How Curtis Larson Turned His Side Hustle Into a Fully Scaling Business

Have you ever heard of the connotation,” Jack of all trades, master of none?” That doesn’t apply to Curtis Larson, Founder/CEO of Marigold Home Inspections. Indeed, he is a master of his craft and it is not an overnight success. It was countless sleepless nights juggling different ventures under home inspection and real estate. After hearing Episode 22 of the Homegrown Hustle Podcast, I was amazed at how Curtis could move across industries and comb it through founding a continuously growing business. His experience in sports, accounting, education, and entrepreneurship have synergized to build a company directly proportional to solving every problem of each consumer in Minnesota and every city and state his business is currently operating. He is championing a streamlined and exceptional customer experience for nurturing relationships.


“We want to be a customer service business. We want to provide the best value to our customers as possible. And that’s what has propelled our growth when things go wrong, we fix them. And when things are correct, we try to double down and make it even better,” Curtis emphasized. 


Marigold Home Inspections was founded in 2018 and is still continuously growing. Its goal is to provide Continuing Education courses for its Realtor® partners, Lending partners, Title partners, and many others. 


Marigold was created with the built-in value of life/work balance for all of the Marigold family. The company ensures employees have their buckets filled appropriately and continues to focus on strengths, wants, and needs. This work-life balance provided to their employees is expected to yield positive results in the customer experience. 


They provide new/existing/pre-list/ residential inspections, 5-point inspections, walk and talk inspections, TISH inspections, water testing, tree assessments, chimney inspections, radon testing and mitigation, sewer scopes, mold testing, preventative maintenance inspection, and well yield testing.

The Journey to Being a Career Man to Businessman


This sounds very interesting, especially to our readers, who are customers and business owners. Now let’s look at Cutis’ journey from starting as a career man to a businessman. 

Managing Side Hustles and Passion Projects


Curtis is a big hustler. He started working as an accountant and worked in that industry for several years. As a passion project, he managed a refereeing company with his dad—a company established in 1979 and around 25 years old when it was purchased. They refereed sports like soccer, basketball, baseball, football, and volleyball. In 2016, his father sold the refereeing company but after that up until the COVID-19 pandemic, he was still officiating for football and basketball for college and high school. Curtis also mentioned about having two jobs. While he was an accountant, he was also teaching. 

Starting Marigold Home Inspections


Curtis founded Marigold in 2018. He saw an opportunity to provide great customer service and support to people at a critical decision-making point in the home-buying process.


“When I initially started Marigold, I thought, hey, we will have five inspectors and three office staff. We’re going to be like one big happy family. Everyone’s going to make decent money,” Curtis said. 


Now that the business has evolved, he felt like he couldn’t achieve the work-life balance by having around eight employees including himself. When he’s going on a vacation, he feels like the business operations are put on hold. Marigold initially started off focusing on home inspections. Curtis saw the potential of radon testing as a natural lead source. Hence, he brought that into the business – that initiative became the root of experimentation for the business for the next 18 months, leveraging real estate with radon. He saw the opportunity of the number of real estate agents based in the Twin Cities area. 


“There are 19,000 opportunities. How do you go about getting in front of those people to make sure that they know when it comes time for the home inspection to happen, which happens not 100 % of the time, but pretty often? How do you ensure those people know that Marigold is the right fit? Yeah. So I think it’s really about being consistent in your actions. That’s everything. It’s not just sales.”


Curtis emphasized the importance of consistency in the business and wants to veer away from transactional relationships. He was keen on valuing the importance of getting to know his customers well because doing so adds value to building customer trust.


How Marigold Home Inspections Grew as a Business


Suppose you ask an entrepreneur how a business can be built from the ground up. In that case, the standard answer is that they would present you with conventional strategies such as expanding a team, investing in new technologies, being agile in sales, and working twice as hard. However, in Curstis’ case, he chose to have an exceptional company culture. He believes that by doing so, his employees can provide top-notch service because they are happy and passionate about what they do.


Having a Good Time


Curtis shares how he is proud of his business, one of which is having a good time. He mentioned investing in event sponsorships and having happy hour at the back of their office with a bar, dart boards, and golf simulators. At that so-called happy hour, he invites agents from different places with the help of his lead salesperson, Ron. The happy hour becomes a networking event where they can invite their plus ones. Now, many people are curious about how Marigold gets to have 14 buys in one year out of one bar.


Question Everything


Skepticism can be paradoxical but it saves you a lot of time and energy when you know how sure you are at doing something. Curtis values having second-hand opinions whenever he arrives at the crucial aspects of business decision-making. Fun Fact: It was his wife who pushed him to go into the home inspection route. 


Curtis also turns to his friends, even those who don’t have direct experience in the industry he’s in. He believes that these friends are smart enough to hold the key to the puzzle piece he is not aware of. By doing that, he can consult about challenges in the work he’s not knowledgeable enough about to make significant decisions.


Power in Numbers


Sports has taught Curtis one big lesson: The power of analyzing the game plan, looking at the numbers, and assessing the next big business move. He also mentioned how his accounting background taught him how to understand business in numbers.


Attention to Detail


Putting attention to detail is essential for Curtis. He highlighted how his company is making an effort to customer reviews. Now, Marigold has around 1,300 five-star Google Reviews. After finishing a job, they email their customers to encourage them to give out reviews across different platforms. 


The Growth Mindset


Marigold champions breeding entrepreneurs inside their company. Curtis values the career progression of his employees and returns to the company’s mission, vision, values, and culture. “I’ve enjoyed just being able to get out to the world and see different business perspectives,” Curtis said. Curtis goes the extra mile as the business grows to check for more inspection opportunities outside the real estate market. 

Community Building 


As someone who sees the beauty in taking care of customers and his attention to detail, Curtis also shared how he’s seen the lack of quality assurance in many areas in his community, especially for the larger builders of apartments and buildings. He’s seen an opportunity for Marigold to grow into different scopes, such as insurance, where more regulations are coming in. In the Minnesota market, as the center of a preventative maintenance inspection, Curtis has seen an opportunity to take a different approach: reaching out to communities that don’t have updated sources for home maintenance. Basically, Marigold comes to places to check whether an association maintains the homes. When there is one, they try to check for structural integrity, gutter, downspout, concrete, and utility penetrations that need to be sealed up. Curtis has seen a vision of how to extend these communities’ lives and do it annually. This initiative often creates a ripple effect, as people share how the services are provided in their homes.


Wrapping It Up


Starting a business is something that a lot of people fear the most. Most of us stay in our current jobs for many years and hold back the idea of starting a business because we think it’s far-flung and a long shot. Curtis inspires many who think that passion projects can never make money. Curtis taught us how hustling can take you to miles – Just how he’s juggled different jobs with his passion and can now apply it to his business in several ways. 


“I think the biggest thing I’d say for anyone entering the home inspection space or any entrepreneur is to keep going, find what works well, and double down on it. 


“Those are going to be the things that help you grow. And the things that you find that, hey, these are the things that are going to keep me from growing or keep me from reaching my goals. If you can hire out because you don’t have those skills, hire it out. You will never regret it. The $10,000 that it ends up costing, yeah, it sounds like it will hurt you, but it won’t.” 


If you are interested in having your home inspected, you can visit or call 763 -567 -2181.


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