Illawarra

Greg Flood – Illawarra Business Leaders Interview

Episode #3: Greg Flood – Inspect Wollongong

Inspect Wollongong. Credit: Instagram @inspectwollongong

For episode 3 of the Illawarra Business Leaders interviews, Trever Molenaar sits down with Greg Flood from Inspect Wollongong.  Greg has a wide range of experience from being a cabinet maker, builder and working in the force as a detective that has led to him starting his own business Inspect Wollongong.  If you are a buyer, then you are sure to have read a few of Greg’s reports but this interview peels back the layers into the business finding out what success looks like, how to get there, and much more.

Greg has mastered the art of the report, providing all the information you need to determine the quality of the property you are looking to purchase in a way that is easy to understand.

Sit back, relax and enjoy episode #3 of the Illawarra Business Leaders Interviews with Greg Flood.

Podcast

Transcript

Greg Flood
It’s interesting to see when people try to hide things from me. Yeah, you know, you know, they might have had, I don’t know, a leaking bathroom or something and they’ll try and paint the ceiling or they’ll try and hide it with a cupboard or something like that. You’ll always know because I’m standing right next to you trying to explain.

Trever Molenaar
Welcome to series, two of the Illawarra business leaders here are peel back the layers of a rich and diverse business culture. Perfect for those interested in all things business. Now let’s get into it.

So Illawarra business leaders continue, and today I’m talking with Greg flood. So, Greg, you’re from inspect wollongong. So for everyone that doesn’t know what you do, and it relates to my business quite a bit. So let’s talk to me about what you do.

Greg Flood
Predominantly, we do pre-purchase building and pest inspections, and pool barrier certification. So people will generally come to us via either website inquiries, via agents, solicitors, conveyances, strata companies, and they’ll generally engage us to inspect prior to them purchasing.

Trever Molenaar
I guess it’s pretty important in the, in the purchase of real estate to have a pest and building report, I guess you’ve seen some doozies in your time of people that haven’t or people that should have. So what is it that’s most important about what you do?

Greg Flood
Well, you want to give your advice, they’re paying for you for your advice, or your opinion on something, and they’re gonna, it’s the biggest purchase of a lot. So most of all, you’ve got to try and present something to them in layman’s terms, so they can understand what you’re talking about. So that they can make an informed decision to purchase. So generally, when people go look at houses, they look at all the glitz and glamour, the kitchens or bathrooms, or the front fence looks. But they don’t necessarily look at the nuts and bolts. So we’re giving them information about the nuts and bolts of the property, I suppose.

Trever Molenaar
And so you’re under the house, you’re in the roof cavities, you’re crawling into make sure that the house is basically stable, I’m guessing.

Greg Flood
Yeah. So generally, they want to know about the structural performance of the home. And in addition, they want to know whether mostly whether there’s, you know, issues, termite issues relating to termites, water damage, structural imperfections, and safety hazards, that’s, that’s pretty much what they’re looking for. They don’t necessarily all the time, they don’t necessarily know that when they get us they just know, they got to get a building and pest inspection. And because that’s what they’ve been told, and then they get a report and, you know, 1000 more questions comes up because of that.

Trever Molenaar
So let’s talk you. I know you’ve had a fairly lengthy career and things outside. Where did you start?

Greg Flood
Well, I started off in the building trade as a cabinet maker. When in the shop fitting, then cabinet making building in and around about that time, I joined the police and had 15 years as a detective in the New South Wales Police. There would have been stories there. It’s it’s an interesting profession. It’s a stressful profession, too, isn’t it? Yeah, it hasn’t stressful part. It’s a great young person’s job. Yeah. And I think you just get to a stage where, you know, you have a family and life changes and takes you into different parallels. And I was probably lucky that I had a building background and interest in property. So you know, I could move on. I had a business, I had my business in the building industry whilst I was in the police. So on an angle looking back, it’s probably a natural transgression into what I’m doing do something in between that though. I did a bit of private investigating. did a little bit of that insurance work. So yeah, I suppose looking back, the work I did in the police, and in the private investigating field sort of put me into a good position to understand what I need to do to provide a report to people you know, about buying a house. Yeah, so

Trever Molenaar
it’s, I mean, everyone has a profession, everyone does it, but it’s all about business too. So absolutely. So there’s, there’s, there’s a different genre, but it’s all the same thing. So you’re there to provide an income and you’re there to provide a service. What is it that you love about it?

