Monthly Archives: February 2015

National Property Inspections, Inc., Named a Top 500 Franchise by Franchise Grade®

FG-TOP-500-ICONNational Property Inspections, Inc., parent company of National Property Inspections in the United States and Global Property Inspections in Canada, is excited to announce that it has been ranked on the Franchise Grade® Top 500 list for 2014-2015. ranks the top franchises by measuring past and current success of franchise sectors and specific franchise systems.

“We are extremely pleased to be included on the Franchise Grade® Top 500 list,” said Roland Bates, president of National Property Inspections, Inc. “For nearly 30 years, we’ve worked hard to make NPI and GPI top franchises in the United States and Canada. We believe that living up to our philosophy of honesty, integrity and professionalism has given us the edge that indeed makes us one of the top franchisors.” uses its own multifaceted grading platform, the Franchise Performance Index™ (FPI), to analyze and grade franchise investment options. The analysis and determination of the FPI is based on factors and variables considered important when evaluating franchise performance, including a series of weighted factors and variables deemed important for the health and success of a franchise system. From FDD analysis and additional research has defined the following critical factors: the number of years franchising, franchisee turnover rates, litigation history, comparative individual system and sector growth, executive backgrounds, franchisee satisfaction survey results, lending data and others. All of these are considered when ranking franchisors.

National Property Inspections, Inc., has been included on many top franchise lists over the last year, including Franchise Business Review’s Top Franchises 2015, Entrepreneur Magazine’s Franchise 500® for 2015, and Franchise Gator’s Top 100 Franchises of 2015.

To learn more about NPI/GPI franchise opportunities, visit in the United States or in Canada. To access the Franchise Grade® Top 500, visit

Taking a Risk Paid off Big for Florida Franchise Owner

marino_tonyTony Marino had worked at the same printing company for 25 years when the company shut down his division despite solid production numbers. From that point on, Marino decided to take a new career path: self-employment.

“If I was going to fall on my face,” he said, “it was going to be my own two feet I tripped over.” Marino had little experience running any kind of business. He and his wife, Donna, wanted to move to Florida. He also needed a flexible business that he could build while caring for Donna, who is fully disabled after a spinal operation when she was 19.

Marino started reading entrepreneurial books and focusing on home inspection, a career turn he thought might fit the bill. He contacted several franchises but focused on National Property Inspections after talking with Julie Erickson, director of franchise sales.

“She told me I could call any of the NPI franchisees,” Marino said. “I thought, ‘What? Any of them?’ That hit me hard. If a company can trust that any and all of their franchise owners will represent them well, I figured I was on to something.”

Marino called 10 or 15 franchisees, spent many hours on the phone with Julie and eventually selected NPI. The Marinos sold everything they owned, including the home of their dreams, ignored the repetitive voices of their friends telling them they were crazy, and moved to St. Petersburg, Florida, where they purchased available NPI territory on the Gulf Coast.

“We drove into town having never visited the area and said, ‘OK, we’re home,’” Marino said. Two months later, he flew to Omaha for two weeks of training with NPI. He completed ride-alongs with an NPI neighbor and started implementing the NPI marketing program.

“The rest is history,” Marino said. “It took me less than a year to equal the pay scale I had achieved in more than 26 years at my old job (and I was well-paid). Plus, no seven-day workweeks, no night shifts and best of all, no bosses.”

Marino implemented his business plan by focusing on four things that seemed to jump out at him time and time again when he was reading all those entrepreneurial books: “Be honest, have integrity, treat fsbase, focusing his marketing on reaching the more successful Realtors in his area — the ones who sell despite market fluctuations.

Marino won the NPI Pacesetter Award in 2006, less than three years after getting into the business. In 2014, he won the NPI Pinnacle Award, an award given to top-performing NPI franchise owners.

“That’s just the sauce on the pasta,” Marino said. “The reality is that at age 46 I took a chance on myself, stepped out of my comfort zone and became my own boss. I am now in control of my own destiny. You don’t know how great that is until you are there.”

