Monthly Archives: January 2015

Why Do Franchisors Charge a Franchise Fee?

Submitted by Roland Bates, President, NPI and GPI

Roland_101614Every franchisor wants and needs to make a profit. One contributor to profit is the upfront franchise fee. Regrettably, some franchisors have been known to charge a large upfront fee and then provide minimal support to franchisees. If a franchisee is not successful, then the franchisor is free to resell the area. That, however, is not National Property Inspections, Inc.’s strategy.

Hopefully we earn something from the franchise fee, but we have always been more concerned about the long term. It’s a better strategy for us, and for our individual franchisees, for National Property Inspections, Inc., to earn less up front and more over the long term and through monthly royalties. Thus, an NPI/GPI franchisee’s success is, in fact, our success and one of the reasons we work so hard to help them succeed. Moreover, we are very proud of our franchisees’ success.

So why charge a franchise fee in the first place? Why not just give the franchise to the franchisee and collect royalties long-term? That would not be the best long-term strategy for us or for the franchisee. The franchise fee needs to be small enough that an interested prospect can purchase the franchise but large enough that the franchisee is committed to making the franchise successful. We don’t want franchisees who are only buying a franchise out of curiosity or who would simply walk away because they don’t have a lot invested in it. Like most franchisors, we are looking for bright, energetic and inquisitive individuals with the drive to succeed.

Award-winning Franchise Owners Love Being Their Own Bosses

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NPI Franchisees David and Jackie Riley

With a background in business management, David Riley worked as a service manager for a corporation when he decided he wanted to go into business for himself. He did a lot of research to find the opportunity that best suited his skills and background. Property inspection seemed like a good fit.

“I knew an average amount about home construction and mechanics from my father and father-in-law, and I felt that with the right training, I could be successful in property inspection,” David said. “I was looking for a company that I could develop and grow the way I wanted to.”

David’s father was a carpenter, and David helped him lay foundations and install roofs, in addition to learning woodworking skills. David’s father-in-law was an electrician, and David assisted him on various projects. With that background, property inspection seemed like a good opportunity for David.

Choosing the Right Franchise System
The Rileys didn’t consider starting their inspection business independently; they knew a franchise was the best way to go. “The franchise model takes so much of the guesswork out of the starting your own business,” said Jackie Riley, David’s wife. Furthermore, David had owned a franchise business in the past, so the Rileys understood the value of a franchise system.

“Our first favorable impression of National Property Inspections was from the brochures we received,” Jackie said. “They were more professional looking than similar brochures from other franchises.”

“Once I narrowed my search to home inspection franchises,” David said, “I did my due diligence on several different companies. I was very impressed with NPI’s staff in Omaha. NPI seemed to be the most professional company and appeared to offer the most support. I had a good feeling from the beginning that they were invested in my success and would help me with marketing and training.

In July 2006, the Rileys signed with NPI to start their own franchise in Savannah, Georgia.

Franchising the NPI Way
David attended the NPI training academy in Omaha, Nebraska, to get the training he’d need to start his franchise. “The technical training was excellent,” he said. “They also gave us training on how to get started with marketing and hit the ground running.”

David said that his greatest challenge in starting the business was balancing inspections, scheduling, marketing and bookkeeping. “I was able to grow the business quickly, though,” he said. “Jackie came on with me after 18 months, our son Patrick joined the business in 2011, and we have added an inspector helper.”

Since Jackie, whose background is in insurance compliance and sales, has taken over the marketing responsibilities, she has the time to develop relationships and has become active in the local board of Realtors. The Rileys said that another key to their marketing success is the fact that they have diligently followed NPI’s marketing plans and have gravitated toward those that work best for their business.

The Rileys said that they remain impressed with the dedication of the NPI home office team in Omaha. “Kenn [Garder] and Randy [Yates] are always available for technical questions,” David said. “Kim [Stevens] was great with marketing tips when I was getting started. Nancy [Resset] has bailed me and Jackie out of some software quandaries several times.”

Success With NPI
The Rileys have won multiple NPI awards: They won the NPI Pacesetter Award in 2009; the NPI Pinnacle Award in 2010; the NPI Presidents Award in 2011; and the NPI Platinum Award in 2012, 2013 and 2014. These awards are given to top-performing franchises.

“We enjoy the freedom and successes of owning our own business and being able to grow it as a family business,” David said. “I have gained a lot of satisfaction out of growing a successful business from the ground up. I have always been competitive and don’t like to fail, and that’s what makes me strive to succeed.

