5 Small-business Marketing Tips From a ‘Shark’

HerjavecIf you watch ABC’s “Shark Tank,” then you are likely familiar with Robert Herjavec. Born in eastern Europe, Herjavec and his family immigrated to Canada when he was a boy to escape communism in the former Yugoslavia (now Croatia). The son of a factory worker, Herjavec emerged from humble beginnings to build and sell several companies in the IT industry. Today, his company, Herjavec Group, is recognized as a global leader in information security services.

Like many small-business owners, Herjavec started with very little — and he didn’t have a business degree. But his is a success story that proves that determination, hard work and commitment pay off in the end. Now, besides running Herjavec Group, he helps small-business entrepreneurs and start-ups take their businesses to the next level on “Shark Tank.”

It’s no wonder, then, that entrepreneurs and small-business owners are interested in what they can learn from Herjavec. Recently, Entrepreneur sat down with him and asked for his top five small-business marketing tips:

  1. Target your customers on social media.
  2. Make selling online a key part of your business model.
  3. Make your website and marketing materials visually appealing.
  4. Market to your customers in ways they are receptive to.
  5. As your business grows, hire marketing assistance.

Click here to read the full article on Entrepreneur.com.

Why Every Business Owner Needs a Mentor

By Roland Bates, President, NPI/GPI

Mentoring_shutterstock_189356114Several years ago, I read a white paper that said that about 70 percent of the decisions a business owner makes ultimately prove to be wrong. (That 70 percent is the number in the report; that is not a typo.) That’s a lot of zigzagging to get from Point A to Point B.

Imagine how much more successful business owners could be and how much faster they could grow their businesses if they reduced their errors to just 35 percent. Suffice it to say, reducing mistakes or eliminating some of the trial and error can make a huge difference.

For this reason, all new business owners should seek out at least one mentor. A mentor does not have the emotional attachment to the business that a new business owner likely has; thus, he or she can look at your business objectively. A mentor also has experience and can advise you away from making certain mistakes. A mentor who is truly interested in helping you will go out of their way to do so. Sometimes the introductions a mentor can make for you so you can expand your network are more than enough reason to seek them out.

Our role at National Property Inspections, Inc., is that of a mentor to our franchise owners, although we also encourage our franchisees to seek out one or more mentors where they live. As a franchisor, we have a proven business model, and we can help advise franchise owners on what works and what doesn’t so they can avoid so much trial and error as they start their businesses.

With that said, and as an aside, wouldn’t it be great if teenagers would listen to Mom and Dad’s advice and mentoring? Oh, well, we can dream, can’t we?

Roland PhotoRoland Bates’ high energy, willingness to work hard and optimistic outlook are the cornerstones of success for NPI and GPI. His easy manner and family attitude inspire a friendly and close atmosphere at the company. Before he founded NPI/GPI in 1987, Roland owned a general contracting company, where he worked for eight years as a general contractor. Prior to that, he spent five years as a property claims supervisor and regional claims manager.

To learn more about an NPI or GPI franchise opportunity in your area, click one of the links below:

FranchiseRankings.com Names NPI/GPI a Top Home-based Franchise

Dual LogosNational Property Inspections, Inc., parent company of National Property Inspections in the United States and Global Property Inspections in Canada, is proud to announce that it has been named a top 10 Home Based Franchise by FranchiseRankings.com. National Property Inspections, Inc., was the only property inspection franchise included on the list, an honor that makes it stand out among its competitors.

“It is fantastic to be named on a top 10 list by a well-known organization,” said Roland Bates, president of National Property Inspections, Inc. “I think the fact that we were included on this list, and that we are No. 4 really says something great about our company. We have worked hard to bring on the best franchisees and to help them build successful businesses. We are always looking for ways to improve, and I think our drive to be the best is one of the things that makes us shine.”

The FranchiseRankings.com Top Home Based Franchises are chosen based on their performance in five key areas:

  1. Growth prospect
  2. Marketing support
  3. Training
  4. Ongoing support
  5. Value

“The recovery of the real estate market has created tremendous opportunity in the property inspection business,” said Bill Erickson, EVP of sales and marketing at National Property Inspections, Inc. “Last year, we saw our franchisees do more business than ever before, and this year is off to a great start. I think our focus on what we can do for our franchise owners and our belief that we should earn our royalties make us a company they want to work with.”

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.

To learn more about NPI/GPI franchise opportunities, visit www.npifranchise.com in the United States or www.gpifranchise.com in Canada. To access the FranchiseRankings.com Top Home Based Franchises list, visit http://www.franchiserankings.com/reviews-and-ratings-of-best-home-based-franchises.

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: