Tim Swackhammer, CEO and Founder of Mold Medics, after a long career in sales and franchise ownership with several other companies, is launching the brand’s franchise opportunity in the booming mold remediation industry.
Mold Medics has continued to show impressive momentum, reporting a 20% increase in revenue year over year. But the brand has humble beginnings. Swackhammer did not build a career in mold remediation, or even contracting. His interest in franchising started years ago. He, his father and his brother opened Swack Business Group, a company that has taken on numerous business ownership opportunities. The collective now owns 24 units of cell phone retailer Wireless Zone, and after building the family business, Swackhammer has also been able to build Mold Medics from a mom-and-pop shop to a full-scale franchise operation.
The mold remediation brand currently has a corporate location in Pittsburgh and one franchise location in Beaver County, PA. By 2025, Mold Medics seeks to have 50 franchise units up and running and is setting its sights on development in the Northeast and Midwest.
What You’ll Learn In This Episode
- Franchisee turned CEO launches Mold Medics Franchise opportunity with double digit revenue growth
- Seeking to take the $200+ billion Mold Remediation Industry by storm
This transcript is machine transcribed by Sonix
Lee Kantor: [00:00:32] Lee Kantor here another episode of Franchise Marketing Radio, and this is going to be a good one. Today on the show, we have Tim Swackhammer with Mold Medics. Welcome, Tim.
Tim Swackhammer: [00:00:43] Hi. Thank you very much for having me.
Lee Kantor: [00:00:45] Well, I’m excited to learn what you’re up to. Tell us a little bit about mold medics. How are you serving folks?
Tim Swackhammer: [00:00:50] Yeah. So Mold Medics is a home service brand in the indoor air quality space. So our primary services are mold removal, mold remediation, cleaning, radon mitigation testing and other indoor air quality services.
Lee Kantor: [00:01:04] So what is the genesis of the idea? How did this come about?
Tim Swackhammer: [00:01:08] So really, I mean, I’ve been in franchising pretty much my whole professional life. It started a generation before me with my father. He was kind of a serial entrepreneur and heavily involved in franchising throughout his entire life. And really we were involved with a another home service brand. And basically while we were there, we saw that there was a large number of customers that were looking for solutions to mold and other indoor air quality problems that they just weren’t being serviced by the brands that were out there. Most of the kind of players in the mold remediation space were either large restoration companies whose primary work was with insurance companies and dealing with major water losses, fire losses, those kind of things. And they weren’t really that interested in the mold side of it, or it was companies that are jack of all trades, master of none, doing a variety of different things. And then, oh, they’ll come and raise some bleach on mold and kind of call it a day. So we saw a big opportunity here to really focus on kind of this niche and also bring my background, which is predominantly in sales and customer service, to really create a very customer focused brand. Because while there’s a lot of different excellent craftsmen out there in the home services and in the contracting space, a lot of it tends to be very lacking in that customer experience. So by making sure we have consistent, transparent communication, all of our software is in sync to provide that service. And really the entire experience is just very customer focused.
Lee Kantor: [00:02:46] Now having being a serial kind of entrepreneur and especially working in the in the franchising world, how do you kind of when you’re stress testing a concept or an idea like this, what are some of the things that you’re when you’re challenging kind of the concept? Okay, can this work is this niche have enough in there for us to make a go at it? Can you talk about how that looks and works? Like when you’re whiteboarding this out for the first time, when you say, hey, you know what? This might be an area where we might be able to kind of build a franchise brand around. Can you talk about how you discuss that and kind of stress test it?
Tim Swackhammer: [00:03:25] Yeah, absolutely. So what it was looking at, I mean, we’re active franchisees still in a few other brands as well. So we’ve got a lot of experience on the franchisee side and really kind of as we were building out mold medics, it was more just a consistent realization of the the processes that we’re putting in place to make this independent business really successful are a lot of the same things that we can build out and extrapolate and really. Make a franchise successful. We can we can bring these same our systematized services. We have custom software to handle the entire customer interaction, handle the bids for our clients, price them out, everything like that. Really as we were kind of building through that, it’s just like, okay, this makes a lot of sense for a franchise and just started really trying to operate our corporate territory as a franchise and as as we would if we were operating inside of an existing franchise brand and see how does that work, what do we need to do? And really, I mean, this is something that we’ve been working on for several years now to get a lot of the stuff internally really right. So that as we begin offering our franchise product, we’ve got something that definitely has some legs to it.
Lee Kantor: [00:04:46] So you had kind of the operations of a kind of home franchise baked already, and then it was just saying, okay, can we just adapt it to this niche of mold remediation?
Tim Swackhammer: [00:05:00] Yeah. It was as as we had as we grew more genetics, it was basically developing those into systems that worked for our individual business. But then, okay, we can really scale these, we can change them and have them work for a franchise support as well.
Lee Kantor: [00:05:16] Now when you have the concept and you go, okay, I think, okay, that’s the plan. This is how we’re going to attack it. When did you start getting kind of clues that, hey, we could be on to something? This could work really well.
Tim Swackhammer: [00:05:28] A lot of it came from customers. I mean, clients both inside our market and outside of our markets, people contacting us, saying that, hey, they’re looking for a company like ours, but not able to find it in their area. And do we know anybody that can do it? So there were some initial hints with some of those interactions. And then same thing with our existing customer base. They would go and relocate to another area and see if we can service several states over whatever area they’re in now. And recognizing that there’s there’s a need for more than just our individual market. And what we’re doing really isn’t being done most other places. So definitely saw that opportunity and really thought that we could wanted to try it and scale it and run it.
