Tootl Transport Franchise Embraces Accessibility

Tootl Transport Serves Youths and Adults with Cognitive or Mobility Challenges

Franchise Industry Veterans Guide a Proven Brand with an Admirable Mission

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When Americans need safe, reliable, wheelchair-accessible transportation, Tootl Transport is ready to serve. The brand fills a neglected niche in the transportation marketplace, one that is rapidly expanding as the population ages and as cognitively and physically challenged individuals – from youths to the elderly – need to get to appointments, therapy, classes, stores and more.

The global non-emergency medical transportation market is valued at $8.56 billion this year, according to Researchandmarkets.com. And marketing gurus project that revenues will exceed $15 billion by 2028. Founder and President Michelle Dacy (main photo) says Tootl Transport will succeed in “any market with seniors and people with mobility and cognitive challenges – which essentially covers the globe.”

The Dacys’ efforts in that arena date back to 2012, when Michelle witnessed her own grandmother’s difficulties making it to doctor’s appointments and running errands. Seeing a business opportunity as well as wanting to help others, she established a wheelchair-accessible Chicagoland transportation company whose revenues increased every year.

Tootl Transport franchise

Tootl Franchise Is Born

After Tootl Transport’s business model proved itself with eight years of operations in Chicago, she and her husband, Tom Dacy, vice president of operations, opted to franchise the concept. Their goal is to improve the quality of life for Americans who have logistical challenges in meeting their everyday needs.

Franchising veterans Steve Greenbaum and Brad Fishman learned of the innovative business and now back the franchise as investors and advisers. (Greenbaum is the founder of PostNet and former CEO of Best Life Brands. Fishman is co-CEO of the franchising specialist Fishman Public Relations and CEO of Franchise Elevator, a public relations firm that serves emerging brands.)

Tootl is everything I want to see in a franchise. It’s values-based, purpose-driven and makes a positive impact on the lives of everyone it touches.

Steve Greenbaum, Founder of PostNet

Greenbaum and Fishman assisted the Dacys in rebranding to Tootl Transport as well as launching a company-owned Milwaukee location in 2021. Tootl Transport of Milwaukee topped all financial expectations, even during the worst of the Covid-19 pandemic, they say.

Values-Based Franchise

“Tootl is everything I want to see in a franchise,” Greenbaum says. “It’s values-based, purpose-driven and makes a positive impact on the lives of everyone it touches,” Greenbaum noted, adding that Tootl’s core values are Trust, Respect, Empathy and Kindness, with TREK as the acronym.

Michelle Dacy underscores the importance of the company core values by saying Tootl takes a “Golden Rule” approach with its clients. “We show them the same kindness and support we would want a stranger to show our loved ones. It’s incredibly rewarding to provide dependable, safe and comfortable transportation to people with challenges so they can live their best, happiest lives,” she says.

Traits of a Tootl Franchisee

Tootl Transport is looking to expand with single- and multi-unit franchisees who want to be in business for themselves and give back to their communities. Besides providing transportation to clients with mobility and cognitive challenges, the brand’s philanthropic outreach extends to partnering with recreational programs and summer camps for youths with disabilities and socioeconomic challenges. Michelle says Tootl franchisees should be compassionate, ambitious, optimistic, outgoing, organized and detail-oriented self-starters who can function efficiently without a set schedule.

Tootl works with senior care facilities, case managers, in-home care services, health care professionals, and related businesses and professionals to secure referrals. As a result, franchisees may benefit from a work background in the health-care field because they already have established industry contacts, but industry experience isn’t a requirement.

How Tootl Operates

Tootl Transport franchise

Franchisees recruit drivers as independent contractors, or vendors, who already have expertise in special needs transportation and have their own wheelchair-accessible vehicles. The average fare is about $100, which is the base rate plus mileage. Tootl requires each driver to be approved after a background check and undergo drug testing; their vehicles must pass an inspection. At least three vetted vendors should be in place when a Tootl franchise launches. Both the drivers and the Tootl Transport franchisee have insurance coverage.

Why Invest in Tootl?

Jeff Mathews, senior director of franchise development, says franchisees benefit from three key factors:

  • The franchise has a quick start-up interval – only 60 days from signing to launch.
  • Because of the home-based business model, a Tootl Transport franchise has low overhead.
  • A franchise costs less than $100,000 in total start-up fees, including the franchise fee.

Tootl’s Expansion Plans

Tootl offers franchise opportunities around the United States, with a goal of awarding 20 franchises this year, Mathews says. For more information about franchise opportunities, visit https://tootlfranchising.com/.

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Mary Vinnedge is an award-winning journalist who has served as editor in chief, managing editor and senior editor at national and regional publications, including SUCCESS and Design NJ magazines. She also held reporting and editing roles at The Dallas Morning News and Charlotte Observer newspapers.

Before Mary began covering franchise news and trends as a staff writer for FranchiseWire and Franchise Consultant Magazine, she developed articles on topics ranging from lifestyle, education, health and science to home projects, horticulture, gardening, interior design and architecture. These articles included her reporting on academic news at her alma mater, Texas A&M University, when Mary worked in the marketing department of the Texas A&M Foundation. She continues to be a news junkie and subscribes to several publications.

Today Mary and her husband are empty nesters living on Galveston Island near Houston. The couple’s blended family – scattered around the United States – includes five children, four grandchildren and two very spoiled, very barky miniature schnauzer rescues.
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