Squitieri already had much more than coffee brewing in his mind. A couple of years before moving to St. Louis, he had read an article that said Missouri was going to adopt a managed health care system. As part of that system, safe transportation had to be provided to health care clients. He had been to St. Louis before and knew there wasn’t much in the way of transportation.
Several months later Squitieri started Express Medical Transporters (EMT), a nonemergency medical transportation company, in the basement of his home in Arnold. “When I started, it was just me and a 1989 Chevy Caprice, and I went around to HMOs and brokers and told them I wanted to do their transportation,”
And they continue to do so. Last year, EMT cleared $6.5 million in revenue, and it currently employs 200 people at its St. Louis location. Along with its growth in size, EMT has expanded its service offerings. “If you think about every situation except for someone needing a paramedic, it would fall under the umbrella of nonemergency medical,” says Squitieri. “We are also the largest provider of transportation to school for homeless or displaced children. The State of Missouri believes that just because you lose your home does not mean you should lose your education, so we provide that transportation.”
By 2007, EMT began experiencing pressure to expand to other cities. Although franchising was not part of his original plan, Squitieri saw it as the best way to grow the business and keep expansion costs down. He met with a consulting company who informed him that he definitely had a franchisable product.
It would seem counterintuitive to begin franchising during a recession. However, after just 18 months as a franchisor, EMT has seven franchise locations in 10 states employing 220 people. The company is poised to close five more franchise deals before the end of the year.
Squitieri has had no trouble letting others be successful using his business model. “I was in a cab in Florida, and an EMT van passed us at a red light,” he says. “It is an amazing feeling. I can say to myself, ‘I started that company 13 years ago.’ There is a feeling of accomplishment when you have seven places throughout the United States that are saying: ‘Thank you for calling EMT. Can I help you?’”
For more information on franchising with EMT please visit www.emtusa.net.