Encore Entrepreneur Stories: Roland Zapata bounces back with home inspection solo business after lay off

After 17 years in the corporate world, Roland Zapata was laid off.  Eventually, He explored a solo career doing home inspections and soon his company, Ideal Home Inspections LLC launched.  Roland wonders why he didn’t do this sooner.

What the business does:  Ideal Home Inspections LLC offer home buyers an in-depth inspection of their future home.  In addition, IHI offers homeowners who are thinking about selling Pre-Inspections.  This process gives sellers the chance to correct any items that would prevent them from getting the maximum sale value of their home.

Roland’s business also offers 72 hour continuous radon testing as well as Lead Based Paint Testing.  He is becoming a Home Energy Assessor (to be completed by the early Fall 2017).  Concurrently, Roland is taking the steps necessary to come a certified Commercial Inspector for businesses less than 10,000 square feet (to be completed by November 1, 2017).

This is going to give Roland several strong streams of income for his company. He is never again going to count on one customer or one product. He believes that being laid off taught him a difficult lesson; don’t put all your eggs in one basket.

Roland’s Journey of re-imagining, re-creation, re-visioning:  After 17 years of corporate sales, Roland was laid off, told to clean out his office and his whole working career was turned upside down and disappeared within 30 minutes.  Roland was really surprised and took some time to recover from the lay off.  He began a process of self-exploration, and looked into home inspections.  He said he had always worked on houses and that his father was a general contractor so he was very familiar with the building industry.

“Getting out of your comfort zone is important for a solo business”, says Roland.   “Establishing relationships with realtors, title companies, brokers, and contractors has also been important for me. People come and go in this business.  It takes a bit of effort to get regular work.”
Roalnd likes working with first time home buyers because he has been through that process.  “I alleviate their concerns and fears.  I know what they are going through.”

Roland adds that follow through and integrity are key.  “If you don’t have that, your credibility goes south fairly quickly.”  He now has six regular clients.

BSR Take Away:   “When first starting out, it’s vital to meet as many people as you can. Develop a network that is actively promoting you and your services.  Knocking on doors, Facebook, and LinkedIn are some ways Roland markets.  He recently got six contacts on Alignable.

“Integrity— follow through is extremely important.  I work with six real estate companies on a fairly consistent basis.”  His goal is to increase his client base.
Roland concludes, “If you are going to own your business, be prepared to work 24/7.  Being self-employed means everyday is a work day.  You know what?  Two years later, I wouldn’t have it any other way. I absolutely love every minute of it!!!  I wish I had become a home inspector 10 years ago.”