Self-employment Tax Mistakes

RE0025Some business owners attempt to save money by preparing their own taxes. In the end, they actually may pay more in taxes than are necessary, or they may underpay, which could result in losing hundreds or thousands of dollars.

According to an article published by Tyler Martin, CPA, here’s a list of things business owners commonly forget on their taxes:

Deduct Advertising and Promotion Costs. This includes media, Internet and any other advertising that promotes your business. It would also include novelty items or promotional gifts, such as coffee cups, t-shirts and pens with your company name or logo on them.

Deduct Dues and Subscriptions. This includes magazines and periodicals that are necessary for your business, as well as membership fees paid to any business-related organization.

Deduct Licenses and Permits. If your city requires a business license, make sure to deduct the cost of it.

Deduct Business-related Internet Costs. If you use the Internet for your business or have a website, then there is a good chance some or all of your Internet bill is deductible.

Deduct Business-related Cellular and Telephone Expenses. Calls or lines for business purposes are all deductible.

Deduct Office Supplies. Office supplies used for your business are deductible.

Deduct Business-related Meals and Entertainment. Do you take clients out to lunch or dinner to discuss business? If so, 50 percent of these costs is deductible.

Deduct Business-related Travel. Whether it’s airfare and hotel costs to attend a trade show or the cost of gas to drive to training or an industry event, you can deduct these expenses.

Deduct Business-related Auto Expenses. There are couple of ways you can deduct auto expenses, such as tracking your mileage or deducting the cost of a vehicle dedicated solely to your business. It’s best to consult a tax expert to determine how much you should deduct.

Deduct Business-related Electronic Equipment. Computers, printers and smartphones used for business are partially or fully deductible.

Deduct Outside Services. Costs related to your business, such as tax and accounting help, are typically deductible.

Pay Self-employment Tax. If you are a newly self-employed person, you may not be aware that you will be responsible for a new tax: self-employment tax. It can add to your tax bill quickly, so make sure you understand how the tax is computed and plan your cash flow accordingly.

Pay Payroll Taxes: If you operate your business solo as owner and operator, then you may have yet to face the complications of payroll taxes. As your business grows and prospers, you may need to hire employees. Payroll taxes can be complicated due to compliance policies and deadlines. Inaccurately paid payroll taxes can, in fact, cause businesses to go “belly up,” according to Jessie Seaman, a licensed tax professional and senior staff associate at Tax Defense Network.

Some of the stress and pressures of calculating or miscalculating taxes that are due can be relieved by outsourcing to a tax professional. The fees incurred to hire a licensed tax professional are relatively cheap in comparison to the potential expenses paid by the business for improperly prepared tax returns.

In addition to considering hiring a professional, it is crucial to keep good records throughout the year, and you can pay taxes quarterly to stay on task. If you are not keeping up with expenses and receipts and/or avoiding deadlines, it will be very difficult to try to accurately run down all documentation and figures that are required in order to file your taxes.

National Property Inspections, Inc., Makes FranchiseGrade.com® Top 500

FG-TOP-500-ICONNational Property Inspections, Inc., parent company of National Property Inspections in the United States and Global Property Inspections in Canada, is pleased to announce that its franchise system has been named one of the Top 500 franchises in the United States. The Franchise Grade® Top 500 is compiled from an analysis and benchmark of 2,387 franchise systems. This database represents the largest number of franchise systems used to determine a top franchise ranking, which makes this a significant accomplishment. It uses FranchiseGrade.com’s proprietary Franchise Performance Index, a data tool used to determine the relative grade of each franchise system. Its inclusion in the Franchise Grade Top 500 defines National Property Inspections as a healthy investment opportunity for prospective franchisees.

The FranchiseGrade.com Top 500 list is unique because its methodology is comprehensive and objectively applied, whereas most top franchise lists use a simplistic and limited methodology.

“I am very pleased that we have made Franchise Grade’s top franchises list,” said Roland Bates, president of National Property Inspections, Inc. “In many ways, they grade franchises tougher than some other organizations, so it really says something great about NPI that we made this list. I think our inclusion on the Top 500, combined with our outstanding franchisee satisfaction will convince prospective franchisees that we really do offer more than our competitors.”

In addition to its ranking as a top franchise, National Property Inspections, Inc., is proud to be a top-ranked franchise based on franchisee satisfaction. In an independent franchisee satisfaction survey conducted by Franchise Business Review, NPI scored 4.1 out of 5.0 stars, demonstrating high franchisee satisfaction and outperforming others in its industry. To access the most recent NPI/GPI franchisee satisfaction report, go to http://report.franchisebusinessreview.com/?m=JITjWol.

