Franchise Players is Entrepreneur's Q&A interview column that puts the spotlight on franchisees. If you're a franchisee with advice and tips to share, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Beau Reed was inspired to open a franchise so he could commit more time towards coaching his son's baseball team. After he opened his Mosquito Joe location, however, he realized the lessons he learned through baseball would prove key to running the business. Armed with a knack for rebounding from failure, here's what Reed has learned since opening his franchise.
Name: Beau Reed
Franchise owned: Mosquito Joe of Jonesboro, Ark.
How long have you owned a franchise?
This is the first franchise that I’ve owned, and we got started at the end of February 2015. Previously, I started a fitness business called Bowman Fitness Club that was bought by Eric Buckner. He then developed the concept into 10Fitness, which is now a regional franchise type operation. However, this is the first franchise I’ve owned.
Quality of life is extremely important to me. I played baseball growing up and at Arkansas State University. Now, I’m the head coach of my 6-year-old son’s USSSA baseball team, the Arkansas Ice (currently ranked second in the state and eighth nationally). So, opening a franchise gives me the flexibility to be with my son and coach the team while still running the business. It’s a natural fit for me.
The franchise works for you if you hire the right people. We’ve hired fantastic people that are able to take care of the day-to-day operations that the franchise model gives them to work from, so they don’t have to call me every ten minutes. Operationally, they have the franchise to piggyback off of, so I get to enjoy the outdoors and spending time with my son and the team.
What were you doing before you became a franchise owner?
After I graduated college, I was a financial adviser with American Express. After that, I started a fitness center which later became a franchise after I sold it – 10 Fitness. I didn’t like the day-to-day of that business, but we sold the concept and made a great profit from it. After that, I got into internet marketing and was involved in sort of micro-franchises. But Mosquito Joe is the first franchise I’ve owned, and we got started at the end of February 2015.
Why did you choose this particular franchise?
Number one, Mosquito Joe has great marketing. The name, the colors, the messaging is all very memorable. I have a marketing background and you can have the best product in the world but if it’s not marketed correctly, you won’t make money. I knew I’d make money with them. Secondly, the quality of the product and the application is second to none, and the expert quality of the product and what they teach is top notch. I know that we’re going to have great marketing and the customers will be taken care of with 100 percent satisfaction.
How much would you estimate you spent before you were officially open for business?
When you buy a franchise or any business, you need to look at what it will cost for the franchise fee and the equipment, but a lot of people forget to put money into reserve.
The hard cost for Mosquito Joe is only $20,000. But, to get it open and operational, you need a line of credit between about $70,000 and $115,000 dollars. We decided to open with about $90,000 or $95,000. We haven’t used all of that yet, but that’s what we knew we’d need in reserve to be successful.
Where did you get most of your advice/do most of your research?
Where I live in Jonesboro, Ark., we have a big mosquito problem. There are about 350,000 people throughout the area that we serve in northeast Arkansas and it’s a great place to raise a family, but we are surrounded by farm lands. When they flood the fields in the summer, it just breeds mosquitoes and they swarm the entire town. At this point, it’s almost a prerequisite to have a mosquito service to enjoy a good quality of life.
If you solve a problem, you’re going to make money. When I was a financial advisor to small business owners, and as I’ve read books about entrepreneurship, I learned that you need to solve a problem to make money. Specifically, I read the book 'Rich Dad, Poor Dad,' and that was a main influence for me as far as advice on business ownership.
As for how I specifically researched Mosquito Joe, I Googled “mosquito franchise” and Mosquito Joe was all over the front page. I liked the branding and the marketing, so I immediately knew they were the company for me.
What were the most unexpected challenges of opening your franchise?
For a business like Mosquito Joe, you have to make sure that you have your state applicator license. Those tests to get certified don’t happen every week, and depending on the state it can be months in between tests. So, we ran into a little situation but were able to find someone who already had their certification. But if you’re getting into a mosquito service business, you need to make sure that you get your applicator license or that you’re working with someone who has that.
What advice do you have for individuals who want to own their own franchise?
You have to be able to execute on what the corporate franchise gives you. You have to have a lot of mental toughness. It may take a little longer than what you expected to be successful. You have to have that cash reserve to operate from. Additionally, the people you hire will make or break your business. So, don’t be afraid to put your trust in other people – if they’re the right people – to help you run and operate your business. Your first few hires are a huge reason for if you succeed or fail, so take the time to make sure that they are the right fit. For me, the goal was to have a better quality of life, so having the right team in place allows me to spend the time with my family and with the baseball team that I wanted.
What did you learn from playing baseball that you’ve applied to your business?
You have to be able to work with a team. It also taught me mental toughness. When you play sports, you’re going to win some and you’re going to lose some. The way you rebound from failures is going to dictate the way you will respond in your business career. Grit is important. Baseball is a game of failure. The best players in the world only get a hit 3 out of 10 times. So, you’re failing 6-7 times out of every 10. You learn the mental toughness to keep going and have the poise to get back up there and take another swing. So, athletics and baseball played a huge role in my success as an entrepreneur.
What’s next for you and your business?
We love this business and the franchise model…and we hate mosquitoes. We’re in tournament season with our baseball team and what’s worse than sitting and watching a baseball game and having to deal with a ton of mosquitoes? They aren’t good for anything. They’re a burden. So, we’d like to grow and expand the business so we can kill even more of them and enhance the quality of life here in our community, and in other areas across the United States.