Learn how Rod Bell made his first million as a Gutter-Vac franchisee

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Top Franchise 2017

Learn how Rod Bell made his first million as a Gutter-Vac franchisee

Interview with Rod Bell – Gutter-Vac Adelaide East, North East, Port Adelaide & Peninsula, SA

How did you make your first million?
It was my goal to be a self-funded retiree at a young age.

What did you do before Gutter-Vac?
When I was made redundant at my last job, I didn’t know what to do. I was confused. I had been doing that job for nine years… I was lost, but I knew there was something out there that I could utilise my set of life skills to become a success.

I looked into a few different business ventures, and I always get feedback from my wife; when I give her an idea she’ll either say yes or no. When I told her about the Gutter-Vac name, I could see a light bulb light up on top of her head.

She said, “I think that’s brilliant.”

How did you know Gutter-Vac was right for you?
We decided to shop the competition and that’s when we saw an opening for a professional gutter cleaning company here in Adelaide, and I knew that I could get wealthy from doing this business.

What was your first year like, and how long did it take your business to gain momentum?
At the very beginning from some heavy marketing, I received 30 no’s from a Government agency. I rang them 30 times. They said no, we’ve already got our gutter cleaners. On the 30th attempt, they said we will give you a go because we’re having issues with our current gutter cleaners.
From there that rolled on to growth every single year that I’ve been working with Gutter-Vac.

I would say perseverance, hard work, and a burning desire for success. I’ve been doing this for 14 years, and my wife and I are now in a position to become self-funded retirees from the Gutter-Vac name that we truly appreciate.

For more information about our franchising opportunities, contact Gutter-Vac today:
franchising.guttervac.com.au | Keith 0424 710 101

Our Favourite Christmas Recipe

No Actual Cooking Required!!

Coming into Christmas it is always fun to cook up some treats (or in this case, no actual cooking) and have them ready for those guests that drop by.
Here’s our favourite – it’s simple and easy, even the kids can help and will love to eat it!

White Oreo Fudge

Bring a little Christmas ‘snow’ into your treats with this absolutely delicious treat that will last about a week (refrigerated) … not that we have ever tested that out because it never lasts that long in our house! PLUS it is simple to make with only 3 ingredients.

  • 400g white chocolate buttons
  • 1 x 397g tin of sweetened condensed milk
  • 14 Oreo cookies – crushed (Tip – put in a plastic freezer bag and then roll over/crush with a rolling pin)

You will need a baking tray – a square works well (25 x 25 cm) or similar. We have even used a deep cookie sheet tray. Thinner fudge, but more pieces!


  • Line baking tray with baking paper.
  • Put white chocolate in heatproof bowl and pour in condensed milk.
  • Microwave on full power for 30 seconds. Remove and stir. Continue to heat in short bursts (15 – 20 seconds), stirring in between until chocolate has melted and mixture is thick and smooth.
  • Mix in the crushed Oreos… if you want, you could leave some Oreos out to add as a topping, but we like to mix them all in.
  • Spread the mixture evenly in the baking tray, spread it out.
  • If you did save some Oreos for topping, sprinkle them over the mixture now.
  • Place the baking tray and mixture into the fridge for about 4 to 5 hours to set (yes, we know the wait will be hard!)
  • Remove the mixture when set. Use the baking paper to remove the fudge from the tray and place on a chopping board.
  • Use a sharp knife (run under hot water and wipe dry – makes cutting easier if having trouble) and cut fudge into bite-sized pieces (and yes, there are no calories in eating the little off cuts or edges when cutting up the fudge).

Time to SERVE and EAT!!  Your kids will love it!

