E. coli outbreaks, salmonella poisoning, staph and MRSA infections, fungus, mould – some days it seems that there is no end to the harm that can be caused by the bacteria, viruses, or germs that surround us. It was the need to deal with the dangers of infections and viruses in a safe and cost effective way that prompted the development of BioGreen Solutions.
BioGreen Solutions uses an Ultra-Low Volume (ULV) fogging process to disinfect, decontaminate, and protect the surfaces we touch and the air we breathe. “Our Proactive Contaminate Management (PICM)® process was created to protect against a range of infections,” says Stéphane Giroux, President of BioGreen Solutions Canada. “Our fogging process kills harmful bacteria, viruses, mycotoxins, and biofilms, and also eliminates odours.” BioGreen’s non-toxic, non-corrosive, biodegradable solution is Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Health Canada registered. That means the disinfectant is safe to use around food and electronics, it doesn’t have to be rinsed off, and rooms that have been treated can be safely used after as little as 30 minutes.
Giroux was previously an Area Development Agent for Paul Davis Restoration in Quebec from 2005-2014, where he was responsible for the recruiting, sale, formation, and support of new franchises. Paul Davis is a North American franchisor specializing in full service water, fire, and mould cleanup and restoration. Giroux was also a franchisee from 2004 to 2013 for the territory of Montreal, Quebec.
BioGreen Solutions coined the process of PICM® treatment when the company was established in Detroit in 2008. The company’s first corporate store still operates there. Giroux, a Canadian based in Montreal, purchased the company in 2015, then spent a year building the systems he would need to launch the concept as a franchise model. BioGreen Solutions began franchising in 2016, and currently has five locations, in Quebec, Ontario, and Newfoundland.
Giroux describes BioGreen Solutions as a route-based service franchise, mainly B2B. “This is not a do-it-yourself process; it needs to be applied by a trained technician,” Giroux explains. “Only franchisees can purchase the equipment and the product.” One thing worth noting is that BioGreen is not and does not replace a cleaning service – but it is an effective and affordable way to add an extra layer of protection against common bacteria and infections. It also provides business owners with peace of mind.
A market with strong growth potential
BioGreen Solutions is “Taking clean to the next level®.” Daycares might require service every two weeks. The common areas of seniors’ residences might need to be vaporized monthly. Then there are restaurants, health clinics, fitness centres, offices, food processing warehouses, and delivery trucks … the potential client roster is seemingly endless. Giroux says it would make sense to use BioGreen Solutions in hospitals, schools, and other public buildings, but “it’s hard to get into government institutions. We are providing a lot of education on our product and we hope that will happen in the future.”
The company also promotes its latest brand, “biosports.team,” directed specifically to sports teams and athletic facilities, including locker rooms, public showers, and athletic equipment. Company research indicates that every year in Canada, thousands of athletes are forced to stop competing due to the flu, the mumps, or other illnesses like MRSA. “We have a proven track record of effectively eliminating more than 30 viruses and bacteria linked to illnesses. For example, biosports.team is the official partners of the Canadian Judo Federation,” says Giroux.
There is also a small residential component, particularly for RVs, boats, cottages, and other buildings that have been closed up for an extended period of time. “BioGreen Solutions will kill any lingering bacteria, viruses, mould, and bad odours,” says Giroux.
A franchisee’s success will depend on securing repeat business, and BioGreen Solutions has developed marketing materials, tools, and strategies to help franchisees achieve that. One of the challenges of bringing a new concept to market is that business owners have to ‘sell’ the service on two levels. The first requires educating potential clients about the benefits of using a fogging process to sanitize, disinfect, and protect, instead of doing nothing or sticking with products and methods of cleaning that have been used in the past. The second is to have clients recognize the value of scheduling regular PICM® visits. On the other hand, being one of the first to bring ULV fogging to the Canadian market means that there is little direct competition wherever a new franchise is established.
Getting started with BioGreen Solutions
Most new franchisees will choose to start up as a home-based business, and will not hire staff until the business has grown to a point where a second person is needed. With minimal overhead and no payroll, and a franchise fee of $25,000, this is an affordable franchise to get into – so long as the owner is prepared to put in long hours and work in multiple roles. That means focusing on marketing and sales during traditional business hours, then doing the actual fogging and disinfecting in the early morning or evening during the week, as well as over the weekend. “Only about 20 per cent of servicing is done during the work day,” says Giroux. “When a franchisee starts out, that one person can do everything until there are enough clients to justify hiring a technician.”
An ideal BioGreen Solutions franchisee has sales and marketing skills, is active in his or her community, and has a network of contacts to tap into. An understanding of financials and knowledge of bacteria and viruses, perhaps from working in the health care sector, would also be helpful.
The initial five to seven days of training covers all areas of managing the business, with a heavy emphasis on generating leads and establishing a client base. In addition, new franchisees learn the operational side of the business, including proper use of equipment and product.
“We spend a lot of time working with franchisees to prepare for the launch,” says Giroux. “While they are in training, we reach out to potential clients in their community to start educating them about BioGreen Solutions. We let them know that there will be a franchise opening in their community within the next week.”
During the first operating year, BioGreen will analyze the new franchisee’s quarterly financials to identify areas that need improvement, then provide individualized coaching to address those concerns. Support may be provided by Skype, over the phone, or in person.
The franchisor also works with new owners to help them build their first PICM® quotes, which can initially be a challenging process. “We have a calculator that they can use for estimating,” says Giroux, noting that there are always different factors that need to be taken into account. From the time they open their doors, he says, “we want to make sure they are charging the right and appropriate amount. With our ‘calculator tool,’ the franchisee knows exactly how much he can charge to a client, and more importantly, what his gross profit margin will be prior to doing the fogging.”
Giroux believes that the market is ripe for this type of business, and he is looking for franchisees who want to help grow the concept. During 2017, BioGreen Solutions is looking to expand into new communities in Quebec and Ontario. Giroux also expects to have two to four new franchise locations in western Canada by the end of the year. In 2018, he is setting his sights on expansion into the U.S. market, starting with states immediately south of Montreal.
By Kym Wolfe