Tot Squad began as an idea CEO and Founder Jennifer Beall had while in business school while at Northwestern University. Tot Squad comes to the rescue of busy parents and caregivers everyday by providing the care, safety and installation of their baby gear both in retail settings and at home.
We recently interviewed Jennifer Beall, CEO & Founder of Tot Squad, to find out more about how the franchise came to be, where she sees it headed in the next five years and what current trend really excites her.
What’s special about the franchise?
I founded Tot Squad because I wanted to help busy parents with the tasks they don’t want to or know how to deal with. We partner with retail locations like Whole Foods and Babies “R” Us that many moms frequent, and we clean, install and repair car seats and strollers while they shop. We travel to different locations daily, but also make house calls…
It is exciting because, despite the growth of the baby industry, there was a huge opportunity to be the first mover in this particular space. Also, in franchising Tot Squad, I aspired to create a career path that empowers moms to help other moms. So many moms I know struggle with finding career options where they can make money, are in the driver’s seat and have flexibility.
What is the idea behind the franchise?
Tot Squad comes to the rescue of busy parents — parents are incredibly busy these days and don’t want to spend what precious free time they do have scrubbing vomit from their stroller or trying to install a car seat correctly. Crazy enough, up to 90% of car seats are incorrectly installed, so it isn’t as though this is a unique problem. Tot Squad takes care of the dirty work and the hard tasks so that parents can be confident about their children’s health and safety.
As long as there are babies and kids in the world, there will always be baby gear that needs cleaning, fixing or installing!
How does it compare to its competition?
Tot Squad is the only franchise of its kind with multiple locations, certified Child Passenger Safety Technicians to do proper installations and services that go beyond just cleaning. We are an authorized service center for Bugaboo, Orbit, Maclaren and can repair most other stroller brands out there. We have relationships with national manufacturers, retailers and non-profits. This is not just a local operation. We have detailed business plans to expand our services and our reach.
What do you look for in a potential franchisee?
We are looking for true self-starters who are excited about owning their own business and making a difference in their communities helping other parents. Ideally, a potential franchisee has experience in marketing or sales and truly understands what comprises excellent customer service. We look for people with strong leadership and communication skills. So much of this job is about leading your team and interacting with retailers and other partners. And of course, it always helps if potential franchisees are well versed in the baby industry and/or really connected to their local community.
Where do you see the franchise in five years?
We expect to have franchises nationwide and perhaps in a few international locations. We also hope to have in-store locations with a big box retailer in the near future.
What’s your background?
I was a consultant prior to attending business school at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. When I was in school, I came up with the Tot Squad idea, wrote a business plan and entered the Kellogg Cup Business Plan Competition. I won first prize and then received the Student of the Year Award in Entrepreneurship. That gave me the confidence to make this idea a reality.
What motivates you to keep going?
Funny enough, I am not yet a mom (I’m getting married at the end of the year), so this is my “baby”. I am truly passionate about car seat safety and about keeping children safe. As Tot Squad grows, we have the ability to positively affect more families and more lives.
Please tell us your secret to success…
I’d say passion and persistence. Being an entrepreneur, you constantly face challenges, so loving what you do is as important as being resourceful and creative about problem solving. Someone on my team also described me as “unwaveringly optimistic” and I do believe there is power in positivity — it’s essential to successful leadership.
What is one trend that really excites you?
Millennials are really big on customized, on-demand services. I designed Tot Squad to target those millennial parents who are passionate about achieving work-life balance. I wanted our services to be as convenient as humanly possible — our website and booking site are 100 percent mobile, so you can find us at a retail location in your neighborhood, drop off your gear at our office or have us do a house call. We are all about helping make parents lives easier.
What are your three favorite online tools or resources and what do you love about them?
Gmail, of course, because it keeps our team connected and all the tools they offer make working virtually a reality. Booker.com is our scheduling system and we have the ability to customize it in a way we’ve never been able to with other booking systems. Lastly, Spacecraft is our website platform that’s mobile-ready and incredibly user-friendly — you don’t have to know HTML to design a gorgeous website.
Do you (or did you ever) have a mentor?
Yes, David McKinnon, the founder and former chairman of Service Brands International, the conglomerate that includes Molly Maid and a host of other mega-brand franchises. We have talked at length about the inherent business opportunities in jobs that no one else wants to do — the ones that are messy, not sexy or glamorous. That has been inspiring and I really admire his integrity as a leader and a person. He also has an amazing work ethic and passion for what he does.
Where can people get more information on Tot Squad franchise opportunities?
Visit the website here.
Where can people find Tot Squad on social media?
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