Entrepreneur Magazine Names National Property Inspections, Inc., a Top 500 Franchise of 2015

Entrepreneur 500National Property Inspections, Inc., parent company of National Property Inspections in the United States and Global Property Inspections in Canada, is once again pleased to be included in Entrepreneur Magazine’s Franchise 500®, which ranks the best franchises based on objective, quantifiable measures of a franchise operation.

The most important factors in the Franchise 500® formula include financial strength and stability, growth rate and size of the system. Entrepreneur also considers the number of years a company has been in business and the length of time it’s been franchising, startup costs, litigation, percentage of terminations, and whether the company provides financing. Financial data is analyzed by an independent CPA. The objective factors are plugged into an exclusive Franchise 500® formula, with each eligible company receiving a cumulative score.

“National Property Inspections, Inc., is delighted to make Entrepreneur’s Franchise 500 again in 2015,” said Roland Bates, president of National Property Inspections, Inc. “We have made several top franchise lists over the last year, and Entrepreneur’s is certainly one of the most prestigious. Our inclusion on this list goes to show how hard we’ve worked to make NPI and GPI top franchise opportunities in the United States and Canada, and we will continue that hard work for our current and incoming franchisees.”

To learn more about NPI/GPI franchise opportunities, visit in the United States or in Canada. To access the Entrepreneur Franchise 500® report, visit

‘Other Property Inspection Companies Weren’t on the Level’

pigeonRoger Pigeon didn’t know anything about the home inspection business until he became a customer himself — and a dissatisfied one, at that. Pigeon and his family were relocating to San Diego in 1999 and purchasing a house when they got their first look at the property inspection industry.

“I didn’t really know what to expect, but when the inspector charged $225 for a half-hour inspection and missed a lot, I thought, ‘I could do a better job than that.’”

Pigeon learned more about the home inspection industry — and National Property Inspections — from Entrepreneur Magazine. “Other property inspection companies weren’t on the level,” Pigeon said, “but the people I talked with at NPI were just great.” After working in the building and machine maintenance industry in San Diego and Utah for 14 years, Pigeon decided to start his own NPI franchise in November 1999.

Franchising the NPI Way
When he began his business, Pigeon faced considerable competition in his San Diego-area market. “I joined the Chamber of Commerce and the Realtor’s association, shook a lot of hands, then did a good job on inspections,” he said. “That brought me referrals.” He built contacts by attending Realtor meetings, providing the snack for those meetings, and distributing his business cards.

Promptness, attention to detail and professionalism have helped Pigeon stand hand and shoulders above his competitors. “I’ve done well over a thousand inspections to date, and I’ve never been late,” Pigeon said.

Pigeon, an NPI Pinnacle Award Winner, hopes to continue to grow his business and plans to begin training his son, Nicholas, to help with inspections. “Each year my business grows and grows,” he said.

His advice to new inspectors is to play a positive role in the inspection process. “You need to tell it like it is, but there are always positive ways to do that,” Pigeon said. “Just do a good, thorough job and be courteous, and you’ll get business in return.”

National Property Inspections Franchisees Welcomes Four New Franchise Owners in January

Dual LogosNational Property Inspections, Inc., parent company of National Property Inspections in the United States and Global Property Inspections in Canada, is pleased to announce four new franchise owners in January who will take the NPI brand to new areas:

  • James Dunlap from Anacortes, Washington, will have franchise territory covering Snohomish County in Washington.
  • Gary Hudkins of Cornelius, North Carolina, will have franchise territory covering Cabarrus and Rowan counties in North Carolina.
  • Jared Jackson from Coeur d’ Alene, Idaho, will have territory covering Coeur d’ Alene and a portion of southern Spokane County in Washington.
  • Steve Stavros of Oak Harbor, Washington, will have franchise territory in Whatcom County, San Juan County, Island County, Skagit County and Snohomish County in Washington.

