Andy Fuller is the Founder and Chief Hunter of Mosquito Hunters, a company that helps budding entrepreneurs create and operate strong businesses by helping families enjoy the outdoors free of mosquitoes, fleas & ticks. In addition, Andy still owns the original Mosquito Hunters location in Chicago, using the concept’s semi-absentee ownership model. Andy has been profiled on media outlets like ABC, WGN, Chicago Tribune, TheStreet.com and more. He is a Certified Franchise Executive with the International Franchise Association and is a Board Member of The Executives Guild. He and his wife Brittany live in the northern suburbs of Chicago with their dog Sheldon and they are expecting their first child soon.
1. Tell us about the Mosquito Hunters concept.
Mosquito Hunters exists to help thousands of clients enjoy their leisure time more by keeping the mosquitoes, fleas, and ticks at bay. As a Franchise Owner, you can build a business based on providing a service that improves the quality of life for people and pets in your community, utilizing both all-natural and synthetic products—again and again and again.
2. How and when did you become involved with Mosquito Hunters?
I founded Mosquito Hunters in 2014 because I was looking to get out of the corporate world and own a business. I wanted a repeat clientele business model, with consistently high profit margins, in a fast-growing industry, that’s simple in concept, low-cost to open, fun, and provided something of value to the community. By process of elimination, this led me to start Mosquito Hunters.
3. What was your background prior to joining Mosquito Hunters?
A few years ago, I was working in Corporate America. I was climbing the ladder and all that goes with that, but one day, a vision popped in my head. I imagined the next few decades on the same trajectory I was on — navigating office politics, fake-laughing at the bad jokes of my superiors, and essentially taking the path of least resistance at all times. The thought made me sick. I wanted a more satisfying career and a bigger life. I knew I had to start a business. That day was when I made the list of qualities that were most important to me (repeat clientele, consistently high margins, etc.), which led me to start what would eventually become Mosquito Hunters.
4. What are some of the advantages in being a Mosquito Hunters Franchisee?
We’ve refined a number of big advantages with Mosquito Hunters. To name a few, we have an inbound call center that quotes & sells to prospective clients over the phone, freeing you up to focus on other parts of your business (and our clients often pay for our services in advance which reduces your Accounts Receivable a lot). We have a data-driven marketing playbook to optimize return on investment. Mosquito Hunters can be operated as a standalone business or it can supplement your current lifestyle…in other words, you can keep your day job while starting Mosquito Hunters, if you’d like. Also, we’re a quick-starting home-based business with a small franchise fee.
5. Who is your ideal Franchisee?
Our Ideal Franchisee may be either a full-time executive who focuses squarely on Mosquito Hunters, or a semi-absentee executive who keeps a “day job” or runs another business in addition to Mosquito Hunters. With either option, the Owner of the business should not intend on being the person going out into the field and treating for mosquitoes; he/she hires employees to handle that work.
A Mosquito Hunters franchise owner must have a strong work ethic and be passionate about service. Experience with hiring, training, and motivating people is important. Sales skills are a bonus, but are not essential. All Mosquito Hunters franchise owners need to have a clean background, no criminal background or credit issues.
6. Tell us a little about the mosquito control market?
The mosquito control market is growing at a lightning-fast pace. In addition, the criteria of a mosquito control consumer is extremely broad in that someone only needs A. disposable income and B. a yard in order to become a client. These combined factors create a significant opportunity for those who are getting into the mosquito control industry.
Most home services businesses will typically have a few hundred competitors in a given market (house painting, gutters, window cleaning, etc.). In our new markets, we sometimes run into five to ten competitors. In some markets, we have dozens of competitors. Overall, competition does not play a huge part in our day-to-day and it certainly is not a regulator on how fast or how large our businesses can grow, especially compared to the other home service niches out there.
At this point, the vast majority of homeowners in the United States are not currently paying for mosquito control services, so when we’re acquiring new customers, we’re not having to steal from a competitor or sell on price. Instead, we need to convince people who’ve never tried mosquito control before to give it a shot. If we perform a treatment and we give the client their yard back, we find they love the experience and it allows us the opportunity to keep that client for years and years.
7. What are some of the greatest lessons you’ve learned in growing this franchise?
Have systems! The seasonality of this business ends up being one of the best parts of owning a mosquito control business, but without structure and systems (like those systems that are part of Mosquito Hunters) a seasonal business can be quite challenging. Early on, we laid the groundwork for our inbound phone sales team, who quotes, closes and often collects pre-payment over the phone from our clients, which frees up a lot of time for our Owners. Also, we’re really proud of our data-driven marketing playbook, which helps us track our results.
A few more mantras that we’ve adopted over the years: when in doubt overcommunicate, when in doubt over-hire, let technology do the heavy lifting whenever possible. Our guiding light, so to speak, is our Mission Statement, which is:
“We believe our business exists to build relationships with our clients and with each other. When we provide support, these relationships grow. With extraordinary relationships, we believe that client loyalty, brand integrity, profitability, and professionalism are inherent.”
In other words, build relationships with your clients, your employees, and your community and the money and success will come naturally. We believe this at our core and we want to find those Franchisees that share these values with us.
8. Do you have a mentor and is there someone you use for inspiration?
I consider myself very lucky to have a number of mentors both inside and outside of the franchising industry that can provide a fresh perspective on any problem I could ever face. The franchising industry, in particular, has a reputation for being an extremely generous, collaborative industry. This is 100% accurate, I’ve found.
For me, I’ve learned the trick to connecting with “A-list” mentors is to be audacious. You know the old cliché “the prettiest girl in school never gets asked out because everyone else is too intimidated to talk to her?” In my experience, I’ve found there’s some truth to that when it comes to connecting with “A-listers” in the business world. If there’s somebody you want to connect with, just try reaching out to them via all the methods available today - email, phone, social media, etc. - and you may be pleasantly surprised with the results.
As far as people I’ve never met, I’m particularly fond of Walt Disney, Napoleon Hill, and James Altucher for their willingness to sort of bend the constraints of reality.
9. What advice do you have for someone looking to acquire a Franchise?
Trust your instincts and be open-minded at the same time. Get to know the Franchisor well and make sure that these are people you want to work together with for years to come…because you’re going to be working together a lot. Also, when you hire an attorney make sure he/she is an attorney that specializes in franchising to avoid headaches.
10. In your opinion, why do you think that Mosquito Hunters would be a great opportunity for someone?
For those folks that are - like I originally was and still am - intrigued by the idea of owning a business with a repeat clientele model, with consistently high profit margins, in a fast-growing industry, that’s simple in concept, low-cost to open, fun, and provides a service to the community, Mosquito Hunters is something worth looking at. More information can be found at HuntersFranchise.com