Leonard Myers worked for a number of pest control companies over the course of 35 years as a pest management professional (PMP). But in 2011, he and his wife, Karen, decided that since their children were grown, it was time to start their own company.
They launched Hutto Pest Services in Pflugerville, Texas, a family-owned and -operated business that offers residential and commercial general pest and termite control services. Twelve years later, they decided to retire and sell their business to Atlanta, Ga.-based Arrow Exterminators.
“We were a family company,” Myers says. “Our employees were like family, and Arrow planned to keep all of them and take care of them.”
The couple’s son Len worked at the company and remained after the sale as service center manager. He assures his parents that, more than six months after the deal closed, it is going well.
At the time of the sale, the company had 16 full-time employees. When the Myerses informed the team of their retirement and subsequent sale, “there were a lot of tears and mixed emotions,” Myers recalls. “Change is hard for anybody.” Now employees enjoy better benefits and additional career opportunities.
As for Hutto Pest Services’ customers, many have been with the company since it started. Nothing much has changed, however. “Most customers, when they find out everybody’s still there, they’re good,” Myers says.
Making a change
The decision to sell the company was not made lightly. Eight grandchildren played a role, but that was only part of the reason.
“I had a hard time separating myself from the company,” Myers admits. “I worked almost every day of the week — we were closed on Sundays — for the better part of 10 years. Even when I was on vacation, I was working.”
As time went on, Myers realized selling the company would be the only way he could fully let go of his responsibilities.
“It has been an amazing ride,” he adds. “The company got a lot bigger than I thought; it just kept growing and growing.” Selling, he says, was the right thing to do.
Understanding the process
The Myerses started the acquisition process when they reached out to their certified public accountant, Dan Gordon, CPA, owner of PCO Bookkeepers & M&A Specialists — and Pest Management Professional’s financial columnist. The date was June 1, 2022.
“We closed on the transaction March 1, 2023,” Myers recalls. “But we pretty much decided in November/December whom we were going with.”
Myers recommends hiring experts, such as lawyers and accountants, who are familiar with the merger and acquisition process. They will fill you in on what to expect and give you good advice, he explains.
“I know pest control. I can kill bugs and manage people,” Myers quips. “But getting somebody to work with us was a good value and well worth the cost.”
Myers had been through the acquisition process a few times before, when working for other companies. He recalls some experiences were good, while others where just okay. As a result, he pictured how it would be when he sold his company, and says he is happy to report the transition was smooth.
“Everyone’s different on when to sell,” Myers says. “It just depends on whatever becomes more important. We only have so much time.”