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Couple brings mobile drug-testing franchise to CNY

By Journal Staff

Date:

SKANEATELES — A franchise in Central New York will hit the road to make drug testing quick and easy.

“We keep the equipment in our cars,” says Jackie Parker, president and co-owner of USA Mobile Drug Testing of Upstate New York. “It’s all there, ready to go.”

Parker launched the upstate USA Mobile Drug Testing franchise along with her husband, Brian Parker, in September 2011 in Skaneateles. Their company performs a range of drug and alcohol tests for businesses, including pre-employment testing, random testing, and testing after accidents.

The upstate franchise typically visits its clients and performs tests at their facilities. That can save clients time and money, according to Brian Parker, who is the company’s vice president.

“We just tested for a construction company,” he says. “In the past, they would send employees to a walk-in center, and they would be there for three to four hours by the time they were done. They pay these guys $25 to $45 an hour. We went in, and in about a half hour did all 24 guys. So there was significant savings.”

Testing onsite also eliminates some of the problems inherent to offsite testing, Brian Parker says. Employees don’t have the chance to pick up masking agents or cleansing agents on the way to the test site or “disappear” on their way to the test, he says.

USA Mobile Drug Testing of Upstate New York handles tests for a variety of drugs, depending on the company for which it is working. Employees typically collect samples to be sent to a laboratory certified by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) for analysis. 

The drug-testing company also does some onsite testing, but only uses onsite tests to declare an employee free of drugs, Jackie Parker says. Any time an employee tests positive in an onsite test, the company takes a sample and forwards it to a SAMHSA lab, she says. That’s to avoid an employee questioning a positive result that wasn’t certified by a laboratory, she says.

In addition to drug testing, USA Mobile Drug Testing of Upstate New York offers consulting services to help companies develop drug and alcohol policies. And it provides supervisor training, employee education, and support services to help companies implement their policies.

“We probably spend as much time or more time working on policy, collaboration, and consulting than the actual collections,” Brian Parker says. 

“It’s important to the companies because of liability,” he says. “If an employee creates an accident and they’re under the influence, some of the liability for that accident now shifts solely from the company onto the employee. That’s significant, especially for a small or medium-sized company.”

USA Mobile Drug Testing of Upstate New York also performs pre-employment background checks and DNA testing for family relations. 

“It’s not necessarily, ‘Am I a father?’ ” Brian Parker says. “We get a lot of calls from older people asking, ‘Is this really my brother or sister?’ ”

The Parkers footed startup costs of about $100,000 to begin their USA Mobile Drug Testing franchise. They used their own savings to finance the costs, which included certifications, training, testing equipment, and marketing, Jackie Parker says.

Those costs are typical for a USA Mobile Drug Testing franchise, according to data from Entrepreneur.com. Tampa, Fla.–based USA Mobile Drug Testing charges a franchise fee between $49,900 and $99,900 and an ongoing royalty fee of 9 percent for a 20-year franchise agreement, according to the website.

The Parkers’ franchise has a mailing address of Suite 125 at 27 Fennell St. in Skaneateles. That’s a postage box at a UPS Store, according to Brian Parker, who says the Parkers perform their work on the road and also have about 200 square feet of their home in Marcellus set aside as office space.

The franchise covers a geographic area ranging from Watertown to Ithaca and from Albany to Rochester, although it will sometimes travel farther within New York State.

Three contract employees work for the company, in addition to Jackie Parker and Brian Parker. The Parkers would like to hire three full-time sales managers within three years — one in the Albany area, one in the Utica area, and one in the Ithaca area. The rate of hiring will be determined by the growth of the business, Jackie Parker says.

The Parkers declined to share revenue totals for the franchise. But Jackie Parker says they want to double revenue every year for three years. 

She hopes to achieve that growth by networking with company leaders. And, she wants to establish testing areas in doctors’ offices across the state to satisfy demand from some businesses who want to send their employees for physicals and drug testing in one trip. USA Mobile Drug Testing of Upstate New York has already set up one such outpost with Dr. David Dinello at 119 North St. in Auburn.    

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