Pest control franchise Mosquito Hunters recently graduated its latest class of franchisees, and the new additions to the franchise system are ready to hit the ground running as they approach warmer months and their respective grand openings.
Chris Piercy of Mosquito Hunters of Fort Myers, Anthony Scheeda of Mosquito Hunters of North Buffalo, and Rob and Linda Sutterfield of Mosquito Hunters of The Colony-Frisco shared their experiences with joining the brand, enjoying ongoing support from the corporate leadership team and how the training class has prepared them for strong launches.
Piercy and Sutterfield both come from an information technology (IT) background, and Scheeda from retail and logistics. All three sought out Mosquito Hunters buoyed by a desire to step away from the volatility of the corporate world, much like Mosquito Hunters’ founder Andy Fuller.
After 30 years working in the IT field, Piercy was laid off from his job of the previous three years. Feeling disillusioned by his experience working hard to drive profits for someone else, he sought to build a business more directly tied to his efforts that he and his family could “work on together and be proud of.”
“I began exploring business ownership, at that time, and investigated a number of different franchise systems,” Piercy said. “Mosquito Hunters stood out for a number of reasons, so I later attended Discovery Day in Chicago, received my approval from the team and made my commitment to move forward.”
Rob Sutterfield shared a similar experience.
“I was in the IT industry for the last 18 years. After three years with IBM, I was laid off,” Sutterfield said.
From there, Sutterfield started working with a franchise broker who presented several franchise opportunities, Mosquito Hunters among them.
“They stood out because they’re a new franchisor in a pretty new industry, which is I think becoming more trendy, and I liked the business model, the brand and the fact that it’s home services. And I liked that it was backed by Lawn Doctor, which has been in business for a long time,” Sutterfield said.
After working exhausting hours for Walmart for 15 years, Anthony Scheeda had been looking at franchises for a little over a year when he found Mosquito Hunters. Like Piercy, Fuller’s story spoke to him.
“Mosquito Hunters drew me in,” Scheeda said. “I liked the transparency, and I liked Andy. He was a very forthcoming, down-to-earth kind of guy, and his story mirrored my story, [in that he] worked for corporate America and felt like he had something more to offer other than working for someone else.”
Furthermore, as Scheeda pointed out, Mosquito Hunters’ business model provides a necessary service to the community, meaning that franchisees know they’re giving back in a meaningful way.
“Having a service where you eliminate something that could potentially kill a person is so gratifying,” Scheeda explained. “My cousin actually has Lyme Disease, and western New York has a Lyme Disease organization that we’re going to join. For me, personally, as a leader, I love that interaction with people. People leadership is my strong point.”
Scheeda is with the right brand: people leadership in the form of franchisee support is one of several key differentiators that sets Mosquito Hunters apart from the back. To ensure their franchisees are well-equipped to launch their business, Mosquito Hunters offers a four-day training course that covers everything from applying treatments to marketing.
“I’ll tell you that it was very detailed. I’m taking a 30-hour course to get my license and it’s mirroring what they cover in training. They exceeded any expectations anyone could have of training,” Scheeda said.
“The structure was straightforward. It was a lot of information, but well-organized and very well-presented. They did a really great job of speaking on each subject and the [course] flowed well from one subject to another.”
Asked if he felt better prepared to open his location following the course, Sutterfield replied: “Absolutely.”
“I definitely feel better prepared to open my location. We learned a lot about hiring and managing employees, the day-to-day operations, more in-depth marketing and financial management aspects of the business. So I got a lot of good info I can use to get my business off the ground.”
Scheeda emphasized that, in addition to providing business-building education during the training class, Mosquito Hunters also offers continued training and support once class wraps.
“Training didn’t stop that day,” Scheeda said. “There are webinars that they will continue to host about different marketing tools. There’s a bi-weekly webinar with the marketing team, plus weekly ramp-up calls before your business opens—it wasn't just one-shot training; there’s constant training which is great because our business is always changing, whether it’s via regulation, a new marketing strategy, etc.”
Having concluded training at the end of January, the graduates are now looking ahead to opening and their 2019 goals.
“Our grand opening is planned for April 2019,” Scheeda said. “I’m not sure on the specific date yet, but typically that’s about when the weather starts to break in Buffalo.”
As for goals, Scheeda said that he and his wife hope to turn a profit in their first year, “even if it’s a dollar.”
“That would tell us we’re doing things the right way, to be able to be profitable after year one. It’s a lofty goal, but I have high expectations for myself,” Scheeda said.
Sutterfield shared that his goal was to reach 200 customers by the end of the year, and that he and his wife Linda will open officially on March 18.
Piercy also plans to open in March and has joined his local chamber of commerce to bolster his networking in advance of his launch.
“My goals for 2019 would be to grow the business, as quickly as possible, while maintaining consistent quality of service, to cultivate and build an ever-growing, loyal customer base,” Piercy shared. “My immediate goal is to get the business organized and ready, as quickly as possible, and I am on the verge of gaining good traction on that front in February, so far.”