School newsletter ad that gave rise to thriving business
James Wetzler is happy to thought of as an old-school businessman.
He likes to look a customer in the eye and seal a deal with a firm handshake.
Honesty and a penchant for hard work have been two key ingredients in his success as the owner of Wetzler Weed Management and Site Maintenance.
His mantra is simple: “If you can’t do it, don’t do it. Don’t say you can and do a half-baked job.”
James has come a long way since he arrived in Rockhampton in 1996, a sole parent with a three-year-old son and just $11 to his name.
A butcher by trade, he had upped stumps from Port Macquarie to go to Normanton for a job, which fell through.
He had just enough money to make it back to Rockhampton, where several of his siblings were living, and decided it was as good a place as any to then call home.
“I sorted everything out over the next couple of days. I had a six pack in the fridge and I said to my sister I’m not having a beer until I find a job.
“I walked in on Friday afternoon and grabbed a beer because I’d found a job and was starting work the next day.”
James worked in several different butcher shops before securing a job at the Lakes Creek Meatworks where he would stay for about six years before it closed for the first time.
It was there he met his future wife Tracy. When they both found themselves jobless, they made the move to Marmor where Tracy’s parents lived.
It was 2002, and James knew he had to find something to support Tracy and his two sons, Nathan and Dale.
“I put an ad in the school newsletter, which said ‘Local man looking for work, $10 an hour’ and it took off from there.
“I did anything and everything; I never knocked a single job back.
“I even put my hand down a toilet to retrieve a ring. I got paid $50 for that.”
He was a jack of all trades but became keenly interested in weed management and site maintenance, which would ultimately lead to him establishing a business with those services at its core.
Demand grew and so did the need for more staff. At the height of Gladstone’s gas boom in 2011 and 2012, James had 23 employees on the books. He now maintains 10 workers and provides services across the state.
The 57 year old is reaping the rewards of his dedication but he earns it it. He operates 24/7, seven days a week and firmly believes that “if you’re prepared to work, you’ll always find work”.
He thinks he’s done alright for a “broken down butcher cum weed contractor”.
He loves his job, and nothing makes him happier than a satisfied customer.
“There’s nothing better than when someone rings you up and says you’ve done a great job.
“I love a challenge, I thrive on it.
“This isn’t just a job for me; I get to see things and go places I never imagined.
“When I started my business I thought I would be a single-man contractor, I never thought I would be where I am now.”