The Boardroom Buzz Pest Control Podcast
About this podcast
The Boardroom Buzz, hosted by Patrick Baldwin and Paul Giannamore, is the go-to resource for cutting-edge insight on strategy, valuation and mergers & acquisitions in the pest control industry. Presented by the Potomac Pest Control Group.
About this podcast
The Boardroom Buzz, hosted by Patrick Baldwin and Paul Giannamore, is the go-to resource for cutting-edge insight on strategy, valuation and mergers & acquisitions in the pest control industry. Presented by the Potomac Pest Control Group.
The Boardroom Buzz Pest Control Podcast
Episode 44 — Drag-Along, Tag-Along, Options and Agreements with M&A Attorney Mike Stanczyk
Mike Stanczyk makes time between closings for an encore appearance in The Boardroom. On this occasion, Mike fields shareholder agreement questions. From formal arrangements to napkins to none, hear how preparation and sophistication varies. Don’t feel alone if you find yourself without a proper agreement in place. Learn from others. Have these discussions. Proper agreements are borne from previous poor personal planning. You know by now that family business in pest control is a reoccurring theme. Paul gives notice; verbal only arrangements are bad and corporate welfare is worse. Parenting advice uncovers family business trends and inherited titles via surname similarity. Options are prolific in the tech industry, but Paul asks Mike about their place in pest control. The conversation is peppered with tax implications. Do options have their own tax advantages? Paul recalls when a sale was discovered with derivatives in the balance. You’ll hear how a ‘free and clear title’ isn’t a phrase unique to the auto industry. If Patrick wasn’t having a hard enough time keeping up, Mike and Paul play a rhetorical game of tag-along and drag-along. Patrick can be difficult to deal with, but it’s the guest dragging Patrick along this week. Following Paul’s judge and jury soapbox last week, what will this week’s legal disclaimer entail? Is Patrick the only one asking who an attorney represents? Should you find yourself calling Mike, remember that he is NOT LegalZoom. There is more than one takeaway in this public service announcement of an episode. Whether you’re in a family business or not, always remember Mex’s Rule #1: don’t suck at life. Co-Produced, Edited, and Mixed by Dylan Seals of hdaudiopost.com
Episode 43 — Service Agreements and The Recurring Reformation
Patrick survives the un-Texas weather to only later hear Paul tell him what he’s (not) worth. Between upcoming tax rate hikes and inflated valuations, wouldn’t you know that Paul is keeping busy (or at least The Angry Mex is)? In other current events, Patrick *felt* special for a hot minute. You'll hear how about "a top pest control provider in the southeast that is actively seeking to expand its current service area. Our client is in the top 10 nationally in terms of annual sales and is privately held. Knowing that yours is one of the best and fastest growing in the area...". Paul talks Patrick down from his Rising Star pedestal. Patrick recalls a one-time project in which he had to research recurring vs reoccurring. Leave it to Patrick to chase that into a food frequency free-for-all. If Paul can make it past the Compound, he can show how his one (and maybe never) trip to Waco explains the reoccurring difference. Paul goes on to distinguish reoccurring and one-times. Patrick questions Paul about saying no to Aunt Suzy. Paul questions Patrick’s question. It may be a Buzz word, but there are 'opportunity costs'. Service Agreements. Yes or No? Paper or Digital? Early cancellation fees? Termite work? Paul recalls days of yesteryear when due diligence teams sampled service agreements. What happens when a service agreement doesn’t line up with what is being delivered? You may not find yourself in a class action lawsuit but it may happen to the acquirer. The disclaimer Paul gives is one for the ages. He repeats what he has heard from attorneys. Do NOT take what Paul says as investment advice or legal advice, or prepare to stand before the judge and jury. Episode 42 guest, Jeff Bain, must be an instant classic, or maybe it's an easy reference. Be like Jeff; define what makes your business different. Make sure to RSVP for Paul's upcoming customer retention presentation (email theBuzz@potomaccompany.com). Donation to The Human Fund not required. Co-Produced, Edited, and Mixed by Dylan Seals of hdaudiopost.com
Episode 42 — Jeff Bain on the Power of Customer Retention
Jeff Bain knows how to learn from others. Taking notes from his insurance colleagues, Jeff knew he had to build an annuity-based pest control business. His top priority was to protect the residential-heavy business from wild seasonality as he took over the reins at Bain Pest Control. During Jeff’s collegiate days, he found himself getting paid to learn from American Pest’s former leader, Jay Nixon. Similar to previous Buzz guest Jim McHale, Jeff even shares a nod to the Sameth family and their Residex reps’ willingness to help shape the recurring business model. Relationships, referrals, and pricing chatter abound during this time in The Boardroom. When it comes to building a client base, Jeff takes over as teacher during this sit-down session. Listen for how Bain Pest Control’s retention rate and marketing budget stray from the norm. Jeff even makes time to answer a listener’s question about selling in the Northern climate. Over 100 years after the Ukrainian immigrant entered the USA via Ellis Island, Jeff Bain found himself realizing it was time to sell the family business. When it was time to select an advisor to sell his business, Jeff decided on the advisor that had his best interest in mind. His high trust relationships led him to having several employee discussions before selling the near-centenarian business. You’ll hear how Jeff had his employees’ opportunities in mind while deciding on Rentokil as the best acquirer for the business. There are too many emotions to list in this Boardroom sit-down. Speaking of emotions, Jeff goes on to share a story that shows the soft-side of Potomac’s chief negotiator.
