When CEO Kevin Wilson first discovered Mosquito Joe, he saw an untapped opportunity—especially given the growing demand for an insect-free living space in thousands of backyards across America.
Having built a career based on a knack for finding great emerging concepts with incredible upside potential as a partner at Envest Ventures, a private equity group that oversaw $160 million across three funds with over 28 investments, Wilson knew Mosquito Joe was onto something big—he just needed the right fuel to spark its growth.
Rather than invest in Mosquito Joe though his private equity group and take a backseat role, Wilson decided to dive in head-first. After eight years, he chose to leave his firm behind and become Mosquito Joe’s newest CEO to guide the business into becoming a profitable franchise. Rather than seeking financing from an institution, he drew up a solid business plan and presented it to the network of friends and acquaintances that he had created throughout his career. Through those relationships, Wilson led a group of investors to raise $3.5 million to buy a majority stake in the company. He was ready to arm the brand with everything it needed to achieve explosive growth.
“I have seen my fair share of great concepts. I saw a few gems in their infancy and watched them grow to become 1,000-unit plus industry leaders. With Mosquito Joe, I immediately realized it was a brilliant concept that had potential to be hugely successful, but just needed wings to take off,” Wilson said.
After building a strong reputation locally over the course of three years as a single-unit operation, Mosquito Joe grew to three trucks and 615 accounts. As word spread about the brand’s services—and as unrelenting hordes of mosquitos continued to descend upon backyards every spring and summer—Wilson knew that this was just the beginning for Mosquito Joe. He continued to push harder for growth.
“A business like Mosquito Joe will need to be around for a long time—mosquitos aren’t going anywhere. So it’s our job to continue doing the best we can do to knock them down. We’re capitalized, we have a strong team and we’re committed to the long-term fight against mosquitos for our customers. That’s our strategy,” Wilson said. “And that’s brought people into our doors and it’s kept them coming back.”
With this strong foundation in place, Wilson realized he needed that extra edge to take Mosquito Joe to the next level—he decided to make it an attractive opportunity for franchisees as well. At Mosquito Joe, a typical investment hovers around $85,000 to get the business up and running. This includes a supply of chemicals, comprehensive training and support, a robust marketing program, equipment and a vehicle. This initial cost is significantly lower than most franchises, particularly due to low initial staffing needs and no necessity to build out retail space.
“Any new brand has to prove and demonstrate itself. If there are people that are willing to take that early stage risk, we realized it was fair to offer them a fairly attractive price on the franchise fee,” Wilson said. “But we needed to prove ourselves to potential owners, too. Which is why, even during the early stages, we ran Mosquito Joe like it was a large business well before we had reached 100 units. This showed potential owners that we were serious about growth and serious about being the best in the industry.”
That tactic worked for Wilson, and the brand grew at a pace not often seen in the franchising industry. Today, Mosquito Joe has 168 open territories and a further 80 under development—a number that’s more than double the size from a year ago. Revenue has jumped from $3 million in 2014 to more than $12 million in 2015. And now, with a total of 26 states under their belt, the brand has their sights set on national expansion. By the end of this year, Wilson hopes to have close to 300 territories sold. And that’s just the beginning—over the next three to five years, Wilson expects to have a presence in almost every state, increasing the amount of locations to as many as 500 nationwide.
“We’re at the cusp of what’s expected to be one of the most successful franchise opportunities for entrepreneurs across the board,” Wilson said, noting that the segment is in high demand. “There truly has never been a better time to not only take a look at what we are building but to also take advantage of it.”
To learn more about franchising with Mosquito Joe, click here.