A true love of the outdoors and helping people better their living spaces are the two most important characteristics a franchisee needs to prosper with Outdoor Living Brands. Factor in veterans’ ability to successfully execute policies and procedures, and that’s a combination for franchising success.
Outdoor Living Brands is the parent company for Archadeck, Mosquito Squad, Outdoor Lighting Perspectives and Renew Crew, Chris Grandpre, who serves as Chairman & CEO for the company, explained during a recent interview from the headquarters in Richmond, VA.
Archadeck started in 1980 in Richmond as a company that designs outdoor living spaces and oversees the construction of those spaces. A family member of one of the company founders ran it. The first franchisee was a builder in Boston who was looking to diversify his business.
Mosquito Squad, meanwhile, is a subscription based franchise where people will subscribe to the service of having a mosquito treatment applied on their property every 21 days.
A full-service company, Outdoor Lighting Perspectives designs and installs outdoor lighting for residential and hospitality locations. They use low voltage products, Grandpre said, and also design, install and store holiday lighting displays for their clients.
Renew Crew is an environmentally friendly outdoor surface cleaning and restoration franchise.
Across all four of the brands, 336 franchisees call Outdoor Living Brands home, with approximately 32 percent of those being veterans. In fact, the company has just added five more veterans to the family this year, said Grandpre.
Deals for Veterans
The company launched a veteran’s awareness program several years ago, offering VetFran discounts for qualified military personnel. That first year with the vet discount, they added 12 veteran-run locations across all four brands. A year later, they doubled the discount.
They continue to double the discount during May, which is Military Appreciation Month, and November in honor of Veterans’ Day.
They’ve also partnered with GI Jobs, Recruit Military, Corporate Gray and other veteran organizations to help highlight opportunities for veterans. They’ve also done seminars for veterans to tell them about these various opportunities.
“We’re always looking for new ways to educate military professionals and recruit them to be a part of our family,” Grandpre said.
Veterans make great franchisees because they can take policies and procedures and implement them with great success, he added. This is in addition to the great leadership qualities they have and it’s an honor to bring them into the Outdoor Living Brands family.
Renew Crew specifically has announced up to 100 percent financing for qualified candidates for the initial franchise fee at three percent above the prime interest rate. Plus, the brand will waive payments until franchisees are up and running.
It’s no surprise that the ideal Outdoor Living Brands franchisee is someone who loves not being stuck in an office and who enjoys being involved in their community
“Typically, our ideal franchisee is someone who absolutely loves the outdoor living category and they love being outdoors and interacting with clients,” Grandpre said. “They have great personal skills and can manage several moving parts at any given moment.”
Archadeck franchisees tend to be more executive types, he said, while Outdoor Lighting Perspective franchisees are more owner-operators who want to be involved in the day-to-day running of their business.
A lot of Mosquito Squad franchisees run other businesses or have their other jobs, he said, including active duty firefighters or police officers. The franchise also tends to attract families.
Renew Crew has been around since 1993 and franchisees usually work in their business.
Getting on Board
Each brand has its own educational discovery process, Grandpre said, and they will answer any questions franchisees have at any time. The onboarding process involves having potential franchisees watch a series of videos that present what their brands and business models are all about. After that, they go through the brands’ core offerings and marketing and lead generation. After each video, they’ll have a conversation with the candidate to answer any questions.
Every franchisee has their own dedicated ad agency, Grandpre said, which consists of two dedicated marketing managers to focus on inbound and outbound marketing tactics in the franchisee’s territory. They also have a brand strategist, in-house graphic designer and copywriters to help franchisees.
Outdoor Living Brands has dedicated individuals to help franchisees launch their businesses and help them as they grow in the future. They also offer franchisees the latest technological tools to help them promote their businesses.
“Every franchisee has a dedicated support team,” Grandpre said. “Whatever they need, we have dedicated professionals here in Richmond, Virginia for their specific brand.”
For Archadeck, a corporate team will prepare 3D renderings, photo realistic drawings and building plans to ensure projects meet the brand’s codes and standards. They also send out a field support team that does a pre-training and post-training visit.
Weekly and monthly webinars to discuss different tactics the company is thinking of doing with the various brands, plus discussions of new national marketing campaigns, products and services are also a feature of the company’s support systems.
Archadeck has a three-week training program in Richmond and the other three brands have a one-week training program there.
They also have regional and mid-year training classes for brands and Outdoor Lighting Perspectives has a holiday training session in August. The annual meeting for all brands is in January and involves four days of preparing franchisees for the coming year.
The four brands have locations across the country. Outdoor Lighting Perspectives has 52 locations in the U.S., but also has locations abroad in Canada, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. Archadeck has 52 locations mainly in the U.S. with one franchisee in the Canadian province of Nova Scotia. Mosquito Squad has over 175 locations in the continental US and is working to expand internationally. Renew Crew has 33 locations concentrated on the east coast and the mid-west.
Territories are available everywhere, Grandpre noted. And although Mosquito Squad is more sold out than the other brands, there are still many attractive territories left that the company is eager to develop with new franchisees.
For veterans who love the outdoors — and they basically all do — Outdoor Living Brands offers them the opportunity to join a family based around a mutual love of the outdoors and helping others enjoy it as much as they do.