Who’s Off the List?
|Company||2018 Rank||Date of Sale||Purchased By|
|Clark Pest Control||9||January 2019||Rollins Inc.|
|Florida Pest Control & Chemical Company||16||November 2019||Rentokil|
|Assured Environments||25||December 2018||ServiceMaster|
|Gregory Pest Solutions||30||October 2019||ServiceMaster|
|McCloud Services||31||October 2019||ServiceMaster|
|JP McHale||32||May 2019||Anticimex|
|Active Pest Control||36||August 2019||Rentokil|
|Triple S Termite & Pest||68||October 2018||Anticimex|
|Innovative Pest Management||96||January 2019||Anticimex|
Virtual M&A Conference in August
On Aug. 19, PCT will host its annual Mergers & Acquisitions Virtual Conference. To learn more about the event, visit http://manda.pctonline.com. Cost is $99 for the half-day program, which includes the following speakers:
- “Valuation and M&A in a Post-Coronavirus World” will be presented by Paul Giannamore, managing director, The Potomac Company
- “Profitability & Profitability Ratios: A Key Indicator of Your Company’s Managerial Efficiency” will be presented by Dan Gordon, owner and CPA, PCO M&A Specialists, a Division of PCO Bookkeepers.
- “Wealth Management” will be presented by Kemp Anderson, owner and president, Kemp Anderson Consulting; and Tony Anderson, managing partner/CEO, ARS Wealth Advisors.
Environmental Pest Service Acquires Knight Pest Control
Arrow Environmental Services, a subsidiary of Environmental Pest Service (EPS), acquired New Port Richey, Fla-based Knight Pest Control. The acquisition expands Arrow’s presence into the West Central Coast of Florida, and adds $2.5 million in annual pest, termite and lawn service revenues. This marks EPS’s 95th acquisition since 2010. The company ranks #15 on the PCT Top 100.
For more than a decade, Knight Pest Control offered residential and commercial pest control services to their clients in Pinellas, Hillsborough, Pasco and Hernando counties in Florida. Twenty employees, including sales representatives, service technicians and administrative staff, have joined the Arrow Environmental Services team.
“Arrow is proud to welcome Knight Pest Control to our growing team,” said David Joles, regional vice president of Arrow Environmental Services. “We are excited to work with their team and look forward to providing the same level of high-quality service their customers have come to expect.”
“Entering into this partnership with Arrow Environmental Services and EPS is a great thing for our customers and employees,” said Billy Knight, owner. “Because of their commitment to providing world-class service, I know they are, without question, the ideal company to partner with,” said Knight.
“Randy Stout and Billy Knight have built a great pest control company with a stellar reputation,” said Michael Rolman, senior vice president of sales and operations for Environmental Pest Service. “Partnering with Knight Pest Control allows us to continue expanding Arrow Environmental Services’ footprint and build density in the markets that we already serve throughout west and central Florida.”
Ardent Pest Control Helps Local Homeless Communities
As a company that has experienced its share of recent success, Utah-based Ardent Pest Control (#94) is keenly aware of its good fortune and has made it a point to “pay things forward.”
“One of our company core values is: Be Grateful. With this in mind, we wanted to find a way to give back to the communities who have trusted us with their business,” said Oceane Olsen, charity project supervisor, Ardent Pest Control.
Olsen headed up a recent charitable project to serve the homeless communities in Ardent Pest Control’s service areas. After reaching out to homeless shelters, Ardent learned that shelters throughout the country were in need of shoes for their patrons. This led to the company creating “Ardent Gives Back,” a two-part program in which: (1) Ardent Pest Control donates new and gently used shoes to the less fortunate; and (2) each time Ardent customers receive service, they are invited to participate too.
“We invite our customers to donate and our employees can opt to donate part of their commission to the cause as well,” said Olsen. “Ardent, in turn, rewards employee success with monetary donations to our shelters and will occasionally match employee and/or customer donations as part of special events.”
As Ardent has grown (it added three locations in 2019), so has the scope of the project; the company has partnered with at least one shelter in each of its franchise areas. “Each time we open a new branch, we ensure that we have contact with donation sites that serve the homeless population,” said Olsen. “In addition to collecting donations, our sales teams and technicians participate in a large service project each summer.”
