Harold Bert has been in the corporate world for almost four decades. As long as he’s been working, he’s also been downhill skiing competitively – though it could be difficult to find time to hit the slopes while working a full-time job.

After years of long hours as a safety engineer for an insurance company, Harold decided it was time to scale back a bit and enjoy more flexibility in his life. While many people would opt for retirement, Harold instead set his sights on a new kind of mountain – business ownership.

Why Dryer Vent Wizard Was the Perfect Fit

While Harold has always found time to ski, it became much easier to find a work-life balance once he moved away from insurance and opened up his Dryer Vent Wizard franchise.

“As a fire safety engineer, I worked really long hours,” Harold said. “And after so many years working for someone else, I wanted to open up a business for myself.”

Seeking the support of an established brand, along with the autonomy that comes with business ownership, Harold looked at different franchise opportunities.

crushed vent

“The Dryer Vent Wizard opportunity always stood out to me because of my past experience in insurance,” Harold said. “I knew there was strong demand for dryer vent cleaning and maintenance because so many of the house fires I would see were caused by unkempt dryer vents. So, even before I looked further into the industry, I already knew that there was a significant need for it – and that I could help keep people safe while running a successful business.”

An Altitude Adjustment

In 2011, Harold opened up his Dryer Vent Wizard franchise in Kansas City, Kansas.

“The first few years required a lot of work, but I was still able to take time off when I wanted to – whether that was to do a race in Colorado or just spend some time with family,” he said.

Harold’s hard work has paid off – his business has grown between 20 and 75 percent every year since he first opened his doors. In 2017, he took home Dryer Vent Wizard’s Franchise of the Year Award. The honor acknowledges a Dryer Vent Wizard franchise with top sales and outstanding growth and performance. The award also recognizes the franchise owner who consistently contributes to the larger franchise system.

Dryer Vent Wizard van parked in front of a house

“With business ownership, like anything else, you still need to have that work-life balance,” Harold said. “It’s a lot easier to find it once you’re an established business owner. I’ve been able to strike the perfect balance with Dryer Vent Wizard.”

Entrepreneurship Doesn’t Need to be an Uphill Battle

Every year, Harold participates in recreational race trips and competitive ski races, working his schedule around his business. He’s also able to find time every day to train for the ski season, building up his endurance and staying in shape with his ski club.

Harold has enjoyed even more free time after expanding his business by hiring a technician. He’s in the process of hiring a second technician to keep up with increasing demand.

“Hiring a technician is a great business move toward growth. But, more than that, it gives you even more freedom and flexibility,” Harold said. “After working for so many years, that becomes almost more important to you than anything. Work isn’t the be-all end-all.”

map with thumbtack markers

In addition to the time he dedicates to skiing, Harold also enjoys traveling and photography.

“I’m looking forward to pursuing both of those things even more in the coming years,” he said. “I’ve already been to 14 countries and 48 states, but I feel like I have really only scratched the surface. There’s so much beauty and culture around us.”

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