Franchisees Find a Bright Future in the Property Inspection Industry

Dual LogosWhether you have construction experience or sales and marketing experience, National Property Inspections, Inc., offers the opportunity for a bright future. Our turn-key franchise system gives franchisees the tools, training  and support to succeed in the property inspection industry.

BusinessOpportunities.biz recently interviewed Roland Bates, president of National Property Inspections, Inc., parent company of National Property Inspections (U.S) and Global Property Inspections (Canada), and asked him what differentiates the franchise among others in its niche; what makes this concept a good fit for potential franchisees; and what’s next for the franchise, both in the near future and the long term.

To read the full interview, please click here.

NPI/GPI Launches Automated Marketing Solution for Franchise Owners

Hub LogoNational Property Inspections, Inc., parent company of National Property Inspections in the United States and Global Property Inspections in Canada, is pleased to announce the launch of an integrated, automated suite of marketing tools that will help franchise owners market their businesses more efficiently and effectively. Branded as NPI Hub and GPI Hub, the platform is offered to all franchisees at no cost.

To develop the Hub solution, National Property Inspections, Inc., partnered with RenMind, a marketing software and service company based in Omaha, Nebraska. The NPI/GPI Hub is based on the RenMind Wire solution, which is a digital marketing platform. As RenMind builds out the features of RenMind Wire, it will build new features into the Hub solutions for NPI and GPI franchisees.

“RenMind designed Wire to specifically fit the needs of franchises like NPI,” said Luke Armstrong, founder and strategic director of RenMind. “Our growing suite of Web-based marketing tools is designed to be simple to use but powerful enough to replace the need for more complex marketing automation services.”

The first phase of the Hub solution launched on Jan. 16 and provides an email system that allows users to manage contacts, schedule and send emails to their entire contact list, email branded newsletters and fliers, and more. Other phases of RenMind Wire and NPI/GPI Hub will include new ways to promote and publish content, get customer feedback, streamline the sales process, and collect payments.

“Many of our franchise owners have come to a point where they are ready for more sophisticated marketing tools,” said Roland Bates, president of National Property Inspections, Inc. “We approached RenMind to help us design an automated solution that we could build out, and they started working on the NPI/GPI Hub. The Hub will allow franchise owners to use an integrated solution for multiple areas of their marketing. We have heavily invested in the development of the Hub, and we are excited to offer it to all franchisees at no cost. We are the only franchisor in our class that is doing something like this for our franchisees, and we really think it’s something special for them.”

Throughout 2016, RenMind will develop the next phases of the NPI Hub and GPI Hub. A new app for payment collection with contract management is slated to launch second quarter, and an integrated website management tool is projected to be ready in late 2016.

If you’re ready to make your dream of owning a home and commercial property inspection 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 franchise opportunities.

Entrepreneur Magazine Names National Property Inspections, Inc., a Top 500 Franchise of 2016

2016 Entrepreneur Franchise 500National Property Inspections, Inc., parent company of National Property Inspections in the United States and Global Property Inspections in Canada, is honored to again be included in Entrepreneur Magazine’s Franchise 500®, an annual ranking of the best franchises based on objective, quantifiable measures of a franchise operation.

The most important factors in the Franchise 500® formula include the franchise system’s financial strength and stability, growth rate, and size. Entrepreneur also considers the following:

  • The number of years a company has been in business
  • The length of time the company has been franchising
  • Startup costs
  • Litigation
  • Percentage of terminations
  • Financing opportunities

For the annual Franchise 500®, each franchisor’s financial data is analyzed by an independent CPA. Then, the exclusive Franchise 500® formula calculates each eligible company’s cumulative score. The score does not take into consideration franchisee satisfaction.

“We are always pleased to be included on Entrepreneur’s Franchise 500,” said Roland Bates, president of National Property Inspections, Inc. “We are featured on many top franchise lists every year, and Entrepreneur’s is one of the most prestigious. We have always worked hard to make NPI and GPI top franchise opportunities in the United States and Canada, and this year we have some exciting new benefits and programs for franchise owners.”

In addition to its ranking as a top franchise, National Property Inspections, Inc., is proud to be a top-ranked franchise based on franchisee satisfaction. In an independent franchisee satisfaction survey conducted by Franchise Business Review, NPI scored 4.1 out of 5.0 stars, demonstrating high franchisee satisfaction and outperforming others in its industry. Click here to access the most recent NPI/GPI franchisee satisfaction report.

