Bill Richter almost cut off his foot.
“I was mowing my grass on June 24, 2021, and I was pulling the mower backward,” the owner of 1 Stop Pest Control recently told me. He tripped, and the 25-year pest control veteran accidentally pulled the lawnmower over his right foot! The awful injury nearly cost him three little piggies, but the doctors were able to sew his toes back on. After seven months, three surgeries and a lot of rehab, Bill was able to get back to work.
But while Bill was trying to figure out his rehab assignments, his partner in crime, Angie Richter, was trying to figure out how they were going to service Bill’s clients and pay the bills.
“I was a school bus driver for 20 years,” stated the mother of three. “I would help Bill on occasion, but I had never run a pest route before. Bill roped me into taking over his route.”
Angie’s life flipped upside down in a single moment. She went from seventh-grade drama and spitballs to cockroaches and crawlspaces. Angie the bus driver became Angie the pest tech, and bravely ran Bill’s route for him until he was healthy again.
The Richters weathered the storm and still own and operate 1 Stop Pest Control in Miami Town, Ohio, a suburb of Cincinnati. Bill was a long-time Terminix tech before he embarked on a solo career.
Gearing up for growth
Bill and Angie were junior high sweethearts and had their first child when they were 16 years of age. Now, 32 years later, they are attempting to raise 1 Stop Pest from a four-person operation into a thriving company.
“The injury was the biggest reason we decided to hire and grow,” recalled Bill. “That’s because as I get older, I realize I’ll be physically limited on some things, and I won’t be able to continue to run the company by myself.”
Enter Pete Schopen and “Start-up Stories.” I’ll be working with the Richters on a weekly basis for the next 52 weeks, helping them and four other companies jumpstart their businesses.
“Once we start growing, we want to keep it rolling,” Bill explained. Their goal for 2023 is to grow their business from $436,000 (2022 revenue) to at least $545,000 by the end of this year. They currently have two other employees but would love to add two more people by the end of the year. I think this is very doable for them, especially since this isn’t the first time they have undertaken a prodigious task.
Angie is the oldest of five siblings. When the Richters were just 25 years old, Angie’s parents went through a bitter divorce. Angie and Bill felt the healthiest environment for Angie’s four brothers and sisters was for them to move into their home. The young couple already had been married for several years and had three kids of their own, but in December 1999, they graciously brought Angie’s siblings into the fold. So, at an age when most young adults are worrying about snagging concert tickets, Angie and Bill were suddenly supporting seven kids.
Developing a plan
As 1 Stop Pest Control traverses through 2023, they will do it with Bill in the field, Angie in the office and their daughter Cearra running a route. Cearra’s husband, Ian, joined the crew last year, and he rounds out the team as a second tech.
1 Stop Pest Control services monthly and quarterly accounts with a 90/10 mix of residential/commercial. Most of their residential work is quarterly exterior on a monthly subscription plan. They cover a 45-mile radius around the Tri-State area of Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana. An exciting upgrade for them last year was moving into their first-ever offices in May.
A good company structure for them beginning in 2024 would be Bill as president, taking care of sales, quotes, problem customers, etc. Angie can continue to handle the phones, routes and billing. Four techs are probably too many for just $545,000, but having four techs heading into 2024 will lay the groundwork for even more growth (projected revenue of close to $700,000 by the end of 2024). Some items we will be working on this year will be:
- Promoting their business on social media.
- Creating contacts and networking through local chambers of commerce.
- Creating key performance indicators (KPIs).
- Creating standard operating procedures (SOPs).
- Doing a better job at signing up renewals.
As long as Bill lets someone else cut his grass in the future, I believe that the Richters will easily hit their goals in 2023.
S.W.O.T. Analysis: 1 Stop Pest Control
- Quick response
- All employees are licensed
- Techs exceed the minimum state training requirements
- 53 years of combined experience
- Pick up new business via chambers of commerce
- Mosquito traps
- Creating a Realtor program for soliciting new business
- Converting one-time clients to quarterly clients
- Need to do a better job with termite renewals
- No standard operating procedures
- Don’t have a good grasp on their data
- Don’t know how to create key performance indicators
- Lack of experience in hiring new employees
- Bill needs to pull back and let other people run the routes so he can run his company