Monthly Archives: November 2015

Should I Start My Own Business or Buy a Franchise?

Couple + Inspection Report_shutterstock_186413990You have reached a point in your life that brings you to making a decision about your career. You know what kind of work you want to do, and you know you want your own business. Now you are down to the final decision of choosing to start a business or buy a franchise. What should you consider before making that choice?

  • Ownership: Whichever way you choose to start your business, you will still be the owner of the business.
  • Time: Neither owning your business independently nor owning a franchise will have a factor on the time you spend running your business. More than likely, much of your time will be spent on the business, especially during the early years.
  • Ambition: Make sure you have the ambition to start a business. Starting and running a business is a lot of hard work, and you will face obstacles and challenges.
  • Financing: Of course, you will have to provide a certain amount of funding to get either business started. Click here to read our post about how to fund your small business.
  • Knowledge: You will need some type of knowledge or experience related to the business you are starting. If you choose to purchase a franchise, your franchisor may provide the training you need.

Now that you have considered the fundamentals that you need to get started, it’s time to narrow your decision-making — possibly by considering the pros and cons of starting your own business versus buying a franchise. Consider the following:

Marketing: If you start an independent business, you will have to begin marketing your product or services by either attempting it yourself or hiring someone to do it for you. If you purchase a franchise, the franchisor will already have an effective, ongoing marketing plan that has been tested and proven.

Methods: Starting your own business independently will take a lot of time, money and effort to find the methods and models that work. A franchise already has proven methods and models in place, as well as an established brand. This in itself proves that there is a demand for this particular product or service.

Area: If starting your business independently, you don’t really have a set area to sell or market to — you will have to try diligently to capitalize on certain areas to become established. This can be difficult and expensive, as there is competition and you may spend a lot of time that results in low sales as you try to get established. A franchise will provide you with a specific territory to work and provides you startup power as you work to gain recognition in that area.

Ownership: One benefit specific to franchises is that people tend to work harder and be more accountable if they are part of a larger company.

Guidelines: If you become part of a franchise, you will have rules to follow without exception. While you won’t have these rules if you start your business independently, many of the rules are based on best practices and are in place to help franchisees succeed.

Royalty Fees: As part of a franchise, you will pay a royalty fee based on your sales. When comparing franchisors, be sure to compare royalty fees. Some franchises charge a straight royalty, while others have multiple royalties — such as a royalty on your sales and an advertising royalty.

Association. As part of a franchise, you are associated with that company, so bad products or services can affect the whole.

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.

Atlanta Franchise Owner Wins NPI/GPI Franchise of the Year

Franchise of the Year winner Bob McDonough and his team.

Franchise of the Year winner Bob McDonough and his team.

National Property Inspections, Inc., is pleased to announce that NPI franchise owner Bob McDonough of Atlanta is the winner of the NPI/GPI 2015 Franchise of the Year Award.

“Having started my inspection business with NPI in 2008, at the beginning of the real estate disaster, I am extremely proud of the accomplishments of my team and myself,” McDonough said. “It has been a lot of hard, but very enjoyable, work to build this business from the ground up in such a short period of time. I am especially gratified to have such a large group of highly respected Realtors referring my company to their clients. There is no better feeling in business than getting repeat referrals from people I respect. To be awarded Franchise of the Year in front of over 100 of my peers is icing on the cake!”

McDonough operates a multi-inspector company with office staff and also performs inspections himself. In addition to performing home inspections and commercial property inspections, McDonough has differentiated his business by providing mold inspections, radon testing, Phase I Environmental Assessments and winterization services to clients in the Atlanta area.

In addition to overall annual sales, number of inspection performed and percentage of sales growth over the previous year, the NPI/GPI Franchise of the Year award is based on several contributing factors:

  • Overall level of professionalism
  • Continuously striving to improve customer service and benefit customers by seeking additional training and increasing the knowledge base
  • Acting as a role model and mentor to other NPI and GPI franchise owners
  • Demonstrated willingness and desire to give back to the community
  • Positive feedback from customers

“The competition was tough,” said Roland Bates, president of NPI/GPI. “Most of our franchisees had a great year. Bob McDonough has been ambitious since he began his franchise in 2008. He was intent on building a larger business rather than a one-man show. He has worked tremendously hard to expand his territory and build a multi-inspector company, and he and his team have performed thousands of inspections this year. Bob and his inspectors always receive rave reviews from their clients. Bob has truly taken his franchise to a whole new level, and we are so extremely proud to have him as one of our franchise owners.”

Founded in 1987, National Property Inspections, Inc., is one of the oldest and most respected names in the home and commercial inspection business. We operate as National Property Inspections in the United States and as Global Property Inspections in Canada. NPI offers franchise opportunities throughout the United States and Canada to become a home and commercial building inspector. For information about franchising with NPI or GPI, visit http://www.npifranchise.com or http://www.gpifranchise.com.

What You Need to Know Before Signing a Franchise Agreement

IMG_1300When you decide to become an entrepreneur, making the investment in your financial future can be a big decision. Your thought process should be thorough and precise before you make the final choice about how you will invest your money and time. Some people may choose to start their own businesses and create their own business models through trial and error. They feel ambitious and confident enough to do it all on their own.

Other business-savvy individuals choose to take what they feel is a safer, more secure approach to starting a business. They believe that a franchise is the best decision for them, as the business model is already in place and proven, and the company already has brand recognition.

