By Roland Bates, President, NPI/GPI
New franchisees oftentimes ask me how I first started National Property Inspections, Inc. Hopefully the following information will be helpful for anyone thinking of starting any type of business and certainly to someone thinking about franchising their business.
Just to preface things a little, when I first started this business there were not a lot of property inspections being done, and selling property inspection franchisees was rare indeed. I was, in fact, doing inspections at the time, and being an entrepreneur at heart, I had a strong sense that the property inspection business was poised to take off. It’s a maxim that you have to spend money to make money. And sometimes you have to spend a lot of money on research so you don’t blow a lot more money on a bad idea. One last preface: I thought the property inspection business held a lot of promise, so I wanted to take it to another level by franchising it.
I went to a marketing and public relations firm here in Omaha. I told them I thought that I was on to something with the property inspection business and shared with them what I was thinking. But I first needed something a little more scientific to go on. Four weeks and several thousand dollars later, the agency came back to me with a study that more or less said, “No guarantees but we, too, think you are on to something.” (They were kind enough to accept cash, check or money order.)
Now I more or less had my instincts confirmed, but I felt I needed one more test. I ran a rather expensive ad in a national newspaper, which said, “Property Inspection Franchise … call for more information.” I received enough phone calls to convince myself that I could go forward. I spent money to make money, but the other side of that is I ultimately spent money to confirm that I had a high probability of success. And in business, that’s all you can hope for.
Now, for anyone who might actually be considering franchising their business: There’s a lot more involved with franchise attorneys, developing training and support programs, and the like. Make sure you have a business model that you can duplicate, as well as that you will, in fact, be adding value to the franchisees for becoming part of your program. Think it through, do your homework and spend money on research. Good luck.