Start-Up Diaries: Use Technology to Keep in Touch


March 27, 2015

Photo: ©

Photo: ©

I was reading an interesting interview in Sports Illustrated (my second-favorite magazine) a few months ago with the much-maligned commissioner of baseball, Bud Selig. One thing caught my attention more than anything else: Selig has never sent an email. Fifteen years ago this might have been understandable, but in 2015? I mean, come on. Is he still driving foot-powered cars like the Flintstones?

Never before has technology made it easier for us to stay in contact with our clients. Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, email, Reddit, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest and their ilk help us disseminate our product and service information to clients. Pizza companies email coupons; hardware stores advertise speciality products online; Brett Favre sends reporters pics of his … never mind. Trust me when I say my computer skills are closer to those of Bud Selig than Bill Gates, but even I see the value of saturating the market via the Internet.

To stay relevant, Schopen Pest Solutions is going to become more tech-savvy in 2015, using emails to remind clients about various services we offer. While this isn’t an earth-shattering development — and many of you already use email to stay in contact with your clients — let me be specific.

Each October, I personally mail hundreds of order forms to clients for the upcoming seasons. By having my clients prepay for next season’s exterior services, we can generate a lot of money during the winter to help meet payroll, pay off the line of credit and store money away for rainy day funds. In January, we mail hundreds more wasp letters and order forms. In February, we mail carpenter ant letters and order forms. By doing this, we always have a steady stream of revenue, even during the coldest months.

For 2015, I’ve already mailed out 1,800 letters and order forms by hand. The cost (and time involved) is astronomical. We spend more than $1,000 on copies and another $900 on postage — all before we receive one cent in return.

To eliminate this cost next season, I included a slip of paper with the order forms, asking clients for their email addresses. Next season, we’ll email their order forms. By the response we’re getting so far, we should all but eliminate our expenses for getting the order forms in clients’ hands in 2016.

Not only will we save money on mailing forms, I can use those same email addresses to entice our clients to use our services during the winter, too. If I can convince our seasonal clients to use our company just once during the colder months, we would generate more than $160,000 in additional revenue. Additionally, I can send out coupons, referral letters, educational pieces, newsletters, etc. I want to offer my clients more information about pest products than Kate Gosselin has reality shows.

Once Schopen Pest Solutions is a little bigger and has a larger office staff, we’ll use our website to take online orders. In the meantime, I’m excited to see how we fare next year with our email order forms. Who knows, maybe I can teach Bud how to use his email in exchange for some Brewers tickets.

Schopen’s Open Book
Start-up: Schopen Pest Solutions Inc.
Headquarters: McHenry, Ill.
Founder: Peter F. Schopen Jr.
Start-Up Date: April 11, 2006
Number of employees: seven
2006 Revenue: $97,235 (one employee)
2007 Revenue: $172,495 (one employee)
2008 Revenue: $203,732 (one employee)
2009 Revenue: $243,427 (two employees)
2010 Revenue: $325,960 (three employees)
2011 Revenue: $425,847 (four employees)
2012 Revenue: $489,887 (five employees)
2013 Revenue: $572,772 (six employees)
2014 Revenue: $710,000 (six full-time and one part-time employees)
2015 year-to-date: $43,509.65 (25 percent increase over 2014)
2015 GOAL: $887,000

Schopen is owner and founder of Schopen Pest Solutions, McHenry, Ill. You can email him at or reach him via Twitter: @schopenpest; Instagram: @peteschopen; or Facebook: Schopen Pest Solutions, Inc.


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