How To Determine Which Home Inventory Professional To Hire
The home inventory industry is changing. I am pleased to see that it is slowly becoming a true industry rather than just a group of scattered, non-connected home-base businesses across the country. Using the term “group” is even a stretch, as each business owner did their own thing, independently from the others.
When we were developing our own home inventory service (often called asset or personal property inventory) in 2004, we met with insurance agents, estate attorneys, financial planners, and insurance adjusters. Our purpose for these meetings was to learn their needs so we could serve our clients, while also meeting the requirements of each of these professionals because they are often truly the “end user.” For example, an estate attorney will need the inventory report to submit to the state, even though the executor is the client. Over the years we tweaked and improved our processes. Each adjustment is with the client’s needs in mind – from the time we spend on site collecting the information, to the follow-up after the initial service.
Knowledge and experience
After a few years of providing our inventory service, we realized that many people were planning to start a home inventory business and wanted assistance. We created the Nationwide Inventory Professionals Business Package and Licensing Agreement to help and support those who wanted to remain independent, but didn’t want to reinvent the wheel. As a Licensee, these new business owners can be ready to do business within 30 days because we’re creating their website, newsletter, logo, etc., and mentoring them along the way. This assistance shortens their learning curve. They immediately gain the experience and knowledge we leaned over more than a decade in business.
Hiring a Licensee of Nationwide Inventory Professionals is like hiring someone who devoted years of trial and error learning the industry – even if they just recently started their business. Another benefit from working with a Licensee is that as we constantly seek ways to improve the processes and procedures, we share our findings with them. Therefore, they can concentrate on serving their clients while we work on the business.
Education and industry certification
Realizing the need for national continuity and some structure in this industry, I became involved with the National Inventory Certification Association (NICA). Driving this organization is extremely important, because there is value in being certified and receiving continuing education. NICA brings cohesiveness to the industry through the established Code of Ethics that all members agree to honor. The continuing education courses provide industry knowledge. In addition to the industry information, there are courses geared to help the small business owner, such as Project Management, Customer Service, Social Media for Business, and Time Management.
Once an inventory professional becomes a Certified Inventory Specialist, they are required to maintain their designation by achieving a number of CEUs on an annual basis. This ensures that they continue their education and commitment to the industry. Seeing the NICA logo on their website shows who are members of NICA, and the initials CIS behind their name identifies those who are certified.
Hiring an inventory professional
There are a lot of considerations when hiring an inventory professional. I believe that sharing this “behind the scenes” information of the inventory industry will help you know how to assess the companies in your area. To recap, some things to consider, so you no longer have to scratch your head, wondering who to call:
- Are they bonded and insured – have they taken the proper steps to be professional and responsible?
- Do they have testimonials – have others been satisfied with their work?
- Are they certified – have they devoted time and made a financial investment in their expertise?
- How much knowledge/experience do they have – if recently in businesses, do they have a mentor or support system?
If you’re looking for an inventory professional, two websites with lists of companies are the Nationwide Inventory Professionals Directory and the NICA Directory. Both directories offer links to the individual websites.