Franchise vs Independent

I have been a home inspector for three years and have been doing pretty good (no 2-3 inspections a day). However, I have an opportunity to join a franchise where there are three other inspectors who are doing 2-3 inspections a day. I would like to hear from you about the pro’s and con’s of joining a franchise.

Are these other inspectors in your area?
Who is the Franchisor? Just curious

Yes! Two of them have territories (Spokane & Spokane Valley) Pillar to Post

Hey, Shay!

Have you spoken to those 2? Would they give you honest feedback?
Maybe contact some P2P folks out of state, see what they say.
If Spokane & the Valley are both covered, where would that leave you to operate?

See you at our 6/20 meeting?

Russ

That was going to be my question. If they are in your area, what would that leave you? It seems like it would spread you all too thin.

Be interesting to see how many P2P have been in business for over three years. this could give you some ideas.

Is this a subcontracted relationship with an existing franchise…

Or

Are you looking to Purchase a Franchised territory from the Franchisor?

P2P seems to have its fair share of complaints from disgruntled clients. I know that because of my involvement with disgruntled clients who made the mistake of using P2P and have retained me to substantiate their disatisfaction.

Hi Russ,
I just got back from your neck of the woods. (FREE FISHING IN ID) I was up on the N fork of the Couer d Alen. Caught alot of fish:) Anyways, thanks to all of you on your feed back. To anwser some of you questions: I will meet the other guys in the group on tuesday, I believe they are pretty honst guys. It would be a subcontracte relationship were I would pay a % to each of them for doing jobs in their areas. The franchise has been ran by the same inspector for about ten+ years here in spokane. Yes, I would be interested in purchasing some territory from them. What I would like to know is paying all the dues, fees, and % worth it and if franchises have a
non-compete clause or rule.

Who approached who with this “opportunity” I would be a little suspicious if they came to you with this offer. Might be a way of eliminating the competition and make a little % off it also. But that’s just me…

The last two or three P2P people around here were out of business within a year or so of starting.

Why would you send a percentage of your gross back to P2P or any franchise?
Why would you have to buy their promotional material?
Why would you have to solicit the Realtors big time in order to keep your biz thriving and become known as Realtor friendly? If you don’t produce the franchisee will not renew your franchise contract.
Why would you limit your biz by having to play by the franchisors rules which could limit your advertising, how you conduct inspections, et ceteras?

Here is a Canadian Court Case from Saskatchewan with regard to franchise renewal and P2P.

http://www.canlii.org/eliisa/highlight.do?text=Pillar+to+post&language=en&searchTitle=Search+all+CanLII+Databases&path=/en/sk/skqb/doc/2001/2001skqb369/2001skqb369.html

How can you do three single family home inspections in a day and give your clients good service? At the short end a good inspection takes 2 1/2 hours. Most of mine take a least 3 hours. At 2 1/2 hours that is 7 1/2 hours just doing the inspection, not including any report writing time ( and that does ot include any drive time). An hour per report at home and you have almost 11 hours per day to complete your work (plus the additional drive time).

I used to try and do 3 per day, but found it to be way too much. By the time I was on my third inspection I was tired and afraid I would miss something. I have raised my prices to compensate for the difference and still have all the business I can handle.

Out of curiosity ,does anybody know if it is just new inspectors that sign up with these places? I cannot imagine why someone would give up control of their own future and profit margin.Does a franchise name have that much weight that they can guarantee work,or are you still on your own.
I can see where you might sign on the dotted line if selling is not your thing and they bring the clients to you.I am sure this conversation has occured on the board at some other time but do not recall the answer.

Robert

I think you have a point. To my knowledge franchise opportunities are taken by those who do not wish to go it alone.

The franchisee does not promise anything, but if you buy a franchise you had better produce or you will not have your franchise renewed. If head office is not getting its precentage of your bookings you better have a good excuse. How do you get the work? You ply your trade on a ready market the realtors office. In my experience in order to keep the referals coming an inspector better not become a deal blower.

Interesting that you still need to sell since if you are capable of such a thing you would not need them in the first place.
If we all start a franchise will there be anyone left to do the actual inspection?

My mother is a realtor and one of her listings sold. It was inspected by P2P and I must say that report was a joke. The inspector missed several blatantly obvious problems.
In the summer I perform 3 inspections a day. On houses above 2000 sq ft I team up with my dad or brother though. (we are a 3 generation company)
It is a long day even teamed up and its not uncommon to take a dinner break with the family when I get home then write reports until 10pm. I like to make money so I sacrifice some free time in the summer. I am certainly not turning away business for someone else to take! :slight_smile:
As a company of 3 active inspectors we do 7-8 a day in the summer and 5-6 in the winter. Maybe we should sell franchises…lol.
I think people have more appreciation for family or individually operated businesses. We performed more inspections in NC last year than any other company including the franchises, at least across ASHI member companies. Two inspection companies performed over 500. One of them was us at over 1200. I vote keep the path you are on, get all the education/certs you can (general contractors license has been invaluable) and offer superior customer service. The when you succeed, you will be the one reaping all the benefits. Franchises in the HI business are just not even remotely household names. The vast majority of customers dont know US Inspect from Joe’s Home Inspection, Inc. The more time you put in (while giving that above and beyond attitude) the more referrals you will get. Stick around 10 years or more and you will be turning away business in the summer time, and be as busy as you want to be in the winter. We have been around almost 25 years so our business markets itself. All we have to do is keep performing at a high level.
One other advantage to keeping it family owned; My grandfather started our business. He is more or less retired but gets a 10% take on the revenue. This is very helpful in retirement. When my father retires in 10-15 years we will be kicking back to him. When we retire hopefully our kids or other relatives will want to inspect and we will get our own piece of the pie. Try that with a franchise :slight_smile:

Best of luck!!!

But I’ll bet the P2P guy didn’t forget to hang all his little P2P tags on the main water shutoff, etc.

I am repeatedly told by clients that when they had their home inspected the P2P inspector wasn’t as thorough as me. I love hearing that!

One of the usual benefits…to a consumer…of a franchise is consistency. When you go to a McDonalds in any city, you already have an idea of the menu and what the Big Mac is going to taste like.

Not so with home inspections and the varying levels of skill applied from one inspector to the next. Also, taking into account the varying SOPs encompassed by a national franchise…there cannot even exist a blanket report.

There could be some marketing benefit to home inspectors starting out…but the consumer, himself, is offered very little from a home inspection franchise. I have found it beneficial to include in my marketing a blurb that assures a consumer that I am NOT a franchise, but locally owned and locally accountable.