Note: Post #15. Imagine being 60 years old with a Ph. D. and 35+ years of non-profit administration experience, most as Vice President or Assistant Vice President of Institutional Advancement in colleges and universities. Now you are buying a franchise and becoming a small business owner. This is my story.
This post is out of chronological sequence with what has come before and what will come after. The importance of this announcement warrants breaking with linear presentation to this point. I had hoped to make this announcement last week. Some unforeseen things made a delay necessary. Now that details have been finalized, I am pleased to announce that I am the proud owner of a Mosquito Hunters franchise which will serve parts of Northwestern Camden County and Western Burlington County, NJ!
I am guessing that many of you (perhaps most) did not see this coming. A few months ago, neither did I. Mosquito Hunters was introduced to me by my franchise consultant, Jeff Weiss (see post # 12) after we discussed what I was looking to achieve by owning a franchise; assessing my skills, abilities, and interests; and determining what resources I had available to start a business. I looked forward to this conversation where he would present 4 options (in addition to the real estate marketing company) that might be a good match for me. Mosquito Hunters was the last one he mentioned.
I had come across a couple of mosquito/flea/tick control franchises during my research but had passed over them without much thought. As it turns out, my dismissal of those opportunities came from a lack of understanding about the value of the service and the potential of the business model.
Ultimately, it is the business model that eventually drew me in. Several things stand out.
· It is home-based with a cost of entry that I was comfortable with.
· The franchisor has a well-developed process for digital marketing that eliminates the need for me to independently hire a marketing company to get me up to speed on how to successfully target markets via social media, Google ads, etc.
· Mosquito Hunters has a tried-and-true process for local marketing, what they call “ground game” marketing.
· Mosquito control is a business in its infancy. Certainly, fewer than 20% of the households have ever used a mosquito control service and it is likely that percentage is much lower than that. As an emerging business, the marketing effort is on education of the benefits of service.
· Quality customer service is a key to the success of the business model because repeated business during mosquito season and year-over-year retention is how the business grows.
· For my friends in the Advancement profession, these last two sound a lot like Annual Fund donor acquisition and retention — educate the donor about the value of their giving and treat them very well so that they keep giving in the future.
· The business is easily scalable. Start the business with just the owner, one or two part-time employees, and one service vehicle. Add people and vehicles as the customer base grows.
· The Franchisor provides an incredible amount of support to its franchisees, including a business coach for the first year and a sales call center. The call-center is a great asset that ensures potential customers are promptly responded to by a live person when they call or inquire electronically.
· Lastly, although definitely not least, I enjoy the people I have met at the company. I like the way they do business, and they appear to be people of integrity. I look forward to working with them for years to come.
Here’s to a new adventure!!!