With People Stuck at Home, Energy Bills Went Up, and Koala Insulation Stepped Up Its Game to Meet Demand

When people were stuck in their homes at the height of the pandemic, their new home renovation activities were notorious for driving demand for a wide range of home services. But it also meant people’s energy bills went up — and when they began looking for ways to cut costs while staying warm, Melbourne, Florida-based Koala Insulation saw an opportunity.

Although franchise development efforts began a month and a half before the national shutdown, Koala Insulation has exceeded its target of expansion to 200 districts in one year and is on its way to 300. This has helped move from last year’s unranked rank to No. 242. on this year’s list. Here, we spoke with Scott Marr, Koala’s founder and CEO, about how the company plans to maintain its growth.

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Why do you think insulation services have gone up so much?

Insulation can provide a great return on investment. It is also a service within the reach of many people. Solar power, for example, is great but it’s expensive, so a lot of people have to fund solar power. Whereas in Koala, the average price for an isolation ticket is $2,800.

What did the koala do to meet the growing demand?

We have worked with our suppliers and distributors to ensure that our franchise partners have the materials they need. We have found additional material suppliers for our franchise partners so that we can get the best possible prices. Some of the materials became scarce due to a supply chain problem, so we had to do our best to get different components – some within the states, some from Canada, and we spoke with the sellers in Sri Lanka.

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What do you look for in franchise partners?

We are looking for people who will be logical and friendly in adverse situations. We are looking for people who can follow the process, who are bold and competitive. We have found that highly competitive people will go to great lengths to win. And this is a big problem for a business owner because during the tough times, you have to do your best to stay alive.

How does Koala plan to sustain its long-term growth?

Not many emerging franchise systems start with a solid foundation. But what we did was completely different. When we started our franchise development effort, we had 12 team members supporting three franchisees, so it was a professional-led organization. By the end of our first year, we had 25 employees in headquarters. And when the pandemic started, we said, “Let’s get some really cool talent who’s out of work.” We have also built a proprietary software system that has added a lot of efficiency through automation. Today we have around 85 franchise partners.

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