Monthly Archives: April 2015

National Property Inspections, Inc.: The Genesis of a Franchise Business

By Roland Bates, President, NPI/GPI

Roland_101614New 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.

What Makes a Successful Franchisee?

By Roland Bates, President, NPI/GPI

Real estate agent on cell phone uid 4It’s hard to quantify everything that’s important in a successful franchisee — for example intelligence, providing quality service, having a positive attitude and sincerely wanting to help people. However, if these attributes are not present, then it’s just a matter of time before a drop in sales is inevitable. And, of course, sales are quantifiable — just ask the IRS.

A number of years ago, NPI/GPI used sales figures and as best we could, some unquantifiable traits to identify our top 25 franchisees. Once identified, we asked each of them to take a personality/aptitude evaluation. For the sake of brevity, I will talk only about personality. In a lot of ways the inspection business is a public relations business. Thus, you would think these 25 most-successful franchisees would all be extroverts. That was not the case at all. Perhaps 15 were extroverted, but the other 10 had the skills and self-confidence not only to conduct a good inspection but also to communicate their findings. And, the 10 slightly introverted franchisees learned the sales skills to book the inspection when they got the call.

In short, what makes a good franchisee? Intelligent, honest and hardworking are good places to start. Add in a willingness to learn new tricks. The Internet, computers, software, websites and social media are all important to our business, and they are forever changing. The last two points I would add for success are an appreciation of being part of something bigger and a willingness to tweak and work a proven business model.

Why Choose Our Franchise?

NPI Inspector2You’ve decided that property inspection is right for you, and you know you want start your business as a franchise. The next step is to choose the franchise system that is right for you. But which one is that?

One of the factors you should consider is franchisee satisfaction: How satisfied are the franchisors current franchisees? After all, you’re starting your own business eliminate factors like bad bosses and unreasonable constraints, so why become involved with a franchisor that could potentially make you unhappy?

At NPI and GPI, we are proud of our franchisee satisfaction record. We recently wrapped up our 2015 franchisee satisfaction survey and scored 4.1 out of 5 stars for the second year in a row — an outstanding achievement. (Click here to read the full survey report.)

But we know what really makes an impact is what our franchisees have to say about us. So, we’ve collected some comments from our franchise owners about why they recommend NPI and GPI:

“NPI always presents themselves as succeeding through the success of their franchisees. They offer tremendous support and encouragement and continually look for ways of providing new avenues for business.” — Thom Bowyer, NPI franchise owner, Kentwood, Michigan

“The training, ongoing support and equipment I’ve received from NPI is first-rate, and the people throughout the organization have been helpful, enthusiastic and friendly. I am excited to belong to the NPI family, and as I drive around my hometown community, I am proud to have the NPI name on the side of my truck.” — Gary Drenning, NPI franchise owner, Altoona, Pennsylvania

“After evaluating four or five franchisors, National Property Inspections came out the leader. 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. But most of all I liked the people at NPI. There is something to be said for Midwestern values. That made my decision pretty easy.” — Jeff Gilly, NPI franchise owner, Carmichael, California

“[Julie Erickson] was pleasant, patient with my questions and extremely informative. It was a big difference from the other franchises I had called. I was impressed that she wanted to know about me and what I was looking to do and what I wanted from the franchise. No one else asked me what I wanted or told me what they could do for me. All of the other franchises were very cold when talking to them and let me know what I was required to do for them by owning their franchise. It was a huge difference speaking with NPI.” — Jim Giuffre, NPI franchise owner, Ocean Isle Beach, North Carolina

“The support team and all the members of the head office at GPI are tremendous.” — Chris Holland, GPI franchise owner, Thunder Bay, Ontario

“When Julie [Erickson] answered the phone at GPI, I knew this company was different. We chatted on the phone for over an hour, and she invited me to call any of the franchises in Canada or the United States for feedback. She was the only one who followed through on her promise to send me some information on the company. I called seven or eight GPI franchisees over the next few days and got nothing but rave reviews. I was sold!” — Greg Mathias, GPI franchise owner, Lloydminster, Alberta

“After meeting Roland and the staff of NPI, my decision was made to join the NPI team.” — Hugh Meade, NPI franchise owner, Johnston, Iowa

“GPI met all of my objectives I was looking for. Besides, Julie [Erickson] 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.” — Gerry Millen, GPI franchise owner, Regina, Saskatchewan

“In all areas, GPI was competitive or beat the competition. Julie [Erickson] hooked me into the GPI culture. The rest is history.” — Todd Newhook, GPI franchise owner, Markham, Ontario

“Once I narrowed my search to home inspection franchises, 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.” — David Riley, NPI franchise owner, Savannah, Georgia

“I was looking for a company that supplemented my talents and could inspire me to go outside my comfort zone. 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.” — Hank Shadwell, NPI franchise owner, Dalzell, South Carolina

What Does It Take To Become a Successful Franchise?

Inspector + Electrical10If you’re interested in starting your own business, you may decide that a franchise is the way to go. After all, why reinvent the wheel when franchisors have proven marketing and business plans and methods?

Sometimes a franchise concept is just not designed for success. Other times franchisees may choose poor locations for their businesses. Yet, the biggest factor in the success of your franchise is you, the franchise owner. Here are 10 franchising tips from FranDevelop Consulting that will help you avoid pitfalls and flourish with your business. To read the full article, click here.

  1. Choose the right business for you.
  2. Improve your business skills.
  3. Follow the system.
  4. Have a business plan.
  5. Play well with others.
  6. Take control.
  7. Never stop marketing.
  8. Avoid credit cards.
  9. Learn your industry.