Monthly Archives: September 2015

What Skills Do I Need to Become a Property Inspector?

Inspector + Deck7If you’re looking for career options for your first career or your next career, then property inspection may pique your interest. As one of the leading property inspection franchisors, National Property Inspections and Global Property Inspections have franchise owners from a wide variety of backgrounds. Here are the top four skills you’ll need to become a great home and commercial property inspector.

1. Technical Knowledge
Property inspectors need to have sound general knowledge about all aspects of a home or commercial building, including structure and foundation, heating and cooling systems, plumbing systems, electrical systems, roofs, and interior and exterior elements. They need to know how each component functions, what it does and how to inspect it. They also need to know the common problems of each component and how to identify problems.

Although many property inspectors have a background in a construction field or trade, the good news is that you don’t need a construction background to succeed in the property inspection business. We have plenty of franchise owners who came from corporate or IT careers and have become successful property inspectors. The most important thing is that you find outstanding training in the property inspection field.

Our franchise owners say that the NPI/GPI training program is a key reason they choose to start their property inspection business with us. Our extensive training program gives them the knowledge they need to perform both home and commercial building inspections, and our training is approved in states and provinces that require licensing.

2. Report-writing Software
The inspection report is a crucial part of every property inspection. The report lets home buyers and commercial building buyers know what components are in good working order, what needs to be repaired or replaced, and what systems are nearing end of life. In addition, many buyers use their inspection reports as checklists of things to repair after they buy the house or building.

The report-writing software that you use must provide comprehensive, professional-looking reports that are also easy for your clients to understand. The software must allow the insertion of plenty of photos. And it must be user-friendly for you so that you can create inspection reports efficiently and quickly.

Inspector + Client73. Effective Communication Skills
Because so much of a property inspector’s business comes from referral sources, such as real estate agents, it is imperative that people in this business have superb communication skills, both verbal and written. Verbal communication is vital when meeting and networking with potential referral sources, as well as when reviewing your report findings with clients. Effective written communication is critical for your inspection reports.

4. Sales, Marketing and Computer Skills
You don’t need to have an extensive background in sales and marketing to have a successful property inspection business, but people who know how to sell and market will succeed better and faster. Again, the good news is that if you have no sales or marketing skills, you can easily learn the skills you need for the property inspection business.

Some examples of where sales and marketing skills are essential to your business are meeting with potential referral sources, using social media marketing to position your business, knowing how to close the sale when someone calls for an inspection, and developing and growing your business contacts.

Intermediate computer skills are a great asset to a property inspector. For example, you’ll use report-writing software loaded on your computer. You’ll also be giving presentations at real estate offices, so some skill with PowerPoint and other Microsoft Office applications will be helpful. And any experience you may have with websites, social media and Web applications will definitely help you.

So, is property inspection a good fit for your next career move? If you are interested in the industry and have some of the skills necessary, then there’s a good chance you can succeed with your own inspection business. Bear in mind, though, that most of the skills you need can be easily learned — you just have to find the right training classes.

For this reason, many entrepreneurs who venture into property inspection choose to start their businesses with a franchisor. National Property Inspections and Global Property Inspections offer comprehensive training in the technical aspects of inspection, sales and marketing, business, and networking so you can get your business of to a great start. Call 1.800.333.9807, Ext. 24, for more information about our franchise opportunities in your area.

Choosing the Right Franchisor

IMG_1108Do you find yourself thinking that you are just not where you want to be in life? Maybe your daily work routine is too monotonous and you need to do something else. Or have you come to the conclusion that you really want to make an investment in your life, to discover and flourish your own potential?

You’ve likely spent many years working for someone else, and you have gained a lot of business knowledge. After all the years of working 8 to 5, you want to become your own boss. You want to start a business.

Maybe you’ve decided the field you want to work in and you have the investment money you need to get your business going. You are confident the in the direction that you are going, and you have decided to purchase a franchise. With a franchise system, you’ll get brand recognition and the training you need. You’ll receive proven and tested business, sales and marketing plans, and you’ll have support from the franchisor’s home-office team. You understand the advantages of becoming a franchisee and all of the resources available to you.

