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.”