Few animals on Earth evoke the kind of hatred that mosquitoes do. Their itchy bites and nearly ubiquitous presence can ruin any backyard barbecue or hike in the woods. They have an uncanny ability to sense our murderous intentions, taking flight milliseconds before the fatal smack of a fly swatter.
But no matter how much citronella and repellent we douse ourselves with, year after year, those pesky little midge-flies keep coming back. While that’s bad news for most of us, it’s great news for companies like Mosquito Joe, the nation’s fastest-growing pest control and treatment franchise.
With hordes of these bugs descending upon backyards every spring and summer, the demand for a healthy and insect-free living space has grown—and for good reason. According to the Center for Disease Control, nearly 1,360 people in the United States were exposed to the West Nile virus last year, a disease that’s most commonly spread by mosquito bites. Recently, the Zika virus—a disease that’s also transmitted through mosquitos—has garnered press attention, too. There have been 193 cases reported so far in 2016.
When current Mosquito Joe CEO Kevin Wilson first discovered the brand, he saw an untapped opportunity to help communities. Having built a career based on finding emerging concepts with upside potential as a partner at Envest Ventures, Wilson knew Mosquito Joe was onto something, he just needed the right fuel to spark its growth.
By mid-2012, Wilson raised $3.5 million and recruited five executive team leaders. After executing a complete rebranding of Mosquito Joe, the team was prepared for the company’s methodical growth. But there was one element he introduced that would really help the company take off—Mosquito Joe was being promoted to prospective franchisees as a low-cost business investment with high returns.
Today, Mosquito Joe has more than 113 units 165 open territories and 230 under contract —a number that’s more than double the size from a year ago. Revenue has jumped from $3 million in 2014 to more than $12 million in 2015. And now, with a total of 26 states under their belt, the brand has their sights set on national expansion. By the end of this year, Wilson hopes to have close to 300 territories sold.
Wilson believes the reason for their growth in the past two years is simple—every single state in the country has mosquitos, and more and more people are relying on Mosquito Joe to get rid of them.
“We’re getting a record number of leads every month. There are two key driving forces behind Mosquito Joe’s continued success. One, people are becoming more aware of the fact that there’s a service like ours—where we come into your backyard, perform our treatment and essentially vanquish this annoying problem. That’s a testament to our brand’s growth and marketing efforts—people are seeing our brand’s name more and more,” Wilson said. “Second, there’s a growing awareness of the type of diseases that mosquitos carry. And people come to us to remove that fear.”
Wilson explains that to get to this point—a point where Mosquito Joe has emerged as a leader in an industry filled with similar competitors—he really had to prove Mosquito Joe’s edge. That starts with showing prospective franchisees that your brand is worth the investment. Start-up costs at Mosquito Joe hover around $85,000—a number that’s slightly below their competitors. They offer a robust marketing program, and their wide network of franchisees means that new franchisees have immediate access to a support system. It’s also a home-based business, meaning that there are no build-out costs, and the business can get up and running in a matter of weeks.
But it’s Mosquito Joe’s unique attitude that helps them standout, too.
“When it comes to the various pest control businesses out there, we’re all generally using the same methods and the same materials, so it’s the way you position your brand that matters most. We’re a fun brand. We’re focused on the customer and providing the best service possible. Ultimately, when you put all of those things together, you’re going to see people coming through your door. And they’re going to keep coming back. That’s always been the Mosquito Joe way,” Wilson said. “We’re going to be around for a very long time.” To learn more about Mosquito Joe, click here.