From Local to National, LiceDoctors Becomes the Largest Lice Treatment Service in the U.S
Wendy Beck and Karen Sokoloff were eliminating lice from families in their local areas, when they had an epiphany; they decided to take their highly effective protocol on the road. Starting with Denver, they have expanded LiceDoctors into 40 states.
Initially, Beck and Sokoloff treated families on a local basis in New York and New Jersey, respectively. According to Back, "We had a protocol that was consistently successful and we thought, why limit it to folks just in our area? We saw the incidence increasing and we thought, why not make this protocol available to families all across the country?"
Head lice has become a significant problem for families. It is now the second leading cause of school absenteeism. Schools across the country are grappling with the question of whether to drop their "no nit" policies in accordance with recommendations by key medical associations such as the American Association of Pediatrics and the National Association of School Nurses as they face significant absenteeism and the resulting loss of state aid owing to the incidence of head lice among the students. Contributing to the growing incidence of lice is that common chemical remedies that used to be effective are no longer so, as lice have mutated and become resistant.
With these factors as a backdrop, the prescient duo combined efforts and launched LiceDoctors in 2010, a stand-alone service based in Denver, Colorado. Their plan was to retain the services of school nurses and to train them in the LIceDoctors treatment protocol. After flying out to Denver and spending time getting their staff ready to hep families, Beck and Sokoloff returned to the east coast and set about the task of marketing to raise awareness of their new company. The endeavor, which involved a lot of sweat equity and late nights, proved so successful that Beck and Sokoloff moved on to Texas, where they opened LiceDoctors in Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston, Austin, San Antonio and all surrounding areas. Fast forward five years and LiceDoctors is the largest lice treatment company in the US. The company has approximately 400 technicians on staff and services families in over 150 major cities and continues to add territories on a ongoing basis.
"We have a treatment and business formula that both work and we are thrilled to be able to offer a service that helps people who are overwhelmed and frustrated. We get children cleared of lice and back into school the next day and we do it using a safe and 100% effective and chemical-free treatment protocol," reports Sokoloff.
Their journey together began 40 years ago when they were 19 years old. Although they are long-time friends, when they decided to form LiceDoctors, they had no idea that their skill sets would be so complementary. They only knew that they both had a quirky affintiy for lice removal, were very knowledgeable on the subject, and wanted to reach more people. As they built the business, they realized that Beck is excellent at managing every day operations and also has strong quantitative skills, so she is in charge of payroll and finances, while Sokoloff has a marketing background and the business experience to grow the business, as well as an MBA from New York University's Stern School of Business.
The company is a family affair, as Beck's husband, physician Stephen Beck, is the company's medical director and created and copyrighted the treatment protocol that is used today. Sokoloff's husband, businessman Andrew Messinger, does financial analyses and recently contributed his merchandising expertise.
Beck attributes the company's success to several factors. "We have an unmatched track record of successfully treating over 150,000 clients, which immediately gives us credibility. Our protocol is a carefully tailored, step-by-step approach that works by applying oil to loosen nits (eggs) and immobilize the evasive lice and then combing them out. After washing out the oil, our technicians do a very thorough, strand-by-strand check to pull out any remaining nits. Our technicians undergo extensive training by us and and have the expertise to find, identify, and remove the nits from the hair. In addition, clients love that we make house calls, thereby saving them time and hassle, and giving them absolute privacy. Clients also feel confidence in LiceDoctors as we are unique in having a medical director on staff. LiceDoctors has earned an ‘A’ rating with the Better Business Bureau. We are very proud of the business that we have built and that we help people on a daily basis. We have a fantastic staff who help us make this happen."
Both Back and Sokoloff have traveled the country educating parents and medical professionals about lice. According to Sokoloff, "There is so much misinformation out there about how to treat head lice, which is exacerbated by the fact that anybody can post anything on the Internet. Schools send home information advising parents to use chemicals in their children's hair, which is ridiculous. Parents should know about the National Pediculosis Association's website, which explicitly dissuades parents from using chemicals. Parents waste their time and money on these products and then send their kids back to school with active cases that are then transmitted to other children. Sometimes, even pediatricians give out ineffective advice. A college friend of mine who is an internist with a wife who is a pediatriican called me to ask what to do when his kids got lice, telling me that they do not teach lice treatment strategies in medical school. We often get calls from school nurses, camp directors, and others asking for information."
For more information on LiceDoctors and the markets that they cover, visit the website at www.licedoctors.com. The phone is staffed from 7:00 am until midnight every day to answer questions, allay fears, and set up appointments. The phone number is 800-224-2537. Beck urges parents to remain calm. "Lice can cause a lot of anguish within families as it can be frustrating to get all the eggs out of the hair. There is safe and effective help out there if you need it and we recommend that you stay away from chemicals!"
Page Updated Last on: May 27, 2015