The Mosquito Joe Million Dollar Club: Paul VanWagner

Million Dollar Club Interview

 

Mosquito Joe continues to be a leading brand in the mosquito control industry. We now have franchisees who’ve made over $1M and some approaching $2M in gross revenue this year! Once a franchisee reaches this milestone, they’re officially part of an elite group known as the Million Dollar Club (MDC). Mosquito Joe rewards franchisees for this exceptional achievement by coming together in Napa Valley, CA for a little R&R! Over the course of two days, franchisees collaborate amongst themselves, sharing best practices and success stories. It’s truly admirable to witness the knowledge shared and relationships built throughout the duration of this event. These franchisees have earned national recognition and deserve to be rewarded for the hard work they put into their businesses day in and day out. Congratulations to our 2018 Million Dollar Club members!

We could talk all day about what it takes to join this club, but who better to describe their journeys than the members themselves? Our blog series The Mosquito Joe Million Dollar Club visits with different franchise owners to talk about their franchising story. This week, we talked with Paul Van Wagner, owner of Mosquito Joe of Montgomery County. Paul joined Mosquito Joe in 2015. He currently owns 4 territories and is joining the Million Dollar Club for the first time this year. Check out our conversation with him below!

1) Why did you start looking into franchising, and why did you ultimately choose Mosquito Joe?  

I was looking for a business for my son to get into that he could operate and grow with. And we wanted to find a business where we could help our community. Eliminating annoying, disease carrying insects helps everyone and our MoJo customers can make outside fun again!

2) What do you enjoy most about being a franchise owner?

I have been self-employed since I was 22 years old, so it’s in my blood. But the MoJo Franchise was highly recommended by a good friend and MoJo Zee, Kurt Godwin, and he was right on, as the Corporate support and culture of everyone in the company have been over the top. MoJo only uses the highest quality products and our customer service and communication with our customers is the best in our industry.

3) Who are the primary employees in your business and how do they contribute to your success?

The first season in 2015, my son, John, and I ran the business with one part time office staff and 4 techs. It was a real challenge as the business did much better than expected. I wanted to pull my hair out by September that first season. But it was a great way to learn the entire business and I would not change a thing now.

4) Describe your current business operation: how many employees, how many trucks, how many territories? 

We hired an awesome office manager in 2016, Bari.  She runs the office and office staff. John is the operations manager and oversees the techs and support for all operations. We had 5 office staff and 21 techs for the 2018 season running 9 vans. We own 4 territories. We will always be fully staffed so we can offer the customer service our community deserves and expects.

5) What is one piece of advice you would offer to first year Mosquito Joe franchisees?

Learn it from the ground up. Learn everything you can so you will be the person training and teaching the staff the way you want them trained. The Corporate office can provide excellent training, but you may want to tweak some of that to fit your needs. Franchisees and all their staff should go to the training the Corporate office provides and reach out to existing zees for advice. Why reinvent the wheel! Much of our success is due to the support and advice we received from our good friends and MoJo Zees, Kurt and Melissa Godwin.

6) What is one piece of advice you would offer to someone just beginning their search for a franchise opportunity?

I cannot stress enough how important it was for us to have the support from the MoJo Corporate office and from other experienced MoJo Zees. This was invaluable to us. For anyone looking for a franchise opportunity, the MoJo brand is new/young enough to have exceptional growth opportunity, but old enough to also be the “Best/Top” brand in the outdoor pest control industry. I think MoJo is close to surpassing our top competitor who has been in business almost twice as long.

7) How did you feel becoming a member of the Million Dollar Club?

Making the MDC was awesome, it’s a goal we had set for our 3rd year and we just missed that, but we surpassed it in 2018 and the next goal will be 2 million in the next few years.

 8) Where do you see your Mosquito Joe business in the next 2-3 years?

We opened our last (4th ) territory in 2018 (we will only service our local community, Montgomery County, MD, so we can always provide exceptional customer service). I feel like MoJo is the “go-to” vendor for outdoor pest control in our area due to all the reasons that make us the best. We anticipate to continue our year over year growth and believe we will hit the 2 million mark in the year 2020. John and Bari will have more control of the business moving forward. The goal when we purchased the business was to provide an opportunity for our son to get into a business he could operate and help grow. It has turned into more than that, as it will also provide us with a supplement income over the coming years.

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