Stress Free Christmas tips

Christmas can be one of the most stressful times of the year with lots going on, lots of people coming and going and plus finding that perfect gift for a loved one. But, what can we do to make life a little less stressful at this time to enjoy this festive time!
 Here are 3 of our top tips….
 Tip #1 – Preparation
Being prepared is a must for any time you are about to go into a stressful time. If you were to take an overseas holiday (ok, maybe not this year!), how long would you spend preparing and planning to make it the best trip ever? You would never turn up at the airport and then decide where you want to go. We spend so much time, yet we often leave things to the last minute when it comes to Christmas. Be like Santa…. Make a list and check it twice! Being prepared and organised will massively reduce stress levels.
 Tip #2 – Remember
Remember what this time of year is actually all about for you and your family. Is it all about having the perfect lunch with all the trimmings, or is it about laughing and spending time with your family? Maybe it is time to throw out your traditions if they are stressing you out. Perhaps you don’t need 4 different roasts; maybe just one would be enough to provide a great meal that allows everyone to spend time with each other. Is it time to do what is right for your family, rather than what is expected of us? Decide what sort of Christmas you want, and then plan the day to allow that to happen.
 Tip #3 – Care
A busy and stressful time can also mean that you may not be looking after yourself. Watch how much you eat and drink during this festive season…. Yes, we really just said that! Make sure you are getting enough sleep and take a little time out for yourself. For a time that should be a great time to spend with your family and rest and recover going into the new year, we often do the opposite and wear ourselves out. Now, don’t get us wrong, if you want to go to parties and spend time with friends and extended family, that is great! But if you find yourself getting stressed, particularly over this time, then take a little time out for yourself.We hope that this is a great little reminder for the coming weeks to not make this time of year stressful but instead enjoy this time. We are wishing you a very Merry …. And stress-free…. Christmas!

The ultimate sea change: four Gold Coast territories available

Opportunities to have a job that works around your lifestyle come few and far between, but – as all Gutter-Vac franchisees would vouch – that is exactly what their work does for them. For our franchisees at seaside locations, this means surfing on their lunch breaks, fishing during the weekday, and finishing up before peak hour traffic.

Earlier this year, Gutter-Vac made the decision to reconfigure the territories on the Gold Coast to make it more equitable for the incumbent franchisees.

The result? Six new territories.

Within a matter of days, two territories were snapped up by a Gold Coast couple, Damon and Davina, who were looking for flexible work that would give them more time to spend with their children. Having heard of Gutter-Vac a number of years back, they had waited patiently for the opportunity to arise to buy into the business.

Prior to these Gold Coast territories becoming available, the last public sale in Queensland was three years ago. And when talking specifically about the Gold Coast, it’s been closer to a decade.

Currently, these four territories are the only ones available on the East Coast of Australia.

“If the sales of Queensland territories in the past are anything to go off of – once they’re sold, they’re gone,” Gutter-Vac founder and franchisor, Warren Ballantyne, said.

“A lot of people ask me how we can make a living out of cleaning gutters, and the answer is that we do. But we also offer a whole range of home maintenance services that complement our hero gutter cleaning service.

“And it’s not only that, you can grow a business and have a lifestyle too.”

Warren is an example of exactly this. Founding Gutter-Vac in Bundy, he balanced the growth of this business and that of his family. Working for himself meant that he never missed a birthday, anniversary or celebration – not to mention, a day on the golfing green!

“As the saying goes – if you love what you do, you never work a day in your life,” Warren said.

“My role now is to make sure that other people are given the opportunity to love and own the work that they do.

“These Gold Coast territories are just a fantastic opportunity in an even better location.”

The likelihood of the four available territories, Hope Island – Runaway Bay, Robina – Burleigh, Southport – Broadbeach and Tweed Heads, hanging around for much longer is very slim.

If you would like to be considered as a franchisee, along with all the benefits, support and lifestyle perks that come with it, give Warren a call on 0407 591 446.

He’ll be waiting to hear from you.

Overflowing and blocked gutters in Winter.

It’s that time of year again when gutters start to overflow.  Why is this?

Over the year (or more if it has been a while since you last had your gutters cleaned), they have been collecting dust, dirt, leaves and other debris.  This debris has been broken down with the weather and water into what we term a gutter sludge.  It is kind of like a mud.

This sludge, along with the debris that hasn’t broken down can build up to a point where it blocks your gutter from allowing water to flow through it and down through your downpipes, away from your home.

