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They Toured the World as Christian Musicians. Years Later, Franchising Brought Them Back Together Joel Engle and David Odom were on the road together as Christian musicians in the 1990s. Now their connection continues with WIN Home Inspection franchises.

By Carl Stoffers Edited by Jessica Thomas

Key Takeaways

  • Joel Engle and David Odom met in the 1990s when they were Christian musicians. The friendship ultimately led to Engle opening a WIN Home Inspection franchise, like Odom.
  • Although Engle was once Odom's guiding star in the music industry, today, the tables have turned.
  • The venture into home inspection comes with its share of pitfalls, as it's closely intertwined with the fickle housing market.

At 28, Joel Engle, a well-known Christian musician, stumbled upon a talented 15-year-old musician, David Odom, during a tour stop at a local church. The two struck up a friendship, one that continues 25 years later.

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Engle saw Odom's potential and took him on tour. Their bond transcended music, as both went on to pursue careers as pastors, often exchanging insights on leadership. Now, with Engle's ambitious approach to entrepreneurship and Odom's knack for motivation, the duo spearheads WIN Home Inspection's most successful franchises.

Getting started

Five years ago, Odom was a pastor at a church when a unique opportunity presented itself. "I was pastoring and doing some subcontracting with [a WIN Home Inspection franchisee]," he says. "He kind of recruited me to do home inspection. I was hesitant and wanted to do my own thing, but I started working with him." Soon, his entrepreneurial nature took over, and he bought a WIN franchise in the Atlanta area.

In 2019, Engle was temporarily working in corporate America. But it was clearly not a long-term option. "I was like, Man, I hate this. I'm a natural-born entrepreneur," Engle says. "And I thought, I live in Dallas Fort Worth, which is the real estate mecca of residential."

After researching the various industries that service the real estate market, Engle picked up the phone and called his old friend to ask about his WIN franchise. The results were life-changing. "We had this seminal conversation. It just hit me, the way that Dave and I have a lot of the same values when it comes to helping people, and we're also born entrepreneurs," Engle says.

Engle soon left his corporate job and invested in his own WIN Home Inspection franchise. "In my 50s, I just started a business in the real estate field, the craziest, most up-and-down, feast-or-famine type of industry," Engle says.

A mentoring switch

Engle, who mentored the young Odom in music, now sees part of their relationship as an ironic change of places. "It's been kind of a full circle," Engle says, "because I was David's music mentor and probably, in many ways, between me and his dad, an entrepreneur mentor. And now it's hilarious because he's the one mentoring me because he is probably our most successful [franchisee]."

Odom was also there to help calm Engle during the early, less certain days of the franchise. "I would be on the phone, and Dave would be telling me, 'It's okay, it's going to be okay.'" Both men laugh often as they tell these stories.

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On a new path

Odom explains that, although the pair are now in a different line of work than music or pastoring, their approach has not changed.

"Joel and I now are on a different path," he says. "We're both doing WIN Home Inspection, but the way we do life has not changed. So when I empower people every day, I do it with the same attitude and care and love that I would when I was working in a church or traveling the world with Joel."

Odom's territory radiates about 40 miles around Macon, Ga. — and he's looking to expand. Engle, who is based in Texas, has roughly a seven-mile piece of Dallas. The territories are starkly different in size, but, as Engle pointed out: "Within that seven-mile radius is probably close to 500,000 people."

The Dallas-Fort Worth metro area now has about 7.9 million residents and is expected to reach 10 million people in the 2030s, surpassing Chicago to become the third-largest metro area in the U.S. "With the amount of people that are moving into [the DFW area], there's just so much money to be made in doing what we do," Engle says. In fact, when he secured the territory from WIN, he was ecstatic. "I couldn't believe it when they allowed me to have this territory," Engle says. "I was like, 'You're gonna give me all of this? What about Oklahoma next?' They said, 'Let's take it one step at a time.'"

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An industry dependent on a volatile market

Home inspection obviously relies heavily on home sales, making any venture risky due to the cyclical nature of the housing market, which has an acute sensitivity to the whims of interest rates. A hike in these rates invariably chips away at housing affordability, leading to dwindling demand, not just for homes but for all ancillary businesses in the housing ecosystem.

Another challenge can be the real estate process itself, which can take months and lead to impatient buyers, sellers and realtors. "There's a whole buying process," Odom says. "People are already on their last nerve, stressed out and you're stepping into the process. You have to have significant technical skills to get the job done correctly and quickly."

Looking ahead

As both men look ahead, one thing is certain — they'll have each other's backs as they each build their territory. Odom is looking to middle Georgia as his focus, and Engle will continue to build his business in the Dallas area. Regardless, Engle is grateful that the two are teamed up again. "It's just hilarious," Engle says. "I say hilarious in a joyful sense. How the roles are reversed and how the love and the brotherhood that we established so many years ago were reinvented for today."

Carl Stoffers

Entrepreneur Staff

Senior Business Editor

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