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Andrew Way, 37, has been a real estate professional for the past decade. He spent years designing housing programs in the St. Louis area that helped create jobs and stabilize communities that have been heavily affected by the downward economy. Way is now leveraging his extensive knowledge and expertise in the housing industry to open a Pillar To Post franchise – North America’s leading home inspection company – servicing the greater St. Louis area. Prior to his career in real estate, Way served four years in the U.S. Navy. Today, he hopes to combine his military experience and industry know-how with his passion for helping others as he opens Pillar To Post in his community.
MO: What influenced your decision to invest in Pillar To Post? What was most attractive about this franchise model in particular?
Andrew: Being a leader and the largest home inspection company in the industry, spoke volumes on the type of career possible with PillarToPost. I was also able to see the type of business that I had through my existing professional relationship with Chad Borah, Regional Director of Pillar To Post and what he said about the organization. All of the good things Chad had to say about his personal experience gave PillarToPost a competitive edge as well. Seeing what my regional direct was able to do with his franchise within the same market demonstrated a proven track record of what was possible for me in this market using the same business model.
MO: What were you doing before launching Pillar To Post and how were you able to leverage your past experience into making the business a success?
Andrew: Prior to opening Pillar To Post in St. Louis, I spent 10 years as a licensed real estate agent and residential investor. My experience in the real estate industry allows me to appreciate how important and how truly delicate the home inspection is. My experience and personality allow me to truly understand the sensitive nature of the relationship between the buyer, the agent and the home inspector.
MO: Can you expand on how Pillar To Post is a leader and innovator in both franchising and property service management across North America?
Andrew: With more than 400 locations in 45 states and eight Canadian provinces, Pillar To Post is the largest home inspection franchise company in North America and was the first to bring technology to the home inspection business with electronic inspection reports. The Pillar To Post Inspection Report details more than 1,600 key components of a home and its condition. It is completed on the day of the inspection and can be printed out by the home inspector onsite so the client doesn’t have to wait days or weeks to receive feedback on their inspection. Pillar To Post is also bringing social media and technology into the forefront of their marketing and outreach efforts, which is almost unheard of in this industry.
MO: Can you share how a home energy audit can help minimize a home’s impact on the environment, add value to the property, save money on heating and cooling costs?
Andrew: From my experience, if you can demonstrate a home’s environmental impact with an efficiency report and have some figures to compare it to, whether they are figures on the costs and emissions of the average home or a comparison of the house’s figures before and after investing in more energy efficient alternatives, you can immediately put an annual cost savings per year that shows the return on investment. Through the audit, clients are able to see exactly where the savings are coming from whether it’s electric, gas, heating, etc. Once seeing that report, a homeowner understands where they’re wasting energy and use it to improve problem areas.
MO: What advice would to give to someone considering buying a franchise?
Andrew: Do it! When going through this process, you want to make sure that it fits your lifestyle and that you feel comfortable with your expectations—both financially and emotionally. Do your due diligence and have the right expectations going in. It can be intimidating. When buying a franchise and establishing your own business, there is this delicate balance between having corporate support and launching your own small business. There is a seed-and-water relationship with your business. You will be planting a lot of seeds in the beginning and after watering and nurturing them, you hope for those seeds to grow. In my case, they have and it’s an exciting time.
MO: What’s the most exciting thing on the horizon for you personally or professionally?
Andrew: My business allows me to contribute to nonprofit organizations that my wife and I support. I’ve been able to work with Kathy and Brad Lambert, co-founders of Connections To Success with their cookie delivery program, which I provide to real estate brokerages as part of my marketing program. Connections To Success is a nonprofit organization empowering disenfranchised individuals in the Missouri area to realize their dreams and achieve economic independence by providing support, resources, and individualized plans.
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