Philip plans to buy a termite and bedbug detection dog with this loan. Philip is a home inspector running his own business, F. Home Inspections. He inspects the condition of homes, checking for electrical, structural, or any other problem. He also inspects for insects. “I have a pest control business license and I want to expand that side of my business. In a non-conventional way.” With the rise of bedbugs across the country, Philip sees a real need for these services. “It’s becoming an epidemic. …To be able to do an inspection of a house with a canine will be very valuable.”
One of the worst parts about bedbugs is the psychological impact. “It really messes with people’s heads,” and bedbugs are very hard to find. “On a typical inspection you have to pull carpets back, look at small crevices – you can’t really find them.” That’s why Philip says inspections with a dog work well. “Even if we don’t find them, now the customers have the assurance that they’re not there. And that’s providing another service, beyond finding it. It’s peace of mind when you don’t find it.”
Philip F. comes from a construction family – his father was a builder and his mother, a realtor. For a few years Philip would buy houses to live in, rehabilitate them and then sell them. “Everything leads me back to construction.” In 2003, he went into business as a home inspector and opened his business.
The biggest challenge Philip has faced in recent years has been the slowdown in the economy and especially the housing market. “But our business has grown even in this declining market. And I know the reason why. If you provide a service above what clients expect at a price less than they expect to pay, they’ll recommend you. …it’s a win-win. Everyone’s happy.”
During the winter months, Philip relies on savings to some extent. “Our business generates significant income, but it’s cyclical. People don’t move as much during the holidays, so they don’t inspect homes as much. …You never know, being an independent business – there’s no guaranteed paychecks. So you tend to be conservative when the market’s slower.”
Philip has been planning on getting an insect detection dog for about 18 months. He first approached his bank. “They declined my loan. After I applied to ACCION Texas-Louisiana, the bank reconsidered and offered me a loan, but I turned them down. Because I was already set to close with ACCION.”
This loan will cover part of the cost of the dog and Philip’s expenses while going through handler training. “It takes two weeks for them to train you, so I have to pay for hotels while that’s happening.” Philip will pay for the rest out of his savings. “I will use the loan to bridge that gap. I don’t get the dog until March, which is when business picks up. That’s when most people start to move and house hunt.”
Philip is providing for his wife, two young sons and two step-daughters with this business. Another reason why he wants to expand the business is because “eventually everyone has to retire. In order to do that you need to generate passive income. Hopefully these two businesses will provide that for me and my family. …When you get to be 60 years old you don’t want to be on a second-story roof, 80 feet in the air. And then if my sons want to go into this business, they can do that.”
Philip advises other business owners that “you just have to take a chance. You have to take a risk. That’s what’s so cool about Kiva – there’s so many diverse people trying to take a chance. And I want to be part of that.”
Philip has been very excited to discover Kiva. Since learning about it through his loan application, he has made two loans to other Kiva borrowers.
About Accion Texas Inc.
Accion Texas Inc. (www.acciontexas.org) is an award-winning nonprofit organization with a mission to provide credit and loans to small and start-up businesses that have limited or no access to credit from commercial sources. Established in 1994 in San Antonio, Accion has helped Texas and Louisiana entrepreneurs strengthen their businesses, stabilize and increase their incomes, create employment, and contribute to the economic revitalization of their communities. Learn more at www.acciontexas.org.