“Our January class is a talented, intelligent group of young men,” said Roland Bates, president of NPI. “Based on the time I spent with them and their performance during training, I feel they will work hard to get their businesses up and running, and they’ll all be very successful. These are exciting times for us as we grow our business and bring NPI franchises to new territory.”

Dunlap, Hudkins, Jackson and Stavros completed NPI’s intensive 120-hour training program this month at the National Property Inspections, Inc., headquarters in Omaha, Nebraska, and will undergo field training with experienced NPI franchise owners in their regions as they study for their national and state licensing exams.

For information about franchising with NPI or GPI, visit in the United States, or in Canada.

Award-winning Franchisee Has Been With NPI More Than 25 Years


NPI Franchisee Ken Helbing

In 1988, Ken Helbing was working as a loss control inspector for the insurance industry when he spotted an ad in USA Today for National Property Inspections franchises. In the ad, Helbing saw the opportunity to parlay his skills, experience and education into his own business. “I thought the home inspection industry would be an up and coming business,” he said.

During his more than 25 years as an NPI franchise owner, Helbing has seen tremendous success, including three NPI President’s Circle Awards and expansion of his territory. But Helbing has also found something that money can’t buy: the satisfaction of knowing that he’s making a difference. He remembers the first time he had that feeling:

“An elderly lady — a widow — called to tell me she was happy she hired me to do an inspection of a home she had considered buying. There were several problems with the home. It was a great feeling not letting her get into something that might have cost her all of her savings.

“It’s important to call a spade a spade and conduct a good, fair and honest inspection,” Helbing said.

In spite of his success as one of the top NPI inspectors in the United States, Helbing remembers his first few weeks in business as overwhelming. “The challenge was getting my name out,” he said. “But I have a very good market in the Milwaukee, Wisconsin, area. About 80 percent of the homes sold here are inspected.”

Referrals have been Helbing’s most effective marketing tool. “I always ask the Realtor and the buyer to be present at the inspection,” Helbing said. “This provides the opportunity to impress my clients with my knowledge. When they see the thorough, in-depth inspection and the tools and equipment I use, the referrals start to snowball.”

One tool in particular has helped set Helbing apart from his competition in the Milwaukee area: “Not all inspectors have carbon monoxide detectors, and many inspectors charge extra for this service, which is included in our inspection fee.”

Besides offering outstanding customer service, Helbing advises new franchise owners to stay focused on their goals. “Don’t get bogged down with the overwhelming aspects of starting a business, but instead focus on the big picture. You do have to be prepared to work long hours and be persistent — just hang with it.

Helbing also advises new inspectors to work hard to keep expenses and overhead in check. “It’s particularly important in the first couple of years to maintain good pricing practices — not too high or too low — and to just run a good, profitable business.”

National Property Inspections Named a Top Franchise Opportunity of 2015

GatorNPI/GPI is pleased to announce its inclusion on Franchise Gator’s new list of Top 100 Franchises of 2015. Franchise Gator is one of the largest franchise and business opportunity directories in North America.

Franchise Gator’s Top 100 Franchises of 2015 were carefully selected by measuring the quality of a franchise system over time. The rankings are based on a formula created from various parts of a franchisor’s franchise disclosure document (FDD) and focus on financial stability, growth, transparency, engagement, continuity and sustainability. The Gator team studied hundreds of FDDs over the past year to compile the Top 100 list for 2015.

Franchise Gator also focused on evaluating franchise opportunities that would be of interest to what its typical visitor is seeking. This included considering investment range and industry to create a unique rankings list.

“I love good news,” said Roland Bates, president of National Property Inspections, Inc., “and this is great news for us as a franchisor. We’ve worked hard to build our company on the principles of honesty, integrity and professionalism, and in doing that, we have become one of North America’s leading home inspection franchises. We are proud to be recognized as such by Franchise Gator and happy to be included on this list.”

Over the last year, National Property Inspections has been named to several top franchise lists in addition to Franchise Gator’s Top 100, including Franchise Business Review’s Top Franchises 2015, Franchise Business Review’s Top Franchises for Veterans, Military Times Best for Vets: Franchises and Entrepreneur’s Franchise 500®.

