When I was 15 years old, I intercepted a pass during a varsity football game and got tackled near the goal line. The excitement I had for being the hero of the game was short-lived, however, because my femur bone exploded into three pieces during the tackle. I was taken by ambulance to the nearest hospital, where they inserted a 12-inch-long steel plate and 16 screws into my leg. Sadly, my tap-dancing days were over. But, as I laid in bed for two weeks recovering, I developed a lifelong hobby: I learned how to juggle.
Being stuck in bed for two weeks I had nothing to do except read Stephen King books, listen to my Purple Rain cassette tape, and juggle balled-up socks. (Remember kiddos, this was before the age of cell phones, Netflix or Dragon Ball Z). I got surprisingly good at juggling oranges, tennis balls, butter knives and other objects in my bed. Once I was strong enough, I would juggle on one leg and behind my back.
I even juggled in college during the musical Chicago. I starred as Billy Flynn, the conniving lawyer. During my entrance, I juggled several balls while climbing a flight of stairs and singing “All I Care About Is Love.”
I’ve been juggling things ever since. God, family, sports broadcasting, pest control business, employees, coaching, writing articles for this great magazine, speaking engagements, buying and renovating buildings, participating on the Purdue Pest Management Planning Committee, key performance initiatives (KPIs), company culture, purchasing other companies, etc. Like most small pest control companies, I juggle many jobs, such as pest technician, sales rep, janitor, human resources, manager, billing, etc. This particular spring and summer, I’ve had the unpleasant task of helping my managers juggle our routes because of rain, COVID-19 and a lack of employees. We’ve done a great job, but it has been difficult and time-consuming.
One item that I don’t like juggling is finances. I always want the security of knowing I can pay my employees, my taxes and my bills, and still provide my technicians with the tools they need to succeed.
HOW I DO IT
To accomplish my goal and reduce my stress level, I put “rainy day” money in several bank accounts. Starting every November, we build up our reserves and continue to build until we reach approximately 10 percent of the gross earnings. This past March, I had over $300,000 saved up as working capital. We collect this money in November, December, January and February via prepaid services such as mosquito treatments, exterior ant services, our Early Bird Wasp program and power sprays.
But I have to admit that, despite my recommendation to many pest management colleagues, even in this magazine, I have never had a working budget. I know, I know. I’m a horrible person.
I came up with a budget once for a presentation I gave in Phoenix, Ariz., a few years ago, but I didn’t really use it after that. Obviously, my accountant follows my spending habits, so I know where my money is going. Also, since Schopen Pest Solutions has been incredibly consistent over the years, growing at 25 percent year-after-year, I know by how much to increase my equipment, chemicals, payroll, etc.
NO MORE EXCUSES
But recently, realizing my concerns over skyrocketing gas prices, chemical purchases and buying new vehicles, my lovely wife, Tami, went through all of our 2021 expenditures. She wanted to give me a compass to use to navigate through these uncertain financial times we are facing. I thought it might be interesting to share how we spend our money at Schopen Pest Solutions:
- Payroll: $1,294,547.36 (43.14% of all expenditures)
- Taxes: $509,886.03 (16.99%)
- Insurance: $266,222.00 (8.87%)
- Chemicals: $201,102.30 (6.7%)
- Advertising/Marketing: $151,898.28 (5.0%)
- Toyota Truck Payments: $95,450.58 (3.2%)
- Computers/IT/Software: $90,850.36 (3.02%)
- Equipment Purchases and Truck Maintenance: $71,898.62 (2.40%)
- Utilities: $68,941.43 (2.29%)
- Gas: $68,434.63 (2.28%)
- Credit Card and Banking Fees: $56,330.63 (1.90%)
- Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and Other Miscellaneous Supplies: $31,891.41 (1.06%)
- Printing, Mailing and Postage: $29,424.29 (0.98%)
- Services (Window Washing, Snow Removal, Accounting, etc.): $29,194.35 (0.97%)
- Food, Parties, Awards: $17,339.30 (0.57%)
- Office Supplies: $17,083.71 (0.56%)
For you completists in the audience, please chalk up the “missing” 0.07 percent to us only going out to two decimal places. That said, having a budget down to the literal penny not only helps an owner forecast for the upcoming year, it helps with workers’ comp projections, line-of-credit renewals — and in my case, writing a business column for Pest Management Professional magazine.
By the way, I still juggle, but Tami makes me fold the socks and put them back in the drawer once I’m done playing with them.
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: 43 (39 full-time, 4 trainees)
2006 REVENUE: $97,235
2007 REVENUE: $172,495
2008 REVENUE: $203,732
2009 REVENUE: $243,427
2010 REVENUE: $325,960
2011 REVENUE: $425,847
2012 REVENUE: $489,887
2013 REVENUE: $572,772
2014 REVENUE: $687,326
2015 REVENUE: $858,180
2016 REVENUE: $1,079,068
2017 REVENUE: $1,478,600
2018 REVENUE: $1,877,496
2019 REVENUE: $2,095,118
2020 REVENUE: $2,398,367
2021 REVENUE: $3,295,259
2022 REVENUE TO-DATE: $1,367,162*
MAY REVENUE: $352,983**
2022 GOAL: $4,119,344
*Up 22.3% from 2021.
**Down 25.9% from May 2021. However, we had a record April in 2021 and a cold, rainy April in 2022. We were rescheduling clients every day.