Small companies, ranked first
In June, Brands Buzz Franchise of Virginia Beach celebrated its 10th anniversary of helping people become successful business owners.
Starting as a small operation with five local Norfolk men running Mosquito Joe’s, Kevin Wilson (now CEO of Buzz), approached them with the possibility of franchising. A business plan was drawn up and Buzz was born. Within a few years, Mosquito Joe’s grew to 280 franchises covering 34 states and the District of Columbia, and the franchise idea took off.
According to Mike Hull, chief financial officer, the success of Mosquito Joe led to the desire to use a solid team and start another brand. After researching pool maintenance operations, the group decided to enter the pool industry and create a professional and rich service. The result was Pool Scouts, dedicated to providing professional pool cleaning, maintenance and minor repair service. It has grown to 117 locations across the country.
Realizing a marketing effort that said “Mosquito Joe gift” didn’t work, Hull laughed, said they came up with the name “Buzz,” which was part of the world of Mosquito Joe and the idea of making noise, and it worked. umbrella for all future brands.
After launching Pool Services in 2016, Buzz began expanding its services and started the Home Clean Heroes franchise offering personalized home cleaning backed by fully vetted and insured professionals, now serving 30 locations in the US. Then, in 2018, Buzz sold the Mosquito Joe franchise and, the following year, launched British Swim School, operating in 176 locations nationwide, offering swimming lessons and water safety and survival skills.
Driving this success is a corporate staff of 52 with diverse backgrounds in investment and equity funds, strategic aerospace operations, defense and energy concerns, media planning, commercial real estate and marketing. This experience base allows the Buzz team to provide expertise in areas such as finance, digital marketing, on-site and virtual training, in-house creative digital marketing and direct mail, and in-house franchise development.
Of the 52, all but eight are locally positioned. “We like to hire locally when possible,” Hull explained, indicating Buzz’s desire to be an important and contributing part of the community. There are another 30 part-time employees who round out Buzz.
Now a leading multi-brand franchise operation, Buzz aims to help aspiring business owners become successful through top-notch customer service and professional environments, said founder and CEO Kevin Wilson.
It does this by nurturing a strong foundation within each company and investing resources that help build brands that perpetuate continued success. According to the website Buzz, keeping people at the core of the business is the key to business success and growth.
Buzz analyzes each potential new brand to ensure it fits the Buzz model, taking into account factors such as offering services rather than products. Furthermore, does it exist in a larger but fragmented market? Is it in a larger industry that lacks professionalism? Does it require minimal investment and offer quick returns?
After market research and analysis suggests a positive connection, Buzz uses the full range of resources to support its franchisees, developing market plans and strategies for success. The company believes in maintaining operational excellence, constantly seeking to improve products and services, keeping constant feedback and perspectives of progress from customers and franchisees.
Buzz attributes its success to the corporate team’s focus on attracting and retaining talent, aided by the company sitting down with employees annually to discuss professional development and advancement.
The company offers professional development through lunch and learn presentations, industry conferences, participation in the Certified Franchise Executive program, guest speakers on topics such as wealth planning and fitness. The goal is to provide growth opportunities for all employees – full-time, part-time and interns.
Leadership, Kevin Wilson – “I have confidence in the leadership of this company.”
Buzz is a multi-brand franchise company that provides leading services to people, homes and businesses.
Inside the business
Days of the week
Business news for the Hampton Roads region
Address: 2829 Guardian Lane, Suite 100, Virginia Beach
Key drivers: Kevin Wilson, CEO; Brian Garrison, chief operating officer; Angela Paules, chief marketing officer; Michael Hull, Chief Financial Officer
Employees: 52 full-time and 30 part-time
Benefits include: Medical, dental and vision insurance; 401(k) plan, health savings account, life insurance, long-term and short-term disability; company discounts at the Apple Store and YMCA; paid leave; free birthday; ample company holidays
Fun factor: The Health Control Committee organizes a wide variety of events. Every year, Buzz flies its corporate employees to Cancun, Mexico, for an international convention; table tennis match; casual dress code; trips to Top Golf and Adventure Park; blind wine tastings.
Public services: Buzz gives employees 8 paid hours a year for volunteer projects in the community and matches up to $100 per employee donation to a chosen charity. Each Buzz brand franchise partners with a charity: Home Clean Heroes works with the nonprofit organization Cleaning for a Reason; Pool Scouts works with USA Swimming promoting water safety; and British Swim works with the Hope Floats Foundation in providing scholarships to learn to swim. A new initiative for Home Clean Heroes is dedicating a portion of cleaning services to the Children’s First Responders Foundation, which provides support to the children and families of first responders who risk their lives every day in support of their communities. During the pandemic, Buzz also hosted a hands-on event where college students learned about marketing, analytics and logistics.