WIN Home Inspection believes in the same community values that makes it a great fit for military veterans. Just ask the more than 25 percent of our franchisees who are veterans themselves. This was true with military veteran Brian Fish who started from scratch and built one of the most successful group of Designated Marketing Areas (DMAs) in the WIN System: Mount Vernon, Whidbey Fidalgo Island and Whatcom.
“We’ve found higher ranked veterans naturally have a total business-minded mentality. Once they join WIN, we then just help them to understand how our brand works.” Steve Wadlington, President
In our most recent interview of franchisee success stories, we talked with Brian Fish, a Strategic-Partner located in Mount Vernon, Washington, a bit north of Seattle.
Choosing WIN Home Inspection
We understand that people have choices and we encourage those interested to do their research. When researching his franchising options, Brian Fish interviewed ten WIN Strategic-Partners. He asked questions from a variety of franchisees — those who were struggling to those who were successful.
“I’ve been in the business long enough to know people struggle,’’ Brian said. “I wanted to know what might be something that caused people to fail.’’
Brian came from a military background, had been the Assistant Vice President and Branch Manager at Bank of America, and had attended other business conferences before after the Navy where he was an Aviation Electrician. He was also involved in several nonprofits and professional organizations including the Kiwanis Club and Skagit County Veterans Advisory Council.
What made the difference to Brian Fish when he had so many franchising options? He said that when we invited him, along his wife, Sara, to spend a day at the corporate office to meet everyone, his decision was made. It comes down to the people and the culture of WIN.
“I signed the agreement three weeks later.” Brian Fish
Brian is most impressed with the community within the WIN Franchising Network. He went on quite a few ride-alongs with other Strategic-Partners at the start of his business.
“They welcomed us with open arms,’’ he said. “Everyone was extremely open and honest which spoke a lot to WIN’s Core Values. It made it a very easy decision to go with WIN because other systems didn’t offer that.”
Success Starts with the WIN Designated Marketing Areas (DMAs)
The WIN Franchise system offers exclusive Designated Marketing Areas or DMAs for franchisees to purchase. Though home inspections is a solitary business, as military veteran Brian Fish admits, that became an opportunity to work with is fellow Strategic-Partners. Brian joined the WIN Washington Co-Op and they became a team.
“WIN did a very good job researching the area. They told you the number of inspections per transaction (given to us upfront). It’s up to them to go get it. It’s certainly not easy. Once the guys get busy, they’re not doing any marketing. You can reach out and partner with them. There’s always overlap. Keep the relationship open, we’re all playing for the same team. Be positive; work your way through it. Two heads are better than one. I’d be very accommodating, wear my heart on my sleeve. What can we do together to help our businesses out in this area. So that they can all benefit.” Brian Fish
Brian was impressed with the whole WIN Franchise System — the website, branding materials, and other pre-made marketing materials. In his view, we went further than other systems. Brian knows that the Home Office is supportive to their Strategic-Partners.
“WIN has been very responsive when I’ve reached out and needed help. That’s kind of unusual for a Corporate entity; half the time they run with the advice. I could pick up the phone right now and I know our training expert would answer. I could even call Steve Wadlington, our president, and he would answer. The Home Office team actually takes the time to help you.” Brian Fish
Brian had a mission — he wanted to be a successful operator and he created business goals to accomplish that mission. Though he admits it took a bit longer than he had hoped, he wasn’t daunted because he is a man of purpose, a common trait with military veterans.
“Have a plan. Make a budget. Step off the cliff. Step hard.” Brian Fish
The WIN System Scales
Brian purchased his first WIN territory in mid-2012, and it didn’t take his franchise long to turn a profit. In year, he acquired a location north of him, hired his first employee in 2014, and now has most of northwestern Washington north of Seattle.
Brian puts emphasis on managing expectations both from you as a the strategic partner and on the market.
“I always say it’s yours to fail. Don’t go into the business world and it is going to be easy and business will fall from the sky. I have never worked harder in my life than running my own business. You have to sacrifice hours for dollars. If you’re not prepared for that — if you take a vacation, the phone stops ringing. You can’t expect to be profitable for the first year.“ Brian Fish