Monthly Archives: March 2015

National Property Inspections 2015 Franchisee Survey Reveals Strong Satisfaction

FBR 2015In February and March, National Property Inspections, Inc., participated in an independent franchisee satisfaction survey conducted by Franchise Business Review. We scored 4.1 out of 5.0 and outperformed others in its industry, showing high franchisee satisfaction. NPI received the same score in our 2014 survey. Some of the highlights of this year’s survey include the following:

  • Nearly 95 percent of respondents rated NPI’s training program above average.
  • More than 91 percent of respondents rated NPI’s marketing and promotional programs above average.
  • More than 94 percent of respondents agreed or strongly agreed that they trust and respect NPI as a franchisor.
  • Nearly 95 percent of respondents agreed or strongly agreed that NPI operates with a high level of honesty and integrity.
  • Nearly 90 percent of respondents said that NPI cares about their success.
  • More than 97 percent of respondents said that they enjoy operating an NPI franchise.
  • More than 93 percent of respondents said they have a positive attitude about their affiliation with NPI.
  • Nearly 93 percent of respondents rated their satisfaction with NPI above average.
  • Nearly 90 percent of respondents said they would recommend an NPI franchise to others.

“We always have room to improve, but we are very pleased again this year with our franchisee satisfaction results,” Roland Bates, president, National Property Inspections, Inc., said. “We conduct this survey annually so that we can take an honest look at our business and what our franchisees think. We are proud to be the highest rated home inspection franchisor based on Franchise Business Review’s survey.”

NPI will use the survey results in its marketing and to improve its business in key areas in order to strive for the best possible franchisee satisfaction. “One of the suggestions from our franchisees was to implement conference calls and webinars for improved communication, continuing education and regional team building,” Bates said. “We are definitely going to do this, and we’re currently looking at solutions that would facilitate this type of communication with our franchise owners.”

More than 75 percent of NPI franchisees responded to the survey. According to Franchise Business Review, 50 percent response is average.

For information about franchising opportunities with NPI and GPI, visit www.npifranchise.com in the United States and www.gpifranchise.com in Canada.

Practical Business Tips for Entrepreneurs

RE0025It’s not easy starting and operating your own business. You have the big things to plan for and worry about — business and marketing plans, legal services, accounting and more — but you can’t let the small stuff escape under the radar, either. Here, we offer some easy tips for entrepreneurs.

Operate your business with honesty, integrity and professionalism. There’s a reason that NPI/GPI uses these three words as our motto, and it’s that they are critical in doing good business and making a good name for yourself. Treat everyone — your customers, your vendors, your employees — fairly and honestly.

Develop an elevator pitch. This is a brief “in-a-nutshell” description of your business and services or products. Basically, it’s what you’d say if someone in elevator asked you what your business is and they were getting off the elevator in a couple of floors.

Diversify. If you get 50 percent or more of your business from a single source or channel, then start seeking out more sources and channels in order to grow your business. Don’t become dependent on only one or two resources.

Seek out repeat customers. It’s easier and more cost-effective to win repeat business from your customers or contacts than to continually be trying to make relationships with new customers. Treat your clients well so they’ll continue to do business with you and become loyal, long-term customers.

Make it easy for customers to pay you. These days, payments are all about debit and credit cards, so make sure you accept plastic. If you’re on the go with your business, you can get a mobile card reader from a company like Square or PayPal.

Build a database of your clients. Use this to periodically reach out to them via mail or email with special offers, reminders or newsletters. Contact your best customers and referral sources every couple of months.

If you work from a home office, set office hours. You can’t work 24×7, so be sure to make time for family, friends and yourself.

Is Franchising Right for You?

NPI Inspector2You want to start your own business, but you don’t necessarily want to start from square one. You’re looking for a proven business model with technical and marketing support. And, you might not be certain what business or industry is right for you.

Enter a franchise, where all of the groundwork has been done for you. When you explore starting a franchise, you’ll find companies that have proven business and marketing plans; offer technical, business and marketing support; and have seasoned staff on hand to answer the questions that inevitably will crop up as you start your own business.

But is the franchise model right for you? According to a USA Today article, a franchise might be right for you if the following are true:

  • You want the security of choosing a business with a proven brand, track record, and products or services.
  • You don’t want to reinvent the wheel by developing new business and marketing plans.
  • You are willing to follow the rules of owning a franchise, such as how to represent the brand and sell the products or services.
  • You have the money needed for the franchise fee, start-up costs and living expenses while getting the business up and running.
  • You are open and willing to split your profits, i.e., pay a royalty.
  • You are willing to work hard. A franchise still takes dedication and hard work.