To learn more about NPI/GPI franchise opportunities, visit http://npifranchise.com/ in the United States or http://gpifranchise.com/ in Canada. To access the Entrepreneur Franchise 500® report, go to http://www.entrepreneur.com/franchise500.

Best Business Advice From Our Franchise Owners

Are you considering investing in a home and commercial property inspection business? National Property Inspections and Global Property Inspections offer fantastic opportunities with a top-ranked franchisor. But don’t just listen to us — here’s some practical business advice and commentary from our franchise owners.

Vaughn_JimJim Vaughn, NPI Franchise Owner, Cape Coral, Florida
“With a franchise, you do not enter a new industry alone. You have technical support, technology support, world-class training and marketing, not to mention the tools, inspection software and commercial inspection leads. If I had gone the independent route, there is no way I would have been as successful as I am in my first year. No way!

“Joining NPI was my best business decision I have ever made in my entire life. The single biggest reason that I choose NPI over the other four or five home inspection franchises that I looked at can be expressed in one word: integrity. Every single thing that NPI said I would receive, gain, do, learn and experience has come true. There is not one instance where anything has gone sideways or turned bad. It hasn’t always been easy or unchallenging, but NPI has always stood by their word and come through.”

newhook_toddTodd Newhook, GPI Franchise Owner, Markham, Ontario
“I joined the GPI team approximately eight years ago. Owning a franchise allowed me to start my inspection business within a fairly short period of time. The benefits of owning a franchise are being able to utilize the marketing program, technical support and business support provided by the franchisor from the get-go. Another benefit of owning a franchise with GPI is the friendship and comradery with the team and other inspectors, and taking advantage of learning from the top-performing franchisees to help grow our business. GPI taught me to diversify my business with additional services and build the business to a point where I could bring on additional inspectors and run the franchise like a small business. We’re now a team of four and growing. We’re excited about the future with our friends at GPI!”

yost_clydeClyde Yost, NPI Franchise Owner, Kansas City, Missouri
“The inspection field has given me the opportunity so see the interior of homes and commercial buildings that are not open to the general public, meet interesting buyers, and become knowledgeable in various styles of construction.

“I chose the franchise route for starting my business because I had a lot of experience in large commercial projects but very little knowledge in residential properties. I was also looking for help in starting a new business and not being an employee. I have had a very good experience with NPI and look forward to the annual meetings.”

If you are ready to make your dream of owning a home and commercial property inspection 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 franchise opportunities.

Tools of the Trade

By Randy Yates, Training Consultant Administrator, NPI/GPI

Tools_IMG_0601Home and commercial property inspectors need specific tools to perform certain portions of the inspection. Inspecting properties requires more than just a clipboard and flashlight — although a flashlight is one of the tools needed. An inspector’s basic set of tools includes the following:

  • Shock-resistant combination flat/Phillips screwdriver. This tool is primarily used to remove electrical panel cover screws, which is why it’s imperative that the screwdriver is shock-resistant.
  • Combustible gas detector (e.g., TIFF model 8800). This device is used to detect raw gas leaks and the presence of carbon monoxide in natural and propane gas piping systems, as well as in gas- and propane-burning appliances. This device is more advanced than a simple carbon monoxide detector, which only provides a number of parts per million and cannot detect a raw gas leak.
  • Moisture meter. This device is used to detect the presence of moisture in locations such as kitchens and bathrooms, as well as around the exterior of a house or building. A moisture meter can also be used to determine whether a water stain indicates an inactive or active leak. Whether a stain is active or inactive, it should still be listed in the report.
  • Two digital thermometers. These are used to check the air conditioning temperature differential, which should be between 14 and 22 degrees between the supply and return air for the HVAC system.
  • Inspectors use binoculars to inspect roofs from the ground when circumstances do not allow them to put a ladder at the eave or to physically walk the roof.
  • Static electrical tester. This device is used to detect stray current and live current, and it’s a good tool to use to test whether a service panel cover is energized.
  • Electrical circuit analyzer. This device is used to check electrical outlets for proper wiring, reverse polarity (hot and neutral switched), open grounds, and missing or bootlegged grounds.
  • Good quality extension and or universal ladder. If an inspector uses an extension ladder only, then the recommended length is 24 feet — that should get you up on most if not all residential roofs and some commercial roofs. We recommend using a fiberglass ladder whenever possible.
  • Various hand tools. Other tools often come in handy during an inspection, such as a tape measure, a 2- to 4-ft. level, a plumb bob or a laser level.

