Ain’t no party like a Schopen Pest Solutions party


February 5, 2018

It has been a stressful year for everyone at Schopen Pest Solutions. We were incredibly busy, growing our business by more than 30 percent. One of my techs fell off a ladder and shattered his ankle. Another tech hurt his back bending over. We purchased and renovated our new headquarters building and moved into it in late October. We also switched our online software. The cherry on top was funding a health insurance plan for my workers.

Schopen Pest Solutions’ Copper Whisk of Awesomeness is a sight to behold. Photo: ©

I decided our team needed a fun day. We declared Nov. 29 to be Schopen Pest Solutions Chili Cook-off Day, and we cleared all of our schedules. Six of our 12 employees cooked chili while the others judged.

We made it both a fun day and a casual work day. In addition to the chili cook-off, we celebrated the birthday of one of our techs with cake. We played office games and viewed a rat video by PMP Hall of Famer Dr. Bobby Corrigan.

We started the festivities at 8 a.m. with doughnuts, coffee and juice. All morning long, the six slow cookers of chili simmered in our state-of-the-art kitchen. At
11 a.m., the judges sampled each chili. The winning recipe was a pinto-bean-and-hamburger concoction that included bacon. Its creator was awarded the Copper Whisk of Awesomeness and a 1-lb. Hershey’s Kiss.

I also handed out the end-of-the year bonuses.

In January, I informed my techs that I would deduct $25 from their bonuses for every callback we received in 2017. On the flip side, we would bump up their bonus by $50 for every five-star review they garnered. Their overall callback rate was less than 5 percent, and we had more than 70 five-star reviews! Needless to say, I wrote out some hefty bonus checks.

Photo: ©

The party pooper

Of course, it wouldn’t be a Pete Schopen story without something going wrong. At approximately 12:30 p.m., as the beans were racing their way through our bodies, I noticed a foul odor coming from the men’s restroom.

Peeking in and fearing the worst, I saw that the floor drains were bubbling up into the bathroom. To make matters worse, the toilet wouldn’t flush! The pièce de résistance? The women’s restroom was flooding, too.

I walked out to the kitchen and gave my employees the bad news. All of my employees stopped eating, sauce and cheese dripping from their chins, and turned to face me. Naturally, we were all thinking the same thing: What are we going to do when the chili hits?

Photo: Pete Schopen

The Schopen Pest Solutions kitchen survived the company’s first party. Photo: Pete Schopen

Fortunately, our neighbors are a sewer and septic company. They came over and cleaned the pipes in less than an hour. We bartered a few bowls of chili and corn muffins for their services, and our toilets were back up and running by 3 p.m.

I’ve said it before: If you take care of your employees, they will bend over backward for your clients. I try to take care of my guys and gals with health insurance; a high-tech conference room; bonuses; and new equipment, trucks, phones, tablets, clothes, swag, etc.

The chili cook-off was a huge success, and I hope it’s the first of many new memories we make at our new headquarters.

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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