19 Jan 2015

In this WIN Home Inspection franchise review, David Schalm talks about his new career and the joys of walking his daughters to school

As David Schalm approached retirement from the Navy, he explored several career options. He knew he wanted a change and a new challenge and he decided business ownership was the best way to meet those goals. Today he is a WIN Home Inspection franchise owner in Dayton, Ohio.

David Schalm is the new owner of a WIN Home Inspection franchise in Dayton, Ohio.

As a veteran, David qualified for a substantially reduced franchise fee under the WIN for America program. In 2012, WIN pledged more than $1.2 million to the program to assist veterans, vowing to secure 50 veteran Strategic-Partners to work with the company. Today more than 25% of WIN owners are veterans, and that number is growing. WIN for America offers Gold and Silver level awards, which reduce the franchise fee by 50% and 25%, respectively.

Here is David’s story:

How did you get started with WIN?

The home inspection industry interested me because I enjoy home remodeling and maintenance, and I have been involved with the Dayton Area Habitat for Humanity. Additionally, I’ve spent a good portion of my career inspecting naval ships and aircraft, so this industry appeared to be a good fit.

I started researching the startup of a home inspection business and came across WIN, which was advertising itself as a veteran-friendly franchise. I began discussions with WIN, and it did not take long to see that we had very similar values, including a commitment to superb customer service and a high degree of integrity. The fact that WIN provided a reduced franchise fee for veterans was a welcome benefit.

How long have you been a WIN Strategic-Partner?

Three months.

Did you consider other home inspection franchises?

I mainly considered WIN versus running my own home inspection business (unfranchised). I did not shop around other franchises. My decision to go with WIN was primarily because I felt I would have a better chance for success.

Are you participating in any special WIN financing options?

I have personally financed the startup costs. This would not have been possible without the WIN for America Gold award 50% reduction in my franchise fee.

Do you have plans to add more territories?

The decision to expand is three to five years down the road for me. I would like to get this business on solid footing and also improve my technical knowledge. Assuming I get to a point where I am exceeding my own capacity to meet the market demands, then yes, I will strongly consider adding additional inspectors and expanding my territory.

WIN Home Inspection franchise makes it very affordable to start a franchise. Startup costs begin at just $33,900, and in some instances we offer in-house financing to cover a portion of the startup costs — making starting the business even more affordable for those who have good credit.

What do you like about WIN’s marketing?

I gained a lot of valuable skills during my naval career, but marketing was not one of them! I liked that during the initial WIN Strategic-Partner training, we role-played many of the marketing situations that may arise. This gave me the confidence to effectively market my business. I also like that they’ve provided me with a very clear marketing roadmap.

What are the characteristics of a successful WIN Strategic-Partner?

I’ve just begun my home inspection career, but I believe that perseverance, technical knowledge and communication skills will be essential to my success.

Does your family support your venture?

My wife has her own career, and my children are not yet at an age to really support my business. They do enjoy helping me assemble the chocolate boxes, though!

Does being a WIN Home Inspection franchise owner give you more flexibility in your schedule?

Absolutely I love being able to walk my girls to school in the morning, attend school functions, coach water polo, volunteer in my community and much more. These activities were all secondary while in the Navy, but now, being self-employed, I have the flexibility to prioritize these events as I see fit.

That said, I fully recognize that I will likely need to work odd hours and weekends until I establish my market. I have set a personal goal to achieve an acceptable work-life balance within two years of the startup of my business.