The ultimate sea change: four Gold Coast territories available

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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.

New Franchisees on Board!

Just two weeks ago, we had another great new franchisee training here at Gutter-Vac head office.

We welcomed to the family Glen Weychardt (Brisbane South-East) and Keith Cowe (Mackay).

I love when we have new franchisees joining the team at Gutter-Vac because it is a great reminder to me how far we have come since starting Gutter-Vac more than 20 years ago.  It is a great feeling knowing that you are helping an individual, and more often than not, a family, start their own business and become their own boss.  I love seeing how the franchisees learn and grow through the week.  Overcome their nerves in starting their own business and finishing up the week feeling confident that they can go out there and make a success of their business.

We always ask our new franchisees for feedback on the training they receive – everyday – of their 7 day franchise training.  I believe there is always room for improvement and you should never become complacent that you know it all.

What did Glen and Keith have to say?

“Gives me the knowledge to become the best franchisee I can be”  Keith Cowe, Mackay

“Covered everything.  Very informative, has given me great confidence with beginning my business”  Glen Weychardt, Brisbane South-East

The best thing is, we get to do it all again in just 2 weeks with another couple of new faces to the Gutter-Vac team and we can’t wait to have them here to give them the confidence to run and build a successful Gutter-Vac business!

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Gutter-Vac Conference 2016

On the last weekend of April/start of May, we held our annual conference down at Coolangatta and I would say, it was our best conference yet.

We had a huge turnout of franchisees and their partners and once again, not only was a lot of learning done, there was also a lot of fun had.

Over the years we have discovered what our franchisees like at conference and it is not big keynote or celebrity speakers.  What they really love is ‘talking shop’ with each other.  They like to learn something new for their business – technical and business.  They like to learn the newest innovations and they like to hear what has been happening in Gutter-Vac as a group over the last year.

For this reason we set out our conferences with lots of interaction for the franchisees because just like any franchise group, the best lessons that a franchisee will get for their own business, usually come from another franchisees.  For this reason, our conference content is set up to facilitate this, it starts these conversations that go from the conference room, to dinner and a drink at the bar.

Over the two days of conference, our franchisees love to talk to each other and get involved.  We have franchisees share new information and this year will added optional master classes after the official session on the first day.  We had two franchisees share new innovations they were using.

On the afternoon of the first day we always have a fun, team building activity.  This year we did African drumming!  Yes, we were a bit worried at how the franchisees would take this on, but there was no need to worry as the franchisees jump in – boots and all – to these activities and have a really fun time and learn to work as a team.  Even the guys running the drumming said that it didn’t take much to ‘warm up’ the crowd, the franchisees jumped in straight away and there was a lot of laughter – and of course drumming – in the group.

After two days of conference we have our annual awards dinner and it is just amazing to recognise those franchisees that have been playing at the top of their business.  This year was an incredible experience with some new franchisees entering the award winners who were shocked to realise they had performed to such a high level.  It is a great feeling to give an award to people who I know have worked hard, overcome challenges and still ended up on top.  A short speech was made by our winners and I was really humbled to hear their words and what the business meant for them.  What was truly amazing was their words of thanks to the group as a whole and to specific franchisees (generally their neighbouring franchisee) for their help to the winner’s business.  Great stuff!

So planning for next year’s conference begins shortly and I’m excited to see what we can come up with to try and top this year’s conference.  It will be a big ask, but we are up for it because what it does for our franchisees and their individual businesses is amazing and what it does for the group as a whole is just brilliant.

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An unexpected benefit of being a franchisee

A couple of weeks ago, we had a fairly big challenge occur for our Cairns franchisees, Tim and Madonna.  Their trailer containing their Gutter-Vac machine and all of their equipment was stolen when they were up in Atherton doing a big job over a few days.

This is only the third time in 20 years that a trailer has been stolen.  Now before I go on, all of our franchisees are completely insured so the story ends well.  But what I realise now on reflection and a discussion I had with Madonna, how much more stressful this situation could have been had they not been in a franchise and just out on their own.

Firstly, when Tim discovered the trailer had been stolen from the car park of where he was staying, he of course called Madonna who was at home in Cairns with their kids.  It was only 7.30am and once Madonna was off the phone with Tim (who was now calling the police), Madonna felt very much on edge as she was stuck an hour away from Tim, wanting to do something, but nothing she could do.

So Madonna jumped onto the closed Facebook group we have for our franchisees to ‘talk shop’ in and posted that their trailer had just been stolen because as Madonna said ‘she need to tell someone!’.

By coincidence, Tracey had arrived at Head Office early and was checking the Facebook group and saw Madonna post her ‘news’.  Tracey text me and said she would call Madonna to find out if this was indeed actually happening.  By the time I arrived at the office just 20 minutes later, Tim was on his way to the Police station to make a formal report – with images in hand of the trailer.  Madonna and Tracey had organised to let the media know, put posts on Facebook pages in the area (who knew there are specific Facebook pages to report crimes and to be on the lookout!), plus Carl and Elizabeth – our Townsville franchisees – had already offered their second trailer to Tim and Madonna to use whilst they waited to either find their trailer or to get a new one through insurance AND they didn’t expect any payment, just happy to help out.  As Elizabeth said ‘If I was in that situation, I’d hope someone would do the same for us’.

Messages from other franchisees offering support and seeing how they could help flooded in over the next hour.  Madonna and I talked about options and what the next steps were.

Madonna called our main insurance providers ‘Insurance Made Easy’ and because we have been working with them for quite some time now (James even comes along to our conference each year), they made the process of applying for the insurance to get a new trailer and machine really easy.

