GLEN WEYCHARDT,

GUTTER-VAC

Inside Franchise Business - - Leadership -

When a med­i­cal emer­gency re­quired Glen Weychardt to rush to hos­pi­tal and spend days at his fi­ancée’s bed­side, he re­ally ap­pre­ci­ated the free­dom he has as a fran­chisee.

“I was able to change my work at the flick of a switch – I sched­uled work at 9 am and would jug­gle my day.”

As a fran­chisee with gutter clean­ing firm Gutter-Vac, Glen was lucky – he could eas­ily man­age the daily ap­point­ments in the qui­eter au­tumn pe­riod.

“March is not a busy part of the year. As a new busi­ness owner I would have been mar­ket­ing but I put that on hold. With an emer­gency un­fold­ing I needed to be there.”

Glen kept the new busi­ness go­ing at a bare min­i­mum but his fo­cus was his fam­ily; he and his fi­ancée wel­comed their new baby, born early at 29 weeks. But even with the safe ar­rival of his daugh­ter there were still daily hos­pi­tal vis­its for the next two months.

That fo­cus on fam­ily has stayed with Glen, and he’s worked his rou­tine around time with his daugh­ter.

“I spend a lot of time at home with her. I try to fin­ish about 2 pm and be­cause

I’ve done the work for so long I’m pretty ef­fi­cient.”

Glen has been a fran­chisee for just 18 months, but had al­ready notched up two years with the Gutter-Vac busi­ness as an em­ployee when he bought the busi­ness. When he dis­cov­ered the job, he had no idea a suc­cess­ful small busi­ness could be built on gutter clean­ing.

For two years he was the fran­chisee’s sole em­ployee and worked up to six days a week, putting it plenty of over­time.

“I used to be al­ways work­ing, al­ways on the tools, some­times com­ing home in the dark. I worked lots of Satur­days. I was flog­ging it.

“Af­ter a few years I re­alised I needed to break away from a lower pay bracket and build for the fam­ily.”

Now as a busi­ness owner Glen can choose to clock up sig­nif­i­cant hours over a week, some­thing he reg­u­larly does when ser­vic­ing schools dur­ing the hol­i­days. What’s dif­fer­ent about do­ing the hard yards now is that he’s work­ing for him­self, and he can bal­ance the in­tense pe­ri­ods with three-day weeks.

“I can jam a lot of work into a few days. My fi­ancée works on Fri­day so I don’t work and I’m home with my daugh­ter. I’m work­ing three days a week in win­ter – and still mak­ing money.”

It is early days yet for the busi­ness, the ter­ri­tory is still grow­ing, and Glen is com­mit­ted to build­ing up a strong client base. While head of­fice pro­vides some cus­tomer leads, Glen, like all Gutter-Vac fran­chisees, is re­spon­si­ble for gen­er­at­ing busi­ness. He does this in a way that’s nat­u­ral to him, walk­ing around the com­mu­nity, en­gag­ing with other busi­ness own­ers, chat­ting about the ser­vice. He scored a Bun­nings ac­count by be­ing in the right place at the right time: the man­ager had gutter clean­ing on his to-do list.

The ben­e­fits of busi­ness own­er­ship have been bal­anced by in­evitable chal­lenges.

“Ini­tially there was the coin drop mo­ment – you re­alise you have to do this for­ever. It’s a con­tin­u­ous chore, hav­ing to call peo­ple and get out amongst it. That was a bit daunt­ing but I learned to not worry too much about it; busi­ness does come and go.”

Work­ing for the man, Glen had also been a gar­dener and worked in hospi­tal­ity so he un­der­stands about the im­por­tance of cus­tomer ser­vice to his busi­ness. There are other el­e­ments to be­ing his own boss that were new to him, how­ever. And that’s where it’s been a bonus to be part of a fran­chise net­work.

“It’s a lit­tle bit dif­fer­ent from what I thought it would be like – lit­tle chal­lenges, like learn­ing about the ac­count­ing side, I had no idea how to do it. I’ve learned a few things, like book­keep­ing. I have an ac­coun­tant but you have to know what’s go­ing on.”

Glen was sur­prised to find he was en­grossed in a five-hour ses­sion at the most re­cent an­nual Gutter-Vac con­fer­ence. The topic was know­ing the key in­di­ca­tors of your busi­ness, de­liv­ered by a for­mer pi­lot who drew par­al­lels with the need for a pi­lot to know the weight of a plane be­fore it takes off.

“It made a lot of sense. I’ve ap­plied a few ideas,” says Glen.

Look­ing ahead he’s aim­ing for weekly book­ings to fill out the di­ary Mon­day to Fri­day but right now there’s a steady rhythm to Glen’s rou­tine, with oc­ca­sional bursts of long hours. And he’s man­aged to fit in a trip over­seas too, at­tend­ing a wed­ding last sum­mer in Samoa.

It’s a sched­ule that’s work­ing for the fam­ily, which is his pri­or­ity.

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