These projects can include cleaning a shelter, helping in soup kitchens, etc. Also, at each of the shelters Ardent has partnered with, they have created Amazon wish lists so Ardent employees and customers can make donations even if they don’t have shoes to donate in their homes.
Olsen said these outreach efforts are ongoing. “‘Giving back’” is part of who we are,” Olsen said. “We encourage everyone at Ardent to work hard and when we achieve our goals, we make it a priority to show gratitude by giving to those who are facing tougher times.” — Brad Harbison
PCT Top 100 Awards Ceremony Postponed
In the effort to protect the health and safety of attendees and staff, PCT postponed its Top 100 Awards Ceremony and Executive Summit, which was previously scheduled for June 10-11, 2020.
PCT, along with the two sponsors of the event, Veseris and Syngenta, made this decision in light of the continued spread of COVID-19. The staffs are looking at alternative dates for the event in the summer of 2021. During this turbulent and uncertain period, PCT, Veseris and Syngenta ask for PMPs’ patience and understanding as they work to coordinate this event. PCT Top 100 firms will be kept in the loop as new details and dates become available.
Rentokil Acquires Access Exterminating Service
Rentokil (#3) strengthened its presence in Southern California with the acquisition of Access Exterminating Service. The deal closed on March 3.
Access Exterminating Service was founded by Russ Stribling, whose first experience in pest control was at age 11 when his friend’s dad would pay him to crawl under houses to remove all the wood debris before a termite service. At age 16, after obtaining his driver’s license, Stribling got a job assisting on a pest control contract for local shopping malls.
In 1998, Stribling and his wife Vicki started Access Exterminator Service. In 2002, Access hired Roger Sonnenfeld to oversee the company’s termite service.
Access Exterminating Service was represented by Kemp Anderson Consulting. “It has been an honor to represent Russ, Roger and Access. The company has an amazing culture with a focus on people and integrity,” Anderson said. Rentokil was great to work with as a buyer and they acquired a great company.”
Versacor Named a Best Company to Work for in Texas
Versacor Managed Pest Solutions (#61) was named a Best Company to Work for in Texas for the third year in a row. “We strive each day to maintain a company culture of involvement, opportunity and recognition. Additionally, our associates are passionate about what they do and are fully committed to our clients. This level of commitment is what makes Versacor succeed and excel in our industry,” President Jason Eicher said. The award recognizes the best places of employment in Texas. Versacor is based in Southlake, Texas.
We rub elbows with the mayor of New York City and Michelin-rated chefs — we shake hands on Fifth Avenue,” says Rich Cappa, in a non-boastful way, explaining how his team has personal relationships with its high-end clientele. His customer base has evolved drastically since 1996, when Cappa, then 24, started Liberty Pest Control with no car and no customers. His goal: Land 1,000 accounts. “That was my dream,” he says.
Cappa dreams big.
Day one, he landed his first job and serviced it the next day. “The following day, I had sold 20-something more accounts,” Cappa says, noting that he’d borrow wheels from his friends and family to get around town.
Today, Liberty Pest services more than 4,000 commercial accounts in the Big Apple, largely in the hospitality industry. The firm is now expanding into “infrastructure giants,” including such accounts as JFK International and LaGuardia airports; the Metropolitan Opera; and various hospital groups. The company just landed the Jet Blue terminal, too.
“New Yorkers like to deal with New Yorkers,” explains Joe Temperino, Cappa’s partner in the Brooklyn-based business, who is focused largely on sales and business development. “Pest services are the product we deliver, but we are really in the people business.”
By understanding what people (especially their clientele) need to stay in business, Liberty Pest Control has tailored programs geared for different types of clients. In particular, the pressure is on for New York City restaurants, which are required to post letter grades based on sanitary inspection scores. So, Liberty offers a “Blitz” program for restaurants that includes a visit that lasts several hours and encompasses drain and rodent treatments, mosquito control, pest monitoring, installing fly lights and door sweeps, waterproofing and caulking, and an overall inspection.
“We maintain more ‘A’ restaurants than any other pest control company in the metropolitan area,” says Cappa, proud of being new to the PCT Top 100 list at No. 65.
