FBR’s Franchisee Insight Q&A interview column provides a peek into what owning a franchise is like as well as some great advice.
Scott Franasiak and his wife, Kathy, purchased their greater Buffalo, NY region Mosquito Joe franchise in 2014 and run it with the help of their children, Karlene, Joel, and Janelle. We asked Scott to share his thoughts with us about franchise ownership.
What advice would you share with people considering purchasing a franchise? Make sure you have a passion for the business. It will become you and you will become it. Run the numbers, be conservative with your assumptions, and then re-run your numbers with a slower growth scenario. Doing so will make sure you would be at ease if a slower than anticipated growth situation occurs. Gather as much information as you can (financial, competition, regulatory, etc.), but understand that you’ll only scratch the surface and you’ll need to learn much more after you start your business.
What is it that you like best about owning your franchise from a business perspective and from a personal perspective? Our franchise has allowed us to start a business that has brought our family together around a common focus. It has also enabled each of us to make a significant contribution. It is very rewarding to see the positive impact we are having on our customers. We are helping them experience that “Outside is Fun Again!”.
You had an MBA with 25+ years in a corporate setting when you purchased your franchise. Did you just leave your corporate job and move right into running it? The first year I worked full-time and continued to do so until the start of the second season. My wife continues to work part-time.
What type of experience did you have prior to becoming a franchisee that you have found particularly helpful when it comes to successfully running your franchise? I am able to leverage my resourcefulness and problem solving abilities that were honed while I was in corporate America.
Your entire immediate family works in the business. What are your roles? My daughter Karlene heads up our sales and service, my son Joel is our lead technician, and my daughter Janelle is a part-time technician. She assists with a variety of the office, sales and service functions. Both Karlene and Joel work full-time during the season and work other jobs during the off-season. Janelle is in college and works part-time with Mosquito Joe during the summer. My wife Kathy and I are co-office managers, responsible for customer data management, accounts receivable, etc. We also both help out with customer service and sales.
How did you find your franchise? While returning from a business trip I was flipping through the airline magazine in the seatback pocket and saw an article about franchising that mentioned Mosquito Joe. At the time, Kathy and I were passively looking for investment opportunities such as income property, but not to open a business.
What was it about the franchise that led you to purchase it? The positive focus of Mosquito Joe’s making “Outside is Fun Again!” message resonated with me as did the prospect of alleviating a problem that plagued our family and friends. Via research and meeting with the Mosquito Joe team, I learned we would be offering an excellent product as well as service and that we would benefit from superior marketing, branding, and support.
What is your work/life balance? During the service season there isn’t much of a work/life balance. 80-100 hour work weeks are the norm. I try to keep Sundays during the service season generally business-free. During the “off-season” I have time to do what interests me and to help others. I volunteer at the North Tonawanda Food pantry, help out around our church, and enjoy spending time with family and friends.
How long did it take to make a profit? We were profitable in our second year in business.
Would you share your 2015 gross revenue figures and what you project your gross revenue will be in 2016? During 2015 our revenue grew approximately six-fold. We are targeting to double our revenue in 2016.
What is the most challenging aspect(s) of being a franchisee? Being a new business in a sector that is emerging and growing means there isn’t a lot of history that can help with planning and decision making, so there is a lot of uncertainty and stress at times.
What kind of support did you most appreciate from your franchisor when you started and what do you most appreciate now? The training, technology, and availability of staff to guide us during start-up helped our business be up and running within three months of purchasing our franchise. I appreciate the healthy mix of short-term operational assistance and longer-term strategic focus that Mosquito Joe corporate brings to the table.
What kind of support did you get from fellow franchisees when you first opened your franchise and what kind of support do you get from them now? We talked with a few franchisees prior to opening to get an additional perspective of owning a Mosquito Joe franchise and to learn tips and traps. There is an active franchisee community portal as part of the Mosquito Joe intranet where questions and ideas are exchanged between franchisees.
Where do you see your business in the next five years? We will begin operating two additional territories and at some point will explore complementary businesses to offset the seasonality of the Mosquito Joe business.
To see how Mosquito Joe’s franchisees, including Scott, rate it in a variety of crucial areas including leadership, culture, training and support, financial outlook, and franchisee community, click here.
If you are interested in learning what it takes to invest in a franchise, visit FBR’s Franchise Buyer’s Toolkit.
To see more franchises that are ranked highly by their franchisees click here.