Greg Flood
What is it? Are you gonna have a passion, whatever you do. So when I thought about what I wanted to do, obviously, I love building, real estate has always been in our family investment, investing in property and real estate, has done very well for me and my wife. So I don’t know how I come about getting into it, but I enjoy I enjoy being able to give people information on something that’s pretty important to them. And I think we do a pretty good job at presenting that to them. So

Trever Molenaar
and you’ve so you’ve gone from police force to pest and building. Yes, it doesn’t seem like there’s a correlation there but there is a

Greg Flood
little bit there is a little bit when you think Where are we catching bad guys? Yeah. Love. It’s got to do like, like you mentioned, it’s your business, right? So you’ve got to be able to there’s one thing having the knowledge about a certain industry. But there’s another thing being able to produce something for a client. I think that’s the key. It doesn’t matter what you do so so a typical day for you had as look up about five finishing off reports from the day before. And then we’re out of the house by about eight on the road inspections through till about five in the arvo, how many would you get? How many Could you do quite the moment in this market? It’s probably I probably need to do a few hits five to six plus pool barriers, inspections. And yeah, it’s a pretty full on day. So I have an office, I have a team with me. So I’ve got I’ve got my nephew working with me now. And I’ve got my wife runs the office and the day to day operations of the business. And we also have my nephew’s girlfriend, she worked in the business as well. So it’s it’s foreign, it’s a foreign businesses, and now you’re embracing social media. Well, I know from embracing, you see? Yeah, well, absolutely. marketing’s changed. The old days of sponsoring a sporting team or putting a banner up on the side of the road. It’s just not not fruits for labor anymore. You have to social media is the key there’s a yellow pages anymore is absolutely not so. But I still believe in. I mean, social media is key. But I still believe in networking, that’s really, really important

Trever Molenaar
all for your job, you have to know that it’s something where there’s a lot of referrals that happening within that industry that you need to so how do you do that? What’s

Greg Flood
I always say it’s, it costs you nothing to be nice. So you just be nice to people, you present things in an in a good way. Whether the weather, there are bad issues with the property or not, you can still present it to someone in a good way. I mean, people come to you to get a building and pest inspection, not because they hate the property, because actually lock the property. So you can you can give them all the negatives, but you can give it to them in a positive light. It’s the same when you’re networking with real estate agents, solicitors, whoever it may be. If you’re nice to people please and thank yous, go a long way – it’s pretty simple.

Trever Molenaar
What’re some of your most is this is a funny one for you. Some of your most memorable houses.

Greg Flood
All the memorable ones are always the ones that are eye-catching to anybody or I’d say the ones near the water, I suppose have the great views. Is there a house that you think I could have bought that? Oh, absolutely. There was one down in Kiama Downs, and sort of faced over Jones beach had a northeast aspect was glass. It was just magnificent. It was it wasn’t overly big. Yeah. But it was really, really nice. Yeah, there’s some fantastic places down Gymbaroo. There’s some fantastic places in the northern suburbs. But then equally, you might just come across one, you know, I don’t know, in the suburbs with no particular anything about it and just go wow, this is this has got great bones, it’s got great appeal. I don’t just look at the house either. That is there’s got to be potential to you know, future development or something that something that you can make money on, I suppose. Yeah,

Trever Molenaar
that’s funny for me as well. I see a lot of houses, but it’s not the houses I remember, it’s the people. So it’s probably a bit different for you because you’re crawling under houses and things. But I just remember the people. That’s that’s different.

Greg Flood
We do actually do. I do remember the people I mean, doing what we do, you’re a consultant. So you provide a report a lot of the time you don’t hear back from clients necessarily, but sometimes you’ll get some really positive feedback. And it just gives you that little bit of extra incentive to keep going. Yeah. And yeah, the people are definitely a big part of it.

Trever Molenaar
So let’s rewind, how long have you been doing this for now?

Greg Flood
Oh, six and a half, seven years.

Trever Molenaar
So rewind seven years. Let’s take Greg flood back to when you’re starting. What would you do different?

