18 Dec 2015

Chattanooga franchisee cites integrity, wonderful partners and satisfaction of helping clients as best aspects of WIN Home Inspection

Doug Gray has been a WIN Home Inspection Strategic-Partner since 2009, and he recently earned Franchisee of the Year honors.

WIN Home Inspection Strategic-Partner Doug Gray is a textbook example of the success that is possible with WIN. Doug nearly tripled his inspection business in 2014, completing more than 400 inspections. In May, he received our Most Improved Strategic-Partner of the Year award at WIN’s annual convention.

“I had more business than I could do,” Doug says.

In February 2015, the 51-year-old was on pace to grow even more, but he fell and broke his ankles. He has recovered and is back in action. Here is his story:

How did you get started with WIN Home Inspection?
I wanted to get into flipping houses. I was listening to a franchise broker on the radio, and I called him. We met a few times, and when I was evaluating franchises, I said I wanted my own schedule, I didn’t want to be tied to a brick-and-mortar structure, and I wanted flexibility — that narrowed it down to five. WIN dovetailed into what I wanted to do with real estate and identifying properties. I started my franchise in January 2009. It did help me identify key properties, but I have enjoyed doing the inspections so much that I haven’t flipped a property since.

What did you do before owning a WIN Home Inspection franchise?
I was a business analyst for BlueCross BlueShield for 20 years in Chattanooga until there was a consolidation in 2007. I was laid off.

What do you like about being a WIN Home Inspection Strategic-Partner?
It’s been a blast. I’ve worked with Realtors and clients and met wonderful people. Every inspection is different, and I learn something from every one of them. When I walk away, I feel good about what I did. When I sat in a cubicle, I had little satisfaction. I wish I had done it 10 years sooner.

What sets WIN apart from other franchises?
There are a lot of small things. I liked the people I talked to, and I felt like there was a lot of integrity. When I got to talk with the WIN core members and the Strategic-Partners, they were very helpful. It is a team; you can lean on these guys. If you get in a crawl space at a house and see something unusual, you can text a picture to someone and they will tell you what they know about it. We have tons of experience among our group of Strategic-Partners, a lot of knowledge in different aspects of construction. Everyone is very encouraging of each other and very willing to help.

What kind of person makes a good WIN home inspector?
You have to have a drive, a competitive spirit and want to succeed. Like in any small business, the positive aspect is that you are responsible for your success — and the negative aspect is that you are responsible for your success. People who want to do their own thing and are tired of the status quo can make good WIN Home Inspection franchisees.

What don’t people understand about home inspections?
People think home inspections are the same as appraisals. Home inspections are telling people about the condition of the home, and appraisals are about telling people how much a home is worth. Most people don’t know what home inspection entails and what depth you go into as far as telling them about the condition of the home. People don’t understand how inspections work — they think they are pass or fail. My job is to educate the client about what they are purchasing and give them a snapshot of what they may need to improve structurally or safety-wise. I want to educate them about what they are buying.

Would you recommend this franchise? Why?
I already have — to my brother-in-law, Tom Leonard. He purchased a WIN Home Inspection franchise in Orlando, Florida. He is a retired Navy nurse, and he wanted to do something different. He rode along with me while I did my inspections to see what it was like.