Teamwork is one of the many intangible skills that America’s military members develop during their service. Just ask Jeff and Annette Deiters—the husband and wife team embody teamwork. After all, both are former Air Force C-141 pilots, and they’re both using their military skills to run their own Mosquito Joe franchise.
The Deiters graduated from the Air Force Academy in 1985. Annette flew C-141 transport jets at the Charleston Air Force Base for seven years until leaving the Air Force in 1992. Jeff, 51, retired from the Air Force in 2006 after flying VIP transport at Andrews Air Force Base. In 2013, they became the owners of a Mosquito Joe location that covered territories throughout Fredericksburg, Spotsylvania and Stafford, Virginia.
“The transition from military to civilian life, and eventually owning our own business, was seamless. We were fortunate enough to take our military training and experience as pilots into the civilian workforce,” Jeff said. “For years we had been looking for franchise opportunities that appealed to us. We had very limited business experience and franchising made the most sense for us. Mosquito Joe in particular made perfect sense—we didn’t necessarily need experience in pest control. What we did need was an understanding of how to work together in a system. The dedication, people skills and work ethic that the military instills in you directly relate to the civilian world as you deal with customers, corporate headquarters and employees. We quickly found that Mosquito Joe valued all those things.”
Their story is not uncommon. Since its founding five years ago, Mosquito Joe has proved itself to be a successful franchise with a smart business model. Part of that smart model is its heavy dedication and support of veterans. Not only does the brand offer a discounted franchisee fee to military personnel (which makes the franchise fee under $25,000), but the nature of the pest control industry itself—which gives owners the chance to serve others in a fun, team-centered environment—speaks to veterans and their work ethic. Today, more than 20 percent of Mosquito Joe franchisees come from a military background.
“Those with military background tend to transition well into franchising because they have excellent experience in operations and working within a system to follow and execute a plan for success,” said Kevin Wilson, CEO of Mosquito Joe. “The drive and dedication it takes to run a business comes quite naturally for veterans.”
Brian Garrison, the chief operating officer for Mosquito Joe, who left the military in 2012, believes vets are attracted to the brand’s culture.
“We feel vets bring the right set of experiences and work ethic to our business,” Garrison said in an interview with Entrepreneur Magazine. “Veterans coming through the pipeline look at the other vets in our system, and it resonates with them. Our team has close to 100 years of franchise support experience. We can look veterans in the eye and say, ‘We understand that you don’t have any experience in the private sector, but we can be a backstop for you as you make the transition.’”
Mosquito Joe’s culture resonated with veteran and Mosquito Joe owner Dennis Corrigan from the very beginning. He grew up in a military family and spent the first 24 years of his adult life as a U.S. naval aviator. After retirement from the cockpit, he spent the next 17 years on the fringes of the Navy designing training materials for pilots and air crews. When he decided to go into business for himself, he signed on with Mosquito Joe and launched his unit in Prince William County, VA.
“I ultimately found that because of their focus on the military and because we have the same values, it made it much nicer to interact with them. I was able to build relationships with corporate almost immediately based on our common work ethic,” Corrigan said.
For all these reasons and more, Mosquito Joe consistently ranks as one of the top franchising opportunities for veterans in the United States year after year. And as the leading mosquito control treatment company continues to grow nationwide, Wilson says they’ll always value and rely on the unmatched skills that veterans consistently bring into the system.
“There’s a reason one-third of our franchisees are veterans. Experience in the military inculcates discipline, leadership skills and the importance of hard work. They know how to follow a playbook and execute a system well,” Wilson said. “We help them by providing the tools and training they need to service and sell a product by themselves. But from there, they know what it takes to keep pushing forward until they’ve achieved success.”