Franchise allows former accountant to vent
While dryer vent cleaning may not be top of mind, Dean Culver, who recently expanded his Dryer Vent Wizard franchise to the Madison area, says regular maintenance is critical to reducing utility costs and preventing devastating fires.
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If you wanted to rank to the most powerful fictional wizards, you’d probably have Merlin, Gandalf, Dumbledore, and Glinda the Good Witch at the top of your list in some order.
But for a different kind of magic — and one rooted fully in reality — look no further than Dean Culver, the Dryer Vent Wizard.
Culver’s sorcery is so good, in fact, he takes care of a problem many home and business owners don’t even know they have — clogged dryer vents that can increase utility bills, decrease the lifespan of a dryer, and even result in devastating fires.
Culver started the business five years ago in Waukesha when he purchased a Dryer Vent Wizard franchise and set up shop as Dryer Vent Wizard of SE Wisconsin. Now he’s entering the Madison market after purchasing the Madison territory and installing his son, Dayton, 24, as the area technician.
Dryer vent cleaning wasn’t a lifelong pursuit for Culver prior to July 2013, however. With an associate degree in accounting, and a Bachelor of Arts in management and communication, Culver was a restaurant manager for Red Lobster, the founder and director of a nonprofit organization that helped teenagers, and worked in the accounting industry for nearly 20 years.
“After losing my last job, I started looking for a new position in accounting, doing the same thing I had been doing for 20 years,” Culver explains. “As I was searching, I realized I wanted to do something different that I could make my own. I connected with a franchise consultant and we began to figure out what business would be a good fit for me. I wanted to work out of my home, I wanted to have interaction with customers, and I wanted something that could grow.”
After narrowing it down to three businesses, Culver sat down with his wife. Without hesitation, she said, “Dryer Vent Wizard, for sure.” After being married for more than 20 years, he admittedly knew better that to second guess her, so Dryer Vent Wizard was the choice.
Since then all four of Culver’s sons — ages 20, 22, 24, and 27 years old — have played a role in the growth of the business. During the summer, his two younger sons might do some work for him cleaning multifamily units. His oldest son has since moved to Colorado to work for a tech company.
It’s son Dayton who has a real future with the company, however. Planning to retire within the next 10 years, it’s Dayton who will take over ownership of the franchise from Culver. He’ll have some big shoes to fill.
“I work as the accountant, the marketing director, public relations, lead technician, human resources, and an all-around gopher,” notes Culver of his role with the business. “I work in both the field and the office, but my goal is to be more in the office, driving business.”
And business is good. Culver employs two full-time employees and one part-time worker. During the summer, he hires between four and six part-time employees. Last year, Culver’s gross income was $236,000. This year, he expects that number to grow by at least 25% as he and Dayton develop the newly acquired Madison territory.
“When I bought my first territory near Milwaukee, my goal was to purchase a second territory by year five,” says Culver. “Now, I am going into my fifth year as a Dryer Vent Wizard owner, and my son Dayton moved to Madison from Colorado last year. It just seemed like this was the right time. I chose Madison because it is a thriving area and is underserved when it comes to dryer vent services.”
The hottest growth industry is … lint?
If you rarely clean the lint out of your pockets, just think about how much lint accumulates in uncleaned dryer vents. It adds up to a surprisingly booming industry.
Nationally, Dryer Vent Wizard was the first company to exclusively focus on cleaning and maintaining dryer vents, notes Culver. It has become a $20 billion industry.
“Based on what I am seeing, I believe this industry will continue to grow, especially as people become more educated about the dangers of dryer fires and the importance of having regular dryer vent maintenance,” Culver explains.