ohDEER South Shore and Cape Cod, Massachusetts

Photo of deer, tick & mosquito control vehicleMaybe you’ve seen the ohDEER team out on the road in their tan and green trucks or vans, spotted one of their eye-catching lawn signs with that adorable deer in the logo, or observed their pest control technicians hard at work in the community (possibly sporting Hawaiian-themed shirts if it was a Friday!). But how much do you actually know about this pest control company and its all-natural products?

Well, ohDEER happens to be a client of Morse Insurance, so we are thrilled to be able to provide you with more information about this 16-year-old company and how they can help us all enjoy more time outside without as many bothersome pests. We hope you enjoy this excerpt of a conversation we had with David Mulcahy, who is the owner and operator of ohDEER South Shore and ohDeer Cape Cod and the chief operations officer of ohDEER Development Corporation.

Morse: Today, ohDEER is a franchise business with locations in Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Rhode Island, and Virginia. But how did the company get its start?

David: The idea for ohDEER was developed by Kurt Upham. Kurt grew up passionate about many things that make the rest of us go “ew,” including bugs. In college, he studied entomology, which is the scientific study of insects. He also earned a degree in horticulture. Then, he put all this education and enthusiasm to work in landscape design, architecture, and maintenance. But early on in his career, Kurt became aware of a common frustration for landscapers and their customers. He and his team would put together an amazing landscape, only to have it munched into oblivion by deer shortly after. One day, as the story goes, a fed-up client came out of his house, threw his checkbook on the ground, and said, “I’d literally pay anything for you guys to solve my deer issue.”

Kurt accepted this challenge and began experimenting in his garage to find the ultimate all-natural pest control product. All-natural, all the time, was a super important mantra for Kurt. He didn’t want to use chemicals that would be harmful to beneficial insects, like bees and butterflies, and, more importantly, to children and family pets. So, he limited himself to only government-approved natural ingredients.

His first mixes were food-based and contained egg, which smelled horrible! Sure, the deer detested it, but so did customers. He kept working at the product until he came up with the optimal ratio of active ingredients to water, as well as perfected the scent and the spraying process, both of which really differentiate ohDEER from our competitors. While Kurt started the business focusing on products and services for deer control, calls started coming in for tick and mosquito control too, so he naturally developed products and added services to address this need as well.

Morse: How did you end up owning two ohDEER franchise locations?

David: Kurt had opened the first ohDEER location in Wayland, Massachusetts, in 2007.
I did some work with Kurt when I was in college, so I was part of ohDEER early on and had watched it grow over the years. The business had scaled quickly, and after just a handful of years, Kurt was serving the whole MetroWest area out of the Wayland operation, as well as starting to work with customers down in Duxbury and on the Cape. Kurt, along with his wife Colleen, who is the president of ohDEER, realized one location was not enough to support the rapid expansion of their business or the clear demand for pest control services. However, they didn’t love the idea of hiring multiple managers to run several different locations. Instead, they decided to set ohDEER up as a franchise. This strategy appealed to them for many reasons, but mainly because they wanted to give other people the opportunity to realize their dreams of being business owners and really change their lives for the better.

Buying into a franchise piqued my interest because you get the best of both worlds. You get to run your own business while leaning on an incredible support system and having structure and processes already in place. I like the fact that I can just pick up the phone any given day and talk to someone who has dealt with the same situations and get their advice and learn from their experience.

So, after persuading my wife to give me a few years to see if I could be successful at franchise ownership, I quit the job I had, moved our family into my in-laws’ summer house, and signed my first ohDEER franchise agreement for the South Shore area in June 2014. I happily signed my franchise agreement for the Cape Cod area two years later. Today, I have three offices between the South Shore and the Cape serving more than 4,000 customers.

Morse: Homeowners will be really interested in the answer to this question: When is the best time of year to spray for deer, ticks, and mosquitos?

David: It’s a great question because the time frame has really evolved since I first started in the business. Back in 2014, the high season for tick and mosquito control, for example, was April through September. Now, I provide these services starting in March and often through November or longer. These pests, especially ticks, will typically stay around until temperatures consistently drop below freezing, which is happening later and later in New England. Sometimes, homeowners think that after the first freeze, they are safe to stop spraying. However, if the temperatures go back up and the ground is clear, tick activity will start up all over again, no matter if it’s December, January, or February. For this reason, our winter granular programs for tick control have become very popular.

