Today we’d like to introduce you to Lou Heintz.
Lou, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
20 years ago I was working in the staffing industry. My wife died in a car accident leaving me as a single parent with a 10 and 7-year-old. I struggled the next two years trying to continue working in my profession as a single dad and just found it to be too overwhelming for me. So I decided to take some time off and figure out how I could make things work for myself and my kids.
One day I picked up a magazine and the main story was “25 Great Businesses to Start in 2002”. One of them was Child Proofing. So with extremely limited handyman skills, I started Super Safe Tots! a child safety company. So I was doing full-service child proofing from drawer latches to electrical outlets to gates and more. The first 6 months were a major struggle and I nearly quit several times but I finally got the hang of it and eventually had more business than I could handle from the referrals I received. I actually appeared on the TBS show “Movie & A Makeover” as a child safety expert.
After nearly 10 years I was getting somewhat burned out as the work was extremely tedious plus the recession was beginning to impact the business. At the same time, I had to deal with issues regarding my son and father so I shut down the business in 2011.
I tried a few endeavors the next few years but nothing really clicked. In 2014 I was asked to join a previous competitor and worked for them for a year. I really enjoyed working with young families again and particularly enjoyed installing child safety gates which requires creativity and is not so repetitive. So in 2015 I opened Baby Gates Of Atlanta and am entering my 4th year in business.
And if you have a dog that’s taken over your house, my gates do the job there also!
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
As I mentioned, I wasn’t the handiest guy in the world. If something needed doing in our house, it was usually my wife who got it done. Fortunately, as I was just getting started I met a guy named Logan who was starting his own handyman business. Because he needed the work and I needed the know how we teamed up on a regular basis for about the first six months. If not for him I doubt I would have made it through the first week. I am a quick study so it wasn’t that long before I figured it out and was doing a great job. Just don’t ask me to fix your garbage disposal or hang your drapes!
Please tell us about Baby Gates Of Atlanta.
I custom install child safety and pet gates primarily in homes but in businesses as well. I’ve recently added a few more services such as anchoring furniture and cabinet/drawer latches but on a very limited basis. I am very creative and detail oriented so I can offer a solution that the typical customer might not be able to come up with.
Also, because my focus is baby gates I am able to spend as much time as necessary to ensure they are in perfect working condition before I leave. When you’re doing full-service child proofing there can be so many things to accomplish you can be inclined to move on to something else when your product is working but maybe not to its fullest extent.
I am usually at someone’s house for 3-4 hours so there can be a significant amount of interaction during the day. Although I’m not all that outgoing my interpersonal skills and sense of humor usually make for a good connection with my customer.
So far, in three years I have received only 5 Star ratings on Yelp and Facebook and many of my customers have commented they have never seen such a highly rated business. It’s not gonna be pretty for the first person who gives me a four!
If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
I probably would have done a whole bunch of things differently when I started Super Safe Tots! as I was totally new to the industry but as far as Baby Gates Of Atlanta goes I have no regrets.
- Generally, a fully installed stair gate will run $170. If you required “no drill” clamps for a newel post, it’s an additional $40/post.
- Website: www.babygatesatl.com
- Phone: 404-321-5400
- Email: email@example.com
- Facebook: www.facebook.com/babygatesatlanta/
- Yelp: www.yelp.com/biz/baby-gates-of-atlanta-brookhaven