“Our experiences with NPI have been extremely positive,” David continued. “With the help and support of NPI, we love the business we have.”

Franchise Business Review Names National Property Inspections, Inc., a Top Franchise of 2015

Dual LogosNational Property Inspections, Inc., parent company of National Property Inspections in the United States and Global Property Inspections in Canada, is pleased to be included in Franchise Business Review’s Top Franchises 2015 report. The report ranks the best franchises based on franchisee satisfaction. Franchise Business Review’s research looked at survey feedback from current NPI and GPI franchise owners and determined that NPI/GPI was the No. 1 home inspection franchise surveyed.

In February 2014, National Property Inspections, Inc., commissioned an independent franchisee satisfaction survey conducted by Franchise Business Review. NPI/GPI outperformed competitors in the industry and showed high franchisee satisfaction, making NPI/GPI a four-star franchisor. Some of the highlights of the survey include the following:

  • Over 96 percent of respondents rated NPI/GPI’s training program above average.
  • Over 89 percent of respondents rated NPIGPI’s marketing and promotional programs above average.
  • Over 97 percent of respondents agreed or strongly agreed that they trust and respect NPI/GPI as a franchisor.
  • Over 98 percent of respondents agreed or strongly agreed that NPI/GPI operates with a high level of honesty and integrity.
  • Over 93 percent of respondents said that NPI/GPI cares about their success.
  • Over 96 percent of respondents said that they enjoy operating an NPI/GPI franchise.
  • Over 90 percent of respondents said they have a positive attitude about their affiliation with NPI/GPI.
  • Nearly 94 percent of respondents rated their satisfaction with NPI/GPI above average.
  • Over 93 percent of respondents said they would recommend an NPI/GPI franchise to others.

As a top franchisor, NPI/GPI offers low-cost franchises for less than $35,000 in the United States and Canada, with a 10 percent discount on the initial franchise fee for military veterans.

To learn more about NPI/GPI franchise opportunities, visit http://npifranchise.com/ in the United States or http://gpifranchise.com/ in Canada. To access the Franchise Business Review Top Franchises 2015 report visit http://www.franchisebusinessreview.com/franchise-reports/top-franchises-2015/.

Award-winning Franchise Owners Feel ‘Blessed’ to Be Part of GPI

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GPI Franchisees Gerry and Susan Millen

Gerry and Susan Millen of Regina, Saskatchewan, were looking to try something new. Gerry had spent more than 35 years working in the residential and commercial construction field, with nine more years of appraisal experience and three years working as a new-home builder. Susan held a job with the Saskatchewan government. In 2007, the Millens decided to start their own home inspection business, and in 2008 they opened their Global Property Inspections franchise.

“My father always said, ‘Use your brain instead of your back.’ It took me 61 years before I listened to him,” Gerry said.

The Journey to Selecting a Franchise
The Millens considered starting their business independently but ultimately decided that they wanted the support of a franchise system and the opportunity to promote their business as part of a national organization and “not a small-time operator,” Gerry said.

When choosing a franchise, the Millens considered the cost of the franchise, support and follow-up from the home office, and the opportunity for growth.

“GPI met all of my objectives I was looking for,” Gerry said. “Besides, Julie was so wonderful to talk with and so convincing that GPI was the only franchise that counted. I have found since then that she was right.”

Julie Erickson, director of franchise sales for GPI, works with all franchise prospects as they begin their franchising journey. “She was definitely a factor in our decision to choose a GPI franchise,” Gerry said.

Franchising the GPI Way
Today, the Millens still believe that being part of a franchise system is the best way to go.  “GPI has an awesome support mechanism in place, and we like the feeling of being part of a national family,” Susan said. Moreover, the Millens describe GPI’s training program and ongoing support as “second to none.”

GPI has two trained experts on staff full time, and these employees also provide field support to GPI business owners six days a week by telephone. In addition to its trained experts, GPI has a full staff ready to support its business owners, including a marketing team that includes a marketing coach and marketing manager.

“I cannot say enough positive words to express my experience with the GPI family,” Gerry said. “Most of my work life has been as an entrepreneur, but never have I been so blessed with success as I have with GPI.”

Success With GPI
The Millens have experienced many successes with their GPI franchise. The duties of the business have grown so much that Susan was able to retire from her government job to give a hand with the administrational duties of the company. A bonus has been that this gives her and Gerry much more time together.

