01 Nov 2013

WIN Home Inspection franchise owner Bill Gray took control of his life by becoming a business owner

Bill Gray had two flourishing careers under his belt, but he felt something was still missing in his professional life. “I’d been on the corporate treadmill for 25 years,” says the former corporate management executive and Air Force Reserve officer, “I realized I wanted to be an entrepreneur in order to have more control over my own life.”

He found what he was looking for when he purchased his WIN Home Inspection franchise in Phoenix in 2009.

Gray was attracted to WIN because of a life-long interest in home construction and remodeling. He also liked the idea of combining his various professional skill sets. As a WIN franchisee, he could tap the technical skills he honed as an Air Force pilot, but also take advantage of high-level skills, sales, and marketing and management skills learned during his tenure as a management executive.

Gray says he’s working just as hard as he did in corporate America, but one important thing has changed. “I’m doing what I want to do,” he says.

What were you doing before WIN?
I was the regional sales director for a medical device company. I’m also a retired Lieutenant Colonel in the Air Force Reserve. I had been considering making a transition out of corporate America into something new for about two years. In the corporate world there’s big a demand to produce more than you did the year before, but typically you aren’t given the resources or tools to do it. It got to the point where my job was running my life. I wanted more control over my life.

How did you find out about WIN?
The “Air Force Times” published an issue in 2009 with a special focus on career transitions. It provided background information on home inspection and featured a couple of veterans with home inspection businesses. When I was ready to make my career move I began my research, and I discovered WIN on the Internet.

What sets WIN apart?
WIN has great brand recognition and a personable staff that cares about the success of the franchisees. The leadership team at the home office is very responsive. They have expertise in a lot of different areas — home inspection, real estate, marketing, and technology and business operations. WIN’s annual conference and expo, which is for franchisees, employees and spouses, is outstanding and includes a lot of information on in-depth technical and business topics and marketing. This event lets you build camaraderie with fellow WIN franchise owners and network with industry specialists. I also like WIN’s emphasis on continuing education. They require a minimum of 20 hours a year, but I more than double the requirement every year because I’m an eager to learn everything I can.

What kind of person makes a good WIN home inspector?
It’s ideal for someone that understands and enjoys residential home construction and remodeling and would like to be in control via owning their own business. WIN makes it possible for every potential franchisee to make an informed, accurate decision about whether or not this franchise is a good fit for what they want to accomplish. It’s a good idea to interview other franchisees and spend time with them in the field to get a true understanding of what they do.

How large is the opportunity?
Home inspections are such a critical component of the real estate transaction process and are transitioning from being something home buyers and real estate agents considered optional to mandatory. When you evaluate the number of residential real estate transactions that happen every day, you will find the opportunity is very large.

What do you like about the business?
I like planning and making decisions that aren’t mandated by an employer. I can run the business at my own pace without the outside pressure of corporate demands.

Would you recommend this franchise?
Absolutely — but only if you can accept the responsibility of being a self-starter and motivated to be successful. I don’t define success as just keeping a job, but staying continually motivated to set and reach personal and business goals.

What are some of the most valuable lessons you’ve learned as the owner of a WIN Home Inspection franchise?
In order to succeed as a franchisee, it’s important to take advantage of all the tools and resources — both those associated with WIN and others that you find on your own. You aren’t guaranteed business when you buy a franchise. You are basically purchasing the brand name. Be creative, resourceful and open to any opportunity or tool that can help you grow your franchise as long as it doesn’t conflict with the brand.

I believe in the strength of a plan. Create a plan, work the plan and don’t give up. At first, there will be frustrations. You have to be persistent and realize it does take time. Real success is not an accident.

What does franchise ownership allow you to do that you couldn’t do before?
When I was working in the corporate world I was staying in hotels two to four nights a week. I usually had weekend meetings and often had to travel on Sunday afternoons to be in place for Monday morning commitments. I’m so happy those days are behind me now. I love my work now. I go by the following saying: “When you do what you enjoy, you never work another day in your life.”