By the end of the day, Madonna took to the Facebook group for our franchisees again to thank everyone for their support – especially Carl and Elizabeth from Townsville for the offer of their second trailer because it meant that they would only have 2 or 3 days of downtime without tools compared to what could have been 6 weeks and when you realise that it was really busy in Cairns (booked out solid for the next month with more work coming in the door) this could have been a major problem for their business which is only 18 months old.  In fact, if they weren’t in a franchise, this could have spelled the end of their business.  Madonna made the comment that she was grateful they were in a franchise and it got me thinking to see that this is an unexpected benefit of being in a franchise.

This is certainly not a story I want to repeat in our group, but it did give me a feeling of pride that our franchisees really do work as a community, as a family, to help and support each other.  More than happy and willing to help each other, not just in words, but action.  It made me proud that in times of need, we have the team – not just in our office, but also with our suppliers – to help our franchisees.

Being in a franchise means you are in business for yourself, not by yourself and this is a great story to demonstrate that.

If you are wondering, over the next few days, every franchisee was posting what they use to secure their trailer to prevent theft and also found a stack of new products.  Even Tim posted his new device to the Facebook group for what he was using on his borrowed trailer from Carl and Elizabeth from Townsville!

So an event that could have killed a small business if they were on their own is a demonstration of just the added benefits that most people don’t know or talk about for being part of a franchise.


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#2 Franchise !

I’m very proud to announce that Gutter-Vac has just been awarded the #2 position in Overall Franchise Category in the awards.

When I began Gutter-Vac 20 years ago, it was because I hated having to clean gutters out by hand when I was running my plumbing business.  It is a dirty and time consuming job and I just figured there had to be a better way.  That is when I started working on creating our specialised wet/dry vacuum system that we have today.

When I started building that vacuum system to clean gutters, I didn’t have the thought this would make a good franchise.  It was only after operating the Gutter-Vac business alongside my plumbing business that I soon realised the potential of this becoming a business I could share with others so that they too could work for themselves and provide for their families, just as I was doing.

I can’t say it has exactly been smooth sailing in the last 20 years.  It has taken a lot of work to get to where we are.  Helping individuals get started in their own business, understanding the technical work of Gutter-Vac, but also the business work of running a small business is not easy.  There was a few times I did wonder if we could make it.  That whole GFC period was really tough, I’m not going to lie, but we made it because we kept focusing on what we did great.  We have learnt a lot in the process and still today, I continue to look for ways for us to improve in our service to our customers and also to our franchisees.

To be awarded the #2 franchise in the overall category and then also be the #1 home services franchise, I write this with just a little bit of amazement that a plumber from Bundaberg that was sick and tired of getting dirty and hot cleaning out gutters by hand could 20 years later have a franchise business with over 68 territories in Australia and about to launch in the USA that helps not only our customers with our exceptional service, but to also help so many great people (our franchisees) have their own successful business.

So this blog is not here to brag today about how good we are for being awarded the #2 franchise in Australia, it is to acknowledge all those that have been with us on the journey to #2 in our 20th year and to just show you that anything is possible with hard work, determination and a passion to show real customer service.

Thanks to everyone!

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Waterway Pollution Reduction

Gutter cleaning reduces the volume of chemicals entering our waterways. Rotting gutter debris is extremely high in nutrients that pollute rivers, lakes and oceans. Nutrient pollutants in storm water are having a disastrous impact on all aquatic life, not only harming fish, plants and wildlife, but reducing the water quality for humans.

You can do your part by keeping your gutters clean.

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Fire Risk Reduction

Removing gutter debris reduces the risk of spreading fire. Fire departments recommend property owners regularly clean their gutters to reduce the risk of spreading fire.

During a fire, embers from burning bushland become airborne and are carried away by the hot wind, landing miles away. In a wildfire, it is the embers that typically cause more home fires than flames from the initial blaze.

Gutter cleaning can reduce the fire risks at your property. When your gutters are full of leaves, the wind will blow them over the back of the gutters and into the ceiling of your home.  Leaves in this area are a genuine fire hazard.

In Australia, fire prevention is a big issue and we have seen many out of control bushfires take hold of many homes.  Don’t let yours be one of them.  Whether you are in a bushfire prone area or not, it is better to be safe than sorry and make sure your gutters are cleaned to reduce the risk of a devastating fire that takes your home.

Give us a call on 1300 654 253 for a no obligation quote to have your gutters cleaned.

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Water Damage Prevention

Regular cleaning will keep rainwater from damaging your property. Gutters are designed so that the gutter is higher at the front than the back (for a tidier finish). As a result, when rainwater can’t drain from the gutters as intended, the rainwater will flow over the back of the gutters rather than the front. Blocked gutters can cause rainwater to overflow into ceiling cavities and into the property, damaging walls, décor, carpets and electrical items. Overflow water can also flow to the foundations of the property, which can be extremely dangerous.

Often times this water damage does not become noticeable until you have a major storm with excessive rain, but the damage was already done long before the storm and it was just the storm that pushes the water damage to a point that you can see it.

The cost to have your gutters cleaned is far less than having to replace walls, ceilings and carpets!

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Cleaning gutters regularly helps prevent gutter rust.

Cleaning your gutters regularly can help prevent gutter rust. Without proper cleaning, debris left in gutters breaks down and forms a destructive sludge. Over time, this sludge causes the formation of rust, degrading gutters and causing the need for expensive gutter replacement.

Many people believe that we are cleaning gutters to remove the leafy debris within a gutter, but just as importantly, if not more so, we are cleaning gutters to remove this destructive sludge that forms in your gutters.

Not only will this sludge rust your gutters to a point where you will eventually need to replace them, it also is the perfect food source for the vermin around your property.

When was the last time you had your gutters cleaned?

Give us a call on 1300 654 253.