Now you have overflowing gutters.  The biggest issue is, that if you see water overflowing from the front of your gutter, than you will most certainly have water flowing over the backside of the gutter, into your home.  We don’t need to tell you, but this is the start of potentially very expensive water damage to you home.

This is why we can recommend how often you need to have your gutters cleaned.  Some homes that don’t have a lot of debris or tress around may only need a service once a year.  If you live in a very leafy suburb with particular types of trees, you may need to have your gutters cleaned twice or even three times a year and in these cases, we would talk to you about Gutter Flow a type of gutter guard we use to space out your gutter cleans.

So if you have overflowing water from your gutters, you most certainly have a blockage and this is a sign that you need to have your gutters cleaned…. Asap.

Give us a call on 1300 654 253 and we can give you a free quote. 

Does cleaning solar panels really matter?

Yes, cleaning solar panels does matter.

Over time, the surface of your solar panels will collect dust and grime.  This dust and grime will actually reduce the efficiencies of your solar panels and the amount of electrical power they will produce.  This is why it is important to clean your solar panels.

But before you go up and try and do this yourself, there are some things to note.

  • Lots of water, on a roof, with no safety equipment is a disaster waiting to happen so don’t DIY
  • You shouldn’t use chemicals on solar panels as this can damage them
  • You need to look out for wires – especially if birds or critters have been ‘nibbling’ on them
  • Special brushes should be used to clean solar panels

It is always best to leave this to the professionals to do, but rain alone will not clean your solar panels.  A bit like rain on the windscreen of your car gets it wet, but it is the windscreen wipers that clean the window.

So yes, it does matter if you do or don’t get your solar panels cleaned, but it also matters on how they are cleaned.  #leaveittotheprofessionals

What’s that growing on your roof?

So when was the last time you looked up at your roof?  Do you have some mould or lichen growing up there?

This is not uncommon in Australia due to our weather and mould and lichen can be unsightly, but it is also not something you want on your home for a healthy home.

This is NOT a DIY job.  You should never try and get up on your own roof and try and clean off mould and lichen.  Just being on a roof can be potentially unsafe, but add to that the slippery surface of mould and lichen and you could be in real trouble before you even begin.

We work in two ways for customers to remove this mould and lichen.

  1.  Apply and wait

This of course is the cheaper of the two options as we simply apply our product ‘EnviroClean’ to the surface.  Over time, the ‘EnviroClean’ goes to work on the spores and kills them off.  Every time it rains, the EnviroClean is re-activated to kill off more spores and wash away the mould and lichen that has in effect died.  This can take up to 12 months to see a result.

2. Instant Clean

Our second option is to pressure clean the surface to remove as much mould and lichen as we can instantly.  We then apply the EnviroClean to kill off the spores left behind so that they don’t reform and regrow more mould and lichen.  Obviously a great investment as it is a two-step process, but if you want an instant result, this is what we do.

Don’t put up with mould and lichen on your roof.  Give us a call today to get a quote and just let your local franchisee know if you are wanting an instant result or if you are happy to wait for a result.

The danger of DIY gutter cleaning

I know we are coming at this with a biased perspective, but we also know the hidden dangers of what appears to be a simple task of cleaning your gutters yourself.

Many home owners – young and fit… some not so young and not so fit as well – will look at their single story home and figure how hard can it be to put a ladder up against the wall and grab a bucket and scoop their gutters cleaned by hand.

Now, we won’t even touch on the ineffectiveness (and messiness) of cleaning your gutters by hand, but let’s talk about safety.

Many home owners start with simply the wrong type of ladder that is not tall enough for the work they are about to perform.  Did you know that a ladder should extend past the roof line by at least 1 metre?  Also that if on a step ladder, you should never stand on the top of the ladder?  There is usually even a warning label urging you to not go beyond said point.

Then our DIY home owner – with the wrong ladder or even with the right ladder – doesn’t secure the ladder.  It is on unstable and an uneven surface and not attached to the property in anyway.  We always secure our ladder to the property at the gutter level and this can be done in a number of ways.

