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Remaining Hands On While Growing My Business

Remaining Hands On While Growing My Business
Image credit: Lee Kastberg

Franchise Players is Entrepreneur's Q&A interview column that puts the spotlight on franchisees. If you're a franchisee with advice and tips to share, email franchiseplayers@entrepreneur.com.

Before becoming a franchisee, Lee Kastberg worked for Habitat for Humanity for about 10 years, helping families in need find affordable housing. His interest in housing took a turn when he decided to explore home inspection. Pillar To Post Home Inspectors provided the perfect roadmap for Kastberg to find entrepreneurial success. Here is what he has learned.

Name: Lee Kastberg

Franchise owned: Pillar To Post Home Inspectors in Denver, Colo.  

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How long have you owned a franchise?

Since Spring 2011.

Why franchising?  

Early in my research, I met with some independent home inspectors and was more impressed by the professionalism of the Pillar to Post franchisees. The speed at which my business grew exceeded my expectations, and I would say that was in part due to the road map that was provided by the franchise.

What were you doing before you became a franchise owner?

I worked for Habitat for Humanity for about 10 years, partnering with families in need and community volunteers to build affordable housing. I was interested in starting my own business with the goal of being able to support a family on a single income. I saw a home inspection and was interested in learning the business. I met with the other Denver franchisee in early 2011 and was in training by March/April of that year.

Why did you choose this particular franchise? 

It was really due to the local franchise owners that I met. I knew that support was close by when I needed it. I didn’t even research other home inspection franchises, as I was that confident in Pillar to Post.

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

Around $30,000. Pillar to Post's website has figures that are fairly close to my own, five years ago.  

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

From the regional franchise owners and from the local real estate board.

What were the most unexpected challenges of opening your franchise?

I was doing more inspections off the bat than I originally thought and not as much marketing as I expected. I needed to find a balance between the two and know when an additional inspector was needed.

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

Prepare to work a lot more than you originally anticipate. Also, being knowledgeable on your craft does not make you a natural business owner.

What’s next for you and your business?

I need to continue to learn and grow as a business owner. I would like to add additional inspectors (two currently work for me), but continue to do four to five inspections per week, personally, in order to remain hands on.

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