To learn about Colin Conroy’s early years in the home inspection business, please read Part 1 of this exclusive interview.
FC: What were some of the mistakes you’ve made along the way that have taught you the biggest lessons?
CC: Mistakes have fortunately been few and far between. Legal minefields abound in this industry, and I found once to my expense that the highest level of detail in an Inspection Report was critical in avoiding that small percentage of clients who want to finance their homes at the expense of my insurers. These clients don’t want to conform to the terms and conditions of a signed Inspection Contract, and an awareness of what must be included in the report has been critical to our survival.
I also still conduct many inspections personally, and attend many others conducted by my Master Inspectors, to maintain good client and realtor relationships and to observe and enhance the quality of our inspections.
FC: What is your opinion on the prospects for a home inspection business today, given the state of the housing market?
CC: The prospects for a home inspection business today in this challenging market are no different for those entrepreneurs who have significant points of difference from their competitors. To open a business that is identical to your competitors is fatal in any industry, and can only lead to price wars and ultimate failure.
There is enough business in our area for individual businesses to prosper, given the type of entrepreneurial skills that are necessary to survive. I strive every day to look ahead so that my business can meet the requirements of a recovering market. And to reinforce that, I have added one more office staff and a Master Inspector-in-training to our team to take advantage of the market recovery that is taking place as I write. We booked nineteen inspections today in the time it took me to write this information!
FC: At this stage of your business, do you still rely on your franchisor for assistance? If so, in what areas of the business do you still seek support from the home office?
CC: I have always maintained a strong connection with my franchisor, and have been a member, and past president, of the Franchisee Advisory Council for six years. I believe that a strong and vibrant franchisee group is not only beneficial to the franchisees and corporation, but to the brand awareness and value of my business investment.
The relationship between HomeTeam’s franchisor and franchisees is exemplary and everything I could hope for, including a dynamic national approach to market domination and the very latest in computer and report programming to be found anywhere. I rely on HomeTeam to provide me with the tools to succeed, a task that they fulfill admirably. In return, HomeTeam receives a royalty stream from my business that is larger than any other franchisee’s, that reflects their commitment to progress in my business, and other successful HomeTeam franchises.
FC: What advice can you offer someone who is interested in becoming a franchisee, but is unsure of what particular industry or franchise to choose?
CC: My advice to any potential franchisee is to conduct your due diligence very carefully, and don’t assume anything. No franchise can develop or succeed without a hands-on approach from the owner. Long hours, challenging market conditions, ever-increasing customer sophistication, an open mind, smart and hard work, and a realistic business plan are the essentials to achieving the next level of success.
FC: What are your future plans and goals for the business?
CC: My future plans and goals for the business do not include selling the business. I believe that it is better to develop my business so that it can basically operate without me for longer periods of time so that I will be able to semi-retire but enjoy a steady income stream for the rest of my life and keep active in an industry that I love. I have been able to vacation several times a year since the year 2000 as a result of this action, and enjoy a comfortable and exciting lifestyle. With today’s technology and the promise of more to come, I can operate, and have operated, this business from any part of the world.
I believe that becoming a franchisee in a high-profile business was the best decision I’ve ever made. HomeTeam Inspection Service has provided an opportunity that I don’t believe would have occurred had I become a business partner in a small Cincinnati-based home inspection business. If any reader is interested in a HomeTeam Franchise, some areas are still available. Contact HomeTeam in Cincinnati for details. I wish all readers of Franchise Chatter the very best level of success in the future. The recovery is under way and you are on the right track!
To learn more about HomeTeam Inspection Service, please visit their website.