How One WIN Home Inspection Franchise Owner Became a Customer Service Star
George Gaves’ WIN Home Inspection franchise earned a 98% customer service approval rating in 2013
George Gaves doesn’t fit the typical profile of many WIN Home Inspection franchise owners, many of whom say they’ve always dreamed of owning their own business. That’s because George never wanted to be his own boss — at least not consciously. It was a big surprise to him when life events conspired to put him in front of a business counselor who recommended that he check into a new career as the owner of a WIN Home Inspection franchise.
Prior to purchasing a WIN franchise, George wore many different career hats. He taught test-preparation with Princeton Review, worked in large-building maintenance and held down service-oriented jobs. The last job he had before deciding to buy a WIN Home Inspection franchise was as a real estate agent in Connecticut. When his wife landed a job in Ann Arbor, Michigan, that required the family to move, George became serious about considering a new line of work. He knew he wasn’t completely satisfied with being a Realtor, so he decided to work with a franchise consultant to explore the idea of buying a franchise.
“I honestly had never thought of owning my own business,” George says. “I didn’t think I could afford it. I was even reluctant to meet with the franchise counselor to discuss my options. I put the meeting off for six months.”
When the 40-year-old father of two finally did sit down with a franchise consultant, everything fell into place. The consultant helped George see that the combination of skills he’d gathered over the years would translate well in the home inspection field. Yes, he’d need some home inspection education, but that wasn’t a problem, since George is the kind of person who loves learning new things.
George launched his WIN business in Ann Arbor in 2012. A little more than a year later, he won WIN’s annual Customer Satisfaction Award at the company’s 2014 conference in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. He earned the highest approval rating of any single-unit franchise owner — a near-perfect 98%.
George is on track for a similar result in 2014 and has doubled his business in the past year.
“Buying a WIN Home Inspection franchise really made a whole lot of sense, even though it cost a little more to get it started,“ George says. “There were only a couple of other franchises in Michigan, so that was a plus. But it was more than that; WIN feels like it’s a cut above the competitors.
“WIN thinks about the presentation side of things,” George adds. “For example, they are the only one that required a service vehicle. It made sense to me from a customer service perspective. Showing up to the job with a branded vehicle and wearing professional WIN attire is going to work in my favor. It’s a no-brainer.”
Although he considered purchasing other national home inspection franchises, George says WIN stood out as the most advanced and professional franchise of its kind. He was particularly attracted to WIN’s emphasis on customer service and professionalism. He was also impressed with his fellow WIN Home Inspection owners’ willingness to offer advice, education and support.
“I didn’t find one Strategic Partner who said, ‘No, I can’t talk to you; I’m too busy,” George says. “Everyone at WIN is generous with their time and knowledge. It’s a great group.”
George has a few customer service strategies under his sleeve that work very well for him. He uses Facebook regularly to get the word out about his WIN business. He also uses Facebook as a platform for “Testimonial Tuesdays,” where he posts weekly recommendations from clients. The word-of-mouth advertising that comes from the testimonials is quite effective. It doesn’t hurt that almost all of the testimonials are glowing.
Here are a couple of examples:
George is the ultimate professional with a terrific communication. George represents WIN in a unheralded fashion. George turns the inspection into a best tips class for the prospective purchaser, wow what a great value. All of us consider George our lifetime home inspection go to. Yes, all our friends will know also.
— Nancy, Paul and Mike G.
We could not believe the quality of service from George. We have never seen an inspection done like this before. We learned a lot about things in and around the house. He also informed us how to address it or have it fix if it ever broke. He was friendly, professional and knowledgeable. Thanks George!
— Debbie H.
George also takes the time to follow up with clients who have failed to respond to WIN’s initial customer feedback form, which is offered to the client at the end of a job. He sends a follow up e-mail to them after 2-4 weeks, and it usually garners good results.
“Client feedback is the most important thing to me,” George says. “At least half of my business comes from referrals from happy customers. I especially like to hear that my work is detailed and that a client appreciates the amount of time spent on job. I constantly ask myself the question, ‘What else should I be doing?’ If I don’t know how I’m doing from a client’s perspective, then I’m operating in a vacuum.”
Learn about starting a WIN home inspection franchise
The WIN Home Inspection franchise provides extensive training to help Strategic-Partners understand the technical skills needed to be great home inspectors. Many consider WIN to be one of the best home inspection franchise opportunities on the market. To learn about WIN Home Inspection training and support, as well as start-up costs and financial performance, visit our research pages. To read more interviews with WIN owners, visit our blog. To start a conversation, please fill out a form to download our free franchise report or call us at 1-866-430-9308. We look forward to talking with you.