The rewards have also been financial, as the Millens have greatly increased their net sales year over year. For example, they expect their 2014 net sales to be 6 percent higher than their 2013 numbers, and a whopping 461 percent increase over their first year in business (2008). The Millens have worked hard to increase their sales, and that work paid off in 2014 with a GPI President’s Club Award, an award given to GPI’s top performers. The Millens previously won GPI’s Pinnacle Award and Pacesetter Award.

“Financially, GPI and the Lord have definitely blessed us,” Gerry said. “GPI has also given Susan and I the added opportunity to share our many blessings with two other families, those of our employees and co-workers Trevor and Dean.”

National Property Inspections Welcomes New Franchise Owners in December

National Property Inspections, Inc., parent company of National Property Inspections in the United States and Global Property Inspections in Canada, is excited to announce two new franchise owners who will take the NPI brand to new areas.

Rich Segal is from Plantsville, Connecticut, and his franchise territory will cover Hartford, Haven and Middlesex counties in Connecticut. Ray Vetrano is from Ossining, New York, and his franchise territory will cover Westchester County in New York. Segal and Vetrano completed NPI’s rigorous training academy and are now working toward their state licenses.

Roland Bates, president of National Property Inspections, Inc., said, “We had a great class in December and we wish Ray and Rich the very best as they work to get their state licenses and start their franchises. They are bringing NPI to new areas, and that’s a great thing.”

Segal and Vetrano completed the 120-hour intensive training program in December 2014 at the National Property Inspections, Inc., headquarters in Omaha, Nebraska, and are now undergoing field training with experienced NPI franchise owners in their regions and studying for their state licensing exams.

Determination and Perseverance Bring Success for California Franchise Owner

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NPI Franchisee Jeff Gilly

After a successful career in middle and senior management positions in the managed-care and health care field, Jeff Gilly of Carmichael, California, found himself in the market for a new job. The start-up company he was working for in 1998 lost its financial backing, and Gilly was out of a job. He searched for work but, like so many other successful and experienced professionals in a volatile economy, he found that he was overqualified for most of the available jobs. After six months of job hunting, he decided he should try something new.

Gilly had what many others don’t: a positive attitude, perseverance and a sense of humor that shines immediately. “I decided to try to make things happen rather than let things happen to me,” Gilly said. And with that, he took matters into his own hands and set out the criteria he wanted in a new career.

“First, I didn’t want brick-and-mortar — a 24×7 business with employees,” he said. “I did want a good income that would take me gracefully into my retirement years and a business that I could someday sell.”

So, Gilly began investigating his options.

Choosing the Right Franchise System
“After considerable thought and research, property inspections floated to the top of the list,” he said. And, after researching the property inspection business, Gilly knew he wanted to be part of a franchise system rather than start his business independently. “I wanted the technical backing and training of professionals in the field, as well as the reputation of a proven leader in the business.”

“After evaluating four or five franchisors, National Property Inspections came out the leader,” Gilly said. “The rest is history. I felt NPI offered the best bang for the buck. Some of the initial investment comes back to you in training, supplies, software and computer equipment.” Moreover, NPI offers exclusive territories, which Gilly considered a real plus, as most NPI competitors don’t offer this.

“But most of all I liked the people at NPI,” Gilly said. “There is something to be said for Midwestern values. That made my decision pretty easy.” For Gilly, NPI stood above the competitors because of the company’s honest business ethic. “If Roland Bates tells you it’s Christmas, you can hang your stocking!”

Gilly signed with NPI in September 1999.

Franchising the NPI Way
Going it alone, especially in unfamiliar territory, can be intimidating, and Gilly knew his chances for success increased with the support of a national franchise system. “It’s difficult enough for new business owners to succeed in their first year,” Gilly said. “The NPI franchise program not only helps with the technical aspects, but it also helps with business management, which is a real advantage in getting started.”

Gilly jumped right into his new career in the Sacramento area, where he faced 75 to 100 competitors from day one. “It was a challenge because a lot of Realtors’ offices don’t allow home inspectors in,” he said. Nevertheless, he found that he had several advantages over his competitors.

NPI’s proven formula, state-of-the-art products and respected name helped set Gilly apart from the competition. He introduced himself to his market by distributing NPI’s newsletter, The Inspector, and his price sheets. He also convinced real estate clients to allow him to attend sales meetings where he showed off his gadgets and tools of the trade.

