Air Force vet explains why he bought an existing WIN Home Inspection franchise
Jerry Endres is pictured here after receiving WIN’s President’s Elite Award. Only 13 WIN owners received the award, which recognizes franchises that have conducted 500-599 inspections a year.
Jerry Endres took advantage of one of the most promising ways to attain WIN ownership: he bought an existing WIN Home Inspection franchise.The Air Force veteran, who purchased his franchise from WIN owner Scott Sehi in mid-2013, is thrilled with his decision. He was essentially able to walk into a thriving franchise and take control.
Jerry was more than ready to be his own boss. He left a job that just wasn’t working out, and he stepped into the promise of a more flexible — and more financially rewarding — future. Here’s Jerry’s explanation of why he and his wife chose to buy a WIN Home Inspection franchise in Traverse City, Michigan.
What were you doing before WIN? I retired from the Air Force in 2000. Two months later I started working as a data analyst for a business litigation firm. The firm eventually failed; the owner wasn’t advertising enough to get new clients. I saw the writing on the wall and began searching for a new job in 2006.
Soon afterward I found a job as an operations manager for a septic inspection company in Michigan. I was the operations manager, and my duties were extensive. I inspected septic systems, but other responsibilities included filling out paperwork, performing accounting duties, dispatching — essentially everything but owning the business and driving a truck. After taking on additional responsibilities and not seeing any financial gain, I decided it was too much for me.
How did you find out about WIN? I was a subcontractor for Scott Sehi, who owned a WIN Home Inspection franchise in Traverse City. After I left the septic inspection company, Scott was genuinely concerned about my next job. He suggested we go to lunch, and he offered me the opportunity to ride along with him on a WIN inspection. I began my first month working for Scott in June 2013.
Can you talk about the process of buying an existing WIN franchise? Why did you decide go that route? If you’re going to buy an existing business, especially from WIN, a ride-along with the current owner is a must. Riding with Scott for about 50 inspections to learn the WIN process was a good way to get a handle on how it works. The hands-on experience taught me how to perform the inspections, how to explain the report to the homeowner and how to prepare the report.
The loan process went well. Since WIN is pre-approved by the Small Business Administration, it was one less thing I had to worry about during our loan application process. WIN provided a business plan, which lenders like to see, and Scott was able to show years of positive franchise cash-flow financials. The franchise’s numbers really impressed the bank. Scott’s track record helped show the bank I could easily generate enough business to repay the loan.
WIN also provided me with an established marketing plan to so that I could hit the ground running. I was able to take advantage of Scott’s existing network of agencies and agents. I also had an existing network of contacts from my septic inspection days. WIN’s email marketing capabilities, which I think are unparalleled, made it possible for me to send emails to agents and agencies on a monthly basis.
What sets WIN apart from competitors? I am a military veteran. We like order in our lives, and WIN has a proven system much like the Air Force. That’s definitely a plus. Also, Strategic-Partners are provided with professional graphics on the service vans and shirts. Having a professional look as a WIN home inspector is very important. When you dress and look a certain way, it helps you succeed.
WIN’s long-form reports are just great. Filling out reports electronically provides me flexibility to email them to the client, real estate agents, the bank, lawyers. I also have access to more than 200 other inspectors who can answer my questions and offer support. The parent company is also available for help and support, especially when it comes to legal and technical matters — how to deal with required documentation, insurance company referrals.
What kind of person makes a good WIN home inspector? Do you need experience in construction? I’m a perfect example of someone with no construction experience who is running a WIN home inspection franchise successfully. My background is office management and computers, and more recently, septic inspections. There’s no construction experience there, but I had enough skills that transferred well to home inspection.
A successful Strategic-Partner is someone who is a good communicator and puts homeowners’ concerns to rest. It is essential that you have the ability to calmly and clearly explain the home inspection report to real estate agents.
A lot of things set me up for success, including working with a Scott as a mentor and receiving excellent online and in-field/in-person training. The ride-alongs with Scott were very helpful. Online training helped me know what to look for during each inspection step — construction, interior, exterior, electrical, and so on. Additional in-the-field training gave me the ability to apply my knowledge and also to learn marketing and bookkeeping.
How large is the opportunity for home inspections? Depending on how much you are willing to handle, the sky’s the limit. I know one owner in Tennessee has four or five regions, while my territory is about 100 to 150 miles from end to end.
What do you like about the home inspection business? I definitely like being my own boss and helping home buyers realize their dream of homeownership. I have the ability to name my own hours and work as many or as few as I’d like. I like knowing that I’m helping the homeowner. Our long-form report is very thorough, so I know I’m giving them the best service they can get anywhere.
Would you recommend this franchise? Yes, absolutely. WIN Home Inspection gives franchisees conformity. It gives you the tools to start and market a business. It provides owners with a very professional organization.
What are some of the most valuable lessons you’ve learned as the owner of a WIN Home Inspection franchise? One important lesson is that it takes time to develop your business. You need to work hard developing contacts and a network for business. But it’s also important not to lose sight of work-life balance. I think it’s important not to overwork yourself. It’s very important to establish good relationships with agents; it makes deals go a lot smoother. If an issue pops up during an inspection, you learn to provide solutions that can show the homeowner that the house has a lot of potential.
You are an Air Force veteran. Do you think WIN is a good business for vets?
Yes, WIN Home Inspection franchises are a good business for vets because they match the conformity vets had during their service. Many vets come out of the service with no direction and don’t have a clear path. However, WIN provides vets, or anyone for that matter, with a proven system and an opportunity to earn an unlimited income. All that someone needs to do is just give it a little time.
Learn about starting a WIN home inspection franchise
The WIN Home Inspection franchise provides extensive training to help Strategic-Partners understand the technical skills needed to be great home inspectors. Many consider WIN to be one of the best home inspection franchise opportunities on the market.