After being involved in multiple startup ventures, this entrepreneur knew that a dryer vent cleaning business was the right next move to meet his goals
When you’re involved with launching and growing small businesses, you pick up a lot of knowledge. Good business practices, as well as what doesn’t work, and why, are stored away for future use. You also get a sense of what kind of businesses, and business models, are sure-fire winners. Mike and Brandy Burka, who launched Dyer Vent Squad of Katy, Texas, earlier this year, are seasoned entrepreneurs who were eager to get in early on this opportunity. Here’s what Mike Burka has to say about his new business.
What were you doing before tackling your own Dryer Vent Squad franchise?
I spent 27 years with Advance Auto Parts, which was the majority of my career, and in recent years I have been involved with a few startups. One was providing services to car dealerships, because a lot of them outsource labor, and another was staffing car-dealer detail departments and hotel valet services. Most recently I got involved with a friend of mine who was launching a disinfectant company, so I’ve really had my hand in a few very different things.
Why were you looking for a new opportunity, and what appealed to you about Dryer Vent Squad?
I had been thinking about getting something entirely my own vs. being in partnership with other people. Recently Brandy and I have been remodeling our house, and one room was the laundry room. I knew it was going to be redone, so I said I’d get the dryer vent cleaned out. I called the company I used a few years ago for that, and they said it’d be a week before they could come out, and it would cost $200.
I didn’t want to wait a week, so I hopped online that night and watched a video. I saw it was the same tools I’d used myself many years ago when I cleaned the vent, so not much had changed. Right after that video an ad came up promoting promoting Dryer Vent Wizard franchises, and it got me thinking. If I have to wait a week, and it’s a few hundred dollars, there must be a high demand. So, the next morning I told Brandy I was going to buy a dryer vent cleaning franchise.
I began talking to Dryer Vent Wizard and doing my due diligence, and I wanted to look at competitors. That’s how I found Dryer Vent Squad. What stood out was that the team at Dryer Vent Squad was much more relaxed. I worked in the corporate world for 30 years, and the last thing I want is a conference call every Monday to talk about results and all the rest of that. I also thought the pricing and fees were more competitive, and I liked that, as well as the chance to start with a brand that is fairly new and growing quickly. It was going to take a long time to get started with the other brand, and with everything else they required I’d be working on things and not making money for a few months. I have enough business experience that I really didn’t want to wait.
How was your onboarding and the overall process of getting set up and ready to go?
My son has a Dryer Vent Squad franchise now as well, the training has been good for all of us. You get an outline of the things you need to do, and the operating manual, and you can read through that and get to work quickly. You have some autonomy, which is good. A big thing for us was getting the van, and there was a seven-week wait with the brand’s vendor, so I bought one elsewhere, and then outfitted it and had it wrapped. You have a lot of freedom within the Dryer Vent Squad model, which is good.
How are you going about building your brand and booking jobs?
I put a lot of money into marketing, and it has led to jobs. I could do four or five jobs a day, six days a week if I wanted to, already. We’re on Google, NetSearch, HomeAdvisor and Nextdoor. Our community puts out two different magazines, so we’re in both of those as well as some other subdivision magazines. We sponsored the local high school’s theater program, football team and senior class, and we joined the local Chamber of Commerce and other networking groups. We have a bunch of lines in the water, and while it’s costly the phones are ringing, and our schedule is full.
What does your staffing trajectory look like?
Now I’m looking to post an ad and look for someone who can begin to work with me, which will let us get more jobs done per day. Eventually that tech will take over the van, and I’ll buy another one. The plan there is one van will be the new jobs, and one will be working the recurring business from the client base we are building.
How vital will those recurring jobs be for your business, and for this brand in general?
Well, if you’re doing 15 to 20 jobs a week, and doing them well, you can build a lot of recurring business. The first year will be a grind, since it’s all new work, but once you get someone’s problem taken care of, then you can talk to them about regular maintenance. Those jobs are a lot quicker, since there’s no repair involved. It’s a smaller ticket, but there are more of them so you could wind up with 60 jobs in a month and not be spending a dollar on marketing to get them.
What would you tell someone who’s doing their own due diligence into possibly buying a Dryer Vent Squad franchise?
Be ready to put in the marketing dollars right up front. And also, be ready to do the work. Eventually you can cut back on the marketing, and eventually you’ll be adding staff, but at first you’ve got to push it yourself and work really hard. The phone’s not going to ring just because you bought a van and had a wrap put on it. You’ve got to learn how do the work, and then get yourself and your name out there so you’re ready when those calls start coming in.
Interested in becoming a Dryer Vent Squad franchise owner?
If you’re ready to take control of your future and build a better life for yourself and your family, consider franchising with Dryer Vent Squad. To learn more about the Dryer Vent Squad opportunity, visit our research pages or simply fill out an inquiry form and a member of our team will be in touch with you shortly. We can’t wait to learn if your dreams can be realized by owning a Dryer Vent Squad franchise.