As the saying goes, “with every door that shuts, another one opens.” That’s how Bob Bellis felt about his string of bad luck that eventually turned out to be a game changer for him and his family. After losing his corporate job in 2013, Bellis spent six months looking for another one before he was employed again. “It was a really scary time,” says Bellis, “and to make things worse, my wife, Cathy, lost her job too that same year right before Christmas.” Bellis knew he had to find a “plan B” and started looking into home-based franchising. He did a lot of research and eventually hired a franchise consultant to help him and his wife make the right choice for their family. Bellis had an idealistic wish list. He wanted a family business that could grow. He wanted his wife and children involved. He wanted to make a profit. And he wanted to do something that would make a difference in other people’s lives. “I wanted to do something valuable for the community that would also allow us to do well for ourselves.” A His consultant told him about Dryer Vent Wizard, and after looking into it, he realized he would not only make money, but could provide a valuable service that could potentially save lives. “So many homeowners don’t realize that they have to clean their dryer vents or they could be risking a fire, lose their homes or even their lives” After the Bellises started the business in 2014, Cathy took the helm, managing the day-to-day. She is passionate about fire safety and wanted to get the word out. Early on, she made a list of all the fire houses in the area, prepared educational materials, and hit the pavement handing out flyers and talking to the community about safety and prevention She was very well received and the outreach didn’t hurt business either.
Within three months of owning the business, the Bellises started to enjoy a positive cash flow. Now they are at the point where they have a lot of the tedious duties automated or outsourced. While Cathy oversees the day-today, she still has time to babysit her grandchild to help out her son. Bob focuses on the growth plans of the business and is still working his corporate job. He feels the possibilies are endless and has growth plans in sight. Their son Ryan, 27, helps out at night and they have two technicians working full time. The only drawback Bellis mentions is, “I can’t fit my car in the garage anymore because of all the equipment. But that is nothing compared to the positives.” When asked if he has any regrets, his only one was “not doing this 20 years earlier.”
By Jill Abrahamsen