Any stay-at-home parent faces a series of hurdles when returning to the workplace: finding the right field, having the flexibility to transition, learning how to balance family and career. When Andrea Stammreich decided she was ready to go back to work, she found the perfect fit in an unexpected place – the male dominated field of home inspection. Her role as franchisee utilizes both her experience in construction and her interpersonal skills in a wide-reaching and flexible system. Here's what she's learned making the transition from stay-at-home mom to franchisee.

Name: Andrea Stammreich

Franchise owned (location): Pillar To Post Professional Home Inspections, in the Los Angeles area      

How long have you owned a franchise?

Since January 2014

Why franchising?

I chose franchising for the integrity of the brand and the internationally recognized standardized training.  Pillar to Post was the first franchise to computerize home inspection reporting, so the system is robust and flexible. With the franchise support system I can tap into national marketing opportunities for my personal home inspection business.

Related: Franchise Players: Veteran and Mother of Five on Refusing to Settle

What were you doing before you became a franchise owner?

Before I became a franchise owner I was a stay-at-home mom to two adorable girls (nine and five years old) and a part-time virtual assistant.

Why did you choose this particular franchise?

This particular franchise appealed to my handy nature and general knowledge of construction and building practices. I find it fulfilling to be able to educate homebuyers on the structures and systems of their prospective home and to help provide information that will make their new home safer. 

How much would you estimate you spent before you were officially open for business?

I’m finding that my start-up costs are front-loaded with much of my expenditures going to franchise/training fees and initial marketing expenses:

  • Franchise Fee/Training: $17,000
  • LLC/DBA setup: $200
  • Marketing: $700
  • Tools/Equipment: $3,350
  • Insurance/Prof Membership: $2,750          

Where did you get most of your advice/do most of your research?

My husband and I did our research together and received a good deal of advice from the VetFran network. It certainly helped that Pillar To Post was the No. 1 Home Inspection Franchise for over 10 years running. I called current franchisees who were able to speak in glowing terms of the solid reputation Pillar To Post maintained, and the rigorous training program they had undergone.

Related: Franchise Players: Serving Up Sweet Tea at a Southern Franchise With a 'Radical Fan Base'

What were the most unexpected challenges of opening your franchise?

Two weeks of training out of the country for a stay-at-home mom was an enormous challenge. Thank goodness my husband was so supportive and has the flexibility to telecommute so he was able to be home with the girls while I was away. Additionally, there are so many moving parts to getting the business up and running once I returned from training. From securing my tools to setting up my phone service, I have completed task lists every day to make sure I have everything in place to “go live” and do my job.

What advice do you have for individuals who want to own their own franchise?

The best advice I can give is to first do your due diligence and then to weigh all the pros and cons. Then you have to follow your heart. While I love the technical aspects of home inspection and all the tremendous tools I can use to investigate the homes I inspect, I chose this service business because I am a people person and I get enjoyment from helping homebuyers and agents better understand all aspects of the pending purchase.

What’s next for you and your business?

I am in the process of launching a large local marketing campaign and introducing myself to the agents and brokers in my general area as part of my start-up. I am looking to establish my business prior to the summer and showing the local agents the “Pillar To Post difference”.

Related: Franchise Players: How This Franchisee Found Love at a Carpet Cleaning Convention