From the January 2001 issue of Startups

Are you a detail-oriented person with a natural curiosity to check out other people's homes? If so, The HomeTeam Inspection Service may be a franchise worth looking into. Although this business can be run from your home, you won't be working alone. Your handpicked team-which typically includes a master inspector, a support inspector and a HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) specialist-will thoroughly inspect clients' homes that are up for sale. Your other day-to-day activities include direct-mail marketing, trade show exhibitions and presentations to real estate offices and realtor boards.

HomeTeam Inspection Service provides marketing materials to target all market sectors, including homebuyers, home sellers and the general public. But the franchisor has found it most effective to target industry professionals. Because realtors and other real estate professionals are in a position to recommend this service to both home buyers and sellers, strong working relationships should be made with these individuals who will see you as a necessary go-to person when a home is being resold.

Although no formal training is needed, a business background is helpful. Even if you have no experience, you can learn the ropes quickly in HomeTeam Inspection Service's comprehensive two-week training program. The training will teach you all the marketing, hiring and business procedures necessary, and provide technical instruction so you can become a certified home inspector. You'll also receive proprietary software, access to the marketing program and ongoing support.

Greg Haskett, vice president of operations at HomeTeam Inspection Service, finds the key to success lies in the company's marketing program and team approach. "The program allows our franchisees to put themselves in a position of greater visibility, and the real estate industry sees us as more professional because of it," says Haskett. "The team concept of home inspection makes us the most unique of the home inspection businesses. [We have an] advantage because more inspections can be performed in less time, giving franchisees the potential to make more money."