Episode 41 — Leadership Lessons and Management Mantras with Edge COO Mitch Smith
Step into the Boardroom with one of Paul’s favorite pest control people. Mitch Smith discusses experiences which shaped his management style. He shares leadership lessons learned throughout his 35+ year career. This Boardroom guest started in the industry as a technician and rose in the ranks at both TruGreen and Centex. Before Mitch’s current position as COO of Edge, Mitch was the Western Division President at Orkin. Mitch brings an interesting perspective to the ‘lawn vs pest’ discussion. He shares the direct connection between business maturity and universal technicians. Service specialist salesmanship may sound like an oxymoron, but trust and unrefinement go hand in hand. While personality profiles find their way into this culture conversation. What are the betting odds when against forcing a square peg into a round hole? Mitch preaches that influencing company culture is more than attending a two-week seminar. It turns out that learning from direct reports and self-reflection has a lot to do with leadership. Mitch recalls a realization moment when a mentor taught him to look in the mirror. Sports analogies abound as running, juggling, and lifting get shared in this sit-down discussion. Hear how Mitch describes spending energy units for high growth and high service delivery standards. Mitch brings management metrics into focus as he shares his tenured strategy. Do you come to this conversation with buy-side in mind? Tune-in to hear Mitch’s post mortem metrics following an acquisition. Perceived value is critical to keep the recurring revenue wheels turning. Before you listen, ask yourself, ‘how do I measure world class service?’ Co-Produced, Edited, and Mixed by Dylan Seals of hdaudiopost.com
Episode 40 — Expect the Opposite: The Sell-Side M&A Discussion Continues
The U Group held its semi-annual meeting in Tampa, and called on Paul Giannamore to present. Call it a press pass or Paul’s paparazzi; Patrick managed to find his way into the meeting. Even the Senator Scott Stevenson made the drive to hang out with Paul, Patrick, and his U Group colleagues. While in Tampa, Paul made time to visit Seth Garber’s Pest Daily studio for some buy-side lessons. What happens when a potential deal stalls in due diligence? It gets interesting when it’s not one of Paul’s deals and a prominent strategic acquirer calls on Paul for help. Patrick asks Paul to draw the line in the sand between brokers and sell-side advisors. What about Patrick’s conflict of interest hunch between buy-side and sell-side work? A sell-side client gets the duo discussing what’s better than a best and final offer. Paul also reveals his personal connections with the Dunning-Kruger effect. Standing on the shoulders of giants, even M&A-experienced private equity partners call on advisors. In life, you learn to expect the unexpected. As a negotiator, you learn to expect the opposite of the expected. Which title does Paul find himself donning? Paul the Picasso Purveyor? Paul the Peacemaker? Paul the Point of Indifference Pusher? Patrick's phone call with a tenured strategic buyer, turns the tables as Paul asks Patrick what he learned. You'll hear how Patrick finds himself bearing the advocate role for other pest control owners. Trust and credibility are common threads woven into this Boardroom conversation. Would you have the discretion to turn down $1 million in overtime? Which pop culture reference will Paul drop in The Boardroom this week? Don’t worry. Patrick didn’t catch this one either. Co-Produced, Edited, and Mixed by Dylan Seals of hdaudiopost.com
Episode 39 — The Routing and 4-Day Workweek Wizard, Pam Blauvelt of Griffin Pest Solutions
Set aside what you think about routing for two hours, and step into the Boardroom with Pam Blauvelt of PCT Top 100 Griffin Pest Solutions (now a Rentokil company... finally). What Doug Stevenson is to financial systems, Pam is to operational efficiencies. Find the path to the Holy Grail as you consider same-day scheduling changes. Tune-in to hear how an acquisition accident left Pam and her business partner, Jeff Spencer, scrambling. Borne out of crisis, Griffin was forced to implement a four-day workweek. A necessity turned into demands echoed from Griffin guys and gals. Murphy's Law #14 in pest control states that your technician's schedule puts him at a restaurant during the lunchtime rush. Not so with Pam's PestPac Pro Parameters. Other than a four-day workweek, what other lessons did Pam learn while making acquisitions? What would Pam not outsource during due diligence? Production versus hourly pay? Ask yourself how many technicians you'd be willing to lose if making the change is the best thing for your business. If you've ever found yourself saying 'talk to me like an adult' to a technician, then you'll enjoy time spent in this Boardroom. Co-Produced, Edited, and Mixed by Dylan Seals of hdaudiopost.com
Episode 38 — The Dennis Rodman Paradox in Pest Control
