Business owner says reconditioning batteries saves money, reduces waste
After more than a dozen years running a home-repair business, Belgium resident Larry Folz knew it was time for a change.
â€śIn todayâ€™s economy, there are a lot more people who have gotten into the home-repair business than when I started Larryâ€™s Home Repair,â€ť Folz said.
With such intense competition there are fewer costumers, yet expenses such as liability insurance continue to soar.
â€śWhile looking around on the Internet, I came across a site on how to refresh batteries in cordless tools. Being in the home-repair business, I have plenty of those laying around,â€ť Folz said.
He researched the topic and came across a California company that talked about renewing auto batteries using chemicals and a special charging system.
He was admittedly skeptical.
â€śThis sounded like more of the craziness we see on the Internet,â€ť Folz admitted.
After more study, he said he found merit in the science behind the claim. The process clears lead sulfate build-up from a batteryâ€™s lead plates. Folz said that build-up keeps batteries from accepting and holding a charge.
He contacted officials from Battery Doctors, a division of Pro-Tech International, and is now the first franchise holder in Wisconsin.
Folz said the initial supplies and equipment cost â€śabout what you would pay for a good used car.â€ť
Folz said he is convinced the potential payoff is significantly higher.
â€śThe sky is the limit,â€ť he said.
â€śThis is definitely a green business, keeping lead-based batteries out of our landfills. But it is also an opportunity for auto owners and business customers to save money in difficult economic times.â€ť
The environmental impact of recycling batteries is especially appealing to him.
â€śI grew up with the idea that it wasnâ€™t right to throw things away that could be reused, keeping what you can out of the landfill, and in the last 10 years people have become a lot more concerned about that kind of thing.â€ť
Folz said he has been told about 75% of existing lead batteries can be reconditioned by the process at a price that is half the cost of a new car battery.
â€śIn the case of electric forklifts that use batteries that can cost as much as $5,000, the potential for saving is even greater because those batteries can be reconditioned for about $1,000, â€ť he said.
Folz said he will be approaching companies that use a lot of battery-powered equipment, as well as farmers and boaters.
â€śI know a lot of people are going to be skeptical. To prove how well the system works, I am willing to offer a free demonstration reconditioning to business customers on the first battery and a one-year warranty,â€ť he said.
Folz said his brother uses a battery-powered golf cart, and could have been a likely customer.
â€śHe spent $800 on a new battery. I told him I could have reconditioned his old battery for next to nothing,â€ť Folz said.
Although he plans to start small, he said he sees the potential for the battery business to grow quickly.
â€śI have a lot of friends who are out of work who I think would be good for this kind of business,â€ť Folz said.
For now, he is operating the business out of a rural Belgium garage.
Folz can be reached at 689-7778.
Image Information: BELGIUM RESIDENT Larry Folz uses a chemical additive and a specially designed charger to give new life to old lead batteries. Photos by Mark Jaeger