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Meet Jamal Hampton of Sentinel Inspections

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jamal Hampton. 

Hi Jamal, we’d love for you to start by introducing yourself
I, Jamal Hampton, am the founder and owner of Sentinel Home Inspections. I have a various array of certifications that cover indoor air quality, mold remediation, asbestos abatement, and radon detection. I earned a B.A. in Business Administration from Indiana State University and was a professor at the College of Southern Maryland providing home inspector education. My passion for the home inspection industry was fueled shortly after graduating college when I was fired from my job. On the same day, I packed up my car and drove 10 hours from Indiana to Washington DC. When I arrived in DC a family friend offered me an entry-level position at his home inspection company. At the time I was very unfamiliar with the home buying process and or home inspections. However, I was willing to learn and needed a job. At first, it was difficult because I was not always open to constructive criticism. Nevertheless, as I learned and dove deeper in the knowledge needed of the profession, I began to understand more about myself. This fueled what I thought was a temporary job into a passion. From there I started focusing on acquiring as much knowledge as I could to master this profession. This required extreme discipline. I eliminated all the outside distractions, I no longer traveled for leisure, I did not hang out, or party, but instead, I devoted all my energy into acquiring the knowledge and skills needed to master being a home inspection professional. From that discipline I gained both personal and professional development, and these skills provided the foundation I needed to run Sentinel Inspections. 

After two years of working as a licensed home inspector, I decided to venture out and start my own home inspection company. In the beginning, I had no idea what I was doing in terms of running a business. There was a lot of trial and error, but I never let my mistakes hold me back. Instead, I took those lessons learned as building blocks to keep moving forward. As I continued to build Sentinel, I got connected with BNI (Business Networking International) which provided me with a wealth of knowledge and resources. BNI provided resources which included but were not limited to assistance with the development of a business plan, an accountant, and resources to assist with setting up a business bank account. Concurrently, I was participating in first-time home buyer seminars. The seminars taught prospective home buyers the process and importance of a home inspection. After my first year in business, I started networking with local real estate agents, which was a major asset in the success of Sentinel. Before I knew it, I began overbooking myself. This in turn caused a lot of stress and made me realize I could not reach my goals alone and needed to develop a team. The growth of my team began from one simple inspection. My current partner stated, “This seems simple, I believe I can do home inspections”, and I replied, “yes you can!”. 

Just like that Sentinel had its first team member and I began to see grow at a rapid pace. The next year sales doubled, and even more connections were made. Not only was business going well, my first employee became more like family. With success on the rise several life changing experiences occurred. There was first the COVID-19 pandemic which struck the nation causing major shutdowns. I also became a new father which was amazing, but now required new responsibilities. I now had to balance running a business and fatherhood. To my surprise, the home industry remained resilient throughout COVID, and our request for home inspections increased. It was during this time that my cousin reached inquiring about joining the Sentinel Team. Once again, the timing was perfect! My cousin was proactive and obtained his home inspection certification prior to joining the Sentinel team, which made for a seamless transition. While most of the world was shutting down, we were doing more inspections than before. As the requests for our services continued to rise, I realized that I needed to outsource the clerical components of my business. Now that the home inspection portion of the business was mastered, I needed to ensure the customer service was top tier. With the addition of our office manager Sentinel was able to provide top-tier inspections as well as customer service. Throughout this four-year journey, I’m proud to say that Sentinel is one of the top home inspection companies in the DMV area. We have inspected over 2,600 homes and have grossed over a million dollars. The decision I made 7 years ago has helped countless home buyers and changed the trajectory of my family.

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way? Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
My transition from an employee in one company to the CEO of my own company has had its ups and downs. To start I was not equipped with the tools required for success in this industry. A vast majority of my assets earned at the start were reinvested back into Sentinel. My goal was to buy the most current state of the art equipment to set myself apart from others, but this in turn caused major financial hardships. This hardship was a critical lesson learned that taught me the importance of separating business from personal relations. Not only have I experienced business obstacles, but I have also suffered several family losses. During my periods of grieving, I had to realize the I still had a company to run, and business does not stop regardless of what we have going on personally. These were some of my toughest moments as a business owner, and I used them to fuel me to continue to build for my family.

We’ve been impressed with Sentinel Inspections, but for folks who might not be as familiar, what can you share with them about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
Sentinel Inspections’ name was inspired by Marvel and the DC universe. My idea was to have an armored knight with a shield that protects your home. This is symbolic of the job performed daily, which is protecting and informing prospective home buyers of the potential hazards or safety items that should be addressed before inhabiting the property. We perform residential and commercial home inspections, air quality and mold testing, mold remediation, asbestos testing, radon measurement, lead testing, and thermography. We specialize in indoor air quality and airflow. We offer same-day inspection reports and warranties with every home inspection. I’m most proud that Sentinel has an outstanding reputation of providing quality home inspections, environmental services, and top-tier customer service in the DMV area.

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