5 questions with Charles Partridge

By |  September 20, 2018
PHOTO: Charles Partridge

Partridge’s Smart ForTwo Pure Car has it made in the shade. PHOTO: Charles Partridge

Our question-and-answer session this month focuses on Charles Partridge, owner of PointBlank Pest Solutions in Hutto, Texas. This one-man operator owns a 2007 Dodge Ram 1500 pickup he uses as his service vehicle and a 2014 Smart ForTwo Pure he uses as his sales vehicle. Partridge maintains that his little car packs a big punch when it comes to marketing value and gas economy — here’s why.

1. First things first: How long have you been in pest management, and how did you get into it?

I have been in the industry for coming up on 12 years. I had been working as an animal control officer for eight years, until I was injured on the job. When I returned to work after surgery, I realized I could not safely perform all my duties. I looked for a new career path, and chose pest control.

I started as a technician for a small, family-owned company. I enjoyed the work and meeting new customers daily to assist them with getting rid of their pest issues. About a year later, I switched to a larger, family-owned company that challenged me to learn and grow in the industry. I started as a technician, but was soon promoted to service manager.

Since September 2015, I have been in business as a solo operator, and can compete with the larger companies offering all the same services they do — including honey bee removal and relocation, and heat treatment for bed bugs. I hope to add my first employee this season.

Charles Partridge

Charles Partridge

2. What made you decide to go with a Smart car for your sales and inspections? Was it simply a deal you couldn’t pass up, for example, or did you set out to specifically get it to differentiate yourself from your competitors?

When I was first looking for a sales/inspection vehicle, I started looking at the Volkswagen Beetle. But I changed my mind after test-driving the Smart car.

I looked up the gas mileage and maintenance schedules for both cars. I also watched a few videos on maintenance of each. It was very apparent how easily I could perform almost all of the maintenance on the Smart car, and I decided based on those factors that it was the perfect fit. 

The Smart car has been a great investment. It has paid for itself so far in fuel and maintenance savings. It takes only about $20 to $25 to fill the car with gas, and I generally get between 250 and 300 miles per tank. An oil change runs me around $28.

3. You stand 6 feet, 2 inches, and weigh about 300 pounds. How comfortable a ride is the Smart car for you?

The car is much roomier than it looks. I am quite comfortable driving it around. Behind the driver and passenger seats is a trunk area where I am able to store a backpack sprayer, a handheld pump sprayer, a backpack vacuum and a small bin of product.

4. Have you found that it gets your company a lot of attention? For example, do customers call because it caught their eye while driving around town?

I do receive a ton of calls from customers who say they have seen my car on the highway. I also find I’m getting into conversations about it with potential customers while stopping to get gas, or getting in and out of the car at an existing account. Many times, these casual conversations lead to phone calls and service contracts.

5. Are you marketing the car in other ways, beyond being a “rolling billboard?”

We have used it for the past two years at our local outdoor home and garden show to draw attention. It fits under a booth tent!

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