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

Dan Steward 
President and CEO
Pillar To Post Home Inspectors® 

Q: How did 2021 start off for Pillar To Post Home Inspectors?
A: Surprisingly well, considering the kind of year 2020 was for all of us. As I’ve said before, 2020 started brilliantly, then in March we all got word that things were about to change radically for business owners. The value of the homes we inspected was over $55 billion, and thanks to all we learned and implemented last year, we are growing and continue to be very excited.

Q: And how did things change for your network?
A: Like every other company, we had to take a step back, reassure our franchisees that we were “on this,” then form an immediate taskforce team to address all of the issues at hand. I always see this as the advantage of being part of a well-run franchise system, and this huge obstacle was about to prove that.

Q: What were the first steps?
A: No. 1 was to reach out to our network of more than 500 franchisees with a leadership message informing them that we had formed a taskforce and were working with the National Association of REALTORS®, using CDC guidelines and following the facts rather than rumors. This is what they depend on us for. We immediately set out to put together a playbook for each home inspector in our network, which put them on track as far as next steps. Our franchisees are fluid and professional in their work, and they’ve continued to use this playbook well into the first quarter of 2021.

Q: Will this method continue once things get back to normal?
A: We think this will be the new normal in that we’ve invented superior methods to serve REALTORS® and decrease the need to always have to be onsite for inspections. The pandemic was the impetus for some improvements that were coming down the pipeline anyway. Our franchisees and their certified home inspectors took the new technologies, adhered to the guidelines, and served their customers beautifully. Home inspections actually increased as time went on. Because people were spending more time at home making offices, play areas and spaces for the kids’ lessons, many upgraded or upsized their homes. We also noticed an uptick in those seeking more outdoor space. Buyers and sellers still need home inspections, and our home inspectors perform them so efficiently that there isn’t a backlog.

Q: What do you think was the Pillar To Post difference?
A: Aside from following all the guidelines, like always, we’ll continue to focus on customer service. We want to accommodate the homeowners and our REALTOR® partners. We debuted our PTP360 tour, which has allowed our franchisees to do more home inspections than ever, with terrific results. It has turned out to be a lifeline for both our franchisees and our REALTOR® partners and homeowners. Digital copies of the report and a blueprint plan can be handed to the agent so that negotiations for repairs can begin immediately. The report shows every nook and cranny of the home, depicting and noting any flaw or area that needs attention, as well as a description of the issue. In addition, we recently held our annual conference virtually, and not only was it a hit, it was done efficiently. We announced some new, exciting plans and are on track to grow exponentially and reach the lofty goal we have set for 2025.

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