Last week’s inspirational episode with Shelby Hawkins still has The Boardroom picking up the pieces. Paul summed up Shelby’s interview best: ‘no excuses’. It’s a good time to catch up on Paul’s New Year’s Day board meeting. Paul gives feedback on the P&L’s, incentive structures, and management reports. There is a give and take to incentive structures. Who knew that a hedge fund conference on modern portfolio management theory would spiral into giving Dennis Rodman free throw lessons? How will Company Bravo’s “Timmy” stack up at the line? Where is the balance between incentives and preventing demotivation? It’s a yin and yang exchange. Speaking of balance, The Matrix gets a nod during this week's compensation conversation. It’s on the record. Paul commits to writing a "Nerd Nerd" paper on the organizing mechanism spectrum in pest control companies. As the loyal listeners know, Patrick takes great joy in packing events on Paul’s calendar. As if Paul’s schedule isn’t busy enough, stay tuned for a combined presentation on the chart of accounts (Episode 26), employee metrics (Episode 34), and (an updated) Aftermath. The chat has Patrick asking if there are common conversations following a preliminary valuation. Are there owners that are not willing to make changes? A simple question about routine EBITDA adjustments leads to a consultation on narratives and the ‘interplay between growth rate and profitability.’ It turns out, it’s a lot more than adding and subtracting when the acquirer takes over. Patrick didn’t see it coming, but the benchmarking debate returns. Paul: “If anyone gets anything out of this episode. You are not selling the past. You are always selling the future.”
Episode 37 — Five Stars for Pest Control Pioneer Shelby Hawkins
Shelby Hawkins found herself in pest control with 3 kids, 2 college degrees, 1 ex-husband, and 0 business experience. Her maternal determination brought her from food stamps to financial freedom. As a pest control pioneer, Shelby broke the glass ceiling but in her humility, she credits providing for her kids. It wasn't hard enough that she was outnumbered as a female in pest control, but she found her state inspector making weekly visits. Her female point of view set her apart during real estate interactions in Tucson, AZ. Ironically, real estate wasn’t ready for Shelby when it became time to buy an office. Shelby attended a national trade convention, but still found herself as an outsider. Her determination kept her focused on learning from others. Years later, Shelby recalls Don Jamison offering a helping hand all the way from Memphis. Is self-talk part of Shelby’s success? After reading Dr. Joseph Murphy’s book, Infinite Riches went from subconscious mind to landing in her lap. Listen to how entitlement and false loyalty surfaced when it was time to sell 5 Star Termite & Pest. Even in her retirement, Shelby is practicing what she preaches: get out of your comfort zone. Enter Kevin Burns and Arrow Exterminators. Now with $280 million combined between 137 branch offices, Arrow was the perfect fit for Shelby’s business. The Boardroom debriefs on Shelby’s love for working in the field. Join us as Kevin shares from his sixteen years of experience watching owners unwind from their businesses. Arrow’s culture is clear as Kevin shares their goals to keep 100% of their customers and employees following an acquisition. Paul gives credit to Kevin, Emily Thomas Kendrick, and Tim Pollard as they welcome new team members to their Arrow family. Listen for that same family approach during the discussion of branch size and employee opportunities. In terms of the global economy and pest control’s impact on world health, industry perception is no laughing matter. Who knew that encouraging training and licensing would put Patrick on his soapbox? Co-Produced, Edited, and Mixed by Dylan Seals of hdaudiopost.com
Episode 36 — 2020 M&A Wrap-Up, Channel Partners, Joint Ventures and Patrick Preps Paul for a Board Meeting
What has Paul learned from The Boardroom Buzz, and how it has changed his perspective? It's only a matter of minutes before Paul reminds Patrick of his Anticimex HQ boardroom conversation. Jarl Dahlfors shared his Quality, Profit, and Growth philosophy in Episode 24. With a quality-first priority, it’s time to hear the realities of chasing shiny objects vs. making internal improvements. What makes up an effective board? Maybe better asked, who makes up an effective board? Taking a cue from the great Stevie Wonder, Board Member Paul finds himself with ‘No New Year’s Day to celebrate’. Paul confesses to his living laboratory, Company Bravo, and his mad science experiments. In light of Bravo, it’s time for another chat about incentive structures. When it comes to outsourcing capabilities, does call center overflow pay for itself using a company such as Slingshot? Patrick finds himself in confession for egregious sins committed years ago. When it comes to sales, which offerings should be considered and likewise avoided? When it comes to leveraging a customer base, does it make sense to acquire a similar business or would a joint venture make for a better return?
