5 questions with BHB’s Michael Broder


August 4, 2017

This month, our question-and-answer session features Michael Broder, second-generation owner of BHB Pest Elimination in New York. Broder recently completed the first acquisition in BHB’s 48-year history by purchasing Tri-County Pest Control, based in Belleville, N.J.

1. Did Tri-County’s owner, Anthony Merk, reach out to you first, or did you put out feelers locally to let colleagues know you were ready to buy?

Anthony posted a classified ad on an industry distributor’s website. I had feelers out with colleagues — mostly distributors — and I was put in contact with a couple of other companies. One night, I decided to search online for pest control companies for sale, which was something I’d never done before. His was the first one that popped up. I emailed him, and he called me back within a few minutes.

2. What made you decide BHB was ready to acquire a firm?

We’ve been very fortunate that our company has had great growth over the past 15 years and put us in the position to consider an acquisition. Over the past few years, I was approached by a few companies, but quickly knew they weren’t right. I was very reluctant to take the next steps.

I had no idea how it could work.

One of BHB’s greatest assets is our dedication to quality services. The companies I spoke with up to that point, unfortunately, did not share those same values. I didn’t intend to give a plug for this magazine, but it was the PMP Growth Summit that really solidified my goals. At that conference, I met and talked with owners who have grown amazing businesses through acquisitions. They shared with me all their successes, and even their failures. From what I learned from these owners, I had the confidence to take the next steps. I then created a checklist of what would be right for BHB:

  • Comparable companies with similar dedication to quality.
  • Companies that bring us into a new geographical area.
  • Companies that bring us to a new customer base.

From the moment I met Anthony, I knew it was a right fit. First, he reminded me so much of my father — a good, honest, hard-working guy who put his customers first. Plus, his company matched everything on our checklist. In fact, the first thing he said was that his customers were like family, and he wanted to make sure they were treated right. That was all I needed to hear.

3. Was the process what you expected, or were there some surprises along the way?

I don’t think this acquisition could have gone smoother. Anthony was ready to retire, and we were ready to acquire a company. We shared the same values and the same visions.
We agreed on fair terms very quickly, and it was smooth sailing from there.

4. Tri-County’s headquarters is about 45 minutes away from yours. How are you and the team dividing your time between the two offices, or are you going to eventually consolidate into one office?

Modern technology is a great thing! Our main office in New York is able to handle all the calls and administrative work. We were already established in the county next to
Tri-County’s main area, so it is very easy to piggyback off of that area.

5. What advice would you give other PMPs who are “newbies” to the acquisition process?

There’s no doubt about it, acquisitions are exciting and under the right circumstances, are a fantastic way to grow your company.

Years ago, my wife gave me great advice: Set up BHB so it could function without me. At that time, nothing could be done without me. Slowly, over the years, we built a truly amazing team. For this transaction to proceed as smoothly as it did, it required me to be away from the office. If I didn’t have great people who were handling everything, there is no way any of it would have happened without jeopardizing the company and the acquisition.

This was truly the right time for BHB to take this step. If I did not already have the right management team in place, there was no way this deal would have succeeded.

[RELATED: Take Broder’s online quiz at PMPPestTalk.net to see whether you’re ready to make an acquisition.]

You can reach Editor Heather Gooch at hgooch@northcoastmedia.net or 330-321-9754.

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