Stories from the Covid-19 Front Lines: CEO Q&A with Scott Marr of Koala Insulation
Name: Scott Marr
Brand: Koala Insulation
Segment: Home improvement and construction
Units: 4 franchisees running 13 territories
Locations: U.S. (registered in most states, all others in process)
How has Covid-19 affected your brand?
As a mobile concept, we’ve been able to ride the wave better than most. Our franchisees don’t have leases, enjoy lower fixed expenses, and luckily they’ve been able to continue operations safely through the pandemic. Certainly some homeowners are putting off insulation evaluations on their home until social distancing orders are lifted, but consumer lead flow is steady. Insulation saves homeowners money as it reduces energy costs and improves efficiency, so interest remains strong.
What are you doing to help your franchisees through this?
Communication and support are always important, now more so than ever. During Covid-19, we’ve temporarily suspended loan payments for franchisees who have financing through us. We’ve also shared consistent communication and guidance on the CARES Act and Paycheck Protection Program, in case they have a need for government support. We’ve held weekly conference calls with our system and provided social media messaging to share with their communities that Koala is open and operating safely.
How are you supporting your corporate employees?
Of course, safety is of the utmost importance. We’re headquartered out of Melbourne, Florida, and we had our employees work remotely before our governor mandated social distancing orders. As a home services concept, we haven’t been affected as hard as most. We’re keeping all staff on board and have no plans for layoffs or pay cuts – we don’t want to change the team we’ve worked hard to build. We’re taking this time to focus on coming out of this ahead of the game and start work on initiatives planned for Q3 and Q4.
What are your franchisees doing for their customers?
Our concept is tech-enabled, which allows our franchisees to provide estimates and install insulation without ever being within 6 feet of our customers. So it’s important that we communicate with homeowners and reassure them that we can operate safely. Planned improvements do not have to come to a standstill right now.
How do you see the future of your brand, operations, market, etc. post–Covid-19?
Insulation has been around since modern buildings for humans were constructed, and it remains one of the few improvements you can make to your property that will actually save you money. For that reason, we see insulation as recession-resistant. It’s a stable industry, and as a mobile concept our model is built to ride the wave. In the months to come, we anticipate significant franchise growth opportunities for recession-resistant, low-overhead home services concepts like ours. Expensive retail and food concepts that were forced to close during the pandemic could deter prospects seeking stability. For our team, this means we have to be aggressive both with our franchise development strategy and with supporting franchisees so our system comes out stronger on the other side.
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