Retired Army veteran Nate Hollis needed a post-military career that would best utilize his attention to detail. Hollis spent his active-duty career either maintaining UH1H Huey helicopters or managing those who did. Today, Hollis owns and operates RCP Home Inspections, a company he launched this year.
Starting RCP Home Inspections (the RCP stands for Residential and Commercial Properties) was the perfect transition following his final assignment at Schofield Barracks near Honolulu, Hawaii, Hollis said.
“While getting my certification, I was too detailed at times,” Hollis said. “That’s because I worked on helicopters. There, you only get one chance to do it right. So the first time I inspected a home, I had 80 pages of notes. My instructor said that was great and to delete half of it. I notice everything. My job [in the Army] was all quality assurance.”
Hollis, now in his late 40s, received his residential inspection certification from the American Society of Home Inspectors and his commercial certification from Carson Dunlap Weldon & Associates LTD. He said, for the most part, he conducts inspections on behalf of home buyers who are referred to him by Realtors.
Multiple points to check
Hollis said his inspections cover 11 major categories, including the roof, electrical components, siding and even surrounding vegetation.
“I make sure trees hanging over the house aren’t dropping debris and clogging gutters,” he said.
Inside the home, Hollis inspects gas lines and educates prospective home buyers on how to locate main gas and water lines. He also checks plumbing and heating components.
“You don’t want to find out in the wintertime that your furnace is not working,” he said.
Hollis already had some construction experience when he joined the Army. Prior to enlisting, he laid slabs for pools as well as driveways and walkways in and around his hometown of Plymouth, Mass. Hollis said he helped a friend move to Arizona and decided to stay for its longer construction seasons. He joined the Army while in Arizona, on St. Patrick’s Day in 1988.
“I needed a change,” he said. “Construction can be rough. I had goals of working around aviation.”
Hollis said his goals now include shifting focus toward commercial inspections, as well as expanding his residential inspection business beyond the Pikes Peak region.
“I’ve done [residential] inspections in Pueblo, up in Parker and Englewood. I’m doing the whole I-25 corridor,” he said. “I can’t be picky. I have to go where I’m needed.”
“To do commercial inspections, I need
a team. That’s what
I’m in the process
of doing now.”
– Nate Hollis
[/pullquote]Not as hot as up north
Hollis said the real estate market is good in Colorado Springs, but it amounts to a sliver of the housing markets in Douglas County, Denver and its suburbs.
“This is a small market compared to the market north of Castle Rock,” he said. “It’s booming up there. I spoke with a Realtor in Parker and he said homes were selling in days. People are putting down earnest money two days after a home goes on the market. He said the hottest housing market in the country is the Denver metro area. I’m trying to gravitate there.”
Hollis explained that residential inspections can be highly seasonal, and residential real estate slows considerably during the fall and winter. As such, providing commercial inspections helps fill those gaps, he said.
“To do commercial inspections, I need a team,” he said. “That’s what I’m in the process of doing now. Commercial work means I become a project manager and I need specialists — an HVAC technician, an electrician, a structural engineer. Then I’m there to assist and make sure we’re fulfilling our contract and doing what the customer needs.”
Hollis said he quickly began utilizing local resources to find jobs and network within a tight-knit industry.
“When I first did market research, there were already 17 or 18 [residential inspectors] in Colorado Springs,” Hollis said. “And they all have Realtors they’ve been working with for years. I’ve created some great relationships with some Realtors. They’re also new, but they’re wonderful.”
Hollis is an affiliate member of the Pikes Peak Association of Realtors and the Women’s Council of Realtors. To expand his footprint to include commercial inspections, Hollis has utilized Business Network International and the Colorado Procurement Technical Assistance Center, which assists small businesses in securing government contracts.
Broadening the scope
“I might as well take advantage of them,” he said of the programs. “Residential inspecting is only seasonal here. This isn’t Arizona or Southern California. The business slowdown in the winter is extreme. From November through February, if you’re going to be an inspector all year, you need the commercial inspection aspect.”
He said commercial contracts can be found during those colder months with companies offloading properties for tax reasons or with others looking to expand.
“Asset managers, insurance companies, venture capitalists and Realtors that have a commercial arm” utilize commercial inspectors, he said.
Hollis said the transition to civilian life has been relatively easy because he’s found work that is never stagnant and that utilizes prior training.
“I like my independence,” Hollis said. “I can work two or three hours on the phone or doing office work and then I go out and do hands-on work. It all corresponds to what I was doing in the military. I would work on aircraft and come back and do paperwork, find parts and then go to meetings. This is the best way I’ve found to stay out of a cubicle.”
RCP Home Inspections
Phone: (719) 392-1259