Pest control for a cure


October 9, 2013

After cancer touches her life and the lives of her employees, Sheri Spencer Bachman makes giving back part of Spencer Pest Services’ company culture.

Dan Jacobs Contributor

The doctor’s words were ones no family ever wants to hear.

“My father, Bill, was diagnosed with sarcoma cancer, less than a year after I was promoted to take over as president and COO of the corporation,” says Sheri Spencer Bachman, owner of Spencer Pest Services, which has offices in and around Atlanta and Greenville, S.C. “They gave him two weeks to live.”

Bill Spencer, the founder of the company his daughter now runs, said that wasn’t an option. He lived for another 5.5 years, passing away in February 2012. It was during that time, watching her father struggle with the disease, visiting him in the hospital and seeing other patients, that Spencer Bachman learned how sarcoma cancer affected people from
all walks of life.

“Families shouldn’t have to go through what these families went through,” Spencer Bachman says. “The stuff caregivers and hospital staff do to help these people, it blew me away. It’s a horrible disease that affects so many families. When I talked to my employees, it turned out almost every one had been affected by cancer in some way, shape or form.”

Spencer Bachman decided she wanted to support organizations that conduct cancer research or offer support and make it part of her company’s culture. As a result, she created Pest Control for a Cure, a program in which the company contributes $50 to one of several cancer research or support organizations each time it receives a new customer. The program has become so well known locally the special logo Spencer Bachman created for it has become the company’s logo.

“It’s ended up becoming a brand and almost a marketing tool, which wasn’t the original intention,” she says. “In some cases, for the salesperson, it becomes an emotional appointment. The customer starts talking about what they go through. It’s personalizing the relationship with the customer. There’s a bond.”

That bond often turns into referrals. Customers are so touched by what Spencer Pest Services is doing they contact family and friends, which can turn into more donations for one of seven organizations. Spencer Pest asks new customers which of these entities should receive the donation: The St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Susan G. Komen, American Cancer Society (Relay for Life), The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, Paint Georgia Pink or the Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University.

“Donations for customers have taken part of my marketing budget,” Spencer Bachman says. “Marketing costs are 6 percent of revenue. We’re only spending 3 percent on marketing. For the other 3 percent, I’m writing checks to nonprofits.”

Spencer Pest Services fundraises by participating in the the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Light the Night programs. The company partners with nine other local businesses to raise money. The 10 companies raised $128,000 in 2012 and almost $250,000 during the past three years.

Spencer Bachman’s goal, though, is to encourage more pest management companies to use the Pest Control for a Cure brand. At press time, only one other company is using the marketing materials.

“It’s fun to go to work because you’re doing something good,” she says. “We’re not just killing bugs for a living. We’re giving back to a community for a cause, and it feels good.” pmp

Dan Jacobs is a contributor to PMP. Contact him at


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