An interview with Don Thorne, owner of Pillar to Post Professional Home Inspections in Naperville.
Q: Describe your business. What do you do?
Address: Naperville, IL 60565
Owner: Don Thorne
Year business started: 2013
Web address: www.pillartopost.com/donthorne
A: I am one of nearly 400 plus Pillar to Post franchised home inspectors in North America. Pillar To Post is North Americas largest home inspection company. My training, the reporting and our professionalism through the entire process is second to none. We are dedicated to helping real estate professionals help their clients. We get referred by the realtors, however, we provide objective information so the client can make informed decisions and ultimately gain peace of mind for one of their largest purchases.
The inspections are a comprehensive evaluation of nearly 1,600 items inside and outside the home. After the inspection we generate a computerized report that can be generated on site if preferred by the client. The report is clear and concise. It includes an Executive Summary and color photos. Pillar To Post inspects on the roof (safety permitting), the attic, all the way down to crawl spaces and basements. At the end of the inspection we go through the highlights and I introduce a Pillar To Post Binder. I have been told by a realtor that this is one of the many ways this sets us apart from some of the other home inspectors. We offer three different home inspection packages for our clients. The three different packages are, plus, premium and prestige. The premium is the most popular choice. My current additional services offered are radon testing, termite testing, and mold testing.
Q: What made you start your business?
A: My cousin's husband who lives in Indianapolis, Matt Lottes, started in 2004 and has become quite successful with the Pillar To Post franchise. They have been asking me to look into starting one in Illinois, because they thought with my background in coating sales I would be a natural. They made it through some tough times with Pillar To Post, which gave me confidence in the franchise system. Also, my father was going to try opening a business when I was young and he never did. If this endeavor works out maybe my sons will follow in my footsteps.
Q: How has running the franchise gone so far?
A: The start up with Pillar To Post has been wonderful. The education, training and processes that Pillar To Post has developed and improved for the franchisees over the years is incredible. But I would have to say the most difficult obstacle in starting this business from the ground up is the earning the respect of the realtors to give me the opportunity to be referred with confidence. Knowing that I am not a deal killer but that I work for the client and I will educate and inform their customers.
Q: What do you enjoy most about operating your business?
A: I really just started but I would have to say that the interaction, education and helping the clients is what I enjoy the most.
Q: Is this what you pictured yourself doing when you were young?
A: No, this is not what I pictured myself doing when I was young. In kindergarten I wanted to be a salesman like my dad, then I wanted to be a pro athlete. Now I just want to enjoy my own business and be with my family.
Q: What keeps you up at night?
A: Building my small business revenues, growing my client base and reducing my company's risk and costs and of course my kids. Only kidding about my kids, they are good.
Q: If you could give one tip to a rookie business owner, what would it be?
A: Stay positive, be patient, make a plan and work the plan!
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