Residents of the Gas City can tune in on Jan. 13 to see if a former Hatter survived heading into the “Dragons’ Den.” Pitching their mobile tire-service business “GoTire,” Craig Howes and Heather Murphy are appearing on the infamous CBC show where Canadians pitch their entrepreneurial ideas in the hopes of gaining financial backing from investors.
“It’s a bit staggering because it’s all so fast,” said Howes about filming of the show earlier in 2012. “When you get in there, it’s rapid fire.”
But the duo came prepared. They spent six months beforehand researching each of the “dragon” investors, working on their pitch and building the demo van that they then drove to Toronto for the filming of the show.
The average pitch is for five to 20 minutes, said Howes, while their pitch and the ensuing conversation and questions took an hour and 20 minutes. It also means he has no idea what the final edit of their visit with the “dragons” will look like, he added.
“As long as you know what they’re talking about they’ll dig and they’ll dig and they’ll dig, and that’s why they took the whole hour and 20 minutes,” he said. “If you know what you’re talking about ÑÊyou don’t get crucified.”
But as for the outcome and whether or not any of the dragons took the business bait, Howes said the suspense will be left until the episode airs Jan. 13 at 8 p.m. on CBC.
Now based out of Red Deer, Howes grew up in Dunmore and Medicine Hat.
The idea for a mobile tire business came out of the frustration Howes and his fiance Murphy had as owners of a window covering company and the three days back and forth it took to get snow tires put on their fleet of seven vehicles and two personal vehicles. After crunching the numbers, they discovered they were losing $6,000-$10,000 a day when the vehicle wasn’t in service. “That’s a really expensive proposition, if your vans aren’t running you aren’t earning any revenue,” said Howes.
The pair spent the next two years developing GoTire in Red Deer, offering not just mobile tire services, but windshield and detailing. They’ve since expanded with eight franchises since this August with more “in the pipeline,” said Howes.
“After the show, we’re projecting that we may sell out across Canada,” he said, including having a franchise open up in his hometown of Medicine Hat.
Howes added that they’re also looking into relocating their family and GoTire’s head office back to the Gas City as well, as it’s where most of his family is and because of the lower cost of living.