in bookcases, and attached fixtures. These items typically are not included in a personal property inventory because they are, by definition, part of the structure.

There are times, however, when one needs to have detailed documentation of a commercial or residential building and its fixtures. This is called a Structure Inventory. These reports detail the condition of the building interior and exterior, often in preparation for leasing a commercial building, renting an apartment or house, or for vacation rental property, to name a few.

Watch for the course outline and further information about this course in late June.

08 May 2019

Finding New Referral Sources

Mary Gillen

In an effort to grow your home inventory business, you are most likely seeking many ways to locate new professionals who can end up being great referral sources.

Prospecting Directories Are All Over Town

How many times have you walked into a building to meet with a new prospect and totally ignored the building directory in the lobby? Make it a point to check out the directory after your meeting and write down the names of the other tenant companies. Going to drop a last-minute package at FedEx? Have a doctor’s appointment? Have a working dinner meeting for one of your Chamber of Commerce committees? There may be more business under that one roof than you think.

Trade Shows: How to Easily Gather Prospect Email Addresses

Getting folks to sign up for your email mailing list from your busy trade show booth can be a challenge. Here are a couple of options to make it easier on everyone.

1) Have folks send you a text message with their email address from their mobile phones as a request to subscribe. You can add this information to your list after the show.

2) Create a subscription form on your Web site, a page no wider than 400 pixels so it can easily be viewed on a mobile phone. Prospects with “smart” phones (i.e., Web access capability via their cellphones) who visit your booth can complete the sign-up process right away, filling out the subscription form from their mobile. This can save you a ton of work after the show.

Join LinkedIn Groups

Who are your prospects, and where do they hang out on LinkedIn? Spend your time wisely on LinkedIn by participating in Groups where your prospects spend time. Where can you find them? Go to the search bar at the top of your home page and search for prospect Groups.

Example: If your inventory business is located in New York, and one of your prospect groups is insurance agents, search for insurance agents groups New York in the Search Box. Search results give you the options to View or Join a Group. View means that the group is open to everyone. Join means your profile will be reviewed before you are allowed to join the Group.

Use SocialMention.com to “Listen” to Prospect Conversations on Social Media

Looking for new prospects via social media? Try SocialMention.com >> http://socialmention.com. It allows you to track and measure what people are saying about products, services, or any topic across the web’s social media landscape in real-time. Social Mention monitors 100+ social media properties directly including Twitter, Facebook, blogs, YouTube, Google and more.

The author of this article is Mary Gillen, an Associate Member of NICA. If your website isn’t getting the traffic you expect, Mary can optimize it correctly so search engine robots can efficiently index your site content. She is also highly skilled in creating a new or updating your current website so it is accessible and will meet all ADA requirements. https://accessiblewebsiteservices.com/

 

24 Apr 2019

The Goal: A Professional Insurance Discussion

Since this is National Home Inventory Month, we thought a recap of the course Insurance Knowledge for the Inventory Professional would be timely and prove of great value.

The ultimate goal of an inventory professional is to provide and deliver asset documentation for your clients. Knowledge of insurance is important so you can have a basic discussion of the areas of insurance that relate to home and business inventories. Essential information includes claim scenarios and statistics surrounding recent wildfires, floods, and hurricanes in the United States. You will also be able to help your client locate the area of their homeowner policy requiring them to provide an inventory in the event of a filed claim.

The course is delivered in 3 modules:

Module 1: Insurance Coverages and Terms

  • Disclaimer
  • Choosing An Insurance Agent
  • Homeowner’s Insurance Policy Coverages
  • Special Policy Limits
  • Insurance Terms and Definitions

Module 2: Insurance Claims

  • Statistics
  • Scenarios
  • The Process
  • The Inventory Requirement

Module 3: How to Market to the Insurance Industry

  • When Is The Best Time?
  • Relevant Marketing Strategies

In addition to becoming more informed about basic property insurance concepts and understanding the claims process, this course provides tips to effectively market your inventory services to the insurance industry.

03 Apr 2019

Referrals Are Key To Growing Your Business

Mary Gillen

Referrals are key to growing any business and especially important for home inventory service providers.

It Just Takes a Phone Call

A local dentist has built his successful practice one simple way… the follow-up phone call. He spends one hour of his busy day personally calling patients who were treated the day before to ask how they are feeling. This consistent calling campaign has brought him more referrals than any other marketing method.

You can use this same idea by calling your clients shortly after completion of the inventory project to verify that they were pleased with the results. (This phone call also gives you another opportunity to ask for referrals.)