The cost for a property inspector’s tools can really add up, but they are crucial if you are going to perform inspections properly and expertly. If you are interested in starting your own inspection business, make sure to purchase the proper tools.

Did you know that National Property Inspections and Global Property Inspections provide every new franchise owner with the tools they need to conduct home and commercial building inspections? From the tools listed here to a tablet computer and portable printer, our franchise fee includes everything you need to start your inspection business. Learn more about our franchise opportunities:

Want to Be a Successful Business Owner? Don’t Make These Mistakes

7K0A0014-2While the idea of owning a business is a dream for many people, there are times when entrepreneurs fail to think things through. Funding the business, having an in-demand product or service to sell, and hiring employees are some of the common challenges that entrepreneurs face:

  • Hiring employees too quickly can financially drain your business. If you pay people to do nothing, and no sales are generated from their work, then employing a staff is a financial loss.
  • Borrowing money from lenders can be of great service to you, but don’t make the mistake of borrowing more than you really need. You will likely spend that money and have to pay interest back on money you didn’t really need to borrow.
  • Assuming your business will make money in the early years is one of the most common mistakes entrepreneurs make. If your business shows a profit early on, that’s great — but don’t assume it will, and be prepared for all of the expenses.
  • Marketing your business is necessary and takes time. You must market to both win and retain customers who may not know anything about you or your business.
  • Leasing Space You Don’t Need. If you don’t really need a retail or office space, then don’t rent it. You can save money working from home — and receive a few tax incentives for doing so.

Many successful entrepreneurs did not succeed at first and experienced their fair share of trial and error to find out what works for them. Check out these business leaders who failed before they succeeded:

  • Akio Morita is the founder of Sony products. The first product was a rice burner that burned the rice. But Morita kept pushing forward with new ideas.
  • Bill Gates started a company called Traf-O-Data that failed, and he dropped out of Harvard. Gates didn’t give up, though, as he is the billionaire behind Microsoft.
  • Colonel Sanders was 65 years old when he founded Kentucky Fried Chicken. Did you know his famous secret recipe was rejected more than 1,000 times before a restaurant agreed to use it?
  • Henry Ford’s first two automobile companies failed and left him broke. He refused to give up, though, and founded Ford Motor Company with assembly line production. The result: He was once known as one of the three richest men in the world.
  • Walt Disney was fired by an editor for lack of imagination and having no original ideas. His first animation company went bankrupt, and he was turned down hundreds of times for loans to build Disney World. Today, the Disney Company averages $30 billion in revenue annually.

Many people have failed at first only to ultimately succeed. Learn from them and gain inspiration from them on your journey as an entrepreneur.

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.

What Makes a Good Entrepreneur?

IMG_0801Many people dream of becoming prosperous business owners; however, achieving that goal is challenging and requires hard work. Some people never take the initiative to try to make it happen — possibly due to fear and/or lack of ambition. Granted, some people seem to be born with the talent for becoming successful business owners. Others may attempt entrepreneurship without really understanding what makes good business sense.

So, how can you determine whether you have what it takes to become a successful business owner? The following are some characteristics that will go a long way to improving your chance of success.

  • Stay Flexible: As a business owner, you can’t always predict what a customer will want or how your day will go. Staying flexible will help you keep calm in situations where a customer or employee has special needs and requests.
  • Build Relationships. Try to get to know each and every customer, especially as you are building your business. This may become challenging if you grow into a successful business and have a significant number of customers, but you should still try to connect with every one of them. Your early customers are critical to your growth; they will refer friends and family members to you, often saying, “Hey, go down to such-and-such place and tell them I sent you.”
  • Don’t Be Narcissistic. If you want to build a business, you will find that simply being likable is a great asset. Don’t treat people as if they are beneath you. Don’t make everything about you — consider your customers and employees, too.
  • Learn to Market Yourself. Personal relationships and word of mouth are effective ways to build your business. You also need to market your business by other means such as Internet directories, your website, local newspapers and publications, and getting out in the community. This will enable you to contact new customers in a wider area and at a faster rate than simply relying on your existing customer base to send you new business.
  • Build a Business You Like. Yes, it is helpful to like what you do, but the bigger question is can you sell what you like? Will consumers want or need to buy what you are offering? As a potential entrepreneur, make sure your business is one that is in demand and that consumers will seek out.

