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Franchise Choice Help / Opinions?


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Well I am taking the plunge into a franchise and have narrowed it down to 2, Pillar to Post and WIN. With the expenses of each being equal (they're not but we'll say so) which franchise would you choose and why? I personally have not had professional experience with either, just talking to the franchise and some inspectors. The inspectors / owners speak highly of their respective name. Yout opinion would be greatly appreciated!

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Hi Nick,

I'm not a franchise fan, I think that a person can do just about the same on their own. Neither franchise that you are looking at have a large national marketing program. I have never seen them marketed in the Nashville area. I know that Nashville area has a WIN franchise already, but I don't know what their territory is. I also don't care for the marketing that is required with a franchise.

If it was me I would spend my money on a good training school, a good website (not a cookie cutter site), some nice business cards a good computer based reporting system and a late model car/truck with signage.

The franchise is not going to make your business successful, only you can do that. Keep in mind that business is slowing down now and will be slow till spring. Making those franchise payments during the slow times might be kind of difficult.

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What Scott said.

I'm not anti-franchise; I know that there are very competent franchise operations. But........

Every successful franchise owner I know wishes to heck they'd never bothered w/the franchise. If you've spent any time in the biz, and I have, I just don't see any benefit from a franchise. None. Trust me on this.

So much of the marketing blather they promote is essentially realtor suckup activity. That worked @ one time, but every realtor I know is getting inundated w/inspector startup crapola; they're tuning it out. You will find yourself operating in the midst of hundreds, perhaps thousands, of other voices; that's not where you want to be. And, realtor business is really depressing; you can find yourself slamming away w/jobs like you can't believe, but kill one deal, and all of a sudden the entire office will blackball you.

There are better software programs available than any of the franchises offer. So much of the stuff you get from the franchises is just fluff; it will not make one whit of difference in your operation. While I'm at it, I'm going to give a plug for Inspect Express report systems; I've had it for a little while to give the new upgrades a looking over, & damn; it's really, really amazing. I was (sort of) an IntelligentReport/Cramerware maven, but InspectExpress has really jazzed it's operation to a degree that is remarkable.

The rest of it is you. Period. What you bring to the table will decide the game, not some franchise blather.

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When I first started up I asked my self why would anyone buy into a franchise in this business? It was pointed out to me at the time that the idea would be for you to build up the business and be able to sell it. Well you might be able to do that with McDonalds but this is a referral business. All the marketing in the world won't drive anyone to your door it seems. At least in my experience. It took me about 3 years to build up the volume that I originally desired. And every bit of it had to do with just doing the best job I could for each and every client and that brought more referals over time. The other reason for going the franchise route might be training and backing for start up purposes but that can be had like Scott said at a good HI school and thru associations and great forums like this one.

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"While I'm at it, I'm going to give a plug for Inspect Express report systems; I've had it for a little while to give the new upgrades a looking over, & damn; it's really, really amazing. I was (sort of) an IntelligentReport/Cramerware maven, but InspectExpress has really jazzed it's operation to a degree that is remarkable."

Kurt, for me and perhaps others. I've been tweaking Cramer's software for just over a year, and finally got it just about right; the layouts, the different templates, the boilerplate (The Horror, The Horror), etc. Do you think the time would be worth it to check out InspectExpress...both the *new* time learning and the past-year-time wasted? Is it that much neater?

Cramer's has a few word-related bugs, but I've learned to live with them.

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This is quite interesting. I have spoken to several of the franchise inspectors / owners and all of them said they were successful because of the franchise. Not one of them regretted it. Spoke to a fella in Nashville yesterday who had 4 inspectors working for him, and they were all busy. 2 are bailing purchasing their own territory. I see pros / cons to both. Its a tough one!

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Don't always believe what you are told when it relates to the success of a persons business. I can't tell you how many times I have seen and heard home inspectors telling someone that they did 500 inspections in one year or 3000 inspections in four years. You have to do the math.

A question that you should ask yourself is this. What can a franchise do for me that I could not do on my own?

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I have spoken to several of the franchise inspectors / owners and all of them said they were successful because of the franchise. Not one of them regretted it.
Hmmm,

Hope you saw me listed in one of those UFOC's as a past franchise. Otherwise, somebody isn't keeping things on the level.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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Originally posted by sixgun95

This is quite interesting. I have spoken to several of the franchise inspectors / owners and all of them said they were successful because of the franchise. Not one of them regretted it. Spoke to a fella in Nashville yesterday who had 4 inspectors working for him, and they were all busy. 2 are bailing purchasing their own territory. I see pros / cons to both. Its a tough one!

Sometimes misery loves company and vanity and pride also is a human trait.

Paul B.

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Sixgun;

As a former franchise owner (I can't name the company, but it begins with a Capital 'A') the only advice I can give you is if you do buy into it, don't buy it under your name; use your wife's, girlfriend or parents.

This way when you do leave, (and you will), they can't prevent YOU from working.

Darren

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Originally posted by hausdok

I have spoken to several of the franchise inspectors / owners and all of them said they were successful because of the franchise. Not one of them regretted it.
Hmmm,

Hope you saw me listed in one of those UFOC's as a past franchise. Otherwise, somebody isn't keeping things on the level.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

Educate me please! Whom did you belong to, why did you leave? Was it Pillar, I assume it was since they are based in WA and thats where you reside. What was the problem? I appreciate your input! Contact me offline if you wish. Thanks.