The final step is choosing the right franchisor. You should know what to look for when choosing a franchisor. Here is some key information to seek when considering the purchase of a franchise:

Supply vs. Demand — Inquire about the market for the franchisor’s services or products, and find out how many people really need the service. Research competitors in your market. Ask the franchisor why and how their franchise stands above its competitors.

Track Record — Learn about the company — how long it has been operating, and how it survived economic recessions. This information may be indicative of business strategies and the market demand under any given circumstances.

Technology — What types of technology do the franchisees use and how does the technology compare to that of competitors? What are key differentiators in services or products for marketing and customer service? The quality of the technology may also indicate financial stability of the franchisor.

Education — Does the franchisor provide thorough training and continuous support and assistance if needed?

Franchisee Selection — Is the franchisor selective as to who they choose to become part of their company? Requiring certain criteria or qualifications is beneficial and necessary. If you are trying to protect your investment, the franchisor should be trying to do the same.

Franchisees — Franchisors want franchisees who show the most promise. Most franchisors will look at the big picture when selecting new franchisees so everyone in the company benefits. Be flattered that a franchisor wants to get to know you and asks for information about you. Likewise, the franchisor should provide you with contact information for franchisees who can help answer questions you may have.

Corporate Office — How does the franchisor’s corporate office assist you when you have a problem or need? Whether it’s a marketing matter or something to do with accounting, will they help you? What is the turnaround time for your issue to be addressed and resolved? These could be questions you ask of current franchisees.

Royalties and Legalities — This area is one you must inquire about with the franchisor. Any fees or legalities should be clear and concise, well-documented, and upfront before you sign on the dotted line. You should not be pressured or misled. You should be given time to review all information and take precautionary steps before closing the deal.

Integrity — A franchisor’s integrity will come into play in all areas of your business. Make sure your franchisor has proven integrity by all means of business. Check with current franchisees to find out about a franchisor’s integrity.

What to Know Before You Buy a Franchise

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You made your decision and have evaluated the franchise you want to purchase. You are ready to make the investment and complete the required training to start your business. Before you make a final commitment, you should check out two things: the FTC and the FDD. Let’s look at what each of these acronyms stand for and what they mean to your business.

  • U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC): The FTC’s mission is “to prevent business practices that are anticompetitive or deceptive or unfair to consumers; to enhance informed consumer choice and public understanding of the competitive process; and to accomplish this without unduly burdening legitimate business activity.”
  • Franchise Disclosure Document (FDD): The FDD is a legal document that the FTC requires franchisors to provide to franchise candidates. The prospective franchise owner must receive the FDD at least 14 days prior to purchasing the franchise. An FDD is intended to give candidates the information they need to make a wise decision about whether to buy the franchise.

The FTC more or less provides legal guidelines that a franchisor must follow in order to protect both consumers and franchisors. FTC guidelines are designed to promote integrity for both franchisors and franchisees, and the information is upfront, clear and concise.

However, a franchisor’s FDD may be lengthy and contain legal descriptions that a potential franchisee needs clarified. With the FDD, both parties are protected, as all information is documented and available before closing the deal — there are no verbal agreements that may prove to be worthless for the prospective franchisee.

The franchisor’s information in the FDD is accurate and legally binding for both parties. In the event that you are not comfortable with the FDD, you could hire an attorney to provide you with the legalities and commitments written in the document. It would be good practice to review with a qualified franchise attorney regardless of how comfortable that you are with the agreement.

The FDD is an important part of your business venture. It provides the rules and regulations that must be followed, as well as information that you may not be able to easily obtain on your own. Some types of information that you will find in the FDD:

  • Industry trends
  • Competition
  • Advertising costs
  • Current and former franchisees
  • Territory
  • Renewal and termination
  • Royalties
  • Financial statements
  • Obligations

Most of the time, franchisors have worked hard and succeeded with a proven business model and they have prospered. They will have in criteria in place to which franchisees must adhere to, or else you may not be eligible to continue to do business with and for the franchisor.