NPI/GPI Franchise Owners Win Big at 2015 Annual Conference

NPI and GPI Pinnacle Award Winners

NPI and GPI Pinnacle Award Winners

National Property Inspections, Inc., parent company of National Property Inspections in the United States and Global Property Inspections in Canada, gave awards to 43 franchise owners who are top performers in five categories: the Platinum Award, the President’s Club, the Pinnacle Award, the Pacesetter Award and the Ambassador Award. In addition, four franchise owners were inducted into the NPI/GPI Hall of Fame.

The awards banquet was held during the 2015 NPI/GPI Annual Conference in downtown Omaha, Nebraska, Nov. 13 and 14. Franchisees from across the United States and Canada attended, as well as their spouses and employees.

The Platinum, President’s Club, Pinnacle and Pacesetter awards are based on three main criteria:

  1. Reported earnings and percentage of growth from the previous year
  2. Size and location of franchise market
  3. Length of time the franchise has been in operation

The Ambassador Award is given to franchise owners who have consistently demonstrated goodwill toward their fellow franchisees by offering field training, mentoring and business advice, and they have often helped recruit or onboard new franchise owners. Hall of Fame inductees have owned their franchises for 15 years or more, have won multiple NPI/GPI annual awards, and have demonstrated the highest level of ethics and integrity in their business dealings.

“We have outstanding franchisees, and these awards are our way of recognizing our top performers in various markets,” said Roland Bates, president of National Property Inspections, Inc. “Our franchisees did more business collectively this year than any year in the past. They have worked extremely hard to build their businesses, and every award winner is most deserving of their award.”

NPI franchise owners John Braddock, Castle Rock, Colorado, and Steve Anderson, Goodyear, Arizona, were recipients of the NPI Platinum Award.

NPI and GPI President's Club Award Winners

NPI and GPI President’s Club Award Winners

Several franchise owners received the NPI/GPI President’s Club Award: Rich Buhrman, Hedgesville, West Virginia; Eldon Holliday, Olive Branch, Mississippi; Gerry and Susan Millen, Regina, Saskatchewan; Ron Schenck, Kennewick, Washington; Rodney Twyford, San Antonio, Texas; David Riley, Savannah, Georgia; and Chris Marshall, Doylestown, Pennsylvania; Andy Hasler, Camarillo, California; Scott Cowan, Oakley, Utah; Greg Mathias, Lloydminster, Alberta; Cam Ralston, Grand Prairie, Alberta; Matt Tracy, Doylestown, Pennsylvania; Jim and Susan Giuffre, Ocean Isle Beach, North Carolina; Wes and Crystal Grant, Indian Trail, North Carolina; Ron and Kate Griffith, Clinton, Connecticut; and David Perrin, Roanoke, Virginia.

Recipients of the NPI/GPI Pinnacle Award were the following franchise owners: Jason Bancroft, Gilbertsville, Pennsylvania; Lawrence and Kathy Englehart, Dartmouth, Nova Scotia; Todd Newhook, Markham, Ontario; Tom and Carrie Trotter, Troy, Ohio; Doug Versaw and Margaret Herrera, Golden, Colorado; Tim Williams, Lynn Haven, Florida; John Nelson, Manassas, Virginia; Brett Freebody, Carle Place, New York; Mark and Trasi Crowley, Bettendorf, Iowa; Andy Smith and Daryle Wilken, Omaha, Nebraska; Terry Haynie, Indian Springs, Ohio; Stephan Quigley, Forest Hill, Maryland; Ed Lannon, Miramar Beach, Florida; Charlie Panellino, Smithtown, New York; George Gould, St. Charles, Missouri; Ron Pronchuk, London, Ontario; Tim Forest, Sylvan Lake, Alberta; Greg Eckert, Amelia, Ohio; Steve and Lynn Gregory, Floyd, Virginia; Pat Standefer, Richardson, Texas; and Chae Bybee, Sheridan, Wyoming.

Max Cheang, Cumming, Georgia, was the winner of the NPI Pacesetter Award.

The following NPI franchise owners won the Ambassador Award: Sean Green, Flower Mound, Texas; Tony Marino, St. Petersburg, Florida; and Pete Lauterer, Denver, North Carolina.

Four outstanding, longtime franchises were inducted into the NPI/GPI Hall of Fame this year: Robert and Heather Gould, St. Charles, Missouri; John Fast, Chattaroy, Washington; Tracy Murphy, Great Falls, Montana; and Thom Bowyer, Kentwood, Michigan.

National Property Inspections, Inc., wishes to commend all of its 2015 award winners. “These franchise owners have worked tremendously hard for many years, and every one of them deserves their award,” Bates said, “We at NPI and GPI truly appreciate their dedication, ambition and hard work. I offer my sincerest congratulations to all of them.”