If this sounds like you, then a franchise may well be the best way to achieve your dream of starting your own business.

Does property inspection sound like a challenging, rewarding career for you? Then explore an NPI or GPI franchise. Visit us on the Web at www.npifranchise.com in the United States and www.gpifranchise.com in Canada.

When Is the Right Time to Start Your Own Business?

By Roland Bates, President, NPI/GPI

Inspector + ACThis is a tough question to answer, since anyone could have unique circumstances — or at least feel their situation is unique. However, some circumstances generally apply.

One of the reasons most often given for not starting a business is, “The economy is bad. I’ll wait for it to improve.” This may seem counterintuitive, but a bad economy is not a reason to wait. In a bad economy, weaker and less motivated competitors close up shop or simply try to weather the storm. In fact, most businesses cut back on their sales and marketing efforts during a bad economy. A less crowded field makes it easier for your voice to be heard. Although a factor, a bad economy is not a show stopper. If you have a solid business model, execute an effective marketing strategy and enjoy what you do, then when you start your business shouldn’t be dictated by the nightly news (which is always depressing).

Starting your own business is more about personal satisfaction than about money. Although generally a business owner will earn more money than most, it’s all about job satisfaction. We sell property inspection franchises, and we’ve had lawyers, dentists and psychologists inquire about purchasing and operating our franchise. These bright and well-educated individuals had great incomes; they simply did like what they were doing. However, don’t let more money be the only reason you start your own business. Let more money be a pleasant side effect.

Does money motivate people? Money is considered a satisfier, not a motivator. For example, corporations tend to conducted exit interviews with departing employees to find out why they are leaving. The most common answers given are something to the effect: “I hate my boss,” “I don’t like my coworkers,” or “I have no advancement opportunities here.” Surprising to most, money has typically been fourth or fifth down on the list.

At the risk of sounding redundant, people leave their jobs not for more money but for reasons tied to job satisfaction. This is likely why you will start your own business, and if you do, remember why employees leave: Be a good boss/employer. Provide them with a good opportunity.

Lastly, to try and answer the question that is the topic of this blog: How do I know when it’s time to start my own business? If on Sunday afternoons you start to get this hollow feeling in the pit of your stomach as you realize, “I have to go to work tomorrow,” then it’s time.

What’s It Like to Be a Professional Property Inspector?

By Roland Bates, President, NPI/GPI

2Inspectors + Tablet +Camera4The value of what a professional inspector does is obvious. If a small business is stretching its budget to buy an office building, then later discovering that that building needs a new roof could be devastating. The same is true for any number of similar scenarios for individuals buying a home. National Property Inspections has performed millions of inspections across the United States and Canada, and we’ve seen firsthand how inspections help close the sale. An inspection removes the unknowns, and that’s the practical side of what we do.

I, as the founder of National Property Inspections, Inc., have been on many a roof and looked into many an attic. That’s the physical part of what we do. Performing the physical parts of our jobs leads to the business opportunity side of what we do.

I met a lot of great people while I was doing inspections. I made friends with Realtors, bankers, buyers, investors and the like. They introduced me to a lot of other people by inviting me to various meetings and gatherings. This is where and how I began to truly understand what was important to my clients: how I could be a better inspector and provide better customer service. Trying to become better at what I did actually helped me grow my own business. To use a cliché, that is win-win.

Most people who have never been in sales or marketing are surprised to learn that those areas can be the most enjoyable part of what inspectors do. And, if you like what you do, you are going to be more successful. Buying someone a cup of coffee and talking about sports or the weather can be fun for both of you, and then you just add, “And, oh, by the way, don’t forget to call me for your next inspection.”

I’ll share a couple of interesting stories from the field: I was inspecting a house that was for sale. It had cathedral ceilings and needed a new roof, to include some new roof sheathing. A roofing crew was doing this work while I was there. I heard a loud crashing sound and walked into the living room, where I saw a roofer’s leg dangling down through the ceiling. He had stepped through some rotten sheathing. Fortunately only his pride was hurt, especially since he was automatically inducted into what is jokingly known as “the foot through the ceiling” club.

One last story/encounter: As inspectors, we have all encountered some interesting color schemes; people decorate to their individual tastes. The strangest one I personally encountered was this: The seller had painted everything inside black. This included walls, ceilings, doors, cabinets, counter tops, furniture, etc. There was nothing but black inside that house. Not that I was uncomfortable, mind you, but not for one second did I turn my back on that individual, and I finished that inspection in record time.

