Local drug-testing business eyeing 200 nationwide franchises

Lynette Crow's business, Conspire2Hire, is expanding with franchises into four states this year.

The drug testing business is booming, and local drug-screening company Conspire2Hire is set to expand into four states by year’s end.

Conspire2Hire, which began selling franchises in 2010, sold its second franchise to an operator in Fort Worth, Tex., which is scheduled to open Sept. 1. The Texas drug-testing business will open in an industrial area, making it a good area for companies to access, said Lynette Crow, founder and CEO of Conspire2Hire, headquartered in Colorado Springs.

Three Conspire2Hire franchises are expected to open in San Diego, Chicago and New York by the end of the year. And, the company is working on a national growth plan with the goal of adding more than 200 locations throughout the U.S. in the next 36 months, Crow said.

“We are ready,” she said. “We have the infrastructure to handle the growth.”

Conspire2Hire specializes in pre-employment, post-accident, random and on-site drug testing as well as criminal background and consumer credit checks. Drug screens are $49 and Conspire can test urine, hair, saliva or sweat for drugs. New tests can even determine the difference between medical marijuana and street marijuana, she said.

In the last decade, Crow built a business doing background checks and drug tests for employers. Drug testing, once reserved for the blue-collar industry, is now a requirement for school employees, athletes, massage therapists and even church volunteers, she said.

The medical marijuana issue in Colorado, and in 17 states, is driving business. And, a recent change in Florida could also be good for her franchising efforts.  Starting this month, adults applying for welfare in Florida must undergo drug screenings. Crow said other states may follow Florida’s new law.

“Our plan is to bring to light the need for drug compliance policies in the workplace and beyond, which can save companies and communities millions of dollars and better the lives of everyone involved,” she said. “Through our aggressive franchise expansion, we are providing qualified investors the opportunity to become a part of the solution and make a positive impact on the communities they serve.”

Last year, Crow put her business model up for sale by starting a franchise. Last July, she sold her first franchise for $30,000. That fee does not include start-up costs for the franchisee, which she estimates could be up to $140,000, depending on location.

As a franchiser, Crow sells her company name to independent operators. She provides training to get the franchisee certified through the Drug and Alcohol Testing Industry Association. She provides a business plan, helps set up office space and even provides the decor, which includes a small office waterfall to help inspire unwilling clients. As part of the deal, she gets 6 percent in royalties from franchisees’ annual revenues. And, the franchise can be renewed every 10 years.

Rules of the International Franchising Association forbid Crow from revealing her company’s annual revenues. The IFA even warned franchisers recently about repeating outdated statistics from 1980s reports by the Department of Commerce, which touted franchise success rates and are still widely circulated.

An estimated 55 percent of businesses surveyed in 2010 by the Society for Human Resource Management businesses require pre-employment drug tests for all employees. Crow predicts that number to grow.

“We are excited with the growth,” she said. “Franchises tend to pick up more once you have some open.”