After each Blitz visit, Liberty Pest sends out a separate quality control team to each site. “The team meets with the general managers and we try to meet as many restaurant owners as possible to give them the knowledge they need to make our job more efficient, as well,” Cappa says. “Our crew looks at every location the day after service to make sure it’s up to par.”
Education is also a focus and differentiator for Liberty. “We teach restaurant staff the dos and don’ts — what to put in a drain, how to clean the bar,” Temperino says. “That has made us successful and gone a long way with the restaurant and bar owners.”
Last year, Liberty focused on building its restaurant client base — and in 2020, the company wants to earn additional clients similar to the airports they already serve, delivering a service system that’s focused on detailed inspections and custom pest management plans for each site.
Like most pest management firms, the biggest challenge for Liberty prior to the outbreak of COVID-19 was the hiring of people to deliver the type of service Liberty expects. As such, the company takes a friends-and-family approach. “We ask our technicians to bring in relatives and good friends,” Cappa says. “So, we are attracting a better individual that cares and wants to be part of the group.”
As of press time, COVID-19 was ravaging New York City. Once the city opens up, Liberty is ready to roll with a sanitizing program. In fact, the company developed sanitizing protocols two years ago, but customers weren’t interested at the time. But now, those customers will be treated to free sanitation, disinfection and protection services once the city is moving again. “We feel that it’s our responsibility to give back to the communities that we have been a part of for over two decades and we want to do our part in getting things back to our new normal,” Temperino said.
And despite coronavirus, Liberty’s growth plans remain intact. The firm is eyeing up expansion beyond the city and plans to service nearby New Jersey and Philadelphia.
The company has never advertised before, and growth has been completely organic so far. “We’ve done all this without purchasing other companies,” Temperino says.
To grow its service area, Liberty plans to increase its digital presence and implement technological tools that allow customers to see photographs and notes immediately after visits, Cappa says. Already, clients appreciate Liberty’s transparent communication techniques — and the energy they bring to the job, like New Yorkers do.
“You know, like the song, ‘There Ain’t No Stopping Us Now?’” Cappa says, referencing the oldie-but-goodie by McFadden & Whitehead. “That’s like us. Nothing is going to stop us now.” — Kristen Hampshire
Bell Labs’ fastest acting rodenticide is now available to PMPs in a new form: Fastrac Soft Bait.
Bell says its Fastrac Soft Bait offers the palatability and acceptance of Bell’s Fastrac Blox bromethalin rodenticide, now in a unique oil-based formulation with a precise balance between saturated and unsaturated fats. Fastrac Soft Bait is also designed to withstand almost any climate, the company says. In cold climates, the bait won’t freeze and when temperatures and humidity rise, Fastrac Soft Bait is both mold- and heat-resistant.
The fast-acting bromethalin active ingredient paired with the palatability of Bell’s proprietary soft bait formulation will help PMPs knock down rodent infestations at accounts quickly, the company says. Technicians will use less bait versus anticoagulants and see faster results, as rodents can consume a lethal dose in a single night’s feeding, which reduces the amount of bait required to achieve control.
Fastrac Soft Bait is available in a 4-pound pail size. This new Soft Bait pail is clearly differentiated from all other Bell Laboratories pails with a purple lid for ease of identification by distributors and PMPs. Fastrac Soft Bait is available in 8-gram sachets with a minimum mouse placement of one sachet and a minimum rat placement of four sachets.
The Bayer Pest Management & Public Health business announced its next generation of the Bayer Rodent Monitoring System (RMS). This latest release includes several system enhancements including a smaller, sleeker sensor design that allows it to fit in multiple bait stations as well as features that make the system compatible with outdoor environments, the company says.
The Bayer Rodent Monitoring System provides PMPs and their customers with 24/7 monitoring, capture alerts and up-to-the minute program verification, freeing up time to enhance focus on broader IPM inspections of facilities, the company says. While the legacy system has predominantly been used in indoor environments, the new system includes the following upgrades that enable both indoor and outdoor use:
- Water-resistant sensor
- New gasket technology that protects against water
- Sensor status LEDs that shine through translucent gasket material, allowing easy status visibility, even in bright daylight
- The ability to create activity heat maps showing areas of exterior rodent pressure.
