Top 3 Mistakes First-Time Franchisees Make and How to Avoid Them

It’s officially spring!  And that means more sunlight, warmer temperatures, and unfortunately, more mosquitoes.  If they aren’t already, many Mosquito Joe locations in the southern half of the country will be opening for the season within the next few weeks.  By now, our network is comprised of nearly 100 experienced franchise owners with one or multiple seasons under their belts going into the 2016 season.  And with Mosquito Joe’s rapid growth, another 25-30 owners are expected to launch their businesses this year.  Opening your own business is a big life decision, and choosing to open a franchise requires just as much thought and research.  As the franchise industry continues to boom in this country, it’s easier to see trends in certain industries and the decisions new franchise owners make when opening a business.  To help ease some stress, we’ve put together a list of common mistakes new franchisees make and how to avoid them.

Mistake 1: Skipping the Research

There are plenty of business opportunities claiming to be “huge successes” or “the best decision you’ll ever make.”  But for every successful franchise out there, there are a dozen others that are too good to be true.  You want to be careful about picking a business that not only suits your goals but is viable in the long term.  Ask questions like: is the market for this business growing?  is there a need for this business?  is the franchise as a whole showing solid growth and success?

Once you’ve gotten a sense of the general picture, there are multiple ways to take the next step.  A franchise broker will work with you to determine which type of franchise fits best based on your interests, financial situation, and goals.  You can also take this on yourself by consulting franchise portals such as Franchise Gator, Entrepreneur, and Franchise Solutions.  There, you can sort through individual franchise profiles to find more information such as start up costs, growth rates, and ongoing fees.

Once you’ve narrowed down your selections and begin seriously talking to potential franchisors, you want to follow up on every bit of information they provide.  You can do this by having a third party, such as a lawyer, review any documents or materials given to you.  You should also call current franchise owners in that business to ask them about their experience.  They will be the best sources of information, especially if this is your first time in franchising.

Mistake 2: Underestimating or Misunderstanding Financials

Before you begin the process of choosing a franchise, you need to evaluate your financial situation and accurately determine how much you have to invest and how much you’re willing to spend on a new business.  The answers to these questions will usually narrow down your field of options dramatically.  Once you start talking to franchisors, you should scrupulously review each Franchise Disclosure Document.  This document includes background about the company, start up costs and fees, and overall performance.  Some franchisors, like Mosquito Joe, dedicate an entire meeting to reviewing the FDD with you and addressing any questions or concerns you have.  Some do not.  Regardless of the process, prospective franchise owners are encouraged to show the document to a lawyer or counselor for further review.

There is a lot of information in a Franchise Disclosure Document, usually an overwhelming amount.  While every element is important, be sure to note the initial and ongoing investments required.  Oftentimes, the start up costs seem reasonable only to be followed by inflated fees and overhead charges.  Compare these numbers to those you originally planned and honestly evaluate the opportunity before moving forward.

Mistake 3: Not Understanding the Franchise Model

There are many reasons to buy a franchise.  High among them is wanting to be an entrepreneur with the backing of a support system to help in certain facets of the business.  While franchisees may understand this theory, they sometimes have difficulty putting it into practice.  They may want more autonomy in running their business than the franchisor will allow or they rely on the franchisor far more heavily than is necessary.  If you are new to franchising, part of your homework should be to understand the basic franchise model and how franchisor relates to franchisee.  As you get closer to making a selection, you can further investigate each franchise and its Corporate culture to determine how it will fit with your vision.  The most important thing to remember is that franchising is a team effort, relying as much on the franchisor as on each individual owner.

The process of choosing and opening a business can be overwhelming, scary, and a whole list of adjectives too long to fit in this post.  Luckily, there is a multitude of resources available to help in your research and decision processes. Please visit our franchise information page if you are interested in learning more about the Mosquito Joe franchise opportunity specifically.  And check back here for continuous updates about Mosquito Joe’s franchising adventures!

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3 Myths About Mosquito Control Debunked!

