The husband-and-wife team used a competitor for their own backyard mosquito-eliminating needs before deciding to franchise with Mosquito Hunters.
Mosquito Hunters franchisees Harry and Sally Drea have been married for 44 years, and yes, they’ve heard many a “When Harry Met Sally” joke.
“We’ve had fun with it,” Sally said.
The Dreas are currently getting ready to open their Madison, Wisconsin franchise, which is scheduled to launch in mid to late-April. But the Midwestern natives are already planning ahead and hope to expand with the brand.
“We know that if this is as successful as we think it is going to be, we have other territories designated already,” Harry said.
Their journey to Mosquito Hunters started when their neighbors across the street used a competing company to spray their backyard. Sally spoke to one of those neighbors, who explained the service to her. Sally and Harry had never seen such an enterprise before.
They then used this same competitor for their own property.
“They sprayed and we enjoyed the outside without candles or tiki torches and it worked so well that we signed up for the full season last summer,” Harry said.
They were fascinated that a backyard bug spray business could be a franchise opportunity and decided to dig deeper. After extensive research, they came across Mosquito Hunters and spoke with the brand’s Director of Development, Tom King. They had looked for franchising opportunities with the competitor whose business they used for their own backyard, but that company’s local territory was already sold to another franchisee.
“Mosquito Hunters had an available territory,” Harry said. “They also had a discount for veterans, and what determined us going forward was the Mosquito Hunters program and location. We’re in Madison, Wisconsin, and we liked that the Mosquito Hunters headquarters are out of Chicago.”
Harry said that he and King also clicked over the fact that they are both veterans; Harry was in the U.S. Air Force.
“He’s a great guy,” Harry said of King. “He’s a vet also and we hit it off. Our initial questions were answered perfectly by the Mosquito Hunters team. They were the answers we were hoping for.”
In terms of their professional backgrounds, Sally still works full time as the director of admissions for a private school. Her background includes education, coaching, event planning and marketing. As for Harry, he most recently worked for a business brokerage. He also has a real estate license and was a real estate developer. He spent many years as an investment banker for a Wall Street firm.
“Harry and Sally Drea are a fantastic addition to the Mosquito Hunters brand,” Mosquito Hunters Director of Franchise Development Tom King said. “They both bring years of business acumen and management experience, not to mention a passion for the areas they’ll be servicing. The executive team is thrilled these native Midwesterners have decided to represent the brand in Wisconsin.”
What also helped draw the Dreas to Mosquito Hunters is its affiliation with Lawn Doctor.
“With my background from Wall Street, having Lawn Doctor affiliated with them was a tremendous plus,” Harry said. “Lawn Doctor has been around in business for about 50 years already, their systems are well-proven and we really thought that was a big plus for us. We met with Mosquito Hunters CEO and founder Andy Fuller, as well as the leadership team, and discovered quickly that they hold the same values that we do. Tom was the first one from Mosquito Hunters we communicated with and it was just perfect. He had the answers to all of our questions. It was really beautiful communication all the way around.”
Sally particularly enjoys the brand’s sense of humor, including its mustachioed mascot, Gunther the Hunter.
“I really enjoy that they market with humor,” Sally said. “It really is interesting how they can make this fun. They have very clever marketing pieces and giveaways and Gunther has a big, red mustache and kind of looks like a big lumberjack. If you look at their website and ads, they’re very eye-catching and clever.”
This humor extends to meetings with the brand’s franchise development team.
“We’ve had many, many meetings with them,” Harry said. “Meetings are full of humor along with serious information and that impresses me. They treated us as friends and respected our knowledge and backgrounds.”
“We looked at opportunities available in the mosquito abatement sector and our research pulled up the best one, which was Mosquito Hunters,” Harry continued. “We did a lot of research and found that it just all went together - the culture, the people, the model, the organization, plus the association with Lawn Doctor. It was a clincher for us. There was no question in our minds.”