Fastest Labs Finds Growth in North Texas Market

The drug testing company, which has been ranked on Entrepreneur magazine's Franchise 500 list, offers testing results in minutes.

Fast Labs concept

Speed and accuracy are the name of the game when it comes to drug testing.

Businesses don’t want to lose hours or even days waiting for someone to take a test and get results. And they need to trust the results so they aren’t putting someone who is compromised behind the wheel of an 18-wheeler.

As the name suggests, Fastest Labs thrives on getting people in fast and having results in minutes.

“Our X factor is that we are getting people in and out of the office in 5 to 10 minutes.”
Chelsea Claflin

Business is booming at the newest franchise that opened in Addison in September and the owner is already planning to expand. The San Antonio-based company picked the location on Belt Line Road because it’s a hub of business activity with clients that use its services.

“Our X factor is that we are getting people in and out of the office in 5 to 10 minutes,” said Chelsea Claflin, who owns the Addison location along with her fiance. “We’re reporting the results before you leave the parking lot. We’re personalizing the way they want to run their drug testing program.”

The original Fastest Labs was started by Dave Claflin, Chelsea’s father, in 2008. There are 35 franchises in 12 states and the company expects to double in size this year. The company has been listed on Entrepreneur magazine’s Franchise 500 list, which ranks the top franchises based on factors such as growth rate, franchise costs, and financial stability. 

“In the midst of legalization of marijuana in other states, it has brought drug testing to the forefront for employers,” Chelsea Claflin said. “Studies have shown that drug use in the workplace is responsible for one-third of accidents as well as contributing to absenteeism.”

STANDING OUT FROM THE COMPETITION

The big names in drug testing are Concentra and Quest Diagnostics, but those aren’t Fastest Lab’s biggest competitors.

That would be Arcpoint Labs, which has seven locations across North Texas, Chelsea Claflin said.

“We’re simply focused on efficiency from the point where your employee walks in and providing results the same day,” she said. “Whenever they learn that that’s something we’re doing at the same pricing they are receiving elsewhere, I don’t have to sell it. It sells itself. That’s certainly the biggest part of why we are attractive to employers.”

Fastest Labs doesn’t draw blood — all the tests are done using urine, saliva swabs, or hair and fingernails. Focusing entirely on drug screening makes the operation more efficient.

“Because we’re non medical, we don’t have to medically trained staff,” Dave Claflin said. “All those expenses go out the window. We’re able to meet or beat our competitors pricing and still kill them on the no wait time and the two-to three-minute turnaround.”

Speed and efficiency has kept Fastest Labs ahead of the game, but it’s something it also has to stay mindful of.

“Our competitors are like minded and eventually they will recognize that speed is a the huge factor that employers are looking for,” Chelsea Claflin said.

ENSURING TEST ACCURACY

Cold calling potential businesses, social media advertising, and word of mouth has paid off. The Addison lab has doubled its sales every month since opening, Chelsea Claflin said. In addition to the standard urine test, the lab does more comprehensive drug tests, such as hair and fingernail clippings, DNA and paternity and breathalyzer tests.

Whenever someone fails a test, it does have to be sent to a laboratory for further testing. Sometimes, the person failed because the individual is taking prescribed medications that need to be isolated in the test. The laboratory can not only detect the prescribed drug, but also make sure it’s being taken in proper dosages, Dave Claflin said.

“The technology is there to verify whether it’s a good test or not.”

Dave Claflin

Potential clients include truck driving companies, public schools, call centers, karate schools, and automobile dealers. Courts and probation officers routinely order drug screens whether it’s to determine child custory or make sure someone is staying clean. Testing also is available to individuals who need to take a drug test, maybe at the insistence of a concerned parent.

When it comes to drug screening some people will try to trick the system by bringing in someone else’s urine or using an additive to alter the sample. Fastest Labs checks socks, hats, and jackets to make sure no one smuggles anything in to the bathroom.  

In rare cases, someone actually has to watch the person take the test at the court’s insistence. Today’s technology also can detect additives that people ingest to try to fool the urine tests, Dave Claflin said.

“The technology is there to verify whether it’s a good test or not,” he said.

FASTEST LABS PLANS MORE FRANCHISES IN DFW

Chelsea Claflin said she’s already eying a location in Irving, where the company’s scouting software says there’s another concentration of businesses that need services.

“Irving has four times the businesses that apply to our market than downtown Dallas.” 

Chelsea Claflin

“Irving has four times the businesses that apply to our market than downtown Dallas,” she said. “As soon as this one is profitable enough to support both of our living lifestyles where we are comfortable, which will be about a year from now, we’ll open our second franchise. The spectrum for who could be considered a customer is almost endless. There really is no market that we can’t have some type of part in, which is awesome for us.”

The Addison site is 750 square feet with one bathroom. Chelsea Claflin said she’s got plans for a second bathroom there to make the testing even more efficient.

There’s a separate Fastest Labs franchise in Plano and other existing franchises are buying territories in North Texas with plans to open more locations. The next one to open up will be in Frisco.

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