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Today’s Ask the Expert column features Dan Steward, president of Pillar To Post Home Inspectors.

Q: Pillar To Post Home Inspectors® was recently ranked No. 1 in the home inspection category in Entrepreneur magazine’s Franchise 500, a list of the top 500 franchise companies operating today. It is the 19th year in a row! How does that feel? And how does that happen?

A: It feels great, but it doesn’t happen without the hard-working franchisees who operate our nearly 600 locations. Also, I need to credit all the people we have all over North America from our corporate family who serve and support franchisees every day. Training is impeccable and lengthy in our company, yet franchisees come away feeling confident that they’ve just found their career for the rest of their lives.  

Q: Is it true that in the last few years, 30 percent of your franchisees have come from some branch of the military?

A: Yes, and much of that is due to circumstances of our world today. Lots of servicemen and women come back with a very good technical education, as well as lots of discipline, and they like the thought of structure and routine in their lives. Our VetFran program is offered through the International Franchise Association to members of our military. We’ve achieved a rarified five-star status in the program—and are very proud of that. Our returning members of the military are happy learning our state-of-the-art technology, and it’s easy for them to adapt since they have so much training and knowledge already. There’s also a freedom to owning your own mobile business. These are not people who are used to sitting behind a desk all day.

Q: Who else do you see looking for a career in home inspection?

A: We’re also seeing many new franchisees from home-related industries, including real estate professionals, former mortgage brokers, construction experts and independent home inspectors who want the power of a national brand behind them. We recently had one of our home inspectors do an inspection on a $25 million property with six buildings. That takes a lot of expertise and training, in addition to a great reputation, since the job was referred to him by a real estate professional he had worked with in the past.

Q: So, there are former real estate professionals who are now home inspectors?

A: Yes—and not only former real estate professionals, but also current ones who are handling both of these important roles. Many people who love the home industry in general and have obtained a lot of knowledge over the years are becoming “home industry multitaskers.” Some have a license in a few different areas and do very well, while at the same time loving what they do.

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