Ground Floor: To owner of new Cedar Rapids drywall repair firm, ‘everyone is your boss’

About two years ago, not long after returning from eight years in the military, Lincoln Prins opened his first store, a Mosquito Squad franchise. He wanted a business that would allow him to be his own boss.

However, pest control can be seasonal. In July 2016, he founded Iowa’s first Patch Boys franchise.

The Patch Boys is a drywall repair company founded in Brooklyn, NY in 2008 that has been franchised since 2015.

“We come after plumbers and electricians and fill in whatever holes they leave,” Prins said. “We’re good at mixing and matching textures and getting your ceilings and walls back to their original state.”

Prins found out about the Patch Boys in early 2016 through his ongoing research into franchise opportunities.

“It was a novel concept,” he said of the Patch Boys’ business model. “The more I got into it, the more attractive it seemed.”

Prins first spoke to a number of local builders to see if any drywall work was needed in the area.

“We do a lot of small jobs that the typical drywall company doesn’t want to do,” he said. “Most of the needs were met by artisans, but we’re a licensed and insured company that won’t go away the next day.”

Prins also spoke to several existing Patch Boys franchise owners, a lesson he learned from his first foray into franchising.

“The company gives you a list of people to speak to, but it’s important to speak to people who are not on the company list,” he advised. It is also important to speak to franchisees in similar population environments. You need to speak to enough people to get a feel for the real scoop as opposed to what is being advertised. ‘

Prins’ footwork has paid off – he employs five technicians and one manager and wants to hire more people. Adequate staffing is crucial for a service-oriented company.

“One thing that we do well and that sets us apart, I think, is just to take the call,” he noted. He added that his technicians will get a quote the same day or the next.

“As a service-minded company, it is important to have someone who can answer the call. If you wait 10 minutes to call back, that customer is already gone. Even if you have to hire someone who just answers the phone, it’s worth it. ‘

While the desire to be his own boss motivated Prins to become a business owner, he has found that the reality of owning a business is not what he envisioned.

“Being an entrepreneur is different from being a boss,” he said. “As a business owner, everyone is your boss.”

AT A GLANCE

Owner: Lincoln Prins

Companies: Patch Boys from Cedar Rapids and Iowa City

Address: 593 62nd St., Suite 106, Marion

Phone: (319) 449-3388

E-mail: [email protected]

Website: www.corridorpatchboys.com

Do you know of a company that has been in operation for less than a year and that would be a good topic for “The Ground Floor”? Send an email to [email protected]

Lincoln Prins, owned by the Patch Boys and Mosquito Squad, stands in front of a drywall patch display in his Marion office on Friday, January 20, 2017. (Rebecca F. Miller / The Gazette)

Lincoln Prins, who owns the Patch Boys and Mosquito Squad franchises, demonstrates how to mend a hole in drywall in his Marion office on Friday, January 20, 2017. (Rebecca F. Miller / The Gazette)

Lincoln Prins, who owns the Patch Boys and Mosquito Squad franchises, demonstrates how to mend a hole in drywall in his Marion office on Friday, January 20, 2017. (Rebecca F. Miller / The Gazette)

On Friday, January 20, 2017, drywall panels will rest at an exhibition in the Patch Boys office in Marion. (Rebecca F. Miller / The Gazette)

Lincoln Prins, who owns the Patch Boys and Mosquito Squad franchises, stands next to his truck in his Marion office on Friday, January 20, 2017. (Rebecca F. Miller / The Gazette)

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