Creating a heritage of personal responsibility and excellence.
By Steve Wadlington
*This story originally appeared on www.atourfranchise.org, a website highlighting the positive impact of franchising on communities around the country.
At WIN Home Inspection, our focus has always been on recruiting worthy people with drive, discipline and a passion for owning their own business. Before launching our WIN for America program in 2012, in which we joined in partnership with the International Franchise Association’s VetFran effort to offer award credits to potential strategic-partners (franchisees), we observed the core of our network was already largely made up of veterans. Wade Palmer is one of our many fine veterans.
Sgt. Michael “Wade” Palmer, who retired from the Army National Guard/Air National Guard and his wife Teresa began operating WIN Home Inspection Bend, Oregon in 2003 with much success. According to Palmer, they “bought a franchise to focus on running a business and not building the system behind it.” Prior to joining WIN, Palmer was a telephone operator in Alaska and also worked for a fuel system/construction company. He operated two successful businesses too, a motel and RV park, and then a furniture manufacturing business. “We bought a WIN franchise partly because I like being my own boss while not having to manage a team of employees. Owning and operating a WIN franchise is less work than having employees.”
However, when their son, Corporal Michael Ryan Palmer was honorably discharged after five years of active duty with the Marines in 2012, their business was thriving and they were looking for an additional inspector. It was only natural for Michael to join their team as the answer to their search.
Michael had sought out other opportunities, and was also considering going back to school, however, he loved the idea of working for his family’s business, and the WIN Home Office welcomed him whole-heartedly!
WIN values the opportunity to assist in the transition from soldier to civilian life and strives to provide the necessary support to ensure success. “Most of the guys I know are still trying to get back on their feet, and I was really lucky to have this business to come straight into,” says Michael. “Coming out of the Marine Corps, I felt like I was really making a difference and I still feel like that, helping my clients make one of the biggest decisions of their life. What I do matters.”
As a veteran family, Wade, Teresa and Michael all agree that they have learned how to communicate with all types of people, a key skill when providing a service to homeowners.
With Michael, the Palmer operation has further built their WIN business, with the addition of nearly 200 more inspections per year. “I work as hard for our WIN business as I did getting ready for an observation post. I feel like I have a great advantage in the workplace as I can get more done with less and make things happen in adverse conditions.”
With all this said, while Wade and Michael are both esteemed veterans, Wade says he can’t forget he’s the boss and he’s the dad. “I always have to remember what hat I’m wearing. I can address Michael differently than I would other employees and he can be more honest with me too. However, respect is key and it’s always at the center of our operation.”
While Michael was hired on as an inspector through an existing veteran owned location, to date, WIN has awarded 23 WIN for America service awards to additional veterans since 2012. WIN has pledged a commitment of over $1.2 million to the WIN for America program to assist veterans, vowing to help 50 new veteran candidates become WIN business owners. WIN Home Inspection is still actively recruiting to fill those additional territories. We are not just veteran friendly, we are actually veteran focused; it’s good for our veterans, and good for our WIN business.
Blending veterans with franchising is a natural fit. Veterans appreciate a proven plan for business, where they know that proper execution and hard work will produce success. And as Michael reiterates, hard work is the key to any workday, in active duty or in the life of a home inspector. “When I go to work, I work. When the work day is done, I get dinner.”
Steve Wadlington is president of WIN Home Inspection, which has 187 locations in 31 states. Find him at fransocial.franchise.org.
Blending veterans with franchising is a natural fit.