Nick

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Franchises must provide you a Uniform Franchise Offering Circular that lists all of the pertintent facts about the franchise. It's supposed to contain the names of all franchisees and former franchisees, so that you can contact them, learn about their experiences and decide whether you want to purchase a franchise.

All I'll say is that I should have been listed as a former franchisee in one of those UFOC's. If I wasn't, someone's dealing you a card off the bottom of the deck.

You should make some more in-depth inquiries.

OT - OF!!!

M.

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Nick, if it was me I would get out and talk to the end user. With a franchise this is primarily going to be the real estate agents. Get out and visit the brokers and agents. Ask them who they use and why? This will be the group of folks that you will need to depend on to direct the business your way. Just because you join a franchise does not mean that your phone will start ringing.

I'm sure that you have researched on what is needed to obtain a home inspection license in TN, it not easy but it is not hard either. The largest obstacle is our mandatory E&O insurance coverage. As a new inspector you can expect to spend around $4,000 for the coverage. Don't forget this when you are putting your budget together, many prospective home inspectors don't realize this until they make application to the state.

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I have been speaking to realtors, talking to a few more this week who all said they would be glad to use me. I know many of you don't like the franchise's, but I am more comfortable with what they have to offer. With that said, from what you know, would WIN or Pillar to Post be your choice and why? Again, assuming the money (fee's, royalty, advert, etc) was all the same.

Maybe I need to provide more info for you guys to ascertain what my intent is. So here it goes...

I have a full time job now that I love and make a very good living at, but I have a great deal of free time on my hands as well that I feel I need to utilize. This business seems to fit the bill for what I want. I see it structured like this: Wife will handle the marketing full time, answer the phone, scheduling, office work. I will do the inspections until the volume exceeds what I can handle. Right after the training / opening I will hire an inspector who will be full time and send him to school if necessary for his 90 hrs, either locally or with the franchise. I will still do inspections, but the employee will be the first in line. Of course I have some ideas how the pay / pymt for training will work, quite fair I can assure you. With all that said, what do you guys think, pros / cons to this concept? WIN or Pillar? I know many of you must have employee inspectors, for you who live in a state where training/test is required, how difficult was it to find good help? The few franchisees I have spoke with who have employees said it was pretty easy and most have worked out well. I really do appreciate your comments!

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Why, ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!! of course. What did you think it meant? [;)]

It was my platoon's motto, Nick. I'm retired Army too.

OT - OF!!!

M.

P.S.

Are you sure you want to get into this gig. Hell, me I can see, I'm a ground pounder. But you're going to have to contend with stuff like that seen below. In 10-1/2 years, I bet I've low crawled 15 miles and that's about 10 times the total distance I ever had to low-crawl in nearly 21 years in the Army.

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Nick, both of the franchises are not that well known in the inspection world. This is one reason that they cost less. What you need to do is to look at the franchises as a home buyer. Who and what would you want? Then go with the one that impresses you the most.

Now from the inspector side you need to look at their reporting programs. From what I have seen P2P and WIN both have poor reporting programs when compared to others. I think that P2P's program might be a little better.

Now as for what the real estate agents have told you! Don't believe them. I moved to the Nashville area in July, 06. I had several agents tell me that they would use me, even the agent that sold me my new home. Guess what! I have yet to receive any agent referrals since August 1, 2006.

All 43 jobs that I have had since that time have been from my website and from the ASHI site. Not one from a real estate agent, not even the agent who sold me my new home. I'm not upset one bit. But it shows that you don't need agents to make it, but they do help when you are starting out. Keep in mind that I have been doing this since 1994, so I had an idea of what to expect.

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Originally posted by sixgun95

I have been speaking to realtors, talking to a few more this week who all said they would be glad to use me. I know many of you don't like the franchise's, but I am more comfortable with what they have to offer. With that said, from what you know, would WIN or Pillar to Post be your choice and why? Again, assuming the money (fee's, royalty, advert, etc) was all the same.

From what I've seen, there's little difference between the two. If you want to spend your retirement giving b******s to realtors, sign up with either one.

- Jim, Oregon

Post edited: Family place and all that. Ed.

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I wasn't a pilot but I was a electronics engineer designing state of the art integrated circuits and I even was coauthor on a patent. I was one of a handful of guys in the world that did what I did. And I thought I was all that.

I terribly underestimated the art and skill and education necessary to succeed at this business. The needs of this business drawf the supposed sophistication that I had as an engineer.

If you think your going to be able to successfully train an employee to do this thing, think again cause it ain't going to happen in my opinion. You will just be opening yourself up to lawsuits or rather headaches.

Any inspector that you train that is worth anything will leave and start his own shop.

Can anyone get trained and qualified as a pilot? I did an inspection for an airline pilot a while back and he was cool a cat. And I quized him about the training but I sensed these guys are a bit more special then just being trainable.

If you have all that time the better for you to educate yourself. You really have to figure these houses out. Its not about checking boxes in your report software.

Chris, Oregon

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