Recent Grad Takes Franchise Plunge With Patch Boys, Ellie Mental Health | Franchise News


Hogan McFadden, right, graduated from Palm Beach Atlantic University and is now a franchisee of two brands. McFadden’s mentor, John Hayes, left, is director of the school’s Titus Center for Franchising.

Hogan McFadden entered college with no plans to get into franchising. Today, the recent Palm Beach Atlantic University graduate is a franchisee with not one but two concepts.

While he was still attending classes, McFadden and classmate Micah Droescher signed a two-unit agreement with drywall repair company Patch Boys. After he finished school in May, including going through PBA’s Titus Center for Franchising, McFadden added Ellie Mental Health to his portfolio with the rights to open three centers in Florida.

A graduate of Christian high school King’s Academy, McFadden applied to 25 colleges and narrowed his choices to PBA and Babson College in Boston. “I wanted to stay and live around here when I got done with school,” said McFadden of choosing PBA in Florida. “It made more sense to intern, work and network in the area. I didn’t know about the franchise program when I first started, though. I was going to get a financial degree and get a certified financial provider license. But, I decided that wasn’t the path for me.”

Helping to change McFadden’s mind was one of his mentors, John Hayes, director of the Titus Center for Franchising. “I went into a classroom where he was in Introduction to Business, which is a prerequisite to my programming and he heard me talk about franchising,” Hayes said. “The lights went on, he tracked me down and he said ‘I’m interested in owning a franchise.’”

Another factor in McFadden’s decision was how profitable franchising was for some of those around him. “I went to high school with a student whose dad is Ray Titus, who owns United Franchise Group and sponsors the Titus Center,” McFadden said. “Another friend, his dad is a large Planet Fitness franchisee. I looked around and everyone who was successful had something to do with franchising.”

McFadden, 22, and Droescher invested about $70,000 to get their Patch Boys business started. McFadden was attracted to the brand because of the need for services.

“There are new homes built every day and what we thought about was all the patches for holes in the walls,” McFadden said. “There are thousands of plumbers, electricians and contractors putting a hole in the wall every single day. All we had to do was get out there and capture that market.”

Minnesota-based Ellie Mental Health, meanwhile, provides therapy for individuals and families, couples counseling, psychiatric medication management and community-based mental health services.

McFadden said he liked the smaller system—Ellie has 16 corporate locations and started franchising in 2020—compared to Patch Boys with 200-plus units.

“Mostly what I’m trying to do, since it’s still early in my career, is learn,” McFadden said. “I’m trying to take pointers from both of those industries to get a better idea of what works and what doesn’t, learning how a smaller, younger company goes through things and works through their problems differently than how a bigger conglomerate does it.”

McFadden, who invested in Ellie with family and friends, also wants to provide affordable mental health care in his area. “In order to open a business, it has to be profitable, but you’re also looking for things that can help the community itself,” McFadden said. “If you help the community, the community will help you. That was a driving factor with Ellie.”

Chris Pash, Ellie’s chief strategy officer, said McFadden stood out during the franchisee application process. “I know Hogan is relatively young, but he was super engaged and asked a ton of smart questions, with things that challenged our thought process a bit,” Pash said. “He has a college education in franchising and is already a franchisee, so he had experience we thought was relevant. All of those things make him a good franchisee. He’ll be good in the community.”

According to Hayes, McFadden showed commitment to the process for Ellie from start to finish. “He went through the FDD and kept track of what he was doing and then called me saying he’s signing an agreement for three locations,” Hayes said. “Nobody knows how to investigate a franchise opportunity more than Hogan.”

McFadden offered this advice to other students considering a franchise: “Find a low-cost franchise, because there are some that are under $10,000 you can run while in school. Even if it fails, you’re not out anything other than $10,000 you spent starting it, because you didn’t lose any time. It’s more difficult once you have a full-time job going.”

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