The closure of businesses due to the COVID-19 pandemic has had a major impact on service-focused franchises like Lice Squad.com. But, when physical distancing measures led to the closure of all Lice Squad.com franchise and corporate service operations, the franchise was quick to adapt to help both its customers and its franchisees. Lice Squad.com provides head lice removal services, community education about head lice, and pesticide- and chemical-free lice removal products.
Adapting to COVID-19
While founder Dawn Mucci says Lice Squad.com initially had to lay off some staff and run a very skeleton crew, they quickly did their research to find out how to take advantage of government assistance programs. “We navigated the resources available to us and took swift action to ensure everyone was taken care of. Thankfully, we have a product revenue stream, which helped sustain corporate and franchise operations,” explains Mucci.
The Lice Squad.com team also looked into qualifying as an essential service, which their law firm confirmed, and they have since been able to continue service operations.
Mucci says that working together as a team has helped Lice Squad.com adapt to the challenges brought by COVID-19. “We focused efforts on online and phone sales and support and allowed our franchisees to set up temporary Shopify stores locally. We researched and put into place new pandemic protocols to ensure the safety and well-being of our staff and clientele, sourcing the necessary PPE. We also shared supplier information and resources with the system so everyone could be prepared and up to date,” she says.
“We are a very resilient company and are in an industry that is a need, not a want, so this gives us an advantage and has allowed us to adapt,” she adds.
Focusing on Franchisees
Mucci says Lice Squad.com has worked hard to assist franchisees as they navigate the current challenges. They’ve maintained ongoing communications and Zoom meetings to share regular updates and brainstorm ideas, and have made HQ support staff available to help answer any questions. They also helped franchisees in navigating the available government assistance programs, deferred royalties, and implemented pandemic protocols as part of the Lice Squad.com policies and procedures manual.
“Mostly, we have been here to reassure our franchisees that this too shall pass, and we have their backs when it comes to providing any support or resources they may need,” explains Mucci. “As a franchisor with HQ corporate locations, I can identify with the challenges of my franchisees, as I am a small business owner, too.” She notes that Lice Squad.com had also been planning its first price increase in 10 years, and implemented this to further help franchisees with additional operating costs and lost revenue.
Planning a franchise future
While the Canadian economy may not look the same as it did a few months ago, Mucci says franchising continues to be a strong option for those considering starting their own business. “Now is a great time to invest in a franchise system because you’re not going it alone and you have the support of the entire system and the collective knowledge and resources,” she says. “There are many government programs and incentive programs to support the creation and sustaining of small business, and interest rates are very low. Take advantage of all the new programs and the time to plan your new path forward through business ownership.”
She adds that pandemic or not, Canadians will continue to require services, including those provided by Lice Squad.com. “Lice Squad.com is an ideal business opportunity due to the need in many communities across Canada for head lice removal services and products. Head lice aren’t going away, and as an essential community and social service, our service and products will always be in demand.”