Tag Archives: franchise tips

Should You Consider Owning a Franchise?

2 women + park bench + laptopAs you’re exploring options for starting your own business, you’ve probably come across some franchise opportunities. Exactly what is a franchise? Simply put, it’s a way of offering services and/or products by a franchisor with a specific set of guidelines and an existing trademark in place.

When a company has been founded and is doing well by selling its products and/or services, customers grow to know and trust the name, and the demand for the business increases. The business owner then decides to expand the brand and its offerings across geographical locations, selecting candidates to assist in this as franchisees. The company’s founder shares his methods of success — such as business, sales and marketing plans — and allows others to participate. Carefully chosen candidates then establish their own businesses to operate and prosper as part of the franchise.

Becoming a franchisee allows you to be your own boss yet have the sound support and assistance of successful and proven methods in place. You can work for yourself, but by no means are you left by yourself. A network of resources offered by the franchisor will be available to you at all times. For example, technical support, marketing materials and strategies are provided. Co-franchisees are available for assistance and support with any questions or concerns you may have.

When you purchase a franchise business, the franchisor will provide thorough training once you are selected to become part of the organization.

Benefits of Owning a Franchise
If you would like to become your own boss, make your own schedule and achieve work–life balance, then a franchise may be a good choice for you. Other qualities that franchise owners typically exhibit are the following:

  • Business-oriented mindset
  • Ambitious
  • Hardworking

Becoming a franchisee eliminates the need for many years of trial and error that often are necessary while trying to succeed in business. Furthermore, a franchise provide you with teammates — the franchisor’s team and other franchisees — from the beginning of your business investment. Becoming part of a winning team is much easier than trying to play the game all alone.

As a franchisee, your success is a priority for everyone involved. Success in your business as a franchisee allows you and everyone involved in the franchise to benefit.

Named a top low-cost franchise with high franchisee satisfaction, National Property Inspections, Inc.,  offers home and commercial property inspection franchises throughout North America. We operate as National Property Inspections in the United States and as Global Property Inspections in Canada. Contact us for more information about our franchise opportunities.

New York Franchise Owner Is Enjoying the View From the Top

SansoneAfter more than 25 years as a property inspector, Tom Sansone of Rochester, New York, feels like he’s s scaled a mountain, and for the former Kodak employee, the view from the top is picture perfect.

Sansone spent nine years working for Kodak, during which time he developed a prototype for a Kodak color copier, when he purchased his National Property Inspections franchise in 1988. He felt like he was facing a mountain when he learned that many of his competitors were licensed engineers.

Sansone didn’t let that deter him, though. First, he took engineering courses at area colleges. Next, he offered to bring along a structural engineer if his clients felt they needed one. Today, his reputation and track record speak for themselves, and his business has grown steadily since those early days when Sansone was looking up at the peak. In fact, he is an NPI award winner for his successful efforts.

“I tell customers who ask that being an engineer doesn’t necessarily qualify someone to do a property inspection,” Sansone said. “More important are credentials, such as my membership in the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI). I explain that the thorough ASHI exams, the continuing education credits and other aspects of membership. I top off my sales approach by touting the many benefits that NPI offers, including the six-month warranty on mechanical systems and appliances.”

NPI’s numerous business benefits were what first attracted Sansone to purchase a franchise. I felt I received the best value for my money with NPI,” he said. Sansone then began the process of building his business by making contacts with the many Realtors in his area and friends who he knew might need his services.

One of his best marketing programs has been to deliver Christmas gifts to Realtors and attorneys who referred business during the previous year. When he’s out delivering the gifts, he restocks his brochure holders with the latest pieces he’s purchased, so his name stays top of mind for his customers. He also distributes free coffee mugs to customers who pass along referrals.

“After so many years in business, I have the reputation of being one of the most thorough inspectors in the area,” Sansone said. “I’m accurate, fair and honest — I don’t want to miss anything. I really strive to do the best quality inspection, and I’ve never had a complaint with the Fair Business Council, which is our version of the Better Business Bureau.”

In his spare time, Sansone has kept his structural and mechanical skills honed by remodeling investment homes he’s purchased.

His advice to new inspectors is, “You’ll get out of the business what you put into it if you consistently market your company. Quality service will allow  you to build your business.”

Loving His Job and the Freedom It Provides

GPI franchise owner Greg Mathias

GPI franchise owner Greg Mathias

A journeyman carpenter, Greg Mathias spent 27 years working in the building industry. In May 2009, he broke his knee playing baseball, and the injury prevented him from being able to go back to his job.

Mathias had always been interested in the property inspection field, but he didn’t know where to start. He talked to a few real estate agents, but they all told him the same thing: “If you aren’t with a franchise, we won’t use you.”

Choosing the Right Franchise System
So, Mathias began investigating property inspection franchise opportunities. Franchising would be a way for him to go into business for himself, and he liked the idea that he wouldn’t have to do it alone. He would have the marketing, business plan and backing of a proven franchise system.

In addition, Mathias was looking for a company that was well-known and had brand recognition but that also truly cared about its franchisees. “That is a rare thing to find these days,” he said.

