WIN Home Inspection Review: Q&A with Terry McGee, Director of Franchise Development
Strength and stability of the WIN Home Inspection franchise lures longtime franchise developer to join support team
WIN Home Inspection added a key member to its support team when the company named Terry McGee as Director of Franchise Development. Terry has been helping companies expand their businesses since his early days nearly 20 years ago as a district operations manager with Signarama.
Terry is familiar with the strategies involved in aggressive franchising. Most recently, Terry managed national and international development for House Doctors, a home-repair franchisor, as their director for franchise development. His experience with House Doctors and other franchisors includes a variety of tasks: managing discovery days and training sessions; overseeing marketing and sales teams; developing follow-up procedures for lead and sales generation; managing lead generation programs such as web portals and broker networks; conducting webinars on the lead generation process; and ensuring legal compliance with franchise agreements.
Terry says he requires candidates to contact WIN’s Strategic-Partners while they are researching the business. In doing so, the candidates find validation in what Terry has told them. Terry also enjoys the simplicity and strength of the WIN model. Franchising with the home inspection service is a reasonable investment that doesn’t require a brick-and-mortar store, and it’s backed by a recognized brand in the housing industry that offers a diverse range of services.
What do you find attractive about WIN Home Inspection?
What first makes our home inspection franchise attractive is putting people into business. I enjoy the aspect of helping someone achieve goals and create wealth. In this economy, there are a lot of people who have been laid off and are looking for a new start in life. It’s gratifying to help people restart their careers and do well.
What I also found most attractive was the business’s simplicity and strength. The home inspection business is straightforward, and we provide additional services such as pool and spa inspections, pest inspections, and radon testings. It’s an industry that continues to grow even though the housing industry struggled several years ago. The opportunities with WIN and the industry itself are enormous.
I knew about WIN for several years before joining the team. I researched WIN and checked out the housing and home inspection industries. I also asked our Strategic-Partners how well their business was doing. Through all this I saw what WIN had to offer, and I’d instruct any candidate to do the same. When they’re making validation calls, they’ll hear what I have already told them. A very simple question I asked Strategic-Partners is, “Would you do it again?” Across the board everyone told me yes. WIN is a good business not only because of the industry’s strength but also because of the support WIN has to offer.
The true indicator of how we get people up and running and performing at the highest level is the operational and marketing support. Those things are better than anybody else’s in the home inspection franchise industry. In my nearly 20 years of franchising experience, I’ve not seen any company do marketing and operations better than WIN.
What are the stumbling blocks for prospective Strategic-Partners?
The biggest questions that come up are: “What are you going to do for me after I pay the franchising fee? Where does the money go? Are you putting me out there on my own?” To answer them I discuss our marketing and operational support. We offer a 90-day plan from the day they open their doors. It’s a step-by-step process they must accomplish in order to make the right start.
Strategic-Partners also perform a one-year marketing plan. We handle high-end items from the corporate level, but it’s also having their boots on the ground that gets them in front of the Realtors, their No. 1 referral source. We provide tools and resources — such as videos, articles, and email campaigns — that help them become more effective. After we show candidates how we support them, they see it played out when they do ride-alongs with our Strategic-Partners. They are very happy with what they see.
What is the timeline for opening a new location?
Somebody can be up and running in 30 to 45 days. There’s no brick-and-mortar location. That makes it very simple to get everything in place and running. As far as how we select areas or territories, we create ZIP-code-based, protected marketing areas. We set them up on the number of transactions in a particular area — it’s a range of 2,000 to 2,500 home transactions in a market per year.
The equipment package is simple, and there’s no inventory. The first part of Strategic-Partner training consists of online webinar training classes from home, which takes 30 to 35 hours to complete. They spend two weeks at our headquarters, learning the technical side during the first week and business and marketing in the second week. Once that’s completed they’ll be ready to go.
What are the qualifications required to become a Strategic-Partner?
There’s no perfect formula that says some backgrounds are better than others. The common trait Strategic-Partners share is their enjoyment in working with people. They deal with homebuyers and Realtors. They must be easy to work with, and they must develop relationships with clients throughout their territory. They’re going to be strong on customer service and make Realtors rest assured they’ll do a good job. To do that they must be confident and attentive to their needs. That’s the common trait.
We need people who are outgoing, involved with the local chamber of commerce, real estate organizations, and other community groups. In a lot of ways our business is customer-service driven. You’re selling yourself. We’re going to be the most professional and efficient home inspectors in the field.
What are the trends in the industry?
For us they’re going straight up. When the bottom dropped out of the housing market in 2008, we didn’t see our numbers decrease. We stayed flat, which was a positive for this industry. As the market started to turn around over a couple years we increased system-wide sales by 38 percent. Last year we were up again. The first quarter for 2015 also shows us up in double digits. Overall, system-wide, the numbers are fantastic. Our name is continuing to grow in the industry. Realtors and real estate companies love what we’re offering — the professionalism and the efficiency of our reporting. The effect we’re having with our clientele and our Strategic-Partners is growing every day.
Do you offer specific incentives to veterans?
Yes, our program is called WIN for America. Our franchise fee is $19,500, but those who qualify for the WIN for America program have a franchising fee of $13,500. It’s a fantastic opportunity for any veteran and for us. We want to give back to the guys who put their lives on the line for us. We have Strategic-Partners with a wide variety of backgrounds from the different branches of service, as well as those who have spent 20-30 years in the service and retired. We have guys who spent four to six years, have left the service, and decided to look at the business. It’s very gratifying to help and give back to somebody who has been serving our country.