Episode 35 — Twas the Listeners' Show of 2020
'Twas the night before Christmas, a Boardroom or house, Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse; The live traps were set by the chimney with care, It’s showtime, Paul G, let’s get on the air; Jamie Clement chimed in with Milo his cat, The Boardroom opens up for a hot mic chat; Listeners sent in questions and summoned the bookies; Will Patrick give mad props to Milk Bottle Cookies? Knowing when to sell can be tricky, Will prices inflate or find themselves sticky? Seismic re-ratings in the public market, Could trigger owners to roll up the carpet. The Top 3 players may outgrow the ninety-seven, Aggressive offers could force concession; Great questions come out on this inflationary climate, Let’s light wads of cash like a government pirate, Milo’s master purrs on about management teams, While business fundamentals affect valuation extremes; In-house or outsource your business capabilities? 2020’s Buzz word deserves its nobilities. The clips proclaim ideas implemented, It tops off a year that was unprecedented. "Now, Todd! now, Daniel! now, Shane! now, Andy! On, Ben! on, Stewart! on, Liz and Jesse! Will multiples differ between resi- and commercial? 35 episodes so far, and some were controversial. Future returns will depend on the vaccine, We all cheer for the pest cash machine. St. Paul G gives in to a geography question, Patrick wants to know also via his confession— As it gets closer to sell, what should be done? Chuck Norris returns for another pun run. Better asked, should it be what not to do? Impairing your value, pre-Buzz, who knew? Signing off for the year, The Buzz gets sentimental, Big shout-out to Dylan for all things instrumental; The Listeners, the guests, and guest co-hosts surround, We do this for you. May your businesses compound! We’ll return next year, there’s more to address, Happy New Year! Happy Festivus! Everyone, God Bless!
Episode 34 — CEO Mark O’Hara of PCT Top 100 Anderson Pest Control on Building a Commercial Empire
Mark O’Hara stepped out to step up the family business. Is this wisdom for future generations of Buzz listeners? Mark served his time at both the US Army and Anheuser-Busch before rejoining Anderson Pest Solutions. Mark built on his non-pest experience to rise in the ranks at Anderson. His dad started it, his brother primed it, and Mark and his nephew, JT Barnard, scaled it. Mark and his nephew ultimately sold Anderson to Rentokil in 2015 with a $21M top-line mark. People differentiate, not materials. Mark gives tangible examples of culture in this Boardroom conversation. Recruitment became a critical function as the business thrived. Mark tips his hand at a recruitment target outside of pest control. What is Mark’s take on leveraging employees’ relationships to grow the organization? What about recruiting from within the industry? He even shines light on the inevitable blinders surrounding employee interviews. Have you ever felt like sticking your neck out to hire someone? Mark suggests a solution for that. It is hard to fathom building commercial sales machine without trials and tribulations. The conference room conversation doesn’t shy away from ‘sales vs service’. Town hall meetings, individual performance metrics, and committee feedback built the accountability culture. From grading leads to fixing funnel flow, Anderson’s sales process evolved. Patrick Quigley would be proud to hear that Mark refers to hot buttons and asking for the signature in this visit. In battle-field fashion, Mark would often start new projects and then walk away. Mark’s entrepreneurial spirit led to switching course too often. It may not have been self-realized though. As ‘The Way of the Shepherd’ and ‘The 4 Disciplines of Execution’ were recommended to him, he gives his seal of approval to Buzz listeners. When the Chicago climate suppressed pest pressure, how did Mark manage overtime discrimination? In Episode 5, Tony Sfreddo discussed segregating his commercial and residential technicians. How did Anderson structure its technicians’ routes? If Mark was dropped into a $2-3 million business today, how would he think about scaling that business? Tangible takeaways abound in this interview with another PCT Top 100 Great.
