bannerFranchisee Stories

Former Marine Officer Successfully Transitions to Franchising with Mosquito Hunters

Ambrose served in the Marine Corps for over two decades before becoming a franchisee with Mosquito Hunters in 2020. He has doubled his territories in just four years.

By Erica InmanStaff Writer
8:08AM 03/25/24

After a 24-year-long career in the Marine Corps, Josh Ambrose found himself seeking a new mission.

Ambrose had never considered himself an entrepreneur; he initially preferred the stability of a military paycheck to the uncertainties of business ownership. However, after engaging with a franchise consultant, Ambrose became intrigued by the idea of owning his own business and realized his background in leadership made him a great candidate for franchising.

Mosquito Hunters was not the first pest control franchise to come across Ambrose's radar. In fact, he almost signed with a competing brand, walking away at the last moment because the brand wanted to change his territories to suit another franchisee couple who was being onboarded around the same time. Fortunately, this led him to the opportunity to franchise with Mosquito Hunters.

“I decided to walk away, and that ended up being the best decision ever. If I hadn’t walked away, I would never have known how much better of a franchise Mosquito Hunters was,” said Ambrose. “That other couple with the other franchise who took over the territories I almost went for shut down two years ago and I’m here, still growing my business.”

He appreciates the incredible level of support he receives from Mosquito Hunters, especially in terms of marketing. He credits his growth from two territories to four in Jacksonville and Northeast Florida to the marketing efforts and philosophy of the corporate team, as well as the training they provide franchisees to contribute to these efforts. 

Another element that has contributed to his growth is the brand’s multiple streams of revenue through the various services they offer, including repellent and control systems for mosquitos, fleas, ticks, ants, spiders, rodents and other unwanted pests. 

“Mosquitos, ticks and fleas services were the only ones offered when I started, but now there are so many more opportunities to generate revenue and continue growing my business,” he said.

1851 Franchise spoke with Ambrose about his journey into franchising and his plans for the future.

FEATURE QUESTIONS

1851 Franchise: Frame your personal story for us. What did you do before franchising, and how did you decide franchising made sense for you?

Ambrose: I joined the Marine Corps back in 1997. I was enlisted for seven and a half years, and then the Marine Corps sent me to school full time. I became an Officer, and I was an Officer from 2004 to 2020, so I did a total of 24 years in the Marine Corps. 

In 2020, when I was going through the process of retiring from the Marine Corps and looking for a transition into a new project, I learned about the Amazon DSP program. It’s a delivery service partnership; the trucks that come to your house are actually owned by small business owners that pair up with Amazon. 

I thought it was such a great idea, but there were no territories available in my area, so I told a buddy about it in case he wanted to look into it. He already knew about it as well, and there were no territories in his territory either, but had looked into other franchise opportunities and put me in touch with his franchise consultant.

Although the Marine Corps isn't the safest option for living your life, it's a safe paycheck. I've never had an entrepreneurial mindset, but as I started talking to the franchise consultant, I started to become more open to the opportunity. 

I went down the pipeline with one mosquito brand. I almost signed with them, but there were some issues with them wanting to move my territories so that another franchisee couple could have certain territories. I wasn’t comfortable with that, so I decided to walk away and that ended up being the best decision ever. If I hadn’t walked away, I would never have known how much better of a franchise Mosquito Hunters was.

1851: What was your perception of franchising prior to becoming a franchisee, and what do you want people to know about franchising now that you are in it?

Ambrose: Not everything is completely under your control, however the success or failure of your business rests on your shoulders. You can't let roadblocks become roadblocks. At a minimum, you need to positively influence what you can on things not totally under your control, but also do more than the minimum in areas you can control, like Ground Game minimums. If you don't do the minimums they coach you to do, you don't grow and eventually run out of money. If you want to grow, double that amount. If you want to seriously grow, triple those amounts. 

1851: What made you pick this brand? What excites you most about this company?

Ambrose: Mosquito Hunters is doing things that the other brands are not doing, especially with the ground game, or as some people call it, guerilla marketing. I know this because I almost signed with one of the other competitors and my buddy was a franchisee with them and so I learned a lot about their ground game; I was telling him the number of door hangers and google reviews we have and aim for and he was blown away.

For example, he said he puts about 50 door hangers out, and I put out at least 10,000. Mosquito Hunters has coached the franchisees to understand the importance of making points of contact with potential customers. The rule of seven for marketing suggests that it takes, on average, seven touchpoints for a consumer to commit to a sale. Mosquito Hunters coaches you on how to expedite those seven touch points.

They're doing social media, online advertising, securing Google reviews and using direct mail. The brand really supports franchisees with effective marketing, and that makes a huge difference. 

That other couple with the other franchise who took over the territories I almost went for shut down two years ago and I’m here, still growing my business.

1851: How has the support from brand helped you scale your business? 

Ambrose: I’ve doubled my territories because of the ground-game marketing and support from the brand, but the brand has also continued to grow the number of services it offers and that has been great for revenue.

Mosquitoes, ticks and fleas services were the only ones offered when I started, but now there are so many more opportunities to generate revenue and continue growing my business. 

1851: What do you hope to achieve with your business? What are your plans for growth? 

Ambrose: At some point I will probably sell my business, when it’s worth all of the effort I’ve put into it. I will take my expertise and experience, and I’ll go be a CEO of a franchise somewhere. That’s my long term goal. 

I hope to use the leadership skills I’ve learned from my time in the Marine Corps and through my experience to grow my team with Mosquito Hunters.

1851: What is the one thing about your story you want us to know?

Ambrose: I am where I am because I enjoy doing this. I enjoy the industry, the franchise and most of all, being a business owner. It allows me to be a leader and a mentor. I get a lot of fulfillment out of that, and I’m helping a lot of people. 

I have won the Row the Boat award, which is given to three franchisees with Mosquito Hunters each year. It’s chosen by fellow franchisees to recognize someone who goes above and beyond to help other franchisees.  

1851: What advice do you have for other people thinking about becoming a franchise owner?

Ambrose:  Most businesses in general don't turn a meaningful profit their first year, and sometimes it might not be until further into a second year. Before you commit, you need to plan for where the money will come from to pay for follow-on years' funding requirements, like your minimum marketing requirements. 

Make sure you are properly planning extra money for marketing in your second year. Where is that money going to be coming from? The FDD for any brand doesn’t delve into this, so you need to be prepared to be able to invest enough in your business over time.

I also suggest that you have a plan where you’re not the one doing everything. It’s okay to learn how to do the various tasks and processes, especially when you are starting out, but if you’re the only person doing all of the work and you’re not growing by hiring people, you’ll never scale. Hire a team that can support your growth.

ABOUT MOSQUITO HUNTERS:

Before the thousands of happy clients, before the franchising, even before the incredible mustaches, Mosquito Hunters started with a single backpack sprayer and a dream. Since becoming a part of Happinest Brands, Mosquito Hunters has quickly become one of the fastest growing pest management franchises in the United States. Mosquito Hunters exists to help our customers and their pets safely enjoy outdoor living spaces by keeping the mosquitoes and ticks at bay. Mosquito Hunters makes mosquito control affordable and effective, and provides mosquito control services guaranteed by our Client Happiness Promise. Mosquito Hunters is a 2023 Franchise 500 brand, ranking no. 497 for its financial strength and stability, unit growth and brand power. 

*This brand is a paid partner of 1851 Franchise. For more information on paid partnerships please click here.

MORE STORIES LIKE THIS