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No Place Like Home

Building an empire one brick at a time

Few people can build a successful franchise location; and even fewer can build successful busi-nesses from the ground up. But no one disputes that Ken Cornett is a master of building things. At age 43, he's the president of two companies: Estate Homes Inc., which he established 22 years ago, and his nearly 2-year-old UBuildIt fran-chise, both in Mill Creek, Washington. With about $190,000 in sales in 1999, Cornett's stint as a UBuildIt franchisee is a nice addition to the nearly $3 million he grosses each year with Estate Homes.

Estate Homes is a high-end home-building enter-prise, and UBuildIt is a consulting service for people who want to build their own homes. Although he was already busy with the contracting business when Cornett heard about the UBuildIt franchise, he decided to go for it. "[I thought,] if I don't jump in here and isolate my area, someone else is going to grab it," he says. Start-up costs for a UBuildIt fran-chise range from about $40,000 to $80,000.

Cornett enjoys guiding people through every aspect of building their dream house, from site analysis and design to the detailed systems manual. And future home-owners value his expertise--Cornett recently recommended to a client that he alter the location of his garage, saving the man $27,000. The unique aspect of the UBuildIt system, says Cornett, is the customer controls the cost.

While he ad-mits his biggest challenge is staying ahead of the fast-growing industry, Cornett finds ultimate satisfaction in knowing he helps people sleep soundly under the roofs of their dream homes.

Contact Source

UBuildIt/Estate Homes Inc.,16300 Mill Creek Blvd.,#121, Mill Creek, WA 98012, kbuildit@aol.com.

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This article was originally published in the February 2000 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: No Place Like Home.

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