Spousal Support

Almost two decades after launching a successful junk removal franchise, a husband and wife reverse roles with a new home services concept  

Photo: Yvonne and Andrew de Boer

WHEN ANDREW DE Boer first started operating his 1-800-Got-Junk? franchise way back in 2002, he counted on his wife, Yvonne, as he got the business off the ground. “We needed her factory paycheque to get us through the winter,” he recalls with a smile.

Now, it’s Yvonne’s turn to shine—or to Shack Shine, you might say—as Andrew throws his support behind her new franchise business.

Shack Shine provides exterior home detailing services, from window and eavestrough cleaning to power washing and Christmas light installation. “I really supported Andrew when he started 17 years ago. Now he’s supporting me,” says Yvonne, who launched the London Shack Shine franchise last month.

“We enjoy working together and we complement each other,” adds Andrew. “We always planned to have a second business, but we didn’t think we’d do it until our three kids were done school.”

“I really supported Andrew when he started 17 years ago. Now he’s supporting me” —Yvonne de Boer

The de Boer’s daughter and two sons have all worked with 1-800-Got-Junk? during summer and school breaks, and they all encouraged their mom as she explored the idea of running her own franchise.

Both business concepts fall under the Vancouver-based O2E Brands franchisor umbrella, a collection of four home service franchise businesses that traces its roots back to the introduction of 1-800-Got-Junk? in 1989. The de Boers had looked at the other O2E franchises as they were introduced, including Wow 1 Day Painting and You Move Me moving service, but Andrew notes, “They didn’t make sense for us.”  It was at a 1-800-Got-Junk? seminar in Atlanta that the couple gained a full understanding of the Shack Shine operation and decided it was an ideal fit for them.

The businesses will operate separately, each with its own staff and client base, but Yvonne expects there may be some resources crossover, such as 1-800-Got-Junk? staff coming to work for her in the leadup to Christmas, when the junk business slows down but Shack Shine hits its busiest season.

“System wide, 35 per cent of Shack Shine revenue is Christmas light installation,” she explains. “We use high-end commercial LED lighting, much brighter and more durable than what retailers sell, and the lighting is custom cut to fit each house.”

Just as in the junk business, the de Boers expect Shack Shine will develop its own seasonal rhythm, from spring window cleaning to fall gutter cleanouts. Andrew notes that home detailing is a relatively new industry, just as junk removal was when he started. “I’m not sure if there’s a whole lot of light putter-uppers around.”

As the Shack Shine concept becomes established, Yvonne believes clients will come to appreciate the peace of mind that comes with having one company look after a home’s exterior details, year after year.

“We will get know your home better than you do, and be that extra set of eyes,” she says, explaining that technicians might notice something such as loose or missing roof shingles while cleaning eavestroughs. “We will let you know when there are trouble spots—even if it’s something we don’t look after.” Kym Wolfe

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