Mosquito Shield wanted big thinkers who could operate large territories, and those people aren’t always easy to find. As a result, the brand turned a lot of potential franchisees away — and from the time it started franchising in 2013 up until 2020, its units were largely flat. Then 2020 changed the calculation.
During COVID lockdowns, people were stuck at home and more motivated to rid their air of pesky mosquitoes. Mosquito Shield partnered with the sales organization Franchise FastLane to help scale its operation, attracting the kind of franchisees that Mosquito Shield always wanted. As a result, the brand rapidly went from 53 units to nearly 300, and jumped to No. 216 on our Franchise 500 list.
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The brand’s vice president, Michael Moorhouse, explains how it happened.
How did the pandemic change the mosquito control industry? When the industry started to gain a little traction [in 2020], some franchise companies came into it. But that was fine — they went after a mom-and-pop style model, with franchisees building a small business to serve a small territory. It helped create awareness about the opportunity and about the industry, but it didn’t compete with our model.
With the shift in the white-collar space, most of these people we’re now reaching are big-picture thinkers anyway. They’re not schoolteachers building a small business during their summers off.
How did your partnership with FastLane help you?
They identify people who are interested in a change — a business ownership, life, or career change — and then they take that prospect from the first email or intro call all the way through. That’s how, as I talk today, we’ve got 12 buying groups sitting on Zoom right now, all wearing red Mosquito Shield shirts, ready to go.
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What operational changes did FastLane encourage?
At the time, we had just launched our own internal sales center, where we handled every inbound lead for franchisees. [FastLane asked], “How many phone calls can you handle? How can you scale it? What’s your close rate?” That’s how granular they get on an entire franchise company’s business operations. It opened my eyes up.
We learned what we needed to do to get the right structure in place. Then we were ready.
Were there any other ways that your business changed?
Our customers were once workers who enjoyed our service late nights and weekends. Now they were all home. They saw the truck at the neighbor’s house, and they heard the machine and they were like, “Wait a minute, what’s going on over there?” Our visibility at the local level exploded. Our marketing was more impactful because
people had nothing else to do.