“I called four different franchise companies and talked to someone at each office,” Mathias said. Then he called Global Property Inspections and talked to Julie Erickson, director of franchise sales.

“When Julie answered the phone at GPI,” he said, “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!

“I decided to join the GPI team because of Julie,” Mathias continued. He described Erickson as forthcoming and enthusiastic and said that she not only conveyed a willingness to help in any way she could, but she also followed through with the help. No other franchisor Mathias had talked to did that.

Franchising the GPI Way
In November 2009, Mathias purchased his GPI franchise. The next step was to attend the intensive two-week training at GPI’s headquarters in Omaha, Nebraska. GPI has two training experts on staff full time, and these employees also provide field support to GPI business owners seven days a week by telephone. In addition to its training experts, GPI has a full staff ready to support its business owners, including a marketing team that includes a marketing coach and marketing manager.

“The GPI training program is second to none,” Mathias said. “It was a bit overwhelming at first, but as you settle in, you realize the knowledge being given is top-notch. Randy [Yates] and Kenn [Garder] do an excellent job of getting you ready to hit the ground running.”

And “hit the ground running” is just what Mathias did with his business, making him glad he’d chosen a franchise over opening a business independently. “With a franchise system, everything is ready to go the minute you start your profession,” he said. “Going independent, you would have to design a logo, website and brochures just to get started. GPI does all of this for you.” In addition, Mathias appreciates that when he walks into a real estate office, the agents have already heard of GPI.

But one of the best parts of owning a franchise, Mathias said, is the ongoing support he receives. “I know I can call anyone at the national office or any franchise owner to find an answer to my questions,” he said. “I don’t know of many companies as large as the GPI/NPI* franchise system that you can call and speak directly to the president of the company. Roland [Bates] has even answered technical questions for me when Randy or Kenn were unavailable.”

Bates is very hands-on with the business and regularly speaks to all of the franchise owners. He is a down-to-earth businessman who lives up to the GPI motto of honesty, integrity and professionalism.

Success With NPI
Mathias said that owning his GPI franchise has changed his life in three major ways: “One is the freedom to schedule myself around my family,” he said. “I can now go to my son’s football game or my daughter’s dance competition without the worry of having to tell someone and get permission. The second result is happiness. This is a job I truly love. The third result is money. I have almost doubled my income from before I started. I can worry less about money and focus more on my family and their needs. It’s an awesome feeling.

“GPI is top-notch,” Mathias continued. “I am thankful that I was able to find a company that truly cares about their franchisees. My experience could not be better.”

Choose a Franchisor That Offers Superb Ongoing Support

Inspector Team + AC8In your search for a franchisor with which you’d like to work, one of the key things you need to look for is support — specifically, how much support the franchisor offers on an ongoing basis, after the initial training period ends.

Some franchisors offer great support during the initial training period, but once that period ends, you’re on your own. Will you be confident enough at that time to manage your business as well as your marketing, website, etc., by yourself?

Some new franchise owners are, but most are happier with franchisors that offer ongoing support. For example, NPI/GPI has a dedicated marketing team to provide ongoing support to franchise owners, both new and established. Our technical team is available seven days a week to answer questions and help NPI/GPI inspectors with technical issues and problems that arise when they are out on inspections. And our office staff is available to assist with ordering materials and answering questions. These are services that many franchisors don’t offer once your business is up and running.

As you consider franchisors, be sure to ask what kind of continuing or ongoing support they will offer you after you’re trained. Are you going to be on your own, or will you have a team backing you up?

Landing a Job: It’s All in the Interview

Submitted by Roland Bates, President, NPI/GPI

Agent_shutterstock_187113938Let’s talk about hiring employees, something that franchise owners often have to do once their businesses take off. Resumes aside, most employers decide to hire or not hire during the interview. Here are a few of the unfiltered and unadulterated answers I have received to my interview questions over the years.

(In fairness to these individuals, maybe they were just nervous. But their answers impressed me enough that I can still recall, and will share, my private thoughts in response thereto.)

Me: What brings you here today?
Answer: You are advertising a job opening. (Reminder to myself: I need a new lead-in question.)

Me: It says here that you are ambitious. Have you ever set your sights too high?
Answer: My grandfather left me a rifle; I shot at the ground but hit a tree. (My fault; I shouldn’t have asked such a dumb question.)

Me: How would your last boss describe you?
Answer: She said I didn’t apply myself but that’s her opinion. (No red flags yet.)

Me: We all have our attributes, good and bad. What is your greatest weakness?
Answer: I go to the gym pretty often, but I’ve never been able to do chin-ups. But most women can’t. (I wonder how many chin-ups I can do.)

Me: What is the biggest obstacle you have overcome?
Answer: I climbed Pike’s Peak. (You would make a good park ranger.)

Me: Give me an example of when you failed.
Answer: Algebra. (I have got to ask better questions.)

For those of you who know me, and to anticipate your inquisitiveness, none of the folks who provided the answers above made it onto the Omaha NPI/GPI home-office staff. Or did they?