Regarding deer control, believe it or not, this tends to require year-round treatment. The plants that deer are attracted to change depending on the season, so it’s important that we are always spraying the latest foliage. In addition, it’s the smell of our product that the deer are very sensitive to—basically they hate it—so if there’s even a small window where the scent is not present on a plant, the deer will start consuming it again. We never want there to be a gap in applying our product to a customer’s property.

Overall, with deer, tick, and mosquito control, I can say from nearly a decade of experience that the customers who get the best results are those who are consistent with their service every year and throughout an entire season.

Morse: Besides providing them with your products and services, how do you help your clients protect their yards and families from pests?

David: Spraying is just one layer of the control process. Educating our customers and our community on what they can do to help prevent tick, mosquito, and deer populations is just as important as our product application. One of the ways we do this is by walking through each property to identify things the owner can do on their own, in addition to our spraying, to reduce tick and mosquito populations, such as maintaining a short lawn and removing fallen leaves. Whether it’s someone’s backyard or an event venue, our team is committed to advising our clients on what they can do to minimize pests.

We also have an educational program designed especially for preschools, called Take Initiative Check Kids or T.I.C.K., aimed at building awareness about ticks and the diseases they carry. Throughout the school year, we provide free spraying at preschools in our service area. In addition, we give out informational materials on ticks and how to better protect children from these critters as well as send home some cool ohDEER gear for the kids and parents. Right now, we have 33 South Shore–area schools that participate in the program, and we love that we’re able to help the people in our community, the kids in particular, enjoy more time outside!

Finally, ohDEER knows that pets are an important part of many families. They can also be one of the main culprits for bringing ticks into a household. So, we created a program called Take Initiative Check K9’s (T.I.C.K9 ) to remind pet parents how important it is to check their dogs, cats, and other animals for ticks and how to properly look for ticks in their pet’s fur. Tick prevention collars aren’t 100% effective, so pet owners need to know how to be extra safe.

Morse: While you protect the community from deer, ticks, and mosquitos, Morse, of course, helps to protect ohDEER from some of the challenges that come with running a business. Why did you choose Morse for your insurance needs?

David: Colleen Upham grew up in Easton, which is where one of Morse’s offices is located, so she was very aware of the agency’s great reputation for helping businesses in its community. This made it an easy decision to reach out to the Morse team when she and Kurt needed help insuring their start-up. Fast forward to today, and Morse is the preferred insurance vendor for all ohDEER’s Massachusetts franchisees. And, for our out-of-state franchisees, we often give them Morse’s contact information. Even when Morse may not be able to service their insurance requirements, they are eager to help business owners and direct them to someone who can support their needs.

From my personal experience working with Morse, I have found that they’ve really taken the time to learn and understand what we do at ohDEER, how we do it, and how to appropriately insure our specific industry and company exposures. Morse also has strong relationships with many insurance companies, which means they can quickly identify carriers that will take on our risks and give us the most competitive rates. I had no idea how much of an asset to my business my insurance agent would be, but having Morse on my side has been key to my company’s ongoing success and growth.

Morse, of course, wants to thank David for taking time out of his busy schedule to tell us all about ohDEER. If you’re interested in learning more about ohDEER’s services or franchising opportunities or curious to get more dirt on those pests in your backyard, please visit their website. You can also get all the latest ohDEER news by following them on Facebook and keeping up with their blog.

We hope that you take some time to read more about our amazing clients on our website. Also, be sure to follow us on Instagram and Facebook so you’ll be notified when we have more client spotlights to share. In the meantime, if you need assistance finding the right business insurance coverage for your unique operation, please contact us. We would be glad to review your current commercial policies for any gaps or savings opportunities or to provide a quote on a new policy. Morse, of course, is here to assist you in finding the best business insurance solutions to protect your success story.

Client Information
ClientohDEER South Shore and ohDEER Cape Cod
PhoneSouth Shore area: 781-264-2277
Cape Cod area: 508-957-3048
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