We had the good fortune of connecting with Lou Heintz and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Lou, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
My wife died in a car accident in 1998. At that time my children were 10 and 7 years of age. Suddenly I was a single parent responsible for my career in the staffing industry plus being the sole provider for my children. On top of that, after losing my wife my mental and emotional states were at an unimaginable low. I tried to maintain my career and take care of my kids for a period of time and was failing at both. Eventually I quit working all together for about a year to reflect and come up with a new plan. One day I was in a pharmacy waiting to have a prescription filled – likely an anti-depressant. I was looking through the magazines and one had a cover story called “25 Great Businesses for 2002”. I bought it and discovered one could make a living child proofing someone’s home. I believe part of the inspiration was being able to prevent an accident to a small child as that was how my wife’s life ended. I went through some training, sent out some post cards, and the phone began to ring. Unfortunately I was pretty horrible in the beginning as I was not the most handy person at all. Fortunately I found a handy man to work with me for awhile and learned what I needed to know and am still at it today!
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
As I’ve already said starting off was really a struggle. I did not have the handyman skills needed for the business. Most child proofers are ex-handymen. Fortunately I got a lot of help in the beginning and I am able to figure things out quickly. Many of spaces where I need to install a gate present many challenges. One of my strengths is identifying the issues and coming up with a solution which results in the desired outcome. One thing that I believe sets me apart from others who do what I do is I am happy focusing on child safety gates. I still do some other child proofing but on a very limited basis. This allows me to take the extra time needed to ensure every gate I install is working perfectly before I move on to the next.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
In the beginning I received my training from Jeff Baril who is a member of the International Association For Child Safety. Jeff and many of the other members gave me tremendous support and education during my start up. Early in the process I was struggling because my handyman skills were not the best. I met a guy named Logan Carlisle who was just starting a handyman business and he worked with me for about 6 months and taught me a lot. After 9 years with my first company Super Safe Tots! I was ready for a break. I did some other things for a couple of years. Eventually I decided to get back into child safety and consulted with PrepareFirst. Rob Carter and Gene Rice really helped me perfect my baby gate installation process which I now use for my work at Baby Gates Of Atlanta. Finally I want to thank all the Moms and Dads who appreciated my work and referred me to their friends. This really helped me grow my business. And a major shout out to the Facebook group Mom Posse.
Other: Porch https://porch.com/brookhaven-ga/childproofing-consultants/baby-gates-of-atlanta/pp