With the Massachusetts Department of Agriculture canceling all licensing exams and preventing new technicians from becoming licensed, Elisabet Laferriere and her Southeastern, Massachusetts Mosquito Squad team had to act decisively to prevent the 2020 season from succumbing to pandemic pressures.
The Squad made prompt decisions regarding treatment packages, deciding that only clients who auto-renewed would be eligible for the traditional barrier treatment. New clients and returning clients who opted out of auto-renewal would receive the natural treatment option. The Squad then divided and conquered by pairing licensed techs and new hires together. Licensed techs would administer treatments, while new hires took care of everything else on the job. In terms of marketing, Ms. Laferriere says they “focused on the things we knew worked for us,” with direct mail being a key component. As the number of new clients grew, new hires were assigned dedicated trucks and sent to administer natural treatments.
Recognizing the strain of these unusual circumstances on staff, The Squad also prioritized employee morale. Hourly rates for licensed technicians were increased, a retention bonus was introduced, and positive reinforcement was offered to the entire team throughout the season.
Ms. Laferriere cites preparedness, teamwork, and focusing on strengths as being crucial to making this season a success. While teamwork and camaraderie were cultivated amongst her technicians, Ms. Laferriere says she also found it within the franchisee network. She explains “I've always found the biggest benefit of being a franchisee is the ability to call my business advisor or other franchisees to ask questions or get advice. This was never truer than as the Covid-19 situation developed in Massachusetts. We made a lot of tough decisions about implementing operational changes and it was made easier with plenty of feedback from other franchisees who found themselves in the same position - especially in neighboring locations who had similar licensing and hiring roadblocks.”
Ms. Laferriere also applauds Authority Brands as being “a great partner” whose corporate team was a resource for disseminating information on the various small business assistance programs. Ms. Laferriere states “as these programs evolved through continuous guideline changes, [Authority Brands was] breaking things down into layman's terms, publishing updates and saving us countless hours that could be put to better use keeping our day-to-day operations running.”
Despite all the hurdles faced, Mosquito Squad of Southeastern, MA increased sales 23.4% and saw their new lead acquisition increase by 23% in 2020.