If I died today – How would my pest control company continue?

Hearts Pest Management has evolved into a fairly complex mid-sized pest control company working in five counties now, providing pest control in San Diego, pest control in Los Angeles and pest control in between. That’s the way I like to see it. That’s a lot of territory, service visits, technicians, coordination and occasional headaches.

Our marketing plan has evolved into a complex assortment of internet assets such as Bugs In My Bed and other marketing tools that work together to produce results.

Our team has a wonderful team of technicians and office staff, each one an individual with unique needs and abilities.

We have numerous strategic partners on the supply side and we finally have an excellent financial team of consultants.

I must have 15-20 id/passwords for all my accounts, enough to drive anyone crazy.

We have several regulatory and insurance related deadlines to meet every year, and a variety of brokers for specific components of our insurance coverages.

My family has made me keanly aware that I need to always keep them in the loop, so that if anything happens to me, God forbid, the family will not be left a corporate turmoil to deal with on top of the obvious emotional turmoil.

So let me ask you this blund question. If you died in unfortunate circumstances today, would your company collapse? Are you sure it won’t? You probably have an abstract succession plan. Some pest control companies are so inbred that the family has all the positions of power. The major succession problem these folks have is who becomes the chief and how does it effect peace in the family. Even in these companies, and maybe even more so, the access to information can be very limited. Sad to say, many families split over the inherited pest control company.

But if you don’t have a family based pest control company, which I believe is the better choice, (or you have a family company where no one knows anything the other family members are doing), how will the entity continue past your death? Who is placed in positions of authority? How do you keep the ball rolling? How are bills paid? Where are the bookkeeping records? How do you access administration functions of secure websites? Who can be trusted with what issues?

Do you really want to leave this type of chaos to your beneficiaries to deal with blindly at the time of death? Insurance solves many problems, but it won’t stop the chaos of a headless company.

You’ve been putting this off because, after all, how many of us want to think about dying? Having a succession plan is very important. The training component must be more than a long term goal to move someone into your position. The succession plan should include the step by step minute details that will allow the company to transition almost effortlessly, with few questions asked. Not having this plan in place could cause many administrative, financial, legal, personnel and regulatory problems.

Do it today. Feel free to contact Hearts Consulting Group for guidance on this critical matter.

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7 Responses to If I died today – How would my pest control company continue?

  1. Jim Nocero says:

    What a great topic and this is a subject that is thought of and all to often quickly put to rest do to the thought. As you mentioned a Succession plan and even a Disaster Recovery plan in case of large catastrophic event rendering your business significantly hindered, is as you mentioned a must action item. Gerry if you need additional items that could better serve you with this topic please feel free to contact me anytime 24/7 800-958-6658. I have over 13 years in Risk Management, Loss Control and Disaster Recovery background to support you and your blogs readers.
    One more item that is often not even mentioned is Loss Control, in the event a major incident occurs not in necessarily in your favor and it has reached the media’s attention. They suddenly appear as they often do in this case at you office door, what would you say at that exact moment? Trust me no comment is not an option…
    Keep up the great works Gerry and enjoy your blog.
    Jim Nocero
    Stromsoe Insurance Agency, California

  2. Jim Nocero says:

    When you find time in your already busy schedule I would be honored to sit down and talk at your convenience and discuss this in more detail.
    Call me anytime 800-959-6658

    Much Appreciated,

    Jim Nocero
    Stromsoe Insurance Agency

  3. Gerry says:

    Thank you so much for a thoughtful reply. The one liners add votes but don’t really help conversation. Points presented are well taken.

  4. Gerry says:

    I you would like, you could compose something for a post on this topic and I’d be happy to publish it for you with a link to your website.

  5. Jerry A.C.E. says:

    I’ll add a one liner– Great thoughts!

    My wife & I as well as a friendly competitor here in town have what I think is a solid plan for our company and my friends. Maybe it’s time to review it and definitely time for my bride to take her certification test which was a puzzle piece that we had to wait the time needed for her to be eligible. My oldest son is also just about there test wise.

    oop’s-this was more than one line.

  6. Gerry says:

    Thanks, Jerry. I’m super happy that the post has provided incentive to dive in deeper.

    I created my post on this subject after receiving a severe wiping from my wife because I haven’t been inclusive enough. I really wasn’t listening or being fair. After thinking about it a while, I decided to do what she had been asking me to do for several years. I wrote the plan… to the nth detail.

    As you create your plan, consider all the people, organizations, companies with which you have contact during the weeks, months and year. Each one has some place in the plan. The folks in your own organization, competitors, allies, potential buyers, etc. Just as you have a “Plan B” when something goes wrong within your organization, it’s good if the plan itself has a Plan B. For example, although group A might be the best group to purchase the company, consider a Plan B strategy to sell the company. In 2004 I almost sold my company out of necessity and I developed a Plan A (fix the company), Plan B (sell the company) and Plan C (rename and transfer assets). Not knowing which would be the best option, I actually was successful at implementing all three plans. Your potential successors should have the same flexibility of operation.

    BTW, just this month, a very good friend of mine, a guy in perfect health, a vegetarian, standing 5′ 10,” weighing 155, with a stable family and successful high level career, almost died of an aneurism. He was mostly unconscious for three weeks. When he went on 70% ventilation, my cousin, an accomplished neurologist, whom I asked advice, simply said, “Oh, I am so sorry!” We thought for sure he was gone. But miraculously, he returned to a full recovering (after losing 30 pounds). As my friend said, “I feel like I dodged a bullet,” but we aren’t all going to be so lucky. … and it’s not just death that could ruin our companies. One disabling fall from a ladder could do it as well.

    With my hand raised in the Boy Scout oath, “Be Prepared!”

    Hope your weekend is going well.


  7. […] know others whose families were not so lucky. Not too long ago, my wife asked me to put together a list of things to do if I died and she was forced to run the company. (None of this is to say that I am dying – so don’t […]

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