A Conversation with ARCpoint Labs Atlanta-Northeast Franchise Owner, Monte McDowell
Atlanta Film and TV: Can you share with our viewers about who you are, and what it is you do?
Monte McDowell: My name is Monte McDowell, and I own ARCpoint Labs Atlanta - Northeast. I am also a Career Corporate Human Resources Professional. A couple of years ago, I decided to buy into a franchise called ARCPoint Labs, and basically, we help employers keep their workplaces safe and compliant. We also help individuals maintain and take charge of their health and wellness through cost-effective lab testing. The misnomer about me is that I am a clinician or a healthcare professional - I am not! I hired people for that. But we are ready and willing to work with different markets and people.
Atlanta Film and TV: For those who may not know, can you share some background on ARCpoint Labs Atlanta-Northeast?
Monte McDowell: The ARCpoint Labs headquarters, is located in Greenville, South Carolina. I was attracted to buy into the franchise from a familiarity standpoint. There are two major segments of our business; toxicology and clinical. Toxicology is where we work with businesses and keep them safe with testing and background screenings. That is the foundation of this franchise when it was created twenty years ago. The franchise owners at that time became subject-matter experts in terms of helping employers keep their workplaces safe. About five to seven years ago, the franchise group decided to add clinical to the equation, which range from DNA testing, blood and lab work, and the opportunity for COVID testing came a few years ago. Now that things are changing, we are at a point where we can offer all of these things.
We opened our location on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, January 18th, 2021, and have been in operation for almost two years. We are doing well and continuing to grow.
What is the story behind why you became a franchise owner of ARCpoint Labs Atlanta-Northeast?
Monte McDowell: I worked in Human Resources for 28 years. During the pandemic, people were deciding what to do next in their lives. I asked myself if I wanted to continue working in Human Resources. Or do I want to create something on my own? The ARCpoint Labs opportunity was presented before me on entrepreneur.com. I jumped at the idea of becoming a franchise owner because it made a lot of sense, and I loved the business model. Beyond that this was about my family and the desire to leave a legacy of entrepreneurship. I have two kids; a 23-year-old daughter and a 15-year-old son. I knew I needed to set an example for them. You can do more than work for someone - There’s nothing wrong with working for someone. I did it for twenty-eight years. But there’s also the value of creating on your own. If you’re going to bust your butt, you might as well do it for yourself!
Atlanta Film and TV: Does ARC stand for anything?
Monte McDowell: ARC is an acronym standing for Accurate, Reliable, and Confidential. We always strive to be accurate, which is why people come to us. Anything that ranges from is my cholesterol in check, paternity testing or sexually transmitted diseases. You want your tests to be accurate and reliable, and know we’re going to be open when we say we are and that we can be mobile. Lastly, we keep everything confidential for obvious reasons. We are HIPPA certified. We follow established regulations, and we maintain people’s confidentiality. The results are only sent to the person who is taking the test or submits a sample. Unless it’s for an employer and they sign a release. In those situations, it’s understandable. If they are taking a drug test, those results have to go to the employer’s designated representative.
Atlanta Film and TV: What types of testing does ArcPoint Labs Atlanta-Northeast provide?
Monte McDowell: We provide a wide variety of testing. On the employer side, think of anything from an employment testing perspective. If you are applying for a job, you may be asked to submit for a pre-employment drug screening, which might be a urine drug screening or an alcohol screening if you are a driver, and we provide those. A newer service we are now offering is DOT physical exams for drivers. On the individual side, we have access to thousands of different tests. Anything ranging from cholesterol screenings. Men's and women's wellness. Sexually transmitted diseases, and paternity testing. We are also able to let women know the sex of their baby as early as six weeks into their pregnancy. Sometimes, we get phone calls, where people ask, “ can you provide this testing?” I always tell my staff to say, “ You know what? I’m not sure.” Especially if we have never offered it before. My staff will get their information and check with me or our corporate website. Nine times out of ten, we may offer specific testing we just haven’t offered up until that point. We work with different reference labs across the country. ARCPoint Labs isn’t a laboratory, meaning some white building where you don't know what’s going on inside. This is more of a medical clinic. In our clinic, we do the collection and coordinate the testing. The majority of the bloodwork is sent to those reference labs across the country based on their specialty. We have labs with specialties in DNA allergy, pharmacogenomics, to name a few. We have contracts with all those different labs to provide the best pricing, turnaround, and overall best experience.
