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No Place Like Home

Building an empire one brick at a time

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This story appears in the February 2000 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

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.

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