Growth by real estate


August 11, 2022


While billboard advertising can be expensive, this one next to ABC’s building in Plano, Texas, came with the property. It is the biggest sign the company has, and the reason for buying the property. PHOTO: DENNIS JENKINS

I am guessing that when you read the headline above, you thought, “Yeah, we already know selling services through real estate services and neighborhoods is a great way to grow.” While that statement is very true for many companies and in many markets, it is not what I am talking about. I am talking about your office location, and its role in the growth of your business.

Like most of us, I started my business out of my house. The “office” was a table in the spare bedroom that was squeezed between the bed and the wall. I had a phone and an answering machine with a tape recorder (it was 1989). The only way anyone in my neighborhood knew I was in the pest control business was if they saw me leave the garage, which was in the alley, and drive away in my marked truck.

I went from business to business making calls to find my first account. Growth was slow because no one knew who we were. Other than our company name on my truck and my uniform, they had never seen or heard of us.


After about six months of cold calling, we found our first office. It was on the LBJ Freeway at Preston Road, a major highway loop. The area just behind our office to the south was very desirable, and just south of that was Highland Park — one of the most expensive housing areas in our market. We rented a small space, and immediately put up an awning that featured our signage.

Dennis Jenkins

Dennis Jenkins

Since that time, we have moved twice and have added other locations in the huge geographic area that is Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW). Each time, one consideration for location was that we would be on a road with the highest traffic numbers I could find.

If you look at a map of our customers, you will immediately see that having locations with great signage on highways paid off, because it’s where customers are most dense. Of course, our marked vehicles have a lot to do with this; seeing our vehicles working in the area where we have offices also contributes to the customer density in the area.

These days, we operate from five offices. Each is on a main road, and each has signage that is as big as I can get away with making it. In addition to attracting customers, each location also attracts local people to come work with us.

Billboard advertising works in all areas, but also can be incredibly expensive. A location with signage on a major road in your market, however, is like spending money on advertising to grow your business, and at the same time saving lots of money.


There is another reason for owning your own location(s): If you plan to keep your business in the family, these locations can be owned by you, or by another entity that you own that is not your pest control company. When the mortgage is paid off, you get the rent your business pays.

This is basically my retirement plan. We will be able to transfer the business to the next generation and not sell it because our retirement plan is rent. The mortgage on our largest building will be paid off in seven years — about the same time I plan to retire — and the rent the company pays will come to my wife, Jennifer, and me instead of to the bank.

For a lot of people, selling their business seems really attractive. But for me, the most gratifying retirement I can think of is to see the business continue on into the next generation and beyond. The salaries for Jennifer and me will be replaced with rental income. Our salaries will go to the next generation, while our income will remain the same based on the rent our company pays. I can throw the keys to the business to them and say, “Just pay the rent!”

I love our industry; it is made up of so many family businesses. This is a way to grow your business and then keep it in the family.

About the Author

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JENKINS, who rotates this column with his brothers Bobby and Raleigh, is president of ABC Home & Commercial Services, Dallas, Texas. He can be reached at

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