Get All Access for $5/mo

A Globe-Trotting Veteran Takes on the Home Inspection Business After serving in the U.S. Army in Japan, South Korea and Afghanistan, Vincent Stoakley retired from active duty to become a home inspection franchisee.

By Kate Taylor

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Vincent Stoakley
Vincent Stoakley

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 ktaylor@entrepreneur.com.

Vincent Stoakley lived in countries including Japan, South Korea and Afghanistan during his 20 years of service in the U.S. Army. Little did he know at the time, as he traveled around the globe, he was inadvertently gaining the skills necessary to be a home inspector. After leaving the military, Stoakley became a Pillar To Post franchisee. Here's how he has applied his military knowledge in the field of home inspection.

Name: Vincent Stoakley

Franchise owned (location): Pillar To Post Home Inspectors, in Richmond, Texas.

How long have you owned a franchise?

Since March 2013.

Related: What to Expect as a Pizza Chain's First Franchisee in a New State

Why franchising?

Franchising allowed me to become a business owner without having to focus on inventing a brand. The Pillar To Post brand has proven its success for decades. There are systems in place that assist the franchisee with daily business operations and marketing. It is comforting knowing that you have a network and structure in place that will work with you every step of the way towards success.

What were you doing before you became a franchise owner?

Prior to being a franchise owner, I was in the U.S. Army for over 20 years, serving everywhere from upstate New York to Japan, South Korea and Afghanistan. I retired from service in 2012.

Why did you choose this particular franchise?

I chose Pillar To Post because it is one of the most veteran friendly franchises. They also have a low buy in cost, and offer a veterans discount.

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

Approximately $30,000

Franchise fee: $14,400

Travel for training: $600

State required education and training: $3,600

Tools, office equipment, and computers: $7,600

Insurance: $2,400

Startup marketing package: $1,400

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

I conducted my due diligence through VetFran, internet research and contacting Pillar To Post veteran franchisees.

Related: Being in Business for More Than Just a Balance Sheet

What were the most unexpected challenges of opening your franchise?

After serving in the Army for two decades, I was surprised to find that cold calling was an unexpected challenge for me. However, I realized that it was the process that I had to go through to build relationships.

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

Research the franchise of their choice, and their strongest competitor. Speak with the franchise about what services they offer to new franchisees. Talk with franchisees in your local area to get a feel for the organization's culture. Have a good realistic business plan and stick to it.

What's next for you and your business?

I will be adding additional services in 2015, such as pool and spa inspections. I will continue to build relationships with clients, realtors, lenders, and title companies. Also, I plan to bring on my first inspector employee in 2015.

Related: How This Ex-Subway Conductor Became an Expert in Franchising

Kate Taylor

Staff Writer. Covers franchise-related trends and topics.

Kate Taylor is a staff writer covering franchises for Entrepreneur.com. Related areas of interest include chain restaurants, franchisee profiles and food trends. Get in touch with tips and feedback via email at ktaylor@entrepreneur.com or on Twitter at @Kate_H_Taylor. 

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

Editor's Pick

Growing a Business

The Top 5 AI Tools That Can Revolutionize Your Workflow and Boost Productivity

Discover the top 5 AI tools for marketing and content creation that every marketer needs to know.

Starting a Business

How to Find the Right Programmers: A Brief Guideline for Startup Founders

For startup founders under a plethora of challenges like timing, investors and changing market demand, it is extremely hard to hire programmers who can deliver.

Business News

How to Build a Successful Startup, According to an Investor Who Made Early Bets on Twitter, Lyft, and Twitch

He's found a few patterns after nearly two decades of investing in startups.

Science & Technology

No More ChatGPT? Here's Why Small Language Models Are Stealing the AI Spotlight

Entrepreneurs can leverage this growing tech to create innovative, efficient and targeted AI solutions.

Business Ideas

63 Small Business Ideas to Start in 2024

We put together a list of the best, most profitable small business ideas for entrepreneurs to pursue in 2024.