Creative Partner Matt Pappas is the Owner and CEO of ARCpoint Labs in Woburn, Mass. In this interview, Matt talks to Virtually Here about the benefits of partnering with a franchise and the most surprisingly meaningful aspect of his job.
Virtually Here: What did you do before becoming a franchisee with ARCpoint Labs?
Matt: Nothing at all related to the business. I worked in the software field for almost my entire career and I don’t have the sales and marketing background, but the thing about franchises is they teach you a lot of what you need to know.
Beyond that there’s a lot of hands-on learning as you start the business and grow it. I’ve had to learn an awful lot about marketing, content marketing, e-mail marketing, outside sales and networking events. I’ve certainly had to build upon my own skill-set coming from the software world, but that’s been one of the nice aspects of this business. I have to wear a lot of different hats in the course of the day and it keeps things interesting.
VH: What brought you to the decision to become a franchisee with ARCpoint?
Matt Pappas: ARCpoint Labs is a nationwide franchise—each ARCpoint Labs is independently owned and operated. I’ve been the owner of an ARCpoint franchise here in the eastern part of the state since January 2015.
What attracted me to the franchise model is it’s a way to get into business but not be on your own. You’ve got a template you can follow for sales, operations and marketing. You can look to other owners and see what they’ve done and how they’ve been successful. So the business model appealed to me—and also, ARCpoint itself as a business model was interesting because it offered a lot of different services that were important for the marketplace and also seemed durable with respect to seasonal and economic cycles.
A couple of the different services we offer are pre-employment background screening, and drug and alcohol testing. Employers always need to hire new employees—the need for that type of service is always there.
One of the other things that attracted me to the business model is the complementary services that could be offered along with the core drug and alcohol testing, and background screening.
One of those services is a variety of different DNA tests. A lot of it is relationship testing, so if somebody needs to prove a biological relationship between two potential siblings, or a child and an alleged father, we can do that type of testing.
I was a little bit surprised by this, but one of the most satisfying aspects of DNA testing is that in a lot of cases, you end up helping individuals confirm or discover the relationship that they have. We had a case where two women came in, they kind of looked alike, and they wanted to know if they shared the same father. So we performed a siblingship DNA test and the results came back that it was quite likely they do share the same father. It was a very emotional experience for them to find out they had that commonality.
VH: Are background checks beneficial for smaller businesses?
Matt: Yes, it’s definitely an advantage for them. About 60% of larger employers nationwide do some type of pre-employment drug testing. Background screening is even higher. If you can imagine all of the cost and effort that goes into finding, hiring, and training an employee—if it turns out that the employee has a drug issue or something hidden in their background, a criminal record, or maybe it’s a company where you need your employees to be driving a company vehicle but they have a shaky history when it comes to their driving record, if you don’t know that, it’s a big risk to you as an employer.
And it can be very expensive if something does happen in the workplace. For example, if you’re a manufacturer, and there’s an accident on the shop floor, if you can confirm that—one, if you screen your employees before they even join the company, you can weed out individuals who may be using drugs, but two, if you find out there has been an accident and you do a post accident drug screen that turns up positive, then that employer has some protection they can use to defend an unemployment or workers compensation claim.
The main reason employers do both drug testing and background screening is that it’s a little bit of an insurance policy. You’re just trying to protect yourself from an adverse outcome.
The other thing I would point out for a small to mid-size company is that they tend to get adversely selected by candidates–because if a candidate knows that a company isn’t drug testing, they’re more likely to apply to that company then if they know they are doing a background check and a drug screen. If you’re a small business and you’re not doing drug testing and background screening, you’re being self-selected by candidates who have issues.
VH: What other services do you offer?
Matt: Telehealth is a new service we introduced about a year ago and it’s an interesting service that I think is reflecting a changing dynamic in the healthcare market towards trying to find ways to lower costs. The way the telehealth service works is on a monthly subscription basis, you get 24/7 access to board-certified physicians who are located in your state, and if you have a basic healthcare issue like a sinus infection, or cold and flu, or some other similar kind of thing, you can contact a doctor either through your mobile device, or a Skype session, or just over the phone. They’ll go through a diagnosis, determine what the issue is, and if you need a prescription, they’ll make a call down to your local pharmacy.
