Half Time for the Pest Control Season

July 29, 2011

July is coming to an end and with it we reach the half way point in “the pest control season.” If the pest control company has a well rounded and diversified service offering, the winter can and should be as welcome as the summer. That takes some doing and for most, the pest control season, roughly from April till October is when the bulk of new business arrives.
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What Were You Thinking?

July 11, 2011

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Risk taking is a necessary part of business. If you can’t take a risk and still sleep, you really should not own a company, not to mention a pest control or termite company, that facing liability risks each and every day at every service visit and between services.
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Mom and the Biz

April 6, 2011

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In a recent post, “Time for Mom,” I wrote about the sacrifices that we make as business people, the time away from those we love. Mom went through two hospitalizations last month for heart failure and pneumonia. She survived the episodes, but my sister and I came to the conclusion that we could no longer cross the country to manage her medical care. Dying is no easy matter in an age when we can prolong life indefinitely, to the edge and beyond of what we feel is a human existence. We each have our own way of dealing with the moral issues of death and dying. At this point, for my mom, my sister and I felt it was time to step up to the plate as medical proxies. So last week we brought her out to live just 5 minutes from my home and business, at The Remington Club in Rancho Bernardo, CA. Here, we can watch, comfort and protect her properly.
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Time for Mom

March 10, 2011

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Nothing positive comes in life without a sacrifice. Owning a pest control company is one of them. Creating a successful company requires an enormous number of hours of blood, sweat and tears. Blood is spilled in terms of the stressed family relationships as you pour yourself into the business. Sweat beyond belief is extended as you play field and office chief cook and bottle washer. Tears like you wouldn’t believe are felt when you realize that you have hired people who you may not be able to trust, people who don’t care, who damage your business (sometimes willfully) and all of whom go on the chopping block to save your business.

But today my thoughts are on my mom. Read the rest of this entry »


Don’t Worry, Be Happy

January 20, 2011

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Ok, I should know that no news is good news, but I do worry more than I should, which cuts into the happiness. But, my son is calling into the Hearts pest control team and he assures me that the team is getting the pest control inspections, selling the pest control inspections (which is even better), and is now getting caught up on paperwork. Ok, so I log in and see that the paperwork is already done! That means the money is posted and I needn’t worry about payments already scheduled. My confidence goes sky high that the team is as good as I thought, maybe even better, as they rise to the challenge running the show without me. (Perhaps they’ll ask me why I need to come back. LOL
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No News is Good News

January 19, 2011

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Three days into my vacation and still no word from my management team at Hearts Pest Management. So the pest control business doesn’t need me. That’s good, because every business owner needs to get away. There is nothing like a little R&R. For the pest control team, pest control managers and pest control line staff, this is the time they truly prove their value.

Meanwhile, we had a wonderful time in Tel Aviv with my cousins. A hightlight was a trip down to the old city of Jaffa, which retains a strong Arab presence. There, my German Jewish Israeli cousins from the upper crust of academic life and we Americans mixed warmly with the local Arabs for a fine evening of dining at “The Old Man,” a
flavorful restaurant by the sea.

In Israel, there are always stories to tell, so many that you don’t have to repeat the old ones. My cousin tells us, “We have always lived with wars.” We think about ’48, ’56, ’67, ’73, ’82 etc. But he tells me that one of the earliest memories he has was hiding out during a bombing raid by the Italians on Tel Aviv during WWII.

On the way to visit my cousin, I stopped at a very fancy shopping center, on par with the richest communities in the U.S. We in the U.S. are making such a to-do about air line security. But in the U.S. it is pretty much limited to the airport. So as I enter the underground parking lot of the shopping mall, I come to a security stop. They ask to see my identification and want to know my purpose in Israel and if anyone has given me a package. Then they ask that I pop open the trunk of the car so they can check there too for bombs. Risk is always present and that risk is well managed and taken as a given. I am happy to assist them.


My Alternate Universe

January 16, 2011

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In about six hours I’ll be boarding an El Al flight to Israel. This trip is very special for me. Between ages 15 and 26 (1970-77) I spent a great deal of time in Israel, mostly living on kibbutzim, in various sections of the country. Since then, I was back in ’82 and ’97 for short visits. This is the first time I’ll have totally free movement, with a rental car. It’ll just be me and my wife, with our own private schedule of visits, sites, excursions, hikes… with stops at a few local wineries.
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2011 Pest Control Industry Forecast – Who’s in the Driver’s Seat? A Macro-Perspective

January 3, 2011

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As we look ahead with predictions for the pest control industry in 2011, we may have a sense that those companies still around will get through the remaining economic struggles. Pest control companies are adjusting by cutting excess spending, reducing credit outstanding and putting aside rainy day cash. Companies are trying to gain relative leverage against bad economic times by diversifying their service portolio and taking advantage of weak spots that they find in their competitors’ positions. Simultaneously, companies are focusing on strong core services that will produce the most profit. Some companies are simply trying to add market share at any price, but adding this revenue will not produce profit. It is a mistake. Companies cannot for long make money by losing money.
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Fatigue, Sleep Deprivation and Aging

November 5, 2010

I’ve always enjoyed waking up early. As a child, I woke up approximately 5:30-6:00AM. Hinting as to my age, I’d go down to the basement of our house where we had our TV / play room. I’d sit and stare at the TV, watching the signal pattern until the Star Spangled Banner was sung against the image of the American flag waving in the wind. The first program of the morning was “Modern Farmer.” Quite an appropriate program for a NYC kid in the concrete jungle! Anyway, I loved my morning quiet time to myself downstairs.
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Deserting or Enabling the Team

August 31, 2010

For the past 18 months I stayed physically close to my pest control company. Each day I watched revenue, expenses, cash flow, teamwork, potential liabilities, examined opportunities. I made steady progress cleaning up the books. I changed both my bookkeeper and my accountant. Steadily, I cut my credit card debt.

I still have a long way to go, but Hearts Pest Management is functioning as a more finely tuned economic machine. (That doesn’t mean cutting workers and worker benefits. You don’t cut off the arm that feeds you).
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