This article originally appeared on Entrepreneur.com.
BY ERIN SCHULTZ
Palm Bay, Fla. resident and U.S. Army veteran Francis Campbell spent the majority of the past 35 years overseas. He spent eight of those years retired but in Iraq and Afghanistan as a civilian Department of Defense employee, working in support of U.S. Central Command and U.S. Special Operations Command.
He also served most recently in Afghanistan as the senior advisor and mentor to the Afghan Deputy Minister of Interior. Francis is retired from the military and from his Army travels, and has launched his own home inspections company — A Buyer’s Choice Home Inspections — in Palm Bay. Here he tells us more about his journey from military man to franchisee.
Name: Francis Campbell
Franchise owned: A Buyer’s Choice Home Inspections in Palm Bay, Fla., serving South Brevard County
Q: How long have you owned a franchise?
I have owned my A Buyer’s Choice Home Inspections franchise for six months.
Q: Why franchising?
Franchising affords me the opportunity to work on my own time while being a part of a system that has a proven business model. Additionally, I’m able to learn and receive support from others within the brand in order to run my own business successfully.
Q: What were you doing before you became a franchise owner?
Before purchasing my A Buyer’s Choice Home Inspections franchise, I spent 38 years working as both an Army officer and as a government civilian and contractor. My most recent experience was as a senior government civilian in Afghanistan, where I was the director of the Police Intelligence Advisory Group and the senior intelligence advisor to the Afghan Deputy Minister of the Interior. I lived in Kabul, Afghanistan and prior to that I spent approximately six years living and working in Iraq, Afghanistan and other Middle Eastern countries.
Q: Why did you choose this particular franchise?
I chose A Buyer’s Choice Home Inspections because of its proven business model and international acclaim. Also, I truly value the brand’s thorough franchisee training system, which provides interactive practice, not just classroom lectures. Additionally, this franchise allows me to live my passion for the home inspection industry. I’ve bought and sold many homes in the recent past, so I couldn’t be happier to have found this opportunity with A Buyer’s Choice Home Inspections.
Q: How much would you estimate you spent before you were officially open for business?
Before I was officially open for business, I spent approximately $35,000 to $40,000. This cost included the franchise fee, office supplies, training and travel.
Q: Where did you get most of your advice/do most of your research?
I did most of my research by speaking with other who recently bought a franchise with A Buyer’s Choice Home Inspections. This was an invaluable tool to help me make the decision to purchase the franchise for my area.
Q: What were the most unexpected challenges of opening your franchise?
The most unexpected challenge of opening my own franchise was breaking into the existing home inspection market and achieving name recognition with realtors. There are many inspectors in the industry, most of whom are independent contractors, but with A Buyer’s Choice Home Inspections’ proven business model, I’ve been able to easily show my expertise in the industry as well.
Q. What advice do you have for individuals who want to own their own franchise?
I would advise aspiring franchisees to persevere in their dreams, to find something that fits their lifestyle and to find something they enjoy doing day in and day out. I also strongly suggest researching industries extensively and asking many questions.
I moved forward with the A Buyer’s Choice Home Inspections franchise opportunity because it gave me the chance to work with people from all walks of life, to work in housing and to even work from my own home. I never thought I would own a business after spending so many years working for the government, but after carefully researching this opportunity with A Buyer’s Choice Home Inspections, I knew that was my next step in my career.
Q: What’s next for you and your business?
Next, I plan to grow my business in my area to provide top-notch, proven home inspections in both Palm Bay and around Brevard County.