Next, when the home owner is at the top of the ladder, they decide to reach out as far as they can to avoid having to move the ladder several times to make their way around the property.  If you have the wrong sized ladder, on uneven ground, that is not secured to the property AND then reach out too far, you are absolutely destined to lose your balance, push the ladder in the opposite direction to where you are reaching and this all ends up with you falling to the ground.

Falling just a couple of metres may not seem like a big fall, but trust us, that is far enough to do some really serious damage.

We had a customer who simply did this to grab out a few small tree branches after a storm and this exact situation happened.  He ended up not being able to work for 6 weeks after that fall and was lucky not to have any permanent damage to his back. 

Don’t risk a fall, give us a call.  It really isn’t worth the risk to your own safety for what seems like a simple task, but is also potentially a really dangerous task if not done with right. 

What is a roof and gutter report?

At Gutter-Vac, with every vacuum gutter clean, we do a roof and gutter report, but what is that you may ask and why would you need it?

Basically, we do a once over whilst on the roof of your property.  We know that you are not going to – and probably shouldn’t for safety reasons – climb up and walk all over your roof, but there are things that could be happening on your roof that need repair, but if you don’t know, then you won’t fix.

That’s where we come in.  We will go over your roof and your gutters and put together a short report to let you know the state of things up there.

It could be as simple as some cracked tiles or some rust spots on a tin roof through to a leaking air conditioner or holes or damage to your roof.

Our property managers in particular love this report because it gives them the information they need for the owners and it doesn’t cost them a cent…. We do it complimentary with every gutter clean.

Over the years, we have saved many a home owner from a near miss with a big issue that they didn’t even know what there.  We have had customers who have water damage in a corner of their property because a tile was not in place through to air conditioners that were leaking water and not working properly.

It is a little thing, but at the same time it is a big thing.  That’s what a roof and gutter report is and why we do it.

Winter Survival Tips

Winter is here and that means the temperature is about to drop, especially in the southern states of Australia.  We thought it was timely to give you a few little winter tips for survival… not just for you, but also for your budget! 

  1. Eat well – it is time to increase the fruit and veggie intake and make sure you are eating well over the winter months.  It is so easy to ditch the healthy eating for all those yummy winter foods, but we all know that more fruit and vegetables will help our overall health and wellness, plus keep those colds at bay.  A great hint… add some garlic to your sauces as garlic is a traditional remedy and prevention for colds and flus.
  • Layer Up – we know the benefit of this at Gutter-Vac as we are working outdoors, on roofs, cleaning gutters so through winter layering up is a great way to not only keep warm, but as the day progresses, to be able to take some layers off.  This is a great tip for everyone, not just those of us that work outdoors because it is common in Australia to have a cold winter’s morning, but by the afternoon it can feel like a warm spring day.
  • Keep your energy bills lower – this tip combines a number of items that will all help keeping your energy bills lower or not needing to crank your heater up.  They are all simple things that make a difference. 
    • Shut curtains and blinds (particularly after the sun has gone down) as heat is quickly lost through glass windows. 
    • Close up any unused rooms so you are not trying to heat your whole house. 
    • Cover up draughts under doors with ‘draught snakes’ – did you know that 25% of heat loss in winter is caused by ‘air leakage’?
    • Cover bare floors with rugs
    • When sitting, watching TV, why not grab a rug rather than simply turning the heater up.  When sitting your body temperature will drop, so cover up.
  • Exercise – yes, we know the urge to hibernate is great, but exercise will not only keep you fit and healthy, it will also fight off those winter blues, so rug up and get out for a walk or a run.  Why not try hot yoga or grab a friend and exercise together.

Winter may not be your favourite season of the year, but if all else fails, why not embrace the winter months and organise a trip to the snow!  For some of you, a trip to the snow might be as simple as opening your back door and you will have a winter wonderland in your own backyard!

Keep warm and put on another layer…. We will be!