The upgraded system now can count bait station activity as an alternative to immediate alerts. The new system can be used in exterior bait stations and snap traps in two ways: 1. Count rat activity. In this mode, triggers are collected and reported at a specific interval instead of receiving immediate alerts. This enables the PMP to better identify trend activity and rodent pressure at specific locations as well as estimate bait consumption. 2. Receive immediate alerts. In this mode, sensors are retrofitted to snap traps and capture alerts are immediately sent upon a snap or capture. This flexibility is ideal when baiting is not desired.
Insects Limited recently released its 20-page New Product Guide. The company’s president, Pat Kelley, said, “We are excited to bring out this new catalog that showcases some of the new and innovative products that we have recently released along with outlining our full line of pheromones and trapping systems for a wide variety of stored product pests.” The fully illustrated booklet can be viewed as a hard copy, online at www.insectslimited.com or as a PDF.
Wildlife Control Supplies/RodeXit
Wildlife Control Supplies of East Granby, Conn., recently announced it would serve as a distributor of RodeXit. RodeXit, a Danish-based company, offers rodent-resistant door sweeps and exclusion strips. RodeXit says its products are high-quality rodent proofing tools; they are easy to install, transport and store; save labor and time; and are durable and cost effective.
“A good recipe never goes out of style,” says Kevin Burns, chief development officer at Arrow Exterminators, which grew 13 percent over last year and is No. 6 on the PCT Top 100 list, posting $253 million in revenue last year. The firm has grown by double digits since the economic downturn in 2008.
Hire great people, train them well and get out of their way. That’s the secret sauce, and “we aren’t much about making changes every year,” says CEO Emily Thomas Kendrick.
“The other key to growth has been our family culture, which has been in existence since 1964,” Burns said, adding that loyal team members who “do the right thing” drive referrals from existing customers and encourage renewals — which introduces another key ingredient: recurring revenue.
Of course, most service industry businesses know the power of customers buying services year after year. Recurring revenue is healthy for the balance sheet and a foundation upon which to grow new business. But accomplishing it can be a challenge in a tight labor market. So, Arrow is intently focused on team member retention, with dedicated human resources personnel focused on the issue. The company asks its own people: “What has been great about the experience, what has been good, and what has been not-so-good?” says Chief Human Resources Officer Shay Runion.
These interviews form the onboarding process for future employees. “We know the first day of employment is a pretty big day for folks,” Runion says. So, Arrow makes that day special, and every office rolls out the red carpet differently. Mostly, it’s about the little things. “We may have a first-day cake or take them out to lunch, put their name on the door with ‘welcome.’”
Internally, employees immediately feel the love — and the idea is, they pass this type of caring on to customers. Externally, Arrow has grown its residential and Sentricon services over the past decade, which is a big contributor to the firm’s growth, COO Tim Pollard says. Its top recurring services are residential and commercial pest control, termite and mosquito services. Meanwhile, Arrow’s focus on organic growth is coupled with a robust mergers and acquisitions approach. “We tend to get 2 to 3 percent of our growth through mergers and acquisitions, and we don’t see that changing for the foreseeable future,” Burns notes. “We’ll continue to focus on recurring services and pay specific attention to areas where customers need and want us, and that includes home services.”
Is there such a thing as growing too fast? Setting a double-digit pace annually for 10 years is one thing for a smaller business. But for an organization the size of Arrow, with 2,500 employees across the country, is there a point where it just can’t happen?
“We are blessed this year to be growing at the highest rate in a decade, and I can say that prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, which I think we will see some tick down, but we have been above 14 percent growth this year,” Pollard says.
Staying at that threshold is a challenge. “People, training — all the things you have to do really well to run a great company — become difficult when you are growing quickly,” Kendrick says, returning to culture as the reason Arrow can fill the deck with a solid hand of employees.
“My office is three doors down from Joe and Emily Thomas — the family that has had the business since 1964, so I’m lucky to know exactly how they want our folks to treat customers, and how they want our own team members to be treated,” Burns said.
“We treat each other like brothers and sisters. We laugh and we have fun,” he says. And, timely given the current public health crisis, he adds, “In times of need, we are there to comfort as any big family would.” — Kristen Hampshire