Last month, we met Bill and Angie Richter. This month, I am introducing you to brothers Tyson and Kristofer Ryatz.
“Um, Pete, our last name is actually Elling,” Kristofer confided in me recently, “and I prefer to go by Kris.”
Okaaayyy. Then why does everything on social media say Kristofer and Tyson Ryatz?
“When we were younger, my dad always warned Tyson and me to never give out our personal information,” he explained, “so my brother and I took it to heart and adopted that lifestyle.”
Hmmm, I get it. Identity theft is a real thing, but where did they come up with “Ryatz”? “That was my graffiti name,” Kris replied. Graffiti name? I’m hooked. Tell me more!
Path to pest control
The Ryatz brothers, er, Elling brothers own Bellingham, Wash.-based Sasquatch Pest Control, which definitely is on my Mount Rushmore of cool company names. They grew up in the Phoenix, Ariz., area, where they attended Carl Hayden High School. Tyson, who is four years older, moved to Washington when he was 22 and enrolled in Bellingham Technical College to study fisheries management. Kris, whose graffiti artwork was getting him noticed for the wrong reasons, needed a change of scenery so he followed his brother to the Evergreen State. Kris enrolled in Bellingham Technical College to study culinary arts.
Kris and Tyson would both go on to have success in their chosen fields. Tyson, a single father of one daughter, Jordyn, worked his way up the West Coast and ended up in Alaska, working salmon farms. Kris, happily married seven years to Lindsey, worked and managed several restaurant kitchens, eventually becoming a head chef.
“I enjoy the restaurant business. But I was drowning in student debt, making just $13.50 an hour,” Kris told me. He needed a change of scenery again, so he went onto Craigslist and found an opening at a local pest control company. He applied, and worked at that company for more than 10 years.
Tyson started Sasquatch Pest Control in June 2021 after working for two other companies. Kris again followed his big brother’s lead and joined Sasquatch a short time later. “We love working together,” said Kris. “We have skill sets that complement each other.” For example, Tyson is the outgoing brother, the perfect salesman. Shyer Kris, on the other hand, understands budgets and numbers from his days working in restaurants.
Creative marketing programs
Because of his background in graffiti art, Kris is very creative, which helps them on social media. Kris creates the search engine optimization (SEO) content and handles the website. The brothers also use artificial intelligence (AI) to create ads. Their current AI program has 160 voices and 50 languages available.
Kris also has done a fantastic job using Facebook to generate interest in their company on many Bellingham Facebook Groups (gardening, farmers market, sell/trade groups, etc.). One particularly clever thing Kris does is click on a Facebook Group Page — Bellingham Pokémon Go! for example — and scroll to the right to the magnifying glass. Once there, he types in any “pest” word (ants, spiders, pest control, etc.) and sees which conversations pop up. By responding to the person who initially asked about “pests,” Sasquatch Pest will show up in the news feed and anyone who responded to that post will see Sasquatch. Brilliant! (By the way, Bellingham Pokémon Go! is a real Facebook Group. Look it up!)
Tyson and Kris have mostly residential clients, and they finished 2022 with $154,000 in sales. They hope to triple that figure this year. One of the areas they are counting on to carry them to $400,000 in sales is mole work. Tyson told me it is very important that they don’t replicate what other companies are doing. For example, they don’t like baiting the moles; instead, they trap them. “Clients really like to see the dead moles,” Tyson said. “It proves we are doing our job.”
I hope Sasquatch Pest Control really takes off this year so I can convince Tyson to grab me a beautiful salmon, have Kris cook me some broiled salmon with a mustard glaze and maybe use his art skills to paint a nice Schopen mural on the side of our building. In the meantime, watch out for the Ryatz — I mean Elling brothers as they break into the Western Washington market.
Seriously, Kris, what type of potato goes well with salmon?
S.W.O.T. Analysis: Sasquatch Pest Control
- Exclusion work
- Lack of funds
- Scalable infrastructure (add a phone service)
- Inability to take on bigger jobs
- Older vehicles
- Digital marketing
- Local service ads
- Attic and crawlspace insulation
- Size of company currently
- Larger companies outshining Sasquatch in marketing
- Injuries on the job
- Vehicle upkeep costs
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