Banking on gutters

WAYNESFIELD — Waynesfield-Goshen High School senior Weston Hinds has had some limited experience in the field of general contracting. Now, he says he hopes to use his experience as a gateway to owning his own business.

Hinds was awarded the top prize for his business plan to open a seamless gutter installation and cleaning business Thursday in Lori Dyer’s Leadership II class, which has the aim to help students  get real work experience.

“A lot of the students in this class are the type that would look very seriously at the possibility of having their own business,” Dyer said. “This gives them some practice. This project let them explore some of the things they would have to do.”

The students took the project seriously, as each project had to include a research paper and a complete business plan.

The project counted as their final exam in the class.

The students business plan was graded by three area bankers, Brent Dawson of the First National Bank of New Bremen, Jessica Schulze of the First National Bank of New Bremen-Wapakoneta branch, and Joel Althauser of Home Savings & Loan Company in Kenton.

The bankers said Hinds’ foresight on expenses necessary to keep the business going the first few months and his experience in the field were what set him apart from the other projects.

“He really thought things out,” Althauser said.

“He did a lot of in-depth research and thought seriously about what to expect,” Dawson said. “It helped that he had experience in the industry.”

Dawson said his project was detailed enough that Hinds’ proposal was detailed enough to be approved for a loan.

“It would be considered a serious offer and a good risk with a little help from an accountant,” Dawson said.

Hinds requested approximately $55,000 in the plan to start his business. His major purchases would include a gutter machine, gutter coil, tools, employee payroll money for six months, a portable generator and extra money for unseen expenses.

Hinds said it was easy to consider the details for the project because it is something he is seriously considering as he nears graduation.

“It is something I plan to do,” Hinds said.

Hinds competed against other students in the class, who had proposals for other businesses ranger from a flower shop to a nuclear power plant.

Senior Jacob Frank requested a grand total of $300 million to open his nuclear power plant.

“I thought the students all did a fantastic job,” Dyer said. “It isn’t an easy thing to go to a banker with hat in hand. This gives them some experience at what it would be like to do that.”

Hinds is optimistic at his business’ chances in a competing market. He said he would consider expanding his services into other areas of general contracting as his business progressed.

“I would start out small and try to build,” Hinds said. “We will see how it goes and how much money I make.”