Spotlight: Home Inspection Franchise Saves Couple From Bankruptcy





Pillar to Post Home Inspectors

Tom and Tracey Capuano went from being on the verge of filing for bankruptcy to thriving in a new business in just over a decade. In the late 90’s, Tom’s heating and air conditioning business was failing. The couple was struggling to keep their home and other assets. So they looked into starting a different type of business.

Now, the couple owns a Pillar To Post Home Inspectors franchise in Cincinnati. The business has been so successful that not only did the Capuano’s avoid losing their home, their business was also named Franchisee of the Year in 2005. This success didn’t come without a lot of hard work though. Read more about their journey in this week’s Small Business Spotlight.

What the Business Does:

Provides professional home inspection services.

Aside from full home inspections, the company also handles testing for radon, termites, mold, bed bugs and more. They also conduct pool and spa inspections.

Business Niche:

Providing fair and accurate inspections.

Tom Capuano says:

“Our inspectors hold the values of professionalism, care, integrity, honesty, pride, and sincerity and live those values. Our clients and referring agents feel the difference in our company.”

Pillar to Post Home Inspectors

How the Business Got Started:

As a last resort.

Capuano’s previous business was failing. He needed to find a way to provide for his family. He explains:

“My wife Tracey and I were struggling. It was apparent to me that I needed to find an alternate way to use my experience and skills in heating and air conditioning. The way we were going at the time, I knew I would have to file for bankruptcy.”

So the couple used the last of their remaining credit to buy into a Pillar To Post franchise. In the first year, Tom performed 442 home inspections and worked seven days a week.

Employees:

Thirteen.

These employees have been the secret to the company’s success. Capuano explains:

“I have four key employee partners who have been with the business each over 12 years. This has been the foundation of our growth and success. Without their commitment and dedication, the company would not be as successful.”

Pillar to Post Home Inspectors

Biggest Win:

Being recognized as the Pillar To Post Franchisee of the Year.

The Capuanos’ franchise won this award in 2005. And in 2013, the company performed its 25,000th home inspection.

Biggest Risk:

Using the family’s last remaining credit cards to start the business.

The couple was in the middle of some financial struggles when they chose to open their franchise. So taking a loss on their new business could have caused them to lose even more. Caupuano explains:

“I used my final credit cards to start my home inspection business. If it had failed, we would have been in a very difficult position and likely would’ve lost our house and all our assets.”

However, the family managed to start the business without ever even missing a mortgage or IRS payment.

Lesson Learned:

Jump right in.

If they had started the business sooner, Capuano says they could have avoided some difficult years.

How They’d Spend an Extra $100,000:

Opening another Pillar To Post franchise in a warm, sunny climate.

Favorite Quote:

“Your people are a direct reflection of you. They watch you. They follow you. They measure you. They listen to you. If you want them to be dedicated to you, you have to be dedicated to them.” ~ Jeffrey Gitomer.

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Find out more about the Small Biz Spotlight program.

Image: Pillar to Post Cincinnati

5 Comments ▼

Annie Pilon - Staff Writer


Annie Pilon Annie Pilon is a Senior Staff Writer for Small Business Trends, covering entrepreneur profiles, interviews, feature stories, community news and in-depth, expert-based guides. When she’s not writing she can be found on her personal blog Wattlebird, and exploring all that her home state of Michigan has to offer.

5 Reactions

  1. Aira Bongco

    that is one of the things I love about small businesses. There is always that feeling of family that you will not be able to feel in big corporations.

  2. Jumping into a new business after failing in the previous one shows their dedication. Business depends on risks, timing and a lot hard work simultaneously. Pros to them for showing such a gratitude towards the people who needs help.

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