Bonus Buzz — Anticimex Enters California, Acquiring Pro Pacific Pest Control
Exciting opportunities abound for David Billingsly, Shane Hoy, Ben Hoy, Jon Hoy, and the Pro Pacific Pest Control team. As Anticimex goes west, J. Peterman pays a special visit to congratulate Paul and The Mex aka Franco. Guest co-host David 'General' Billingsly returns to discuss his new role at Anticimex, and is greeted with his new nickname. While David frowns on the nickname, it's the title ‘boss’ that gets him on the corporate soapbox. Speaking of titles, David welcomes Shane to the ‘employee’-side. 'Dollar Bill' David crosses the Mississippi to take the lead as Anticimex Western Region President while Shane has high hopes for DBigs' acquisition experience. What gold will they discover together in California? Buying is the easy part, especially for David. He has a lot of experience acquiring businesses – 13 in total – while at American Pest. Paul and Shane ask him about lessons learned during integration. Recently Anticimex entered Colorado and Arizona with Kevin Lemasters' EnviroPest and Dena Berg's Northwest Exterminating, respectively. Paul explains his take on what these acquisitions do for the West coast. Shane discusses how he announced this acquisition to his staff well before the closing. Would this acquisition have happened for Pro Pacific if it wasn’t with Anticimex? What is the next chapter for Pro Pacific’s Cinderella story?
Episode 33 — Buckle your Seatbelts and Prepare for the Exit
What could be worse : a multi-million dollar wiring snafu or another extortion at the closing? If that question is being posed, then you know it has been another long week in Paul's busiest M&A season. It sounds like these uninvited experiences will remind listeners of previous episode discussions. Some acquirers are sitting on their announcements, but not Anticimex. AX is proud to announce its entry acquisition into California with PCT Top 100 Pro Pacific Pest Control. Congratulations to the Hoy Boys - Shane, Ben, and Jon! Did they really tell their staff a week before the deal finalized? Paul has high hopes for freshly-appointed Terminix CEO Brett Ponton, but Paul is quick to recall when TMX fell from grace & left the client at the altar in the Fall of '19. Looking forward into 2021 and 2022, how will Rentokil deploy its 50-basis point buying power? What new markets will open up for acquisitions? What can pest control businesses do as they look to sell in the next two years? Like a good preacher, Paul reinforces the future in contrast to the past. From preacher to professor, Paul put on an economics class. Tune-in for a brief lesson from Consolidation 101. Patrick has more buy-side vs sell-side questions. What happens when the 'green visor' buy-siders attempt to preempt process? In his tried and true Texas vernacular, Paul likens himself to a cattle auctioneer champion. Speaking of green visors, Cory “The Tax Nerd” Vargo steps in to answer listener-submitted questions on employee benefits as well as financing. From co-host to guest, Paul appeared on Germany-based Talking Pest Management hosted by Daniel Schroeer. Patrick had some takeaways (and as always, some jealousy). More road-show episodes are in the works. Paul and Patrick plan on crashing some upcoming U Group gatherings. New Orleans. Hawaii. Who knows? Paul's invitation will grant him access. Patrick may have to bribe his way in with some cookies. Also, Paul hints at another Stockholm trip for an EQT announcement, but will Patrick make it across the Pond this time?