Greg Flood
What would I do different? I probably scale a lot earlier. Yep. Yeah. So when you go into business, obviously it’s on a shoestring. Right? So you’re watching your costs. whilst you’re going along, you’re training yourself and you’re training your business. Probably looking back will have been probably more fruitfull if I had have maybe put some people on to start with and scaled in the early stages. Not just sorry, not just scale with people but scale in regards to technology as well.

Trever Molenaar
That’s probably what I did if they’re starting with the end in mind. Yeah, maybe the end game? Yeah. Yeah. Because everyone’s got to think of an end game, whether it be retirement or selling or whatever. Maybe there’s got to be an end game there somewhere. So who inspires you in business?

Greg Flood
Many people but generally, happy motivated people inspire me, you know, negativities it’s a pretty it’s a pretty ugly thing to see that breeds. Yeah. And positive, positive people. And passionate people in whatever they doing is inspiring to the absolutely

Trever Molenaar
Have you got a mentor anyone that you talk to on a regular basis or

Greg Flood
probably my wife. Yeah, she’s a big motivator. Yeah. So yeah, we get along really? Well. It’s funny. Give Sharon a plug. Yes, yeah, she’s a, she’s pretty inspiring to me, I’m not anything. Anything particular a family family very important.

Trever Molenaar
They probably share when you’re a solo operator you have to speak to someone is at the end of day you sort of, even though you have a team around you, it’s you need to talk things through. So what’s next for you? But, Andrew, it’s interesting that you can tell us

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Greg Flood
well we’re still, like I said, we’re pretty involved in property ourselves. So there’s always things in the backlog going there. We’ve talked about different things. You know, we’ll probably keep building our brand at the moment and see where it takes us. They’ll definitely be scale involved in that. Where it heads? I don’t know. But it’s, it’s open for discussion.

Trever Molenaar
Okay, let’s move on with some in your line of work, you would have seen some funny things. That’s probably what was one of the funny things you’ve seen. Have you seen any incredibly terrible homes that what some of the standouts that you would have seen in your travels?

Greg Flood
It’s interesting to see when people try to hide things from you. Yeah, you know, you know, they might have had, I don’t know, a leaking bathroom or something, and they’ll try and paint the ceiling, or they’ll try and hide it with a cupboard or something like that. And you’ll always know, because they’ll be standing right next to it. So so

Trever Molenaar
Feedback for anyone who’s done hiding it. Just let it play out. Yeah. Okay. So what success for you? What does it mean?

Greg Flood
Success for me is waking up each day and being happy to get out of bed? Yeah, I think when you get to the stage where you don’t want to actually do it anymore, that becomes a chore. Yeah, it’s probably time to look somewhere else. You see a lot of people in life. And they get negative because they’re so miserable in what they’re doing. You as an individuals, you’re the only one who’s got the power to change that. So as soon as I get to a stage when I can’t don’t want to get out of bed to do it. I’ll do something else. Yep. Go back to the force. Probably not always said the best thing I did was join the cops for the sake of visiting was getting out of the cops, sounds like buying a boat? Pretty much.

Trever Molenaar
So ups and downs in business. Obviously, cash flow is a big thing. So people who are listening to this are either in business or starting it out. what’s what’s some of the tips that you’ve got to create good cash flow?

Greg Flood
Keep your overheads down? Yeah, I see a lot of people in business. They start off in business. And next thing, you know, they’ve got the flash cars on the road. You know, they’ve got they’re going out, you know, spending lots of money out at restaurants and all this sort of stuff. Cash Flow is the key, keeping costs, be humble yet, keep your keep your feet on the ground. And grow out step by step. That’s, that’s the biggest thing that I see. And understand your dollars in and your dollars out. Yeah, that’s really important. It’s funny,

Trever Molenaar
you said one word, the humility, of being humble. How much does that come into play?

Greg Flood
It’s everything, you know, if you if you if you stay humble, and you stay level with the people around you and your clients who you deal with, that’ll rub off, they’ll sit and they’ll be very comfortable in asking you questions. And Australians in general, like people being humble, they don’t like egos. so tall Poppy. So it is a little bit. But very different to Americans. But a little bit. Yeah, it is. Yeah. It’s just the Australian way, I suppose. But yeah,

Trever Molenaar
we’d like everyone to be the same. Pretty much level peg. And so what’s some of the best advice that you’ve been given in business?

