🍟 5/15/2023 – Buzz Franchise Brands – The Multi Brand Franchise Platform
SPONSORED DEEP DIVE
Buzz Franchise Brands’ Rise To Multi-Brand Success
Corporate consulting is one of the most sought after career paths in the world.
Bain and Company, Boston Consulting Group, and McKinsey, the undoubted “Big 3” of the consulting world, attract some of the most competitive job applicants in the world. Whether it’s Ivy League graduates, MBA students, or top investment bankers looking to transition, landing a job at the Big 3 is an accomplishment in its own right.
Kevin Wilson was hired as an Associate with Bain and Company when he graduated from Western University in 1990. For a bright eyed, recent college grad, this was a fantastic step forward in his life. By all accounts, he was on the path to success.
Yet, a little over 4 years later, at age 26, Kevin left that career behind, to start….a bagel shop? Unbeknownst to him, the knowledge he’d gain from this leap of faith of an endeavor would prove crucial later in his career.
Today, Kevin is the Chairman, CEO, and founder of Buzz Franchise Brands, a multi-brand franchise platform with over 240+ territories operating between four different brands.
But how exactly did he get from Bagels to Buzz?
Read on to find out…
The Journey Man
Thanks to his entrepreneurial drive (and love of bagels) Kevin launched Benny’s Bagels in 1995 with two partners in the Dallas / Fort Worth area. With a ~hunger~ to expand, they turned to franchising to build the Benny’s brand.
Within 3 years, they grew to 28 stores via a mix of franchised locations and corporate owned stores. But here comes a plot twist:
Kevin sold the business, moved to Johannesburg, South Africa, and took a job with an airline company based there.
Yeah, that’s what I said when I heard this directly from the Buzz franchise team. Some [needed] background….
Thanks to his experience working with an airline client while at Bain & Company, Kevin landed the role of Executive Vice President at South African Airways.
This was an opportunity to not only get executive leadership experience at a very young age, but also to be a part of the team that completed a successful turnaround of the airline.
By 2002, Kevin was back in the United States, and the next decade of his life would be spent working in private equity.
Via the firms he worked at, he reviewed thousands of business plans, made 31+ investments, and even founded a low-cost airline in Mexico – Volaris Airlines. Volaris now trades publicly on the NYSE, has a $1.3 billion market cap, and is the largest airline in Mexico.
For Kevin and his career, things were going great!
Naturally, it’s time for another plot twist:
He decided to leave his success, accolades, and the associated compensation from the private equity and airline industry behind, in favor of….acquiring a mosquito control business?
Yup, he did it again.
Buzz is Born
Married and building a family in Virginia Beach, Kevin happened to be put in touch with the founders of a local mosquito control company in early 2012.
Impressed by what the founders had accomplished with the business in just a few short years, Kevin was reminded of himself, who once upon a time was running a local business.
While the bagel biz is certainly different than pest control, Kevin saw the potential it had, and knew what had to be done:
Franchise the mosquito control business.
He immediately sought to turn his vision into a reality, and raised enough money to acquire the company and hire a founding team.
By June of 2012, Kevin was officially out of private equity, and in as CEO of Mosquito Joe.
In 2013, when they began franchising, things took off almost instantly.
Mosquito Joe went from a local mosquito business in Virginia Beach, to a national franchise with 232 territories operating by 2018. It was that year that Neighborly – the juggernaut that today owns 27 franchise brands in the home-services sector – came knocking.
Ultimately, Neighborly would acquire Mosquito Joe from Buzz Franchise Brands. This represented a fantastic outcome for Kevin and the whole Buzz team. It also gave them an opportunity to return capital to investors, with plenty of excess dollars to create repeat success with other franchise brands.
The Buzz Franchise Platform
With the early success of Mosquito Joe, even before the acquisition, Kevin and the Buzz team felt they had a knack for identifying gaps in the market in home-services, and providing superior support to franchisees.
This combination of quality low-investment concepts, with knowing how to make franchisees successful, has allowed Buzz to become a multi-brand platform with very healthy, but responsible growth of all their brands.
And as the platform has grown, the initial founding team has also grown. The Buzz franchise team now boasts over 60 employees, which means franchisees of any of their brands have access to some of the best digital marketing, operations, and training teams in franchising.
Given this, it’s no surprise that the number of brands Buzz owns, and territories per each brand, has been growing positively for years.
