Dan Steward is President & Chief Executive Officer of Pillar To Post Home Inspectors and has led the company since 2004. In that time Pillar To Post has repeatedly been ranked the #1 home inspection franchise by Entrepreneur magazine, been a FBR Top 50 company for franchisee satisfaction as ranked by Pillar To Post franchisees and has expanded across Canada and USA to become the largest home inspection company in North America.
Dan is deeply involved in the home inspection and residential real estate industries and often writes and speaks on home inspection and real estate business subjects. Dan is a graduate of Wilfrid Laurier University holding HonsBBA and MBA degrees.
Dan has four grown children and enjoys kayaking, soccer, reading and great red wine with friends.
BeTheBoss.ca: Tell us about the Pillar To Post Home Inspector concept.
Dan Steward: Pillar To Post Home Inspectors is the leading home inspection franchise in North America. It was founded in 1994 in Toronto and has now grown to over 450 offices across Canada and the US and is growing rapidly. The Pillar To Post franchise offers a proven program for enabling our franchise partners to conduct and build a home inspection business that offers a great income opportunity as well as personal flexibility and quality of life. Pillar To Post is a home based, low cost business offering the reward of helping people to buy a home as well as the opportunity to build personal wealth.
BTB: How and when did you become involved with Pillar To Post Home Inspectors franchise?
DS: I joined Pillar To Post in 2004 with the goal of building the finest and largest home inspection franchise business in North America. In 2003 the founder of Pillar To Post sold the business to The Franchise Company (now First Service Brands) which operates a number of leading home service franchise brands including; CollegePro Painters, Floor Coverings International, Paul Davis Restoration, CertaPro Painters and California Closets. There is a clear history of excellence in franchising and brand leadership in all the companies and taking the helm of Pillar To Post was landing a dream opportunity.
BTB: What was your background prior to joining Pillar To Post Home Inspectors franchise?
DS: Service businesses have been in my blood my entire career and I have held business development and leadership roles in Fortune 500 companies and aggressive entrepreneurial companies, including in another franchise system. Growing businesses is a personal passion and Pillar To Post offered the opportunity to work with a strong staff team and an outstanding network of franchise partners to truly build something great. It is as if all previous jobs with some very great companies was all about getting ready to take on this role with Pillar To Post.
BTB: What are some of the advantages in being a Pillar To Post Home Inspectors franchise business owner (franchisee)?
DS: Pillar To Post Home Inspector franchisees are sought after experts in their markets to assist real estate professionals, home buyers and home owners in making informed decisions about the homes they will be purchasing or currently own. Home ownership is the dream of most people and the market for home inspection services continues to grow. The Pillar To Post franchise system has been refined and proven over twenty years and our franchise partners have often achieved levels of income, quality of life and wealth formation that have exceeded their expectations. This is a low cost of entry, home based business, driven with a passion for delivering an outstanding and consistent brand experience to our customers and franchise partners. A franchisee can run their business as a sole operator, grow it to have an additional inspector or grow it to a large business with many inspectors. The Pillar To Post opportunity is built on a solid, well-earned foundation and the future is brighter than ever before for our brand and franchise partners.
BTB: Who is your ideal franchise business owner (franchisee)?
DS: Pillar To Post Home Inspector franchisees come from all walks of life. They all have several things in common;
- Have a goal and the determination to create a better life for themselves and their families, to have more control of their time and their income and their future
- Have a desire to help people in one of the most important decisions in their life – buying a home
- Enjoy building professional relationships and working with people
- Enjoy learning and are oriented to continuous learning
- Enjoy homes and houses
- Have pride in what they do and are driven to deliver a great customer experience
- Want to work in a great partnership with Pillar To Post and fellow franchisees
BTB: Tell us a little about the Home Inspection Franchise Market?
DS: Home Inspection today is growing in Canada. It is becoming the norm for a home inspection to be done during the home buying process and increasingly even prior to when sellers are preparing a home for listing. Busy, professional realtors are looking for professional home inspectors to provide their clients with a customer experience that is consistent and in line with their own ideal of customer service. Pillar To Post is the only home inspection company in a position to provide this consistency to the real estate community. The Pillar To Post brand and national coverage is building awareness and demand for its services so beyond the market growth, brand growth is also a driving force of opportunity.
BTB: What are some of the greatest lessons you’ve learned in growing this franchise?
DS: Through twenty years there have been many lessons. The two most important lessons focus on our customers and our franchise partners. Happy, successful franchise partners are essential for our brand to succeed so our focus every day is to help them to be successful with their customers in the field. And secondly, it is all about the customer, in our case real estate professionals and home buyers, since they are on the journey of home ownership and it is our job to help them succeed in that journey, such that they want to do business again with Pillar To Post and refer us to others.
BTB: Do you have a mentor and is their someone you use for inspiration?
DS: Yes, business is an adventure in which you want to continue learning and growing. Mentors have been a huge influence in my life and I am proud to continue to have many in my life today. As one of them often says, “you can’t check your own backswing”. I don’t golf much but you get the point that you need someone looking out for you and helping you get better at whatever you hold important.
BTB: What advice do you have for someone looking to acquire a franchise?
DS: Take time to understand yourself first before you go looking. Determine what you like and don’t like, think of past jobs, employers, industries or bosses. Determine what your strengths and weaknesses are that you bring to the business opportunity and play to your strengths. Determine some life goals such as needed and desired income, quality of life, a vision for five years out of what success looks like. Then go do research, do your homework, talk to franchisees and executives of any franchise you are interested it. Success comes in finding the right fit, you to the franchise and the franchise to you. No franchise is perfect but good mutual fit and partnership makes for a great life together.
BTB: In your opinion, why do you think that Pillar To Post Home Inspectors would be a great franchise opportunity for someone?
DS: Pillar To Post is an outstanding opportunity for someone looking to take control of their life and drive for a better future and quality of life for themselves and their family. It is a low entry cost, home-based business that can generate a great income and is scalable to any size you aspire to be. As with any business you have to put in the work in to be successful and here you do in a great partnership. In Pillar To Post you can do this in the leading Canadian home inspection company with a successful 20 year history, a proven business model, and most importantly, with outstanding future ahead of it.