Being involved in the mosquito control industry, Mosquito Joe business owners recognize that there are common myths and concerns surrounding their business.  Experienced customers have a solid understanding of how it all works, but new customers, or those with no previous exposure to the mosquito control industry, are often wary about signing up for service.  Similarly, the questions our customers ask about mosquito control and those our future franchise owners ask are nearly identical.  Today we’re debunking three common myths surrounding our industry, so those using our services and those providing them in the future will have the right information to provide the best mosquito control experience.

MYTH 1: Mosquito control is dangerous to the health of my family, my pets, and my plants.

Our barrier spray services are designed to protect your property and those who use it against mosquitoes (two-legged, four-legged, or leafy).  Our technicians are trained and certified to provide mosquito control services in the safest way possible.  The spray we use to protect your property against mosquitoes is made of synthetic pyrethrins called pyrethroids, which are a natural byproduct of the Chrysanthemum flower.  These ingredients are probably present in things you use everyday such as household cleaners, pet shampoo, sprays, and lice shampoos.  The products themselves are water-based, mixed in water and will not harm plants.

We simply ask that everyone step inside while we’re treating your property, and wait 30 minutes for the product to dry.  After that short break, you can resume playtime outside!

For properties including ponds, vegetable gardens, flowers, or potted plants, we offer an all-natural treatment option.  This spray is a mixture of water and garlic (similar to that used in cooking), designed to be gentle on plants, aquatic life, and pollinators. While this is a great alternative to the synthetic treatment, the all-natural option needs to be applied every 14 days to maintain its effectiveness.  It also repels mosquitoes, as opposed to the synthetic treatment which eliminates them.

MYTH 2: Mosquito control should get rid of every mosquito on my property.

Unfortunately, no mosquito control solution can guarantee complete removal of mosquitoes; it is possible for some mosquitoes and larvae to survive treatment.  However, a regular, recurring mosquito control treatment regimen can provide a significant reduction, making your yard a noticeably more enjoyable place to hang out.  Our barrier spray treatments last for 21 days, at which time our technicians will return for another service to keep your yard protected.  One spray alone will reduce mosquitoes up to 70%.  After 3 sprays, that reduction rate increases to 90-95%.  Continuous service will increase and maintain this rate throughout the season, so that you can enjoy your yard all summer long.

MYTH 3: I don’t need additional mosquito control.  My city sprays the neighborhood when needed.

Our technicians provide a custom treatment for each individual situation, providing a much more effective result. They will walk your property each visit and treat it with a methodology specific to your yard.  A mosquito truck sprays a dense fog down your neighborhood street hoping to eradicate adult mosquitoes. However, their service can only reach mosquitoes in close proximity to the truck leaving many areas unprotected.

Believe it or not, mosquito season is right around the corner.  To avoid the smelly bug spray and citronella candles, contact your local Mosquito Joe for the best mosquito control services in the business!  They will be more than happy to answer your questions and help you enjoy being outside again.  And if you’re interested in learning more about becoming part of the MoJo team, check out our franchise information page to find out how you can get started!

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Taking the Leap to Business Ownership

New Years Eve has come and gone.  Resolutions were made, some already broken, and the whole year is stretched out in front of you.  Hopefully any entrepreneurial resolutions you made are still intact.  If you’re reading this, odds are that you’re at least considering owning your own business whether it be a franchise or a stand-alone operation.  While we hope you continue to research and eventually join the wonderful team of
Mosquito Joe franchisees
, we understand that taking the leap to business ownership is scary to say the least, especially if it’s your first time.  It’s a long road between making the initial decision and opening doors for business.  Use these tips to get started and make the process a little smoother.

Just do it.

I don’t mean that as in just buy a business.  That’s not a good idea.  I mean just do it as in just start somewhere.  You can spend the next decade going back and forth on whether or not to buy a business.  The research and decision process is a lot of work and can be discouraging to a lot of people, so take it one step at a time.  Start by Googling “Tips for First Time Business Owners” or “Things Every First Time Business Owner Should Know.”  The results will just graze the surface, but will help get you closer to a final decision.

