How to start your own home inspection business with no experience!
Sometimes it’s difficult to see the sun through the clouds, but for Dan Steward, president and CEO of Pillar To Post, the view is bright and clear.
With more than 400 locations in 44 states and nine Canadian provinces, Pillar To Post is the largest home inspection franchise company in North America. While the real estate industry as a whole has suffered through the down economy, Pillar To Post has maintained its investment in its people, technology and growth initiatives.
At the same time, many independent owner-operators have left the industry. But as the housing market recovers and buyers and sellers seek inspections for resale homes, Steward says the market represents an opportunity for more than five million home inspections across North America.
“Pillar To Post has all of the pieces in place for a new round of unprecedented growth,” Steward says.
Founded in 1994, Pillar To Post needed only a decade to become the No. 1 home inspection company in North America. In 2003, Pillar To Post became a subsidiary of The Franchise Company, a leader and innovator both in franchising and property service management across North America with more than 2,000 franchisees. TFC’s portfolio includes California Closets, CertaPro Painters, Handyman Connection and others.
Steward, who joined Pillar To Post in 2004, brought more than 25 years of experience to his CEO position. He had formerly been a vice president with Fortune 500 company Iron Mountain Corp.
After adding 23 new franchises in 2010, Steward is hoping to more than double that number to 50-plus franchisees in 2011. By the end of 2013, Steward expects Pillar To Post to have more than 500 locations across North America.
Steward has implemented a number of initiatives including a Franchise Field Support program with 11 regional directors across the country; an ongoing investment in technology that has resulted in Pillar To Post’s CHIRP – Computerized Home Inspection Reporting Program – becoming the best home inspection software in the industry; and advanced marketing programs that help franchisees with rapid startup and ongoing business development.
Seven years into the job, Steward hasn’t slowed down. Intent on keeping Pillar To Post at the top its game, he’s eyeing many other efforts to stay ahead of the competition, including leveraging Pillar To Post’s size and technology to capture and maintain ongoing contact with realtors and customers, extending use of social media, as well as introducing new services to meet growing customer needs such as testing for indoor air quality and a variety of other environmental testing services for safe and healthy homes.
With an extremely affordable investment cost, quick startup, low overhead and flexible hours, Steward said many successful Pillar To Post franchisees come from large corporations where they had little control of their lifestyle and work environment.
More than 90 percent of Pillar To Post franchisees work from home. They include contractors looking so stay in the housing business in an alternative role, past customers impressed with the Pillar To Post business model and many couples who combine their strengths in operating their franchise.
“Due to either losing their job or finding themselves in a situation they want to change, people come to Pillar To Post to realize a completely new and fulfilling lifestyle,” Steward said.
START SMALL, GROW BIG WITH YOUR OWN FRANCHISE
Professional Home Inspection
14502 N. Dale Mabry Hwy, Suite 200
Tampa, FL 33618
5399 Eglinton Ave. West, Suite 110
Toronto, Ontario M9C 5K6
Concept: Pillar To Post is North America’s leading home inspection company, whose professional inspectors work with both the real estate community and the buyer or seller of a home to provide on-the-spot inspection reports that allow for rational thinking about an emotional purchase. The Pillar To Post home inspection report details more than 1,600 key components of a home and its condition.
Conversely, Pillar to Post’s franchise business model allows a franchisee to start small and grow the business at a measured pace to create a larger, equity-rich company that meets the growing concerns of home buyers and owners.
Growth Projections: Pillar To Post granted 23 new franchises in 2010 and is seeking to add more than 50 franchises in 2011, eventually growing to more than 500 North American locations by the end of 2013.
Franchise Facts: The estimated initial investment in a Pillar To Post franchise is $30,000, including a $14,900 franchise fee. Royalties are seven percent of gross revenue and a four-percent contribution to a national brand fund is required.
Training & Ongoing Support: Pillar To Post provides a comprehensive two-week training program that consists of both classroom and hands-on training covering all aspects of operations and management at the Pillar To Post Academy. Training includes a detailed focus on the science and technology of home inspection and using Pillar To Post’s proprietary Computerized Home Inspection Reporting Program (CHIRP), plus marketing and business operations training.