GutterPRO was established in 2013 by Andy Smith after he found out how difficult it was to find a firm to clear the gutters of his home. When pondering the difficulties involved with clearing the gutter over his conservatory, Smith began to develop the idea that became GutterPRO.
Smith was himself a franchisee with Printing.com, a firm set up by Tony Rafferty in 2000, which rapidly expanded to 500 units operating in 10 countries. Rafferty and Smith founded Innovative Franchise Solutions Ltd. (IFS) to develop franchise ideas and piloted GutterPRO in two territories (North Shropshire and South Staffordshire) before launching the company as a joint venture with IFS at the NEC in September 2016.
The Telford-based company has since expanded from a single unit to having over 40 territories and hope to have more than 100 units during 2019.
“No mess, no fuss… and no ladders,” is the GutterPRO mantra. In clearer terms, the company clears gutters from the ground using a powerful vacuum system that safely clears everything away that can cause problems in gutters.
GutterPRO’s service removes moss, debris, grass, leaves, sticks and just about everything from a client’s gutters and, because the company uses suction rather than a power washer to blast all the leaves out, the debris ends up in the vacuum, not all over the client’s garden or path.
Using 34ft-long extending super light, carbon-fibre poles, the operator can reach over garages, extensions, conservatories and outbuildings and up to four stories high, all from the safety of the ground and with no risk to your roof. High power vacuum suction cleans out all difficult-to-reach gutters and a wireless camera system takes before and after pictures that can be shared with the client for their peace of mind.
How does the GutterPRO franchise model work?
The GutterPRO franchise is a van-based franchise, the van branded with the company colours of orange and blue, as are the distinctive company uniforms. The van can be bought outright or leased. GutterPRO’s illustrative figures price a 5-6 years old van at around £6,000 with typical monthly repayments of £120; a lease can cost £200 a month, after payment of a £700 deposit.
The starting fee is £9,850 for a single territory or £12,850 for two territories, starting with a single van and deferring £6,000 of the cost until the second year. The franchisee has 12 months to decide if they want to go for this expansion pack. Should you decide to take up the expansion, you will be given a second vehicle and the deferred payment is paid in four equal payments. Should the second territory not work out for the franchisee, they can fall back to one territory with nothing more to pay.
GutterPRO has a fast-start guarantee that will see a revenue of £5,000 in the first three months of a franchise.
A royalty of 15 per cent is payable, or a franchisee can opt for a fixed monthly fee that increases in steps from £275 to £400 over a period of five years.
A territory is based on a population of 275,000 to 325,000, while a management franchise is two standard areas. GutterPRO has so far granted franchises in 40+ territories.
What support and training does the GutterPRO franchise offer?
Once you have spoken to a GutterPRO representative, you will be invited to attend an Awareness Day. This is your opportunity to find out more about GutterPRO and to meet the team and other GutterPRO franchisees.
Training begins with four days in the classroom covering risk assessment, health and safety, together with GutterPRO marketing. The GutterPRO team will also walk you through the financial forecasts in a clear and transparent way. GutterPRO spends time explaining both your obligations as a franchisee and its obligations as franchisor.
The training then gets ‘hands on’ as everyone attending get to use the GutterPRO clearing and cleaning kit and will be coached in all aspects of following the GutterPRO method.
GutterPRO will supply flyers and leaflets to distribute around the area, and leaflet inserts in a local publication, together with promotion through Google and Facebook. The marketing launch kit also includes 25,000 flyers for use over the remainder of the first year.
Using proven GutterPRO marketing techniques the central team will generate four bookings for your first week. This provides an opportunity to get used to delivering the required service with some time left over for local marketing. You will be accompanied for the first two days.
As well as three months’ marketing, GutterPRO will also provide a call answering and booking service. By the end of that period, and with a few dozen jobs under your belt, it will be time to plan the next step of your business growth.
Once you are up and running, GutterPRO stays in regular contact. This includes four formal face-to-face review meetings per year, and there is always someone available for an informal call.
What is the pricing structure for work offered by GutterPRO?
GutterPRO has a transparent menu pricing structure which means that customers know exactly what they will be paying no matter how long it takes. GutterPRO makes it very easy to book, to see what work has been done and offer customers the option of cash, cheque, credit or debit card payments at their door.
All of the guttering at the customer’s home is included in the fixed price GutterPRO quotes. This includes gutters at high level and head height, on your conservatory, your porch and your garage. The team works to timed appointments and keeps you informed by text message when they are on their way.
What technology will a GutterPRO franchise require?
GutterPRO makes sure that clients are regularly informed of the progress of the GutterPRO workman on his way to their home. The difference between GutterPRO and many others is that GutterPRO embraces technology, so there is no need for customers to stay in all day waiting for someone to arrive. Thanks to email confirmations and SMS text message reminders GutterPRO customers can track the franchisee’s arrival in real time.
GutterPRO believes that smartphones, tablets and technology in general should better connect the company with its customers. Franchisees will need an Apple iPhone model 5SE or above.
What other services does GutterPro offer?
GutterPRO tends to stick to the one job – cleaning gutters – where it knows the market and can supply its franchisees with the correct equipment. Fixing gutters requires a completely different set of tools.
GutterPRO franchisees will, however, clean the outside of guttering and offer a discount should customers book a clear and clean at the same time. The equipment is also good for cleaning conservatory roofs.
Other discounts can be obtained if you franchisees can persuade a neighbour to have their gutters done at the same time.
What are the GutterPRO franchise’s terms of agreement and renewal?
The franchise lasts for five years and can then be extended for five years. After three extensions, franchisees will be offered extensions of 10, 15 or 20 years.
How in-demand are gutter cleaning services right now?
GutterPRO describe itself as a “four seasons business”. In winter, wet leaves and moss will be washed into gutters and stuck to gutter walls. Leaf build up at the downpipe can cause gutters to overflow.
The GutterPRO business model works well all year, with the summer months boosted with the introduction of the new GutterPRO Clean Service.
The company states that the demand for gutter clearing is high, but in most towns it is only offered by anonymous, unbranded and cash only odd-job men. GutterPRO clients are mainly owner-occupiers and certainly risk adverse. They simply prefer dealing with professionals.
How can I get started on setting up my own GutterPRO franchise?
The GutterPRO franchise begins with an Awareness Day. To find out more, or to request further information on franchising with GutterPRO, click on the ‘Send Enquiry’ button now.
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