During a 20-year military career, Lt. Colonel Mike Mullins, USAF (Ret.) served his country with the utmost honor. So it was only fitting that the Pillar To Post Home Inspectors franchise owner was recognized by Maria Contreras-Sweet, Administrator of the Small Business Administration, in her address to the International Franchise Association convention in San Antonio in February.
The 47-year-old Mullins retired from the Air Force in 2011 and in September 2015 became a franchisee of Pillar To Post, the largest home inspection company in North America. Serving San Antonio and surrounding areas, Pillar To Post is the leader in home inspections in the U.S. and Canada, giving homebuyers or sellers a clear, unbiased evaluation of a home’s condition and answering any questions they might have to help ensure peace of mind.
Mullins retired from the military as a decorated veteran, earning a Bronze Star for heroic service in a combat zone in Iraq. In addition, as Contreras-Sweet noted in her address, Mullins served his country in another special way: ”As a commander at the mortuary at Dover (Del.) Air Force Base, he was assigned the solemn duty of overseeing the ‘dignified transfer’ process when our fallen heroes return home in flag-draped caskets. He led the honor guard teams that memorialized their sacrifices and ensured their remains were safely delivered home to their loved ones.
“He (Mullins) has led in other ways, too, showing the quiet courage to seek out help in his own unseen wounds of war,” Contreras-Sweet continued. “By the end of his career, Lt. Colonel Mullins was in Washington briefing senior military leaders at the Pentagon. When he finally transitioned out to watch his kids grow up, he searched for a way to apply his military discipline and leadership training. He decided to become an entrepreneur.”
Contreras-Sweet not only recognized Mullins because of his outstanding service to his country, but because he was able to take advantage of the services of the Small Business Administration when he sought to become a franchisee of Pillar To Post, which offered him a discounted franchise fee, low-rate financing and world-class technical and marketing support.
Contreras-Sweet said that when Mullins needed additional start-up capital he turned to the SBA and within 24 hours met with a local lender and was approved for a low-interest SBA loan for $50,000 for startup costs, inspection equipment and working capital.
Only seven months after becoming an entrepreneur with Pillar To Post, Contreras-Sweet noted that Mullins is “now a preferred vendor for a major San Antonio real estate firm and he’s almost halfway to 200 inspections, at which time he plans to make up to five additional hires.”
Said Mullins: “I would definitely tell other individuals to use the services of the SBA. The process is fairly simple and the rates are very good.”
Mullins’ days are hectic ones. If he’s not out inspecting homes, he’s meeting with realtors in search of a trusted home inspector to recommend to their clients.
“I discovered Pillar To Post after becoming interested in purchasing a franchise,” Mullins said. “I was interested in construction, but being a Pillar To Post home inspector combined the best of both worlds and it ranked very high among franchisors, especially as a vet-friendly franchise.”
A professional evaluation of more than 1,600 items inside and outside the home is at the core of Pillar To Post’s service. Inspectors input data and digital photos into a computerized report that is printed and presented on site. All information is provided to clients in a customized binder for easy reference, allowing homebuyers or sellers to make confident, informed decisions.
All Pillar To Post inspectors are members of regional, state, national and provincial associations across the United States and Canada, and all inspections are conducted within the Standards of Practice of those associations.
“I’ve always enjoyed construction and working on houses,” Mullins said. “I also enjoy working with my clients. I really enjoy first-time homebuyers and having them with me during the entire inspection process. It’s a lot of fun showing them the various aspects of their new home.”