Once you have decided to become a part of a franchise system, you should be aware of some things and make some considerations:

  • Understand the franchise agreement. The franchise agreement is the legally binding contract between you and the franchisor. Read this document carefully and make sure you understand every statement in it. The franchise agreement specifies the obligations, responsibilities and rights of both you and the franchisor, and it outlines actions that you and franchisor are prohibited from engaging in. Both you and the franchisor must sign the franchise agreement. If there is anything in the franchise agreement that you do not understand or do not totally agree with, then you shouldn’t just sign on the dotted line thinking it will work itself out in the future. It probably won’t.
  • Respect the franchisor’s supervision. Although you may not have an onsite supervisor for your franchise, being a part of a franchise means you must abide by the franchisor’s rules and protocols. If you don’t like taking direction from someone else, then you may want to reconsider becoming part of a franchise. A reputable franchise has proven methods and models for success, and the franchisor will stand by those — after all, they have succeeded based on the processes that work.
  • Obtain legal advice. It may wise to hire a franchise attorney for your own protection. An attorney can explain the entire agreement to you and possibly renegotiate terms that you may be concerned about or want to amend before you sign and are legally bound to the franchisor.
  • Investigate the opportunity thoroughly. Learn how much money you will need and the support and training that is available for you once you purchase the franchise. Make sure you like what the franchisor offers, and research the franchisor’s reputation. Ask lots of questions:
    • Will you have an exclusive area to provide your services?
    • Will you have minimum sales numbers to meet?
    • Can you get out of the agreement, and what would that entail?

Investing in a franchise can be the best business decision for you to get your business running. Just be sure to take the necessary steps so you know the legalities you could potentially encounter, the franchisor’s expectations and reputation, and the market for the franchise. Finding answers to your questions or concerns ahead of time can save you time and energy. Besides, a legitimate, reputable franchisor would not want you to enter into an agreement with them with doubts. Your success and confidence is a reflection on them.

NPI/GPI Named a Top 100 Franchise for Veterans

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 our inclusion in Franchise Business Review’s 2015 Top Franchises for Veterans special report. The report highlights the 100 franchise companies rated highest in franchisee satisfaction by military veterans who were surveyed. Franchise Business Review’s research included survey feedback from more than 3,047 military veterans who are current franchise owners. The national study included more than 285 leading franchise companies, and the resulting list of Top 100 franchises is based exclusively on franchisee satisfaction among veteran franchise owners.

According to the International Franchise Association (IFA), more than 5,600 veterans have become franchise owners since November 2011. In fact, 14 percent of all franchises are owned by military veterans. Not all franchises are a good fit for vets, so it is crucial that they perform their due diligence prior to signing a franchise agreement.

NPI and GPI offer low-cost franchises for less than $37,000, with a 15 percent discount on the initial franchise fee for U.S. and Canadian military veterans.

“Our motto is ‘Integrity, Honesty and Professionalism,” Bill Erickson, executive vice president at National Property Inspections, Inc., told Franchise Business Review. “We actively recruit veterans because they typically have each of these traits. In addition, we appreciate their can-do attitude, self-confidence and willingness to follow direction.”

To learn more about NPI and GPI franchise opportunities, visit www.npifranchise.com/ in the United States or www.gpifranchise.com/ in Canada. To access the Franchise Business Review 2015 Top Franchises for Veterans report, visit http://www.franchisebusinessreview.com/franchise-reports/top-franchises-veterans/.

Baby Boomers Turn to Franchising During Retirement

Photo Courtesy of FreeImages.com-Ivan Vincencio

Photo Courtesy of FreeImages.com-Ivan Vincencio

Over the next 15 years, baby boomers will be turning 65 and will account for 20 percent of the U.S. population. That means a huge wave of people retiring from their current jobs. For some, retirement will mean taking it easy and relaxing. But for many, retirement is an opportunity to embark on a new career journey. Some retirees may work part-time to make ends meet or just to get out of the house a bit, while others will dive into a new full-time endeavor — and franchising is where many are turning.

A 2014 Merrill Lynch retirement study revealed that nearly half of today’s retirees either have worked or plan to work during retirement. But even more impactful is that 72 percent of people over 50 say they want and plan to work after retirement. The report lists four factors contributing to this new take on retirement:

  • Increased life expectancy means that retirement years last longer than ever before.
  • Few of today’s workers have pension plans, which means they have to find an alternative means to support themselves during retirement.
  • Economic instability has made most people realize that some form of additional income will be necessary during retirement.
  • Many people don’t want to just sit around and watch television all day during retirement. They see working as a way to stay engaged, social and fulfilled.

While they want to continue working, most retirees won’t continue in their current jobs but rather will seek jobs that offer more flexibility and less stress, and allow them to pursue their interests or passions. For this reason, we will see a greater number of retirees becoming entrepreneurs. In fact, according to the Merrill Lynch study, “Working retirees are three times more likely than pre-retirees to own their own business or be self-employed.” Moreover, according to the Kauffman Index of Entrepreneurial Activity, nearly 25 percent of new entrepreneurs in 2013 were aged 55 to 64.

According to a recent article in Entrepreneur Magazine, it’s natural for retirees who want to become entrepreneurs to turn to franchising to start their new businesses. Many choose franchising because much of the hard work is done for them and they will have guidance from their franchisors. This is particularly true for retirees looking to do something new and enter a field where they have little or no experience. Franchising offers established brand recognition; proven business, sales and marketing models; training; and support from the franchisor and other franchise owners. All while operating your own business and getting the flexibility and enjoyment you may not have had in your previous career.

With hundreds of low-cost franchise opportunities available, retirees can easily find a business that interests them and purchase it at an affordable cost using money they’ve saved or with a small-business loan. National Property Inspections in the United States and Global Property Inspections in Canada have consistently been named as top low-cost franchise opportunities. Whether you have a construction background or are interested in a new, challenging and exciting career in the real estate industry, our home and commercial property inspection franchises are a great option for retirees looking to own their own businesses and enjoy flexibility while working during retirement.