Using his sense of humor and engaging personality, Gilly makes every effort to get to know his clients. “People do business with folks they know and trust,” he said. “Don’t be afraid to inject your personality into the process. Buying a home is one of the most emotional, gut-wrenching decisions for many people. The easier you can make it, the better for everyone.” As a result of his efforts and hard work, Gilly earned NPI’s Pinnacle Award in both 2002 and 2003, as well as the notable NPI President’s Club Award in 2004.

Gilly holds the NPI training program in high regard, saying that it covers more than just the material taught over the course of two weeks. “It doesn’t end there,” he said. “The ongoing training never ends. A week doesn’t go by when I don’t call Omaha for technical assistance or confirmation or go on the Internet to have a question answered. The NPI technical staff are knowledgeable, accessible and responsive. The learning is continuous, and they are integral components in that journey.”

In addition to the technical staff and support, Gilly said that NPI’s reporting software, Inform™, is a key ingredient to the success of his business. “Both the technical support and the software evolve as conditions evolve, and both are key elements in how I present myself to the marketplace,” he said.

Success With NPI
After more than 15 years, nearly 5,000 inspections and three awards, Gilly has no regrets about his decision to become an NPI franchise owner. His franchise has given him flexibility in his schedule and a good income, he said.

“The best I can say is that if I had to do it over again, I would follow the same path I followed over 16 years ago, without reservations.”

Five Key Benefits of Owning a Franchise

The holidays are over and the New Year is here. Are you still working in a job you don’t love, for a boss you hate? Then start 2015 off right by buying a franchise and working for yourself. Owning your own business has plenty of benefits. Here are five that will change how you feel about going to work every day:

  1. You’ll have a well-known company name and brand behind you, as well as the support and training of an established franchisor.
  2. You’ll ditch the job, company and/or boss that you’re tired of, bored with and/or hate.
  3. You’ll work for yourself, setting your own hours and gaining the flexibility you need and want for your family.
  4. You’ll do something you enjoy and make a great income doing it.
  5. You’ll have new challenges and opportunities, which can be a refreshing change and offer the potential for success.

Marketing and Networking Help California Franchisee Succeed

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NPI Franchisee Andy Hasler

As a National Property Inspections inspector, Andy Hasler’s first year in business was a little like that of a politician: It involved a lot of hand-shaking and kissing babies, he said. Hasler spent considerable time introducing himself to his real estate community in an effort to get his property inspection business off the ground as quickly as possible.

Working in the southern half of Ventura County, California, presents Hasler with plenty of opportunity for growth. But a tough market — he has at least 25 direct competitors — also creates many challenges.

“The first year, I tried everything I could get my hands on,” said Hasler, who trained at NPI headquarters in Omaha, Nebraska, in December 2003. He eventually found three keys that continue to work for him and his business:

First, Hasler became active in two real estate associations and joined special projects, including Habitat for Humanity. Involvement in trade fairs and home ownership expos also helped to get his name out. “It’s one way I found to separate myself from my competition,” Hasler said.

Second, Hasler began attending real estate office sales meetings, which provided what he called a 10-minute window to do a commercial. “I’d start with the office administrator, getting to know that person and establishing a rapport,” Hasler said. “Then I’d follow the procedures for getting on the agenda at the meeting.” Hasler attended 20 to 30 meetings his first year in business, often catering high-end meals or snacks for his audience.

Finally, armed with pint-size to-go containers filled with homemade chocolate chip cookies, discount coupons and business cards, Hasler regularly visited open houses on Sundays.

Hasler’s aggressive networking and marketing plan helps explain how he achieved an NPI Rising Star Award, which is given to new franchise owners who are top performers in their markets.

Hasler said that when he conducts an inspection, communication is a vital component of providing outstanding customer service. “That involves addressing everyone at hand at the inspection,” he said. “I take out cookies, goodies and even toys for the kids. I also say what I do and do what I say, even if that means staying up all night to do an inspection report. I’m careful to edit and detail my reports, making them more of a story.”

Hiring administrative assistant Deborah Fish to package and deliver reports has saved Hasler time and “given me back four to five hours a day,” he said. In addition, Fish ensures that brochure stands are filled, orderly and accessible.

Hasler, who worked in franchise development in the petroleum industry before purchasing an NPI franchise, said that the best business advice he can give a new inspector is this: “Treat everyone the way you would want to be treated.”