In 2003, Kal Patel and his partner Craig Auberger successfully established 1st Inspection Services in Cincinnati, Ohio performing the inspections themselves. The real-estate inspection company conducts a professional, non-invasive examination of both the residential and commercial properties. A real estate inspection is, in essence, a visual inspection of the structure and components of the property to find non-performing or unsafe items. If a problem or a symptom of it is found, the inspector will include a description of the issue in a written report and may recommend further evaluation. Simply put, consider them to be your primary care physician. If they find a symptom, they will make a recommendation for the appropriate specialist to further evaluate.
The business was running smoothly as they had hired two additional inspectors within that first year until one day on the job, Kal had an accident that cost him several years of recovery. That morning of August 7, 2004, he fell off the roof– a fifteen-foot drop onto the concrete which completely shattered his right wrist and broke several bones in his right arm. Consequently, he had to take a long hard look at his life. He shares, “I went through nine surgeries over 3 years but it was probably the best thing that happened to me. I realized then that I had to work on the business and not in the business. Since then we began the business of franchising our home inspection company and now continue to grow business as the franchisors of the company.”
“We are not only inspecting the property to find any defects during the real estate transaction, but we are educating buyers and sellers on how to maintain their properties,”says Kal Patel, CEO, and President of 1st Inspection Services.
Today, 1st inspection Services has eight franchised locations– four in New Jersey, three in Ohio, one in Kentucky and their corporate office is located in Mason, Ohio. The company offer a wide variety of inspections/testing for the real estate industry such as residential inspections, commercial inspections, PCA i.e. property condition assessments, termite inspections, pool/spa inspections, sprinkler irrigation system inspections; and testing for wells, septic systems, radon, mold (both air and swab), and oil tank scans. Having a home inspection allows sellers to address the problem before closing the sale. And the buyer’s feels assured about their new purchase. It’s a win-win for all. Mindfully, they also take time to educate their clients on better maintenance of their estate besides providing a snapshot of the observable condition of the property and related systems at the time of inspection, and that’s a value proposition. “We also work closely with real estate agents and lenders on providing education so that they can be better educated on what a real estate inspection process looks like so that they can better assist their clients,” says Kal.
This is in line with 1st Inspection Services philosophy: “1st Inspections was founded on the principles of integrity, honesty, loyalty, and trust. These convictions embody our company at every level, and show in every action,” shares Kal.
This is also evident in the meticulous training program their inspectors have to go through. Whereas any new inspectors have to shadow a senior inspector on an adequate number of inspections following which the senior inspectors will oversee the new inspector to make sure that they are delivering the highest quality of service. He further adds, “Technology has also played a huge role in shaping the way we do our inspections and the reporting that goes with it. Licensing as of August 2019 is not mandated in 19 states but that is changing as Ohio becomes a licensed state in November of 2019, this will impact current people in the industry who might be doing this as a part-time extra income and will have to make a decision of making it their profession or leave the industry.”
Craig and Kal, Founders, 1st Inspection Services
By virtue of proven systems, training and continuous education that’s provided to the staff; the company has attained a steady growth rate in charming inspectors with integrity and a tremendous hunger for both knowledge and growth. Geographically 1st Inspection Services target market lies in all of North America where they can offer help to the unlicensed inspectors. With 15+ years of success and growth under their belt, 1st Inspection Services is striving to burst forth by strategically partnering with franchisees that share the same ethos as a company.
“We want people with heart and passion, who get excited knowing that they will be helping people with making sometimes the biggest purchase in their lifetime,” says Kal. Through their franchising programs, 1st Inspection Services has created an opportunity for aspiring entrepreneurs with lots of passion, energy, and love for people to own and operate businesses that will make a difference in their respective communities. But without the costly mistakes of starting up an inspection business from scratch: “We have a franchisee who was ready to start his own inspection business, he had brochures printed up and ready to go and realized how much riskier it was going to be on his own. He became a franchisee in 2008 and has never looked back,” shares Kal. “Another franchisee became licensed to do inspections and felt lost with so much information and so many inspectors going out of business and once he became a franchisee, we were able to provide him with the systems and processes that allowed him to thrive and he is now a master franchisee with three locations under him.”
Therefore franchisees opt to reply on the proven systems of 1st Inspection Services that has already established itself as a national leader in home inspection. Their specialists and the 1st Inspection Services ‘comprehensive franchise start-up guide’ guides franchisees through the development of the business plan, business set-up, licensing requirements (if required by state agencies), ASHI, NAHI, or NACHI membership, website development, etc. This is followed by four weeks of training, three weeks at the corporate office and one week at the franchisee’s location. The company also provides all the necessary software, laptop, tools, equipment, marketing material, and business systems – essentially a business in a box. Also, synoptic financial, ongoing marketing support, 24-hour telephone and email support, visiting the franchisee as requested for onsite support and recommendations, and administrative systems help franchisees avoid the perils of independent business ownership. In addition, 1st Inspection Services holds a three-day annual training conference for all of the inspectors and franchisees so that the company can continue building the knowledge and skills of their franchisees. As a result 1st Inspection Services franchisees keep thriving in their business.
Above all Kal says it’s a great business to be in. “Real estate is always going to transact, whether the economy is good or bad. People will buy real estate when times are good and even when the economy is having hiccups.” But most importantly what really keeps him excited, Kal says, “The best part of being in this industry is knowing that we are educating both buyers and sellers on what could be the most important and largest purchase in their lifetime.”