Why Recessions Pour Profits into One Pioneering Franchise
Already beleaguered by two economic declines — the 2001 recession following Sept. 11 and the Great Recession of 2008 — the arrival of 2020’s pandemic ultimately sunk countless North American businesses. The storm of lockdowns, closures, supply chain kinks, staffing shortages, and a largely home-bound customer base rapidly consumed several industries’ bottom lines, and even as clouds of another recession appear to be darkening the horizon, many have yet to right the company ship.
But while other industries foundered in the face of such economic hardships, the same conditions have proven wildly profitable for the $506 billion home services industry. After many employees adjusted to working from the family home, consumers made big investments in their domiciles, spending a total of $503 billion on home services such as improvements and maintenance. And one particularly innovative home services franchise not only sailed through several eras of economic tumult, but also experienced surging sales and swelling growth—Skedaddle.
Founded by former pro hockey player Bill Dowd in 2001, Canada-based Skedaddle is the industry leader in protecting homes from wildlife and pest invasions with a focus not only on the humane removal of animals, but also on installing permanent exclusion solutions that guarantee clients they’ll never again share a roof with any of the hundreds and thousands of raccoons, mice, squirrels, bats, and more with whom they share the urban environment.
An essential business no matter the economic climate, Skedaddle holds a peerlessly steady position in this unique niche of the growing home services industry (the value of which is expected to reach $1293.07 billion by 2026). And since every structure—both old and new—has areas vulnerable to critter incursions, Skedaddle’s proprietary and innovative services, proven business model, and commitment to community leave Franchise Owners poised to reel in impressive profits and primed for growth.
To learn more about the secret to Skedaddle’s persistent success, we spoke to the authority, Skedaddle Founder Bill Dowd.
Q: As a leading home protection and humane wildlife control Franchisor, do you have any thoughts regarding the state of the economy and the direction it seems to be taking?
A: “I think the economy’s heading into some tough times. I saw news this weekend that one in six small businesses are either considering closing down or going into bankruptcy. But even big companies like Peloton are taking a hit. Their sales were great during COVID with everyone staying at home and working out on their own, but now they’re doing massive layoffs, closing studios, and witnessing a sharp decline in sales.
“We’ve been very fortunate at Skedaddle, as we benefitted from the pandemic and still can’t keep up. Every day, we visit more than 100 homes and our call center takes 500-600 calls. Urban wildlife is overtaking our cities and suburbs, and they’re here to stay—that’s why Skedaddle is and always will be so busy.
“And as for the home service industry and companies like ours, I think it’s full steam ahead with continued growth likely as difficult economic times approach.”
Q: What makes Skedaddle such a uniquely recession-resistant franchise?
A: “This is our 33rd year in business, so we’ve been through this before. Three recessions or depressions, the pandemic, the crash of 2008, and all the crises that have heavily impacted many other businesses throughout each, Skedaddle has successfully weathered the storm. In fact, our sales usually increase during these difficult times because homeowners are looking to protect the biggest asset of their lives—their home. So, recessions, depressions, and financial crises don’t affect what we do here with the raccoons, squirrels, or mice. They don’t know when times are tough, so they’ll always be getting into and destroying people’s homes.”
Q: The pandemic had very positive impacts on the home services industry. In fact, Skedaddle posted record sales in 2020. Can you tell us how Skedaddle Franchises continued to thrive at a time when so many other businesses permanently shuttered?
A: “I think the home services industry is a great industry segment to be in. And as we mentioned, Skedaddle already knows homeowners primarily want to protect that big investment in these challenging times. Rather than taking an extra vacation or purchasing a new vehicle, they’ll retreat into the sanctity of their castles.
“So, when they see a mouse, a skunk, or a squirrel busy destroying their biggest investment, they need to take action. They don’t want that animal chewing through electrical wiring and causing a fire, tearing up and trampling on insulation and causing their energy bills to get higher, and definitely not infecting the attic and even the residents with diseases—they have to do something. Our great marketing programs put us at the top of a Google search, so when homeowners have these problems, they’re going to phone us. And we’re going to be out there with prompt service, we’ll make the sales, and get the job done right with a lifetime guarantee.
“Skedaddle Owners are very fortunate in that there is no slowdown. And since COVID came along, we’ve set even more records. We had record months and record years, and we have one of the lucky businesses that will continue to thrive as we endure tough economic times.”
Q: We’ve established that homeowners will always need wildlife control regardless of the economy’s health. Can you expand on how Franchise Owners continue to generate industry leading numbers even during times of economic hardship?
A: “One thing we’re constantly honing is efficiency. Whether that’s reevaluating routes to be more efficient when gas prices rise or just to make sure Franchises aren’t driving across the city from one job to the next, maximizing time is a priority.
“It’s also important to consider the supply and demand. As demand for our services continues to grow, if Franchises are booking jobs one week, two weeks out, that gives them the confidence to go ahead and pitch those larger jobs.
“If they’re not booking that far in advance, Owners often look for a more minimal job since our average price is anywhere from $1,500–$2,000. Once they get a truck on the site, they can kind of ‘supersize’ the job with our other services. They can tell the owner, ‘I’m already here, so why don’t I give you a bit of a discount on screening those vents. Your home will be entirely protected, and with our lifetime guarantee, you don’t ever need to worry about having an animal in your attic again.’ That kind of flexibility is helpful as demand for our business continues to grow.”
Q: We’re still feeling the consequences of the Great Resignation. Do you have any success stories featuring Franchise Owners who took the leap from the corporate world into the more gratifying entrepreneurial realm?
A: “Our newest Franchise was just northwest of Toronto in Orangeville, a smaller territory. Two gentlemen purchased it—one had a long, illustrious military career, the other came from the telecommunications industry. Even with longtime, well-paying jobs with great benefits and retirement packages, they’d had enough of corporate life and came on board. In their first three months they have been one of fastest growing Franchise in Skedaddle history.
“Really, it’s the fact that they’re not in that corporate grind anymore. It’s their decision whether they work a seven-day, 60-hour week or 20-, 25-hour workweeks with Fridays off. They can also hire staff and start growing and scaling their business while they enjoy the summer months. As we get into the fall, they can also elect to add our additional service lines, whether it’s Christmas decorating, pest control, or our attic insulation module.
“There’s lots of growth potential for them, and since they’re the boss, they also have a better work/life balance and more time with their families. Instead of commuting to answer to someone else, they get up in the morning, go out and do their sales calls or service work, and manage their staff.”
Q: Do you have any advice for people considering franchising with Skedaddle, and what should they expect in their first year of ownership?
A: “First and foremost, expect a lot of fun. It’s just really a fun job! Every day you’ll wake up thinking, ‘What’s going to happen in my day today? Will I see squirrels, bats, or something else?’ Whether dealing with animals, staff, or customers, there’s never a dull or boring day.
“You’re also going to be like a local hero. I don’t know of many other industries where as soon as you pull into the driveway, the homeowner is at your car door to say hello because they’ve been eagerly awaiting your arrival.
“You’ll also get constant support from our Franchise Support Team. There’s no situation or animal we haven’t handled before, so we’re always going to be able to help our Owners. Failure is not an option. We want to make them as successful as can be!”
With a long history of proven success and speedy scalability—even during the doldrums of economic decline—Skedaddle is charting a course toward the United States seeking customer-centric, growth-minded, and enthusiastic individuals interested in joining the happy Skedaddle Franchise family.
Interested in bringing a Skedaddle Franchise to your community? Visit the Skedaddle Franchise Website to discover even more about this exciting opportunity. Like what you see? Get valuable Franchise information and schedule a call to determine if Skedaddle is the right fit for you.