1 Stop sees success after taking action


July 27, 2023

Illustration: Oleksandr Hruts/iStock / Getty Images Plus/Getty Images

Illustration: Oleksandr Hruts/iStock / Getty Images Plus/Getty Images

No matter how well we plan and prepare, life can turn our plans upside down and lead us in a different direction.

Angie and Bill Richter at 1 Stop Pest, Cincinnati, Ohio, know this all too well. When I interviewed them in late December 2022 for my February column (see p. 58), they were primed to make 2023 their best year ever. After a devastating injury to Bill in the summer of 2021 that sidelined him for a few months, they were back to moving in the right direction. They had their daughter Cearra and her husband, Ian, working for the family business; they were expanding and adding another route; and Angie was learning how to be an office manager.

But then life intervened again.

In January, Bill and Angie were at the 87th Annual Purdue Pest Conference when they learned Bill’s mom was gravely ill. She passed away a week later. Soon after, one of their techs lost his mother, too. Then, Bill and Angie lovingly accepted the responsibility of raising their 9-year-old granddaughter, Kali. So, before the February snows had completely melted in Cincinnati, the Richters had to adjust, refocus and bounce back from a tumultuous winter.

The good news is, 1 Stop’s numbers have gone up:

  • In March 2022, route production was $27,019.
  • In March 2023, they doubled it to $55,502.
  • They were up by $25,000 year over year in April and up $26,000 year over year in May.

Customers and confidence

Angie Richter

Angie Richter

In early June, I asked the Richters what they thought were some of the factors in their company’s surge forward.

“We’ve done a much better job setting up our customers on quarterly programs,” Angie said. “We also are getting to phone calls more quickly, and I’m more confident on the phones.”

They pointed to doing a better job setting up their termite renewals, as well. They admittedly dropped the ball on following up with their termite clients during and immediately after the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, they are much more organized and have a game plan. Part of that restructuring was getting written standard operating procedures (SOPs) in place — and used.

Bill Richter

Bill Richter

“We now hold short, weekly meetings to go over protocols and procedures with all of our employees,” Angie said. “We also have end-of-the-month training sessions, which help maintain consistency with our services.”

Bill added, “If we could go back in time, I would definitely have been stricter with our protocols and training from the start.”

SOP consistency

To ensure everyone is staying consistent with 1 Stop’s pest control processes, Bill has been going out with the techs and using his smartphone to record their treatments on video. It was a revelation, he says. “I recorded each of them, and was surprised at the varying ways they were doing pest control.”

One tech was going a little too fast for Bill’s liking, while another was spending too much time discussing the treatment with the client. He showed clips of all the videos to the technicians as a group, and is continuing to coach them individually and together on how to provide a more consistent service.

Networking brings results

Another factor in 1 Stop’s 2023 growth is how the Richters have picked up business through their local chamber of commerce. They recently hosted a meet-and-greet-event for the organization’s members to come to their offices for refreshments. They made several great contacts as a result.

Networking through local organizations is something I encourage all my clients to do because not only can you meet potential customers, you also can grow your sales force organically. Even though these people don’t work for you, they will still be out and about in the community, talking about your business in a positive way.

More goals, more success

To keep their current momentum, Angie and Bill have several goals they want to achieve during the second half of 2023:

  • Understand their software better to fully utilize its benefits.
  • Continue to organize and grow their termite renewals.
  • Read the book Traction: Get

A Grip On Your Business by Gino Wickman.

  • Start and implement key performance indicators (KPIs).
  • Give their employees more freedom to make decisions in the field, offer their ideas and suggestions, etc.
  • Incorporate their core values into their company culture and marketing (see box at right).
  • Raise wages.

In my upcoming December column, we will compare the 2023 stats of all five “Start-up Stories” companies to those of 2022. At its current pace, 1 Stop will be up at least 20 percent from 2022 — and maybe as high as 36 percent.

Overall, I have had a blast working with 1 Stop’s five-person team this year. They ask lots of questions and aren’t afraid to try new things. I want to thank them for allowing me a quick glimpse into their company, and to share my insights with PMP readers.

About the Author

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Schopen is owner of RV There Yet Pest Consulting and my email is rvthereyetpest@gmail.com.

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