Evaluate your budget.

One of the least enjoyable parts of the process should be done first.  A simple net worth assessment, comparing your assets and liabilities, will determine where your financials lay.  From there, you should have an idea of how much capital you are comfortable investing.  As you look at specific business opportunities, you can further adjust this number.  But to start, you should create a financial benchmark for yourself .  This will also help you narrow down options throughout your research.

Narrow your focus.

Taking advantage of every opportunity, while usually good advice, is not necessarily beneficial in this case.  Remember how I said you can spend a decade deciding whether or not to buy a business?  Well, you can spend even longer lost in research about which business is best for you.  To limit time spent in the research phase, first understand your own interests and passions.  Your business is far less likely to succeed if you’re not fully invested in it.  Are you interested in home services?  The food industry?  Retail?  Would you prefer a year-round business to a seasonal business?  Do you want to start your own operation or join a franchise with a built-in support system?  The options are endless, but you probably already have an idea of what you’d like to do.  Start there, and look into business opportunities that suit your interests.

Know your strengths and weaknesses.

Certain businesses are more suitable to certain personalities and skill sets than others.  A restaurant owner probably thrives in a fast-paced, high-stress, creatively-challenging environment.  Contrastingly, the owner of a financial advisement firm probably enjoys an analytical and systematic setting.  In order to choose the right business for you, you first have to honestly evaluate yourself.  What do you enjoy?  What are you good at?  What are your weaknesses?  Your business will be more successful the more it’s in tune with your strengths and interests.  This process will also help you find others who can compensate for your weak points when shaping your team.

Get used to asking questions.

At every phase of this journey, you will have what feels like an endless list of questions.  Financials, regulations, supplies, and hiring staff are just a fraction of the things you’ll have to figure out.  The benefit of buying a franchise is the built-in support system provided by the franchisor.  Mosquito Joe, for example, has a wide web of personnel and resources ready to help you from the moment you express interest in our business to the second you sign the agreement.  Whether you are looking into a franchise or a stand-alone business, do yourself a favor and find the answer to every question you have.  There are no stupid questions when it comes to your own investment, and you will thank yourself later.

We might be a little biased, but we encourage all aspiring entrepreneurs to look into owning a franchise because it offers a great opportunity to be a business owner, without doing it alone.  Mosquito Joe provides support and training, a recurring revenue system, and a low initial investment – the perfect formula to ease the transition from first time business owner to thriving entrepreneur.  If you’re interested in the Mosquito Joe franchise opportunity, please visit our franchise page to learn more and request information.

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What to Look for in a Franchise Disclosure Document (FDD)

You decide to seriously look into buying a franchise.  It’s a daunting leap to take, to say the least, but you power through the research of countless franchise companies and business models and finally narrow it down to your top list.  What now?  Before you sign any papers, you need to do some more digging.  This is a huge investment on your part after all.  You should know everything about the franchises you’re considering.  One essential step in that process is to review the Franchise Disclosure Document in detail.  It may not be your ideal Sunday afternoon activity, but it will provide you with the necessary information you’ll need to choose the correct franchise.

What is It?

The FDD is a 23-part document that reviews the franchisor’s history, the company structure, legal history, financial agreements and payment schedules, existing franchisees, and mutual expectations, among many other things.  The Federal Trade Commission requires that potential franchisees receive the FDD at least 14 days before signing an agreement.  While prospective franchisees are encouraged to review the FDD with an experienced lawyer, this may not be realistic for everyone.  Fortunately, franchise companies like Mosquito Joe include a walkthrough of the FDD with a franchise development representative as part of the sales process to ensure you understand the material in the document and have an opportunity to ask any questions.

Why Is the FDD Important?

The FDD is meant to protect potential franchisees by putting everything on the table.  Some documents are more transparent than others, but it’s important to painstakingly review each one.  This is your chance to dig through any dirty laundry, ask any questions about the franchise, and clear up points you don’t understand, so be diligent!  You don’t want something to slip by that might hurt you in the long run!