Greg Flood
In business? Probably the best advice is, stay in your lane. Yeah. Focus on what you’re good at, focus on on your product, and what you’re delivering for people. And you’ll be successful if you venture out into areas that that you don’t specialize in. That’s when you lose attention to detail in your day to day core business.

Trever Molenaar
You and staying in your lane and diversifying to everything so you have diversified. So you’ve obviously not just on pest and building but you’ve also done pull inspire inspections. Yeah. Is there any plan to do any more diversifying? Or is that we

Greg Flood
will probably stay in that space. Yeah. We’ve thought about going back into the building maintenance area. We’ve thought about doing pest control. We’ve recently gone into termite barriers on new new homes. That’s probably the scope of where we’ll stay though. within that area, if we ventured out of that, I think it would, it’ll just become too hard to run. Yeah. So simple. And the key is at the moment, training our people in our business to be good at what they do. And then you know, we’ll be able to then venture out into those areas that I spoke about. But at the moment, we’re just, we’re just focused on what we’re doing, training our people and we’ll go from there.

Trever Molenaar
So your business, you’re setting it up for scale. Basically pretty much Yeah. Yep. Is that a? Is that a conscious thing? Or is it? Is it an exit plan? Is it?

Greg Flood
I don’t? I don’t know, is the answer. I don’t think it’s an exit plan. That’s more to me. A business is only a business, if you’re making money while you know that to a degree, you don’t want to be there all the time. And eventually, if you stay in the business, working in the business, every day, you’ll burn out. So you need to rely on people, you need to have things around where you can scale so that you actually make money while you’re not there. The difficult thing to do without

Trever Molenaar
making money while you’re asleep is the best thing. Absolutely. That’s the best thing. So that’s why investing in property as well. It’s making money while you’re sleeping, too. So

Greg Flood
yeah, we’ve done very well, in property investment. It’s it’s been very fruitful for us, we’ll continue to do it. Because once you get the system, right, and you buy the right asset. It’s very, very fruitful.

Trever Molenaar
Yeah, very much. So that leads into my next question. So you obviously leave in the illawarra. You’re a local, I asked the same question to everyone. If you could live anywhere you wanted. Where would it be?

Greg Flood
northern New South Wales or the Gold Coast? Yeah. Was that I just like the feel up here. It’s a pretty positive, happy place. And Yep. Sounds out most of the time. They say that the place you go on holidays isn’t necessarily the place it is when you live there. But I just like the feel. Yeah, yeah. So maybe one day, what happens inspect wound Gong came about? Sharon, I initially getting into the building and pest inspection. Business is very litigious, as you know. So we wanted to make sure that before we got in that we had a product and a brand that, you know, we were producing for people that wasn’t going to leave it short. So we bought into a franchise to begin with, called BPI. And that’s sort of Yeah, transcription. After six years, we’ve opened our own place golden speck, Wollongong? And,

Trever Molenaar
yeah, I think with franchises, they’re great for people who are starting off on a new format, and I’ve been in a franchise before, and they give you the tools that you need, when you’re fairly inexperienced. Once you get to a point of tipping point, you probably don’t need the franchise anymore. And that’s where you’ve got to, you’ve got to a point where pretty much You didn’t?

Greg Flood
Yeah, I mean, take out of it, what you can learn a bit, learn the business, be new to the business, learn the aspects of running a business, which are really important. And then, you know, you can go into anything. Go into it yourself. Yeah. And you don’t need the help anymore.

Trever Molenaar
So let’s talk the actual pest and building report. So people who are listening to this that most people haven’t read a pest and building or to and, and it’s quite lengthy, and it does have a lot of terminology, it does have a lot of legalities in there as well, too. So how should a buyer reading? Or how should they read a report should read it from the start and finish at the end? You know, I see a lot of people, they just flick through it. The the wording, and the things that are in the report are in there for a reason, either a to protect the inspector and his insurance obligations or be information for the buyer. So if you have to say certain things to if you say you have to say even if it might not be, I guess something that’s untoward. But you say you’ve got to comment on a to

Greg Flood
the things you must comment on are structural impairments or defects, major defects, safety hazards. And then termites, termite damage, weather damage, they’re the things you must comment on. And it’s like any industry or any regulated industry, where you have a standard that you work to, you have to be at that line or above them, and you don’t want to be below it. You don’t want to be on it, you actually want to be beyond it. So there’s no, there’s no regulation or anything to say you can put you don’t you can only put this in more. And so we tend to try and put more in it. But if you’re reading a building and pest report, if you can’t read it, then the reports not worth the paper it’s written on. So it must be fluent and must flow and must have dialogue that the reader can understand.

