The Clever Way One Wildlife Control Franchise Keeps Bottom Lines Bright Year-Round

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Home services is a market long believed to be inextricably tied to seasonality, and it’s little wonder why. After all, people don’t often see landscapers in the winter or snowplows in the summer. But the surprising truth is that in many cases, the person who keeps your lawn looking great all summer is the same person plowing the snow off your driveway six months later.

Likewise, many assume winter is the busiest time of year for wildlife control professionals. They believe the cold weather invites broods of bats to lurk in the attic or rascals of raccoons to nestle into the walls, but in reality, these occurrences are rare. Indeed, the experts at Skedaddle conduct the bulk of their critter removal work in the spring, when everything from squirrels to birds invades homes seeking a cozy space to care for their babies. The biggest exception is mice, as these little rodents not only invade homes and reproduce wildly all year long but also intensify their destructive tendencies in the colder months.

But if winter is a slow time for critters, how is it that Skedaddle Franchises remain steadily profitable throughout the year? Well, Skedaddle is no ordinary wildlife control provider. Founded more than 30 years ago and helmed by business-savvy former pro hockey player Bill Dowd, Skedaddle’s already-innovative business model was positioned at the natural confluence of several revenue streams. While their humane wildlife control services generate most of the revenue, the equipment and expertise Franchise Owners already possess, allow them to pull profits from other related services — the lucrative home protection, attic restoration, and holiday lighting services Skedaddle also offers.

Since holiday lighting and decorating is Skedaddle’s fastest-growing service and the holidays are fast approaching, we took this opportunity to ask Bill more about how this service helps keep Skedaddle Owners’ bottom lines bright all year long.

Q: Can you describe how your holiday lights service works? And how are Franchise Owners equipped to offer this unique, fun service?

A: “Christmas Lights by Skedaddle provides home and business owners an all-inclusive, custom holiday light and decorating service. From consultation to installation, maintenance to removal, we handle the entire process from beginning to end and back it with our in-season service guarantee. Most homeowners — and especially the more affluent clientele — don’t want to get out the ladder and risk hanging lights themselves, so it’s become an enormous profit center for Franchise Owners.

“Owners don’t need to sell anything. Instead, they focus on creating a unique design that maximizes the structure’s features. After installation, we also perform repairs and maintenance. If a bulb blows out or a cord is loose, all the owners have to do is call, and we’ll fix it for no additional charge. We also take everything down, pack it up, and store it for next year.

“And since this service doesn’t require big investments in equipment and training — they already have the trucks, ladders, and harnesses, and their teams already have the skills — it’s a natural addition to a Skedaddle Franchise. It’s also easy to sell this service. For example, when we’re at a nice house dealing with squirrel issues, we tell the client about our professional holiday lighting and decorating. Then we follow up with them when the holiday season is close. It’s extremely lucrative, and Franchises have a lot of fun doing it.”

Q: Do all Skedaddle Franchise Owners offer the holiday lights service, or is it optional?

A: “Well, it’s not mandatory. Although we make it optional, we would like to see Owners expand into this service line. That’s because holiday lighting and decorating is very, very profitable and it also helps set the stage for the busy wildlife season.

“When we do Christmas decorating for clients, we start planning in September, install in October and November, and take everything down in January and February. Then it’s back to our busiest season, so this home service allows Owners to hit the ground running. They already have all the ladder and safety training, and they also know how to deliver on expectations. An Owner might only need to hire between two and four additional employees to offer this service, and the best of those will also serve as Skedaddle Franchise brand ambassadors to grow the wildlife and pest control lines, too.”

Q: How did Skedaddle develop the idea to hang holiday lights as a separate revenue stream for Franchise Owners?

A: “I was in my first or second year of business in the early ‘90s when my dad suggested I provide that home service. It made sense because I hated doing it at my own house, so I found a system that uses LED lights — not the old glass lights — that are indestructible and customizable. Once I got into doing it, I realized it was a legitimate business opportunity worth pursuing. This is especially true in colder climates, where snow can lead to slowdowns in pest control.

“With the addition of Christmas lighting and decoration, we don’t have slow months; instead, we stay busy all 12 months of the year.”

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Q: Is there additional overhead for Franchise Owners who choose to take advantage of the holiday lights business?