What Should You Pay Attention To?

Of course, you should thoroughly read each section of the FDD, but there are several items that warrant a little bit more attention.  These item numbers are based on the Mosquito Joe FDD and may vary slightly in other company’s documents.

  • Item 1 gives a detailed background of the franchise, its company structure, and overview of the industry.  This will give you a general idea of how the franchise has grown, what it values, and how it’s organized.
  • Items 3 & 4 review any litigation or bankruptcy history the company may have.  Any information in these sections should raise a red flag. It could indicate problems with that company’s system, both with the franchisor and the franchisees.
  • Items 5-7 outline the franchise fees, initial investment, and other deposits.  Perhaps the most important items to prospective owners, this section helps set financial expectations and gives a good idea of how much a particular franchise will cost both upfront and down the road.
  • Item 20 provides a list of all current and former franchisees along with details regarding franchise growth and turnover.  Asking current franchisees about their experience is one of the most accurate ways to evaluate a franchise.  A high turnover rate or lack of growth may be red flags as well.

The FDD can be an intimidating step to owning a franchise, but don’t underestimate its importance.  A good Franchise Disclosure Document will give you all the information you need to make a well-informed decision.  Remember, Mosquito Joe makes the process a little bit easier by reviewing our FDD with each prospective franchisee in a one-on-one meeting before any contract is signed.

If you think a low investment franchise in a booming industry, with extensive training and support, and great earning potential is right for you, check out the Mosquito Joe franchise website for more information.  We’d love to have you on the team as we help make outside fun again!

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Cruising with Mosquito Joe: Ford Transit Connect

When we started franchising in 2013, our first goal was to create a brand that resonated with our customers and made them feel as passionate about getting outside as we do. Check. Next in line was finding a vehicle that fulfilled three tasks: serving as a marketing tool,  providing an organized and professional way to bring the service to residents, and being fuel efficient. Check, check and check.

All of our preferred vendors set us up beautifully with the Ford Transit Connect. Here’s how we accomplished our goals:

  • Marketing tool: Each of our franchisees drives a Ford Transit Connect with a Mosquito Joe wrap. With the bold colors and catchy tagline, the MoJo van is a can’t-miss-head-turner while driving by, even on a busy street.  Some of our franchisees have bought an extra Ford Transit to use solely to keep the brand on the road, even during the off-season. They take their kids to school in it, go out to dinner in it, and use it for events to draw the crowd’s attention to Mosquito Joe.  Our corporate-run territory in Virginia Beach – Norfolk uses it to collect toy donations from customers around the holidays for Toys for Tots and our locations in Baltimore and Annapolis use it to collect donations for the Maryland Food Bank. It is thevanside perfect “driving billboard” – one that customers easily recognize pulling into their driveway.
  • Organized and professional: The Transit Connect is fully enclosed, which ensures our product stays inside the vehicle and locked whenever the technicians are away from the vehicle spraying. No hoses, no tanks out in the open, and no possibility of it falling out while driving down the road. With shelving installed throughout the back, everything stays in place and is easily accessible for our technicians throughout their work day. We pride ourselves on having a clean mosquito control operation and this vehicle helps support that.
  • Fuel efficient: As you can imagine, our technicians service multiple addresses on any given day, so fuel efficiency is key. The Ford Transit Connect gets about 22 miles per gallon.  That, combined with the other factors of marketing and how organized it is, made the Transit Connect an easy choice for our business.

Home service companies rely heavily on the vehicles that run their business day in and day out, so choosing the right vehicle is an important decision. When you are considering what vehicle to use for your franchise opportunity, it is important to think through what you want to accomplish. Will your customers see this daily? What do you need to store? How many people should it fit? Once you’ve created your checklist, find a reputable vendor that can help you walk through the process of setting up a partnership that benefits the vendor and franchisees.

The Ford Transit Connect is just one of many great things about franchising with Mosquito Joe.  For more information on this opportunity including services we offer, testimonials, and steps to ownership, please visit the Mosquito Joe Franchise page.

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