Trever Molenaar
So in something that’s happening a lot more lately is where you don’t need to by law. You don’t have to do this, but a lot of vendors selling their home are getting pre purchase or sorry. They’re getting pest and building reports before they put their home on the market. Why is that so important?

Greg Flood
Well, particularly in the illawarra the illawarra isn’t from what I’ve seen in the and I’ve been down here 20 years. The illawarra market, is never slow. It always has action in it. You’ll see on the TV, news feed about ohh it’s flat now. It’s big now it’s whatever the award, that’s a different market. It’s always constant, right so and you’ve got a lot of Sydney buyers coming down here. The benefits of a vendor getting a building and pest report done. Generally speaking, the person that comes to make the offer on the house, they’re going to make the offer regardless of whether the building patch reports they are not so the benefit of not being there they can make an offer, then they get their own done. The power then comes out of the vendors hand and into the purchases hands. And then they can renegotiate. Yeah. So if you provide an upfront, transparent, open report, they will have made that offer anyway, that’s generally my opinion on it.

Trever Molenaar
And it’s negotiated on the terms that you see, as opposed to getting your lowest price or whatever it may be moving from there. Yeah. And of course, as well, it’s to find out if there’s any problems before they come up to you. So sometimes they’re very easily fixed, or at least they get to see what’s in a report, because a lot of the times that the purchases won’t show the vendor what’s in the report to so I think there’s a lot of merit to, to having these up front, and especially with an auction. And another reason that I like them is because speed. So if you’ve got two or three buyers wanting to fight over a property, and they’ve all got to go get their own reports, it changes the whole state of play, too.

Greg Flood
Oh, absolutely. It puts power back into the agent. Yeah. Because they’ve, they’ve put it on the table and said, here it is make an offer. Yeah. Don’t come back to me and renegotiate because you’ve had you’ve had it there in front of you. That’s generally what I see. And then there’s no, we don’t get any phone calls between, you know, the buyer and agents go, Well, what happened here, what happened there, it’s already done the deals done.

Trever Molenaar
And for buyers, it’s great because they’re not forking out money every single time. And for the seller, they get to find out and negotiate on those terms. So it is a very straight up and down process. And I think a lot of people listening to this, in their thinking of selling should probably do the same thing. Would you agree?

Greg Flood
I would agree. And I would also say most of the agents are pro doing it. And it’s just trying to get the vendors convinced that to spend the money to get it done. But they’ll actually when you look at it, they actually save 1000s of dollars by getting it done straight up. And it’s more education. I think if it ever comes in, that it’s mandatory for the vendor to get it done. It’ll save a hell of a lot of issues for the agent, because

Trever Molenaar
I think in Canberra they’ve got environmental reports. They have to get things like that, too. So they’re upfront that they have to do those an it will probably come into play at some stage, some stage down the track, I would suspect. So Greg, wonderful to talk to you yet again. And so if people need to find you, how would they contact you?

They can contact us we’re on the internet. In simply google Inspect Wollongongand find us. We’re on Instagram InspectWollongong, I think it is. I don’t know I’m not up to date with that. Someone else runs that for me. Just Google inspect Wollongong if you need a pest and building order anything associated with Yes, always good talking. Thanks. Greg.

Greg Flood
Thanks a lot.

Coming Up

This season we’ll be hearing from Brendan Down (Resin Brewing), Nic Squires (Illawarra Surf Academy), Greg Flood (Inspect Wollongong), David Love (Sun People), Barry Pearson (Papi Dulce), Aaron Cowie (Seaside Building), and Leon Keir (One Wellbeing).

If you missed the previous season be sure to check out the last episodes showcasing the area’s most talented leaders, entrepreneurs, and business people.

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