3 Tips for Building Your NPI/GPI Franchise

NPI Inspector2So, you’re interested in a National Property Inspections or Global Property Inspections franchise? The rewards can be tremendous: earning a great income, choosing your own schedule, having a better work-life balance. You should also plan for growth and follow a few simple tips, which we offer here.

Follow Our Playbook.
We’ve been franchising since 1987, so we’ve learned a few things that can prove incredibly valuable to you as you start your business. We have proven business and marketing plans, as well as top-notch technical training, that will help you succeed.  You only have to follow them. Our franchisees say time and time again: “Follow the plan and you’ll succeed.”

Be Passionate About What You Do.
No one wants to go to a job they feel ho-hum about. Isn’t that why you’re purchasing a franchise, anyway — you’re tired of the daily grind and working for someone else? Whether it’s property inspection or something else, find a profession you feel passionate about, that you’ll enjoy doing every day. Property inspection is a challenging, rewarding field that just might be what you’re looking for.

Plan for Growth and Find the Right Staff.
Chances are, you’re not starting your own business to stay small and make just enough money to pay the bills. You’re likely looking to build a business that you can grow and either sell or hand down to one of your children. So, as you start your business, keep your eye on the future.

When your business becomes large enough and busy enough that you have a hard time answering the phone and making time to visit your real estate agents, then you know it’s time to hire a marketing and office manager. When you start turning down inspections because you’re booked solid, then you know it’s time to hire another inspector, even if it’s a part-time position at first. And, when two of you are too busy to take on any more inspections, it’s time to hire a third inspector. This is how the most successful of our franchises grow into million-dollar businesses. It takes time, but with hard work and the right attitude, you can do it.

7 Essential Traits of a Successful Entrepreneur

RE0027You’re interested in starting your own business, but you’re wondering if you have what it takes. You may be inspired by a creative genius like Steve Jobs or a tough-as-nails businessman like Bill Gates, but it’s not necessary to be either to become a great entrepreneur. In fact, it might surprise you to know that it’s generally not the workaholics or straight-A students who make the best entrepreneurs, and you don’t necessarily have to be an extrovert. The best entrepreneurs do, however, share some basic characteristics.

Entrepreneur Magazine’s article “The 7 Traits of Successful Entrepreneurs” details these traits and why they’re important. Click here to read the full article. For now, here’s the list:

  1. Tenacity
  2. Passion
  3. Tolerance of ambiguity
  4. Vision
  5. Self-belief
  6. Flexibility
  7. Rule-breaking

New York Franchise Owner Is Enjoying the View From the Top

SansoneAfter more than 25 years as a property inspector, Tom Sansone of Rochester, New York, feels like he’s s scaled a mountain, and for the former Kodak employee, the view from the top is picture perfect.

Sansone spent nine years working for Kodak, during which time he developed a prototype for a Kodak color copier, when he purchased his National Property Inspections franchise in 1988. He felt like he was facing a mountain when he learned that many of his competitors were licensed engineers.

Sansone didn’t let that deter him, though. First, he took engineering courses at area colleges. Next, he offered to bring along a structural engineer if his clients felt they needed one. Today, his reputation and track record speak for themselves, and his business has grown steadily since those early days when Sansone was looking up at the peak. In fact, he is an NPI award winner for his successful efforts.

“I tell customers who ask that being an engineer doesn’t necessarily qualify someone to do a property inspection,” Sansone said. “More important are credentials, such as my membership in the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI). I explain that the thorough ASHI exams, the continuing education credits and other aspects of membership. I top off my sales approach by touting the many benefits that NPI offers, including the six-month warranty on mechanical systems and appliances.”

NPI’s numerous business benefits were what first attracted Sansone to purchase a franchise. I felt I received the best value for my money with NPI,” he said. Sansone then began the process of building his business by making contacts with the many Realtors in his area and friends who he knew might need his services.

One of his best marketing programs has been to deliver Christmas gifts to Realtors and attorneys who referred business during the previous year. When he’s out delivering the gifts, he restocks his brochure holders with the latest pieces he’s purchased, so his name stays top of mind for his customers. He also distributes free coffee mugs to customers who pass along referrals.

“After so many years in business, I have the reputation of being one of the most thorough inspectors in the area,” Sansone said. “I’m accurate, fair and honest — I don’t want to miss anything. I really strive to do the best quality inspection, and I’ve never had a complaint with the Fair Business Council, which is our version of the Better Business Bureau.”

In his spare time, Sansone has kept his structural and mechanical skills honed by remodeling investment homes he’s purchased.

His advice to new inspectors is, “You’ll get out of the business what you put into it if you consistently market your company. Quality service will allow  you to build your business.”