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Opportunity

Lonnie Helgerson - President & CEO of Ident-A-Kid Services

To learn more about the Ident-A-Kid Services Franchising Opportunity please click here

1. Tell us about the starting of Ident-A-Kid?

Our founder, Robert King of St. Petersburg, Florida, created the first Ident-A-Kid card in 1986 after he heard that a friend of his had lost her son while shopping at a mall. She said that she “just turned away for a second and he was gone." In the moments that followed, she was unable to describe her son to authorities because near-hysteria had rendered her speechless. Fortunately, her son was found a few stores away seemingly unaware of what his mother had just been through.

Within months of Mr. King providing the child ID cards to friends and neighbors, a local elementary school offered to be the first school in the country to offer the Program on a "Parent Option Basis". As the Program grew, people in other communities started contacting Mr. King about obtaining an Ident-A-Kid card for their children.

Since then, the interest in our Program has been overwhelming and continues to grow. Ident-A-Kid is based out of St. Petersburg, Florida and has nearly 300 Program Directors throughout the United States and Internationally, serving thousands of communities. In fact, Ident-A-Kid’s services are now offered to over 7 million parents annually.

2. How has Ident-A-Kid evolved from where it started?

The largest impact in the evolution of Ident-A-Kid has been technology. Originally, our cards were produced utilizing a Polaroid camera and type written information. It was very labor intensive, as each photo had to be hand cut out and placed into the card, etc. Today our owners utilize our proprietary Ident-A-Kid software which can process a child in 10-15 seconds. That includes their height, weight, photo and fingerprint. It is very efficient and significantly minimizes the “out of class” time for students.

Additionally, we have our Complete Campus Security Software (CCSS) that we provide to schools for free in return for hosting our child safety program. CCSS records all visitors entering and leaving the school. The software takes their picture, scans their driver’s license, checks them against a predator database and registers them permanently in the system. This year we’ve upgraded CCSS to include “Jiffy Pass”, whereby we give RFID enabled key fobs to frequent visitors. Jiffy Pass allows them to check in and out of the school without stopping at the front desk to retype any information. They simply scan themselves in and out of the facility. For more information visit www.jiffypass.com

3. Do you believe that Ident-A-Kid is an ideal franchise for women?

Absolutely! The vast majority of our owners are women and many of them employ their husbands to assist them. Women owners have been the driving force of Ident-A-Kid for over 23 years.

4. What in your opinion is the most gratifying thing about running a Ident-A-Kid Franchise?

Knowing that you give peace of mind to parents in that they have a tool to help recover their child should they go missing. In addition, our owners get to spend every day having fun with kids. If this is what you enjoy, then Ident-A-Kid is for you.

5. What sort of support do you offer your franchisees?

We have many owners that have been with us for 15-20 years or longer. They would not be still with us if our business model was not financially sound and we did not have a strong support system. For starters, we provide a complete turn-key startup package which includes everything you need to get your business going. Completing our initial training program equips you with the knowledge you need to start and build your business.

Ongoing, you have 24/7 access to KidNet, our franchisee support system that allows you order all your products and supplies, communicate with peers, online operations and marketing manuals, training webinars and a whole host of other support. We also provide technical support for all of our software and general business coaching. Each year we host our annual Ident-A-Kid conference in Tampa, FL., which provides 2-3 days of training and networking with your peers.

In addition, there are many more support tools that we can share with you during a visit with our development staff.

6. Tell us one of your successful franchisee stories.

There are many women in our system that are very successful, so it is hard to choose one. I also don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings, so I will talk about a couple of them.

The first one is Jan Switzer in Texas. She discovered Ident-A-Kid as a way of improving her quality of life and providing a better future for her family. She joined Ident-A-Kid in 1994. As a single mom (since '98) being very involved in her children's lives, and as an active PTA mom, Ident-A-Kid has been the perfect fit for her. That was many years ago. Today, she is a multi-location owner and the current Chairwoman of our Franchisee Advisory Council. Jan is a great role model, a great leader and has a deep passion for Ident-A-Kid.

If you ever live in this owners territory in North Carolina, I can almost guarantee that you have heard of us. Joyce Johnston is the most ambitious businesswomen that I have ever met. I would stack her up against any owner, in any system, any day. Joyce has built an incredibly large organization and processes thousands of kids each year. Joyce has been with Ident-A-Kid for over 20 years, serves on our Franchisee Advisory Council and has been instrumental in helping us form the future for Ident-A-Kid.

There are many, many more successful women in Ident-A-Kid, but if you looking to model yourself after someone, these two ladies can show you how it is done.

7. What qualities do you look for in a potential franchisee?

We look for people that love to network in their community, have a strong sense of building a business and are self starters. To build a successful business you have to hustle.

8. Your advice to women venturing out into business?

Do not be intimidated. Business is typically a male dominated world. Don’t let that stop you! We have many, many successful women in Ident-A-Kid and would like to have you as the next one!

To learn more about the Ident-A-Kid Services Franchising Opportunity please click here

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