Repeat Referrals

Looking for referral business? Make sure that the Insurance Agents, Financial Planners, Attorneys, and other business professionals in your local area know that your business exists. They can be a major source of referral business, as they are important influencers on how their clients spend money and conduct business. These types of professional referrals can provide you with a consistent flow of qualified business.

Are you ready for an upgraded website? Maybe a completely new one? Mary Gillen will create YOUR site to represent YOUR business. She is also an excellent writer so she can create professionally-written content as well. Content and web design by someone who knows our industry!

20 Mar 2019

Earn CEUs By Participating in National Home Inventory Month (NHIM)

CEU ApprovedWe feel strongly about the benefit of recognition through promoting NHIM. As an association, NICA’s purpose is to provide recognition of our industry and education for its members. Another benefit is that NICA and NHIM provide education for the general public and potential referral sources.

We believe that this month-long recognition and education, created through the efforts of our members, is worthy of assigning Continuing Education Units (CEUs) to those who participate. Our office received correspondence after last year’s inaugural event from members who promoted NHIM. Many stated that they learned quite a bit through educating others.

Last year each participant earned 1 CEU. Some suggested offering tiered CEUs which would reflect the efforts put forth. The number of CEUs to be awarded this year have been adjusted accordingly. There are 2 levels of CEUs that can be earned:

1 CEU will be earned by copy and pasting the provided social media posts on your accounts
3 CEUs will be earned for posting on social media, PLUS any 2 or more of the following:

  • Create branded social media posts (2 sources are Fiverr and Pablo)
  • Post a press release (template provided for members)
  • Promote NHIM when participating in a vendor fair
  • Detail NHIM during speaking engagements

When you submit your CEU form for recertification, all you will need to do is include the number of CEUs you earned and a link or photos attached to support your 1 or 3 CEUs.

06 Mar 2019

Preparing for National Home Inventory Month

NHIM LogoIt’s time to begin preparing for the 2nd National Home Inventory Month (NHIM), which is recognized in April. The first event was launched in 2018 and will continue annually. In preparation, we are updating the NHIM page on the NICA website and it will be ready by mid-March.

We encourage all home inventory professionals to participate with the intent to educate the public and bring awareness about the need for this documentation. Additionally, it will bring recognition to the industry as well as each individual professional who promotes NHIM.

Members will have access to download the NHIM logo in jpg and png formats. as well as 2 photos in jpg format to use along with their promotions. Upon logging into your account, you will be able to download these graphics, the press release template, and a variety of posts to copy and paste into your social media accounts during late March and the month of April.

Click here to learn more about NHIM and to get tips on how to create a successful campaign,

20 Feb 2019

Home Inventory Industry App Developed by NICA Member

Inventory AppNICA member Kevin Cope with Home Inventory Me, LLC is excited to announce his Crowdfunding campaign for the next generation Home Inventory app – designed specifically to meet the needs of the 3rd Party Asset Documentation Industry. 

Kevin stated, “This is not a Kickstarter or Indiegogo initiative, but rather, a ground-floor opportunity to become an actual shareholder in this revolutionary and exciting new venture.  Anyone is eligible to participate and the minimum investment starts at only $500.00.  Although a number of different cloud-based inventory app options exist in the marketplace today, there still remains the lack of an end-to-end automated solution for the typical Asset Documentation Provider due to the fact that the industry as a whole is still extremely disconnected.

“Our product aims to solve this problem with an enterprise/modular based automated contents inventory solution that includes the following features, to name just a few:  360° Inventory functionality, Optional QBO Integration (Estimates, Invoices, & Timesheets), Field force work scheduling with Calendar View and auto SMS/Email notifications, Field based permissions sharing, Bulk Edit Functionality, Barcode/QR Code Scan, Search, & Print, Independent Offline functionality and much much more.”

For more information, visit the Offering Page.

13 Feb 2019

2019 Curriculum Additions Announced

CurriculumA big THANK YOU to all members who took the time to complete our brief survey in January regarding your preferences of new curriculum to develop.

Since NICA is a member-driven association, knowing what interests you have, and what information you are seeking, helps us develop the curriculum that you – our members – want.

Each year, after we receive your responses, we tabulate and list the courses in order of most votes. We then seek qualified people to develop the content for these courses.

The results and the two courses we will offer in 2019 are:

  1. Marketing & Sales Techniques for Home Inventory Services
  2. Structure Inventories

If you have qualifications to write and a desire to contribute for either of these topics, please contact our office.