Atlanta Film and TV: You are looking to make connections in the entertainment community here in Atlanta. What types of testing do you provide for those within the community?
Monte McDowell: We have become known over the past year and a half for COVID-19 testing in the film and entertainment industry. It’s primarily, when there is an urgent need. We have at least three to four production companies, studios or third parties that will call and say, “hey! I have a film crew coming to Atlanta from Boston. Before they can touch the production set tomorrow, they must have a negative test result. Can you go to their hotel, or home?” And we will do it! We are the type of company that is easy to do business with, and we'll do what other companies won't. Some people know what we can do and what our capabilities are. If you can trust me to do the smaller projects, we believe there will be opportunities down the line to do more expansive projects.
COVID-19 is one of the tests we provide, and to add to our arsenal, I became a certified COVID compliance officer about six months ago. Most people who are a part of a film's cast or crew are uninsured or underinsured. We like to let people know that we also provide a variety of testing that may not necessarily be related to a film project. But, it is for an individual's health and awareness.
On the COVID side, we have a brick-and-mortar location, and we’re also mobile. We can do a last-minute test result by going to someone’s home, and we can also set up shop on a film set for months at a time or as needed. A lot of those situations come up from time to time, where people will call and ask if we can do that kind of work. It’s not something we widely advertise on our website, but we are incredibly easy to work with and don’t turn down any opportunities.
Atlanta Film and TV: What are the steps a filmmaker should take in order to have someone from ARCpoint Labs Atlanta-Northeast provide testing?
Monte McDowell: The first step is to give us a call and for us to set up a consultation. A lot of times, we get contacted by production coordinators who already have a lot to balance - but we try to take this part of their job and make it easy for them. It’s really about calling our office and asking for a consultation. You’ll either be on the phone with me or another team member. We’ll go through what your project looks like. Is it a one-time thing? Is it over multiple days, over some time? Do you need us to come to you, or do you need to send people to us? There’s a lot that’s involved in that. Once you call us, a proposal can be provided so you can know what pricing will look like for your overall project.
Atlanta Film and TV: What is the cost they should expect to pay?
Monte McDowell: The cost varies, and it’s also why it's important to have a consultation with us. Our pricing is available on our website, but as an individual consumer you know that you will pay $229 for a same-day PCR test. But, as with most companies, there is business-to-business pricing. There are contracts and proposals that are created based on a variety of factors. What turnaround time do you need for the test results? Do you need us to come to you, or do you need to come to us? The type of test. Is the volume huge? If you are ordering five tests from me, you’ll probably be quoted the price on our website. If you’re needing us to be on set three days a week to do 500 tests every week, that will be a different price point. We can offer significant discounts and savings based on the amount of tests that are a part of your project.
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Atlanta Film and TV: Do you have anything else you would like to share about ARCpoint Labs Atlanta- Northeast?
Monte McDowell: The first thing that comes to mind is we are a small business. We are a small but flexible team and staffing model. There are times when companies shy away from working with small companies and might say, “hey. You only have five employees. We have the ability to work on sets for months at a time, but we might have a request where someone calls me today and says, can you start on our film project tomorrow? Our answer will be “probably not” because most production coordinators start planning this stuff months in advance. These are scenarios, and we can create a staffing model to meet those needs. In addition to being a small business, we are a proud family and black-owned business. We are proud that we have built a network of other partners who are also small business owners. Which is by far the most rewarding part of my experience is meeting other great people who are also doing similar things. It’s been a fun ride, an emotionally-filled journey, but we’re having a lot of fun, and I wouldn’t trade it for the world!
Atlanta Film and TV: How can people connect with you?
Monte McDowell:Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn are the three social media platforms we are on. We are ARCPoint Labs of Atlanta-Northeast. We are located in Duluth, GA, and if you are in the area, we are at the intersection of Pleasant Hill Rd. and Peachtree Industrial. Our phone number is 470- 508-4330. And, our website is arcpointlabs.com/Atlanta-Northeast