Today, Buzz Franchise Brands owns four service-focused franchises, three of which they’ve incubated from scratch. Let’s take a snapshot of each:
The go-to source for pool cleaning, maintenance, and minor repair services
- Founded: 2016
- Territories Operating: 79
- Investment Range: $88K – $110K
- Average Revenue per Territory: $235,690*
*Based on 40 territories in 2022
Teaching water survival skills and swim lessons to children as young as 3 months old
- Founded: 1981
- Territories Operating: 165
- Investment Range: $100K – $135K
- Average Revenue per Territory: $508,605*
*Based on 83 territories in 2022
The only residential cleaning company that supports local first responders with every home they clean.
- Founded: 2017
- Territories Operating: 14+
- Investment Range: $86k – $106k
- Average Revenue per Territory: ($198,068*
*Based on 10 territories in 2022
Providing professional lighting for your home during the holiday’s.
- Founded: 2022
- Territories Operating: 15+
- Investment Range: $74k – $90k
- Average Revenue per Territory: $91,345
*Based on 14 territories in 2022
The Wolf’s Take 🍟
As you can see, each brand has a bit of a different profile in terms of units open, and the business offering.
Grand Illuminations especially is the newest creation from Buzz, which they’ve already seen a few franchisees utilize as a way to drive additional revenue during the holiday season (though Buzz does plan to make it a full-year offering via other lighting services).
While the brands may be at different stages of growth, each one has a consistent theme of having an impressive low investment range – revenue ratio.
I was also surprised to learn that British Swim School, Home Clean Heroes, and Pool Scouts all operate with a heavy recurring revenue model, as homeowners can choose whether they want the respective service on a weekly, biweekly, or monthly basis.
It’s a great model for franchisees, as the recurring revenue can offer more predictable cash flow, and leaves it up to you to provide good service in order to keep each client in your book of business!
The Buzz Benefit
While each brand is impressive in its own right, the Buzz Franchise platform arguably provides more value to franchisees of any of their brands.
Beyond the fact that you have a well-capitalized parent company, and a well-staffed and competent team in every department to support you, franchisees also have…each other!
Franchisees of any Buzz brand get to meet at least once annually at Buzz’s own conference. This provides invaluable support and tactical sessions to learn from one another.
And while it’s definitely not forced upon franchisees, any owner of a Buzz brand can collaborate with owners of other brands in their market to do cross-promotional marketing. After all, if you’re cleaning someone’s pool, they may be interested in residential cleaning, and vice versa!
The empire builders under the Buzz umbrella have taken advantage of this by becoming multi-brand franchisees, with 1 individual owning three of the brands.
With each franchise, there are brand level executives that have specific expertise related to the concept, allowing for hyper-focused support on that brand’s franchisees. But above every brand sits Buzz, who oversees the portfolio of franchises, and provides the additional marketing support, analytics, and training.
This allows franchisees of one concept to acclimate quicker to the others, as the systems, and people steering the “collective” ship, are the same.
Buzz Franchise Brands got its start with Mosquito Joe, which took off like a rocketship before being acquired by Neighborly.
While the team at Buzz is proud of what they accomplished with Mosquito Joe, that isn’t their north star with every franchise they own.
Kevin and the team are looking to build sustainable franchise brands over a longer time period. Their true focus is on franchisee support, and helping all their owners become more successful.
In time, that will likely lead to more successful outcomes, but they’re in no hurry to get to the finish line, nor do they have any pressure or financial need to.
One thing is for certain: when Kevin Wilson sees an opportunity, I’d pay attention.
Celebrity Favorite Milk Jar Cookies Launches Franchise Program
Courtney Cowan is the founder of Milk Jar Cookies and is launching a franchise program for her brand, beloved by celebrities from Wanda Sykes to Seth Rogan and more and initially made famous when retailer Williams-Sonoma asked her in 2016 to turn her cookies into a baking mix and sell it at their stores.
“That was really incredible to me. That put us on the national and international stage,” she said, and calls from the Today show and Oprah and the rest followed, along with a nationwide shipping program.
Dogtopia Surpasses 500 Signed Franchise Agreements in the U.S. Following Historic Deal with Los Angeles-Based Family Office
Dogtopia, the nation’s leading dog daycare, overnight, and spa franchise, announced today it has surpassed 500 signed franchise agreements in the U.S. since new management took over in 2015, solidifying its dominance as the largest and leading pet services franchise in the world. Propelling the company past this milestone is a historic development agreement, which will lead to 33 new locations over the next several years. Behind the deal is a prestigious Los Angeles-based entrepreneurial family with decades of experience owning national franchise brands.
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