A: “Not really. They don’t need any equipment; we already have it. The only expenditure is the purchase of products and decorations. We use professional-grade décor that not only looks great, but everything is also reusable for at least seven to 10 years. Our high-quality LED lights have a computer chip in every bulb, so clients can change their colors through an app on their phones. We also use these to decorate external features like trees, shrubs, pillars, and more, which are incredibly popular.

“Of course, decorating isn’t limited to lights. In addition to lights, we also have wreaths, garlands, and bows we can incorporate into the custom design.

“Our decorating services are so popular that we struggle with labor to do all the Christmas work. It’s a great problem to have! The demand is so high we always need to hire more employees for decorating. It really is a feel-good job for the staff, too. It not only changes up their job description, but it’s also a great part-time job if they’re looking for an extra bit of revenue.”

Q: How many of your holiday lights customers were wildlife control customers first, and vice versa? Do you think the Christmas Lights by Skedaddle arm of the business helps increase customer retention and loyalty?

A: “The two go hand in hand. If we’re doing pest control and prevention at a nice home, we’ll plant the seed for our holiday lights service. If we’re talking to a recognized decorating client, we mention our humane wildlife control, home protection, and attic restoration services. We’re always looking for customers who need Skedaddle’s services, and we find them at both sources.

“And our customers love our lighting and decorating service. We provide the custom holiday displays of their dreams with a worry-free guarantee, so their loyalty is amazing — our renewal rate is 75%!”

Q: What is the most interesting or biggest holiday lights job a Franchise Owner has ever had, and in which location?

A: “That would be our Toronto location. They did a $175,000 job last year by partnering with a local wildlife rehabilitation fundraiser to install a drive-thru Christmas display, and more than 200,000 cars went through it. This year, they’re doing that same job this year for under $200,000.

“On the residential side, our ‘pink house’ client outside Toronto spent $25,000 with us last year. This year she’s spending $40,000!

“In the Niagara Falls area, the BIA (Business Improvement Association) had Skedaddle decorate 63 buildings on one main drag of shops, and tourism skyrocketed.

“Our holiday lighting and decorating is Skedaddle’s fastest-growing service. And when you consider the low-cost franchise investment of $49,000, these stories prove that just one job can cover an Owner’s initial franchise fee.”

Q: Holiday lights aren’t just for Christmas anymore. Any plans to expand the service to Halloween, Diwali, or other holiday celebrations?

A: “We’re already doing that. Just yesterday, we talked about doing a Halloween festival; we get a lot of Halloween customers, so they’re running into the Christmas season! With so many repeat customers, we’ve done plenty of decorating for events like weddings, big birthdays, milestone anniversaries, etc. We also do other holidays, including Diwali, the Hindu Festival of Lights, and Hanukkah.

“There’s no event or holiday that can’t be brightened by Skedaddle’s professional lighting and decorating services. Whether the job is big or small, residential or commercial, we deliver the ideal decor to meet every customer’s unique needs. I can’t wait to see what our customers have in store for us next year!”

Q: Finally, for those considering investing in a Skedaddle Franchise, can you describe why your unique business model helps Franchise Owners earn extra revenue in the wildlife removal off-season?

A: “Skedaddle’s holiday lights and decorating service has taken off, so there is no real ‘off-season’ anymore, and that gives Owners a huge franchise advantage. When we built our business model three decades ago, I knew that the key to year-round profitability was to use our existing tools and know-how to reach into other lucrative service lines. So, while our primary focus is on innovative, humane wildlife control, our other services — home protection, attic restoration, and holiday and event decoration — only increase their ROI. It is this unique combination of services that allows Franchise Owners really to grow and scale their businesses.

“The average price for residential Christmas lighting is $2,000, never less than $1,500. That makes holiday lighting and decorating the ideal service for Owners looking for ways to earn more revenue. When you couple that with the minimal overhead, the high renewal rate, ease of sale, and the marketing and promotional support Skedaddle provides (not only do we put Santa hats and Rudolph noses on the critters featured on our green service trucks, but Christmas Lights by Skedaddle also has its website), adding this highly profitable service to their suite of offerings is a smart move for Franchise Owners to take.”

Interested in lighting up your community with a thriving Skedaddle Franchise? Visit the Skedaddle Franchise Website to discover even more about this exciting opportunity.

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