A music teacher might not be the first person to come to mind as a franchisee for one of the country’s fastest-growing pest control companies, but that’s exactly the case for Marla Carruth.
Working with kids has long been a part of Carruth’s DNA. For the past 20 years, she has taught elementary school music in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and to this day, she’ll say that working at Parkview Baptist school has always been—and will continue to be—her dream job. Even so, Carruth, alongside her fiancé, was ready to broaden her horizons. That’s when she turned to her cousin in Arkansas, who owns and operates several Mosquito Joe franchises throughout the state.
“We spoke with my cousin who filled us in on the Mosquito Joe business model. We liked the seasonality of the brand, and how it seemed to work in tandem with my schedule as a teacher. It was a flexible option for people like me who still want to keep their day jobs,” Carruth said. “We also looked at this as an opportunity to plan for retirement down the road. When that day comes and I decide to leave behind my career as a teacher, it’s nice to know I’ll have the flexibility and benefits of the lifestyle that only comes with being a Mosquito Joe franchisee.”
By May 2016, just as the students of Parkview Baptist cleared out the hallways for summer vacation, Carruth and her fiancé were set to officially open their first Mosquito Joe business. So far, they have already hired three full-time employees to prepare for the start of the next school year. And while multi-tasking multiple jobs isn’t always easy, Carruth is confident that the skills learned as a teacher will help bridge the gap between the two.
“Having good communication skills is a big part of being a teacher—whether it’s on the phone or face to face with children and parents. It’s important to explain things in an easy-to-understand language. Those same lessons carry over into our Mosquito Joe business. There can be a lot of technical elements in what we do—from talking about what our trained technicians do to detailing the specific treatment options and chemicals we use,” Carruth said. “Customer care—in both teaching and franchising—is so incredibly vital to your success.”
Other traits, like being great problem solvers and knowing how to successfully implement schedules, are also important skillsets—both inside and outside the classroom. Having a creative and resourceful mindset doesn’t hurt either.
“Teachers are typically outside-the-box thinkers and know how to creatively approach a problem or situation. This can help us out in many ways when it comes to running our Mosquito Joe location—especially when it comes to marketing our new business throughout the community and managing our limited budget as we get things off the ground,” Carruth added.
Carruth is just one of many other teachers-turned-franchisees in the Mosquito Joe system. Kevin Wilson, the CEO of Mosquito Joe, believes that’s due, in large part, to the brand’s seasonal model.
“Mosquito Joe’s services kick into high gear just as teachers are winding down for the school year. It’s a great opportunity to introduce another source of revenue without the burden of taking on another full-time job,” Wilson said. “Quality of life is extremely important for our franchisees, and Mosquito Joe allows them to achieve that right work/life balance.”
He’s also confident that teachers like Carruth will thrive with the brand because of the skills they’ve honed in the classroom.
“Ultimately, we need franchisees who know how to communicate and are comfortable in putting customers first. Teachers like Carruth have spent countless hours explaining musical concepts to her students in a clear—and patient—way,” Wilson said. “If you’re good with people and can communicate easily with customers, there’s no reason why you can’t succeed with Mosquito Joe.”