Lee Kantor: [00:06:13] Now, are the initial franchisees. Are they ones that have complementary businesses that they’re just adding this to a portfolio because they’re already working in the home anyway, and this is just another service they can add to it? Or are they people just starting out with mold medics and kind of branching out from there?
Tim Swackhammer: [00:06:30] So we definitely think that it could work in that that first scenario, somebody who has some other home service interests and wants to kind of add on additional services or additional operations because mean once you’re operating a home service brand, there’s a lot of similarities and a lot of overlap there. So I definitely think that could work. That being said, currently our franchisees are this is their business exclusively.
Lee Kantor: [00:06:56] And then so what’s it been like going to market? So how has it been how are people kind of are they grabbing, gravitating to this or is this a harder sell than you imagine, or is it something that’s easier than you imagined?
Tim Swackhammer: [00:07:11] So to be honest, we’ve really taken kind of a very slow, metered approach to bringing it to market. We have one franchisee currently up and running. He began operations in summer of last year, and he was somebody that we knew personally and really wanted to just basically make sure we start there, see how it goes, make sure everything’s going smoothly, see what we encounter. And really, as far as like marketing the franchise brand, we didn’t really start that until the summer was when we got the various media portals and advertisements running, all those kind of things. So it’s really been been an interesting process just to kind of get things going and really start the development side.
Lee Kantor: [00:08:01] Now, is this better suited like kind of is it a seasonal business? Is it better in some parts of the country and rather than others?
Tim Swackhammer: [00:08:11] Yeah. So there’s definitely some areas where it’s going to be unique geographically just based on where you’re at. Obviously, your coastal areas have a lot of different issues with hurricanes and things like that that can influence a little bit, but it’s definitely something that applies across the US as a whole. Even in people think like your desert areas don’t have problems like Arizona and whatnot. And the fact is they do. They have air conditioning that’s running consistently. It causes all kinds of leaks and issues that can really present themselves. They’re slightly different issues, but they’re definitely problems that would fit the fit the process and fit the brand in general. As far as the seasonality goes, that’s one of the things I really like about it. It is not a seasonal business. I mean, some of our services do have different seasonal ebbs and flows, just as any business really does. But it’s not something where we’re only operating during certain months of the year. I’ve done that in my past and it’s not something that I enjoy doing. The the constant yearly resetting of staff and everything is a it’s an exhausting process that I don’t want to do again.
Lee Kantor: [00:09:20] Now, do you envision this as kind of the owner, is the operator, or is this something that you’re going to quickly train someone to be out there in the homes?
Tim Swackhammer: [00:09:30] So I think it can definitely work both ways with Michael, our current franchisee. He started out as just sort of the man in the van and has since grown and he’s got an employee working for him now, doing a lot of the actual technical work, and he’s basically in more of that sales role. And that’s really where we picture a lot of our prospective franchisees coming in. And it’s a lot very similar to how I initially started it, sort of going out and filling all the roles initially. And then as we grew, as we grew our customer base and everything bringing on, okay, now we’re bringing on somebody to take over the technician role, bringing somebody else in to take over the sales role and continuing to scale from there to the point where ownership is completely out of the business. Now, somebody coming in better capitalized could do that more on the outset and we’re set up to support them as well.
Lee Kantor: [00:10:23] And then right now, are you selling individual units or are you selling territories or master franchises? What how are you kind of attacking this?
Tim Swackhammer: [00:10:31] Yeah, so it’s a territory based model. So geographic zip codes based on population and everything to really determine what the territory is. We are really actively looking for people who have potential for multi unit opportunities to take some of these good metro areas because nice thing as an emerging brand, we’ve got a lot of really good territory available and we want to make sure that that gets paired up with the right partner.
Lee Kantor: [00:11:00] Now, when you’re trying to identify the right partner, what are some of the qualities of that right partner?
Tim Swackhammer: [00:11:06] So a lot of it comes down to, I mean, work ethic, just general they’ve they’ve got to be willing to put in the work because obviously it is not unless you’re coming in very well capitalized and hiring on those initial rules. It is something that there will be some involvement on. And as any franchisee will tell you, building a business can be challenging at times. So definitely somebody who’s not really afraid of the work, somebody who understands people is probably the biggest factor.
Lee Kantor: [00:11:40] So they don’t have to have experience in mold remediation or kind of doing that kind of work at all. You’re going to train them on all that, right?
Tim Swackhammer: [00:11:47] Exactly. Not in the slightest. Yeah, I would I would really, to be honest, not overly interested in people that have a lot of experience in the industry just because we know our way and our process. And we’d much rather start with a clean slate with somebody who has customer service skills, has just a great personality, and is able to really take what we’ve done, learn it and implement it.
Lee Kantor: [00:12:12] Now is the opportunity for the franchisees only residential or does this work in commercial as well?
Tim Swackhammer: [00:12:18] So it’s primarily residential, but we definitely do work in the commercial space as well, mostly retail sort of light commercial settings.
Lee Kantor: [00:12:26] So if somebody is interested in learning more, what is the website, what are the coordinates?
Tim Swackhammer: [00:12:32] Yeah. So it’s more metrics. Franchising will take you right to information all about the franchise opportunity. Our regular consumer websites just Mediacom. So you can go and learn more about all of our different services and everything there.
Lee Kantor: [00:12:46] Well, Tim, thank you so much for sharing your story today. Congratulations on the momentum and best of luck in the future.
Tim Swackhammer: [00:12:54] Awesome. Thank you very much, Lee. I appreciate you having me.
Lee Kantor: [00:12:56] All right. This is Lee Kantor. We’ll see you next time on Franchise Marketing Radio.