WattElse Solar

Founders: Martin Carlin, Rhodes Watson
Revenue: $1.62 million
Started: 2011
Head Office: Victoria
Employees: 4
Industry: Retail trade
Website: www.wattelse.com.au

WattElse Solar manages the design and installation of solar photovoltaic systems. Specifically, it sources quality solar PV technology, importing it directly or buying it locally at wholesale prices.


The business also consults with homeowners and businesses around their energy needs, and recommends energy-saving solutions.


Carlin says the inspiration for the business was born out of personal experience.


“Rhodes wanted to get solar for his own home and was frustrated at all the confusing information, high prices and dodgy solar businesses out there,” he says.


“This led Rhodes to start a community bulk-buying initiative in his hometown of Yeppoon. It went off!


“Rhodes and I joined together to start the actual business because we saw how much people wanted honest service, good prices on quality products and no bullshit around the sales process.


“We also wanted to work for ourselves while doing something meaningful.”


WattElse offers people an easy-to-understand service, which has allowed it to win the hearts of consumers who are “sick of the smoke and mirrors”, says Carlin.


The hardest part of starting up was working out the business model.


“We went from being a broker to doing pretty much everything ourselves. That was a big learning curve,” Carlin says.


“We learnt the practicalities of importing, of working with tradesmen and subcontractors, and the importance of good contracts.


“We learnt how important it was to provide good service to our customers, which we now have so much control over now we’ve taken so many parts of the business in-house.”