When we introduced the service, I was kind of surprised to learn that about 80% of the issues that go into an urgent care or primary care setting could be resolved with a telehealth consult. And it’s less expensive, both for the individual, if you’ve got a high insurance deductible, or a high co-pay, and also for a company. If you can offer this as a benefit to your employees, it’s a way to kind of divert healthcare consumption away from the higher cost alternatives and more towards a less expensive—and quite frankly, more efficient and faster way.
If it’s a Sunday night, on a holiday weekend and your kid has a sinus infection—which is a painful thing—you don’t want to wait. You don’t have many good options. You can take them to an urgent care clinic; that’s going to be expensive. You can take them to an ER; that’s going to be expensive. It’s also going to be time-consuming. The alternative would be to use the telehealth service, call up a doctor from the convenience of your home, and get the issue diagnosed, and if you need a prescription, they can call it in. So it’s got a lot of advantages.
One of the other services we’re just about to introduce is something called a paramedical exam. If you need to get a life insurance policy, often times the insurance company will require you to get a medical screening so they can figure out what their risk is when they underwrite your policy. So we’re going to start doing those paramedical exams in our office here. It’s another opportunity to expand and grow the business.
VH: Is there a service you offer that is less publicized but has a high impact for people?
Matt: Yes, the DNA testing, which has a very important personal element to it. Not only do we do workplace drug testing, but we also do consumer drug testing. So it might be a situation where a parent is concerned about drug use on the part of a child—there’re a lot of different approaches we can take to doing drug testing. For example, there is a lot of different types of drugs we can test in a given drug test. The common ones, cocaine, marijuana, opiates, but then one of the things we can do is customize the drug panel for an individual’s needs.
You may have heard fentanyl is kind of coming on the scene in this state, and other states, with people who have been abusing opioids. Now they’re looking at fentanyl because it’s something like 60 to 100 times more potent than morphine. So if that’s a concern, we can build a custom test panel and make sure we’re covering all of the bases.
The other thing we can do with a consumer is just help them understand all of the different testing options in terms of the specimen we can use for the drug test. Most people, when they think drug testing, they think a urine-based drug test. That’s a good option because it’s not that expensive and it’s easy to do, but there are a lot of options for testing—you can do a hair-based drug test and the advantage of that is it can look back 3 months or longer to detect drug abuse. You can do a fingernail or toenail-based drug test and that can go back 6 months or even longer. You can do a drug test using saliva from the individual, you can do a drug test using a sweat patch you apply with a tamper-resistant seal over it. So one of the things we do for consumers and employers is help them understand what options they have available to them for drug testing, both in terms of what drugs they include in the test panel, as well as what type of specimen they want to use and how far back they want to look over time.
One situation that really stood out to me was where a father and a child came in for a drug test. The story they explained was that the daycare center thought the child was kind of lethargic and that the father may have been giving the child Benadryl. The next thing he knows, family services and the police are knocking on his door doing an investigation. So he wanted to bring his child in and have a drug test done to confirm there was no Benadryl in their system.
We put together a customized test panel, and thankfully, everything came back negative, so we were able to give him the result he was looking for. And that was a really important concern for him because he was facing an allegation on the part of the daycare center. So we were able to provide him with positive results in the very delicate, sensitive situation he was in.
VH: From your point of view, what is the most valuable service you provide to small business owners?
Matt: The most valuable thing we provide to small business owners is risk mitigation. Risk mitigation, in the form of making sure you’re hiring the right employees and you’re keeping your workplace safe. The way we do that is through screening services we have: the drug testing, the background screening, and even telehealth, you can look at as keeping your workplace healthy and on the job. So we offer services but really underlying that is what the value is to a business, which is getting the right employees in place and then keeping the workplace safe and operating well.
VH: What do you enjoy the most about your job now?
Matt: I really enjoy when we’re able to provide really great service to a customer, whether it’s a business who needs drug and alcohol testing, or an individual who needs drug testing, the most satisfying aspect of the business for me is helping them understand what is often a complex situation, helping them arrive at the right decision on what panel to use, or what background screening package to use, and then seeing a successful outcome from that and getting that feedback. For me, that’s the most gratifying part of the business.