Franchise Players is Entrepreneur's Q&A interview column that puts the spotlight on franchisees. If you're a franchisee with advice and tips to share, email email@example.com.
Before becoming a franchisee, Lee Kastberg worked for Habitat for Humanity for about 10 years, helping families in need find affordable housing. His interest in housing took a turn when he decided to explore home inspection. Pillar To Post Home Inspectors provided the perfect roadmap for Kastberg to find entrepreneurial success. Here is what he has learned.
Name: Lee Kastberg
Franchise owned: Pillar To Post Home Inspectors in Denver, Colo.
How long have you owned a franchise?
Since Spring 2011.
Early in my research, I met with some independent home inspectors and was more impressed by the professionalism of the Pillar to Post franchisees. The speed at which my business grew exceeded my expectations, and I would say that was in part due to the road map that was provided by the franchise.
What were you doing before you became a franchise owner?
I worked for Habitat for Humanity for about 10 years, partnering with families in need and community volunteers to build affordable housing. I was interested in starting my own business with the goal of being able to support a family on a single income. I saw a home inspection and was interested in learning the business. I met with the other Denver franchisee in early 2011 and was in training by March/April of that year.
Why did you choose this particular franchise?
It was really due to the local franchise owners that I met. I knew that support was close by when I needed it. I didn’t even research other home inspection franchises, as I was that confident in Pillar to Post.
How much would you estimate you spent before you were officially open for business?
Around $30,000. Pillar to Post's website has figures that are fairly close to my own, five years ago.
Where did you get most of your advice/do most of your research?
From the regional franchise owners and from the local real estate board.
What were the most unexpected challenges of opening your franchise?
I was doing more inspections off the bat than I originally thought and not as much marketing as I expected. I needed to find a balance between the two and know when an additional inspector was needed.
What advice do you have for individuals who want to own their own franchise?
Prepare to work a lot more than you originally anticipate. Also, being knowledgeable on your craft does not make you a natural business owner.
What’s next for you and your business?
I need to continue to learn and grow as a business owner. I would like to add additional inspectors (two currently work for me), but continue to do four to five inspections per week, personally, in order to remain hands on.
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