For more information about our franchise opportunities, visit in the United States and in Canada.

South Carolina Franchisee Considers NPI a Partner


NPI Franchisee Hank Shadwell

Hank Shadwell received his bachelor’s degree in communications and theater. He was looking for a job in television when he decided to start work in construction — specifically electricity. After becoming a master electrician, Shadwell started his own residential and commercial company, Shadwell Electric Company. However, when the commercial construction industry in his hometown collapsed and never recovered, he began looking at new options for owning his own business. Property inspection quickly became the leader.

Shadwell determined that he wanted to be part of a franchise system rather than start his business independently. “After a lot of research, I was convinced that the only way to make this business work was to partner with people who knew the home inspection business,” Shadwell said. “That resulted in a lengthy search for a company that was a good fit for my needs.”

Choosing the Right Franchise System
“I was looking for a company that supplemented my talents and could inspire me to go outside my comfort zone,” Shadwell said. “A partner, not a management firm. A company that would have a vested interest in my success and be willing to help me achieve my goals and push me a little further. NPI fit that bill.”

Shadwell was impressed with National Property Inspections’ history, low turnover rate and royalty requirements. “With most of the others, you pay an 8 percent royalty plus another 3 percent for advertising and marketing,” he said. “NPI let me take the 3 percent and invest it where I thought it would do the most good rather than charging me.”

At NPI, Julie Erickson, director of franchise sales, spoke with Shadwell on multiple occasions. “After speaking with Julie, a very down-to-earth person who is honest and genuine, I called several NPI franchisees to get answers to specific concerns I had and questions about the company’s commitment to the franchisee. I received positive responses from everyone.”

In May 2005, Shadwell signed with NPI to open his own franchise in Dalzell, South Carolina.

Franchising the NPI Way
Shadwell has never regretted his decision to purchase a franchise. “There is no way I could do what NPI does for me,” he said. “The marketing assistance alone is worth what I pay in monthly franchise fees. Also, having someone with expertise in construction beyond my own experience — especially as it relates to the inspection business — is priceless.”

NPI offers technical support in the field for its franchisees seven days a week, should they encounter questions or problems while out on inspections. Furthermore, NPI offers ongoing marketing support, with a dedicated marketing team to help franchise owners with marketing and networking, their websites and search engine optimization, and much more.

“One of my weakest areas has been in marketing,” Shadwell said. “Both Kim [Stevens] and Bill [Erickson] have continued to coach me in ways to find new clients.”

NPI’s national name exposure has helped Shadwell with business from out-of-state buyers who come to the local air force base in Sumter. “And obtaining licensing and certification through NPI was critical in developing ongoing relationships of trust among Realtors who look to me for expertise,” he said.

Shadwell looks forward to the NPI annual meeting every November, where franchise owners can develop new skills and refine old ones. One of the biggest benefits of the annual meeting is that NPI franchise owners from across the country can get together and learn from one another.

“I learn so much while I am with them that it’s like getting paid for on-the-job training. The friendships developed within the NPI organization are invaluable to me. It is nice to know someone has my back and I can help others as well.” In fact, Shadwell’s willingness to help other franchise owners earned him an NPI Ambassador Award in 2007.

Success With NPI
Shadwell said that NPI’s support has been a vital part of his ability to deliver a top-notch service with his home and commercial inspections. “Whenever I have called the home office, someone has always been available to speak to me,” he said. And not just for technical issues; Shadwell said that when he has had any type of issues the NPI staff has been ready and willing to help — including Roland Bates, president of NPI.

NPI trains its inspectors on both residential and commercial inspections, giving them more opportunity than with other franchisors. Shadwell also provides his clients with infrared inspections, and he said that he has found this diversification of services central to his business.

“I am extremely pleased about where I have gotten to, despite the downturns in the economy,” Shadwell said. “NPI’s diversification helped provide streams of income that brought me through tough times. It has been a great ride, and I don’t see anything changing until I retire — which will be later rather than sooner.”