How to Fund Your Small Business

Man writingAre you confident that you want to start your own business and that you have what it takes to succeed? Perhaps the only dilemma that you have about starting a business is how to fund it. There are many options for financing your small business:

  • Family and friends. You may have a close friend or family member who could loan you the money you need to start your business. If you choose this option, make sure to have an attorney draw up a contract to protect both parties involved.
  • Savings. If you have been lucrative with your earnings and have socked away money in a savings account, then can use that money to fund your business.
  • IRA and 401k accounts. Perhaps you have money in a retirement plan — you may consider borrowing against or withdrawing from these accounts to fund your business.
  • A part-time job or even a second full-time job can give you the extra income needed to start saving money to invest in your business.
  • Co-partner. Going into business with a partner could reduce your portion of the start-up costs, or your partner could fund your portion of the expense. Be sure that the person you partner with in business is honest, trustworthy and responsible, though.
  • Sell personal items. Parting with your boat, motorcycle, recreational vehicle or vacation home may give you the money that you need for your start-up.
  • Bank loan. Apply for a business loan at a bank to see if you qualify for financing based on the bank’s loan criteria.
  • SBA Loan. The U.S. Small Business Administration is designed to fund small-business loans of varying types and criteria depending on the business type and need.

Bank and SBA loans will most likely be harder to attain. It may take some time to collect all of the required documentation and to complete and submit the prequalification information. However, be persistent; if one resource bank or resource doesn’t work out, try another one. And, you may be one of the lucky people who receive a loan hassle-free on the first attempt.

In the event that you cannot seem to acquire the funding needed for your business, don’t give. You will just need a little more time than expected to get your business up and running. As is true for many successful business owners, determination and perseverance will get you a long way.

If you are ready to make your dream of owning a business come true, National Property Inspections in the United States and Global Property Inspections in Canada have franchise opportunities available in your area. Contact Julie Erickson at 1.800.333.9807, Ext. 24, for information about our property inspection franchise opportunities.

When Choosing a Franchisor, Consider These Things

By Roland Bates, President, NPI/GPI

Roland_101614National Property Inspections and Global Property Inspections have been training and supporting franchise owners for a long time — nearly 30 years — and we always have our ears open as to what our competitors in the property inspection franchising industry are doing. We also pay attention to what other franchisors are doing in other industries. We realize that if our competitors are doing something right, then we can learn from that. And, if they are doing something wrong, we can learn from that, as well.

I believe that our competitors make us better. It’s like running a 100-meter race: You don’t know how fast you are until you have an opponent. But when I say “race,” I don’t mean that it’s a literal race to see how many franchises you can sell or how fast you can sell them. In fact, I think that is one of the biggest mistakes a franchisor can make.

I cringe when I hear, “the fastest-growing” anything. I think most of our property inspection franchise competitors are good in one way or another, and we all make each other better. On occasion, however, I have been shocked and saddened to learn how little training and support some franchisors in other industries have provided to their franchisees. We franchisors live on royalties; thus, it behooves us to give our franchisees the best training and support we can. Not only is it the right thing to do, it’s just good business.

At NPI and GPI, we must provide the classroom and field training necessary for our franchisees to obtain their home inspector licenses. But it doesn’t matter if they are great inspectors if they don’t know how to make the phone ring. In addition to all of the technical training, we have our own unique way of teaching franchise owners the business of property inspection from beginning to end. Yes, our franchise owners need to know and understand the technical side of home inspection, but managing and marketing their businesses effectively is just as important.

In our minds, support from a franchisor shouldn’t end when a franchisee heads home — that’s when it begins. We take pride in the way we do things, and it works for us. So, I’d like to give a quick shout-out to all franchisors and business opportunity providers: Don’t forget that your franchisees have paid you a huge compliment by showing faith in you (and probably writing you a check), so please provide them with the best training and support you can. Then, everyone wins.