14 Sep 2016

An early experience with a retail franchisee planted a seed in Stephen Kiefer. As a contractor, he didn’t expect he would, years later, become a franchisee himself.

How did you hear about the franchising industry?

“My background basically is pretty much construction-related and I worked for a manufacturing and installation company in San Diego. Through a long course of things and happenings I was an outside rep for a company who developed coatings for waterproofing buildings.”

Stephen ran across a guy who was running tanning salons while installing a coating on the floor. He was impressed that within a year he opened three of them.

“That planted a seed in my head.”

He moved to Las Vegas to follow the housing market. Stephen had some excess cash and wanted to invest in something. He went back to what he had seen as successful — the franchised tanning salon.

“I got involved with Planet Beach. Built one from the ground up and operated that. I bought one. That was my entry into the franchise market.”

How did you meet WIN Home Inspection?

Stephen rode the property waves both in California and Nevada. Making lateral moves within the construction industry helped solidify in his mind that he wanted to be his own boss.

Previously, Stephen had been an expert witness for attorneys in construction defect cases — mostly class action. So, he went back to what he knew.

“I wanted to get my contractor’s license and work for my book of business for attorneys I knew. The barriers of entry were longer and steeper for home inspections than for litigation.”

“With my franchising background, I started researching the franchises out there.”

“In construction defect cases, the contractor is being sued by Homeowners Association (HOA) and it’s usually a class action. So, I would go in, get a list of the defects and estimate the repairs. I was writing reports. I didn’t have other employees. I was self-reliant. That’s how I got into home inspection.”

However, he wanted to shorten the period of time before he could become a viable business. Having previous experience in the retail side of franchising with Planet Beach. He knew he had options. And that’s how he found WIN Home Inspection.

“I don’t necessarily have to have employees, though that’s my goal. I’ve dealt with employees; I know the headache of that.”

“I made a decision to go franchise because there’s a lot going on with any business, unless you have a specific skill set, to keep up with — website, marketing, etc. It’s very difficult to do on your own if you want to run a comprehensive business.”

Why did you decide to purchase a WIN Home Inspection Franchise?

When deciding upon which franchise to go with, Stephen did quite a bit of research.

“I met with neighbor franchisee and asked questions. I emailed 25 questions to current franchisees. I received responses from 15, and phone calls from handful. The question I asked was, “If you had to do it all over again, would you make a different decision?’ They all said, ‘No.’

Stephen Kiefer also appreciates that the leadership of WIN Home Inspection is accessible to new franchisees.

“The President, Steve Wadlington, was available when he got in touch. It was accessible. If I have a problem, Steve gets on the telephone. I can go to the top guy if I need to and he’s there and he listens. He’s a good guy.”

Was the industry an influence when choosing WIN?

There were two primary influences on Stephen for choosing WIN: scalability and longevity.

“I can scale it. I’ve seen evidence of that. If you work at it. As a relatively young person I can do this for a long time. I could do five inspections a week (as a retired person). I can do it in Nevada, Hawaii, or Florida. I can pickup and land anywhere. It’s not a hard business if you’re good, if you’re responsive, and if you know what you’re talking about. It will grow for sure.”

“There is a light at the end of the tunnel. It’s scalable. If I want to sit on the beach, I can sit on the beach.”

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