Interview with Bill Redfern, CEO of A Buyer's Choice Home Inspections
A Buyer’s Choice Home Inspections franchise is a residential and commercial home inspection franchise, operating in Canada and the United States, South America, and Europe. They have Regional Master and Unit Franchises available worldwide. Their core business is to assist, comfort, and protect home buyers and realtors during the purchase or sale of real estate by providing a third party, comprehensive, detailed report on the condition of a property prior to closing. The inspectors of A Buyer's Choice are all fully certified, insured, and present themselves professionally.
Bill Redfern, President and CEO of A Buyer's Choice Home Inspections, has been a realtor, broker, and property management company owner for over 20 years.
Franchise Help (FH): Can you tell us about the state of the home inspection industry today, given the condition of the housing market?
Bill Redfern (BR): Overall, the home inspection industry has seen an increase, despite the condition of the housing market and economy since 2008. The majority of markets across North America have continued to see the same number, or an increased number, of real estate transactions each month, even though the property values have plummeted in some areas.
Home buyers are understanding more than ever the importance of protecting their investment by having a home inspection performed, regardless of the type of transaction, whether it is a foreclosure, short sale, or a regular transaction.
Currently, upwards of 95% of real estate transactions involve a home inspection. In many cases, the lender or insurance company will require a home inspection to be performed.
FH: What are some of the things that set A Buyer's Choice apart from other home inspection franchises?
BR: A Buyer’s Choice Home Inspections was founded specifically for consumers and realtors, by a former realtor, who understood very well the shortcomings of the industry. The entire system was developed to create harmony between real estate agents, home buyers, home sellers, and other real estate related professionals, by offering completely non-partisan information and thorough professional documentation.
We offer an opportunity for someone with no related background to begin a career as a home inspector. Our industry leading training program includes full home study material, live marketing, business operations and field inspection training, taught by experienced A Buyer’s Choice Home Inspections Master Franchisees and Inspectors. Our Master Franchise structure means that every Unit Franchisee has a local contact whose sole job is to support them in their business, and develop the brand within their territory through continued franchise sales efforts.
FH: What are the roles and responsibilities of Master Franchisees and Unit Franchisees under your business model?
BR: Regional Master Franchisees purchase the rights to sell and develop Unit Franchises within their protected territory. Their role is to sell franchises, assist new franchisees in getting their business up and running, and provide on-going support for existing franchisees. They also coordinate meetings and events in the region, organize group advertising initiatives, etc.
A Unit Franchisee is typically the person who performs home inspections. In some instances, the Unit Franchise owner hires independent contractors to perform home inspections in their territory and expand their business. However, all Inspectors of A Buyer’s Choice are trained directly by us,in the same manner, following the same program.
FH: What are the different revenue sources of Master Franchisees of A Buyer's Choice? How do your Unit Franchisees make money and get paid?
BR: A Master Franchisee generates revenue in 2 main ways: from the initial sale of franchises, and from royalty revenue on each home inspection performed within their territory.
Unit Franchisees make money on the home inspections they perform, with very minimal overhead costs. In most cases, the inspector is paid for their service at the time of the inspection, which means there is little to no accounts receivables or collections to perform.
FH: What qualities do you look for in a prospective Master Franchisee? How about in a prospective Unit Franchisee?
BR: There is no specific ideal background or work experience for a prospective Master Franchisee. It is all about personality type. They must be outgoing and likeable, comfortable in a sales position (we offer full training on how to sell franchises), and have a passion for helping other people build their lifestyle dream. Having experience being self-employed isa bonus but is not required.
A Unit Franchisee could be anybody who is looking for a self-employment career that is flexible. The biggest element in being a successful home inspector is marketing themselves to the real estate community and the public, so they must be comfortable talking to people and networking, as is the case for many types of self-employment. The hands-on skill of performing home inspections is a skill set virtually anyone can acquire by completing our comprehensive course, regardless of their previous work experience.
FH: What kind of training and support can your Master Franchisees and Unit Franchisees expect to receive?
BR: Our UnitFranchisees receive unprecedented support in the home inspection industry through the support of their local Master Franchise owner, including quarterly regional meetings, on-going training, regional event and advertising coordination, a mentoring program, and friendship and support from fellow inspectors within the region and the company.
Master Franchisees receive the same type of support from Head Office including quarterly meetings, annual conferences, national advertising coordination, and new marketing programs for them and their inspectors. And, of course, advice and support is only a phone call or email away at any time.
FH: Why should someone interested in entering the home inspection business choose to go with a franchise like A Buyer's Choice instead of starting their own independent operation?
BR: Many states and provinces in North America have licensing requirements, meaning that home inspectors must obtain a license to perform home inspections within that state or province. Many more states and provinces will be instituting licensing in the coming years. As a franchise system, we are able to ensure our training complies with all licensing requirements. Independent inspectors often have a very difficult time acquiring enough experience and time in the field to obtain licensing.
Additionally, with A Buyer’s Choice Home Inspections, you gain the combined years and years of marketing and business building experience directly relating to the home inspection and real estate industry, and a proven recognized brand. The cost of starting up an independent inspection business far outweighs the cost of joining a franchise when you factor all the miscellaneous costs of developing a brand, technical training, time lost while getting started at a slower pace, additional administration, etc.
FH: Is there anything else you wish to share about A Buyer's Choice?
BR: In 2012, we have seen the opening of our first Master Franchise in South America, in the country of Chile, as well as the Master Franchises for the countries of Czech Republic and Slovakia in Europe. In both cases, home inspections are currently not being performed during the purchase or sale of residential properties. Therefore, in introducing our franchise system, we are pioneering a brand new and much needed industry outside the borders of North America.
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