Episode 32 — The Stevenson Sessions, Part 2: CFO Doug on Modern's Moneyball
Doug Stevenson and his brothers grew Modern Pest Services to $18 million before selling to Anticimex. It would be hard to find a process at Modern in which Doug did not include in a financial system. Doug found himself entrenched in cost analysis study after study. It was his tenacity that helped 5x Modern's net income in one year. Adjustable initial service charges and subscription billing helped Modern weather New England seasons. With a name like Modern, it's hard to avoid innovation. In the early 2000's, it was Doug who set the bar with PestPac routing & integrations. Doug recounts working with Griffin Pest's Jeff & Pam Blauvelt integrating VoiceShot with PestPac. Although driven by spreadsheets and returns, Doug opens up about people, management, and corporate elbows. As structured as Doug is, he says that there is one trait that determines success in a business partnership. What is it? There are several new buzzwords (-phrases) coming out of this episode : Elegant (complex) solutions to complex problems Financial predictability to strategic decision making ROI makes the world go-round Beware of shiny things Always more risk in a non-diversified portfolio Balance emotions with data From WIPFLI Partner to Boardroom Buzz guest, Cory Vargo steps into this episode as a guest co-host. It was Doug Stevenson who gets 100% credit for introducing Cory to the pest control industry. Apparently, Doug set a high bar. Cory discusses that high bar as well as Doug's cash after tax black and white decisions. Cory sticks around to shed light on the deferred revenue black box, cash vs accrual accounting methods, and shareholder partnership issues. He adds his opinion on scaling accounting capabilities with a growing business. Co-Produced, Edited, and Mixed by Dylan Seals of hdaudiopost.com
Episode 31 — The Stevenson Sessions, Part 1: Scott Stevenson, the Modern Ambassador
If Scott Stevenson is the Senator, then Paul Giannamore is the Brother Whisperer. Paul has an epiphany moment as Scott turned the tables and questioned him about his custom communication methods. As a third generation co-owner with brothers Doug and Rich, Scott takes us back to Modern's early days. Who knew it would involve repairing a toaster of all things? In his twenties, Scott visited with Harvey Massey at Massey Services and Joe Thomas at Arrow Exterminators. These learning opportunities helped shape Modern's branch manager-centric structure. The Stevenson Brothers furthered their development by joining the ranks of Associated Pest and later The U Group. It doesn't sound like much of a 'short straw', but one of the three brothers had to stay on post-Anticimex acquisition. Scott recalls his early days at Anticimex, and how he ranked against the global branches (and himself). The Senator didn't overstay his welcome as a US-Sweden diplomat, in fact, he found himself as the VP of Operational Excellence. As a AX VP, Scott helped US Anticimex platforms balance best practices with their unique sales models. Several Buzz-staples in this conversation, including subscription billing, service frequency, culture, and acquisitions. From one RV'er to another. Court Parker is nearing 100-days on his Pest Control Technology and Control Solutions Inc road trip. Paul and Patrick invited Bug Busters USA CEO Court Parker into The Boardroom to discuss Senator-turned-Trailer Park Boy Scott. As a U Group co-founder, Court gives some history on his relationship with Scott and the peer group. Co-Produced, Edited, and Mixed by Dylan Seals of hdaudiopost.com
Episode 30 — John Myers, CEO of Rentokil North America: On Growing a $1.5 Billion Pest Control Business
For more than twelve years, John Myers, Rentokil North America CEO, has scaled a regional pest control business into a national empire. John describes the nuanced difference between success and excellence as his company has grown. John opens up about fear of failure, a trait he shares with Rentokil Initial CEO Andy Ransom. Speaking of Ransom. How does John talk about their relationship between flagship Rentokil NA and HQ in London? As a serial acquirer, John goes into sales mode to describe their differentiated capabilities, including a very deliberate and choreographed due diligence process. John highlights the #1 consideration that Rentokil North America has as a buyer, which may remind you of Episode 14. Similar to Episode 17, Paul engages with John as if he was a $5 million pest control business CEO. This episode wouldn't be complete without first discussing route density, its benefits, and the 'best new customer'. Before engaging a new customer though, John stresses the importance of customer retention. Listen to John discuss time spent on the front lines with specialists and customers. Paul describes the role of a CEO; even those that aren't in the PCT Top 100 top tier. John doesn't shy away from responding to what wasn't all good with "Allgood" as well as room for improvement with regard to mosquito and tick opportunities. Patrick didn't fail to ask John about brand equity. It turns out that in the future when asked this same question, John can reference this episode.
Episode 29 — Sage Advice on Life, Relationships and Business with Mike & Debbie Rogers of Killingsworth
Not a week goes by where Paul and Patrick don’t hear about Episode 10 with Mike Rogers (if you haven’t listened to that episode, you might want to before you listen to this one). Any Buzz listener would agree that Mike is the kind of guy that you want to hang out with and chat about life and business. No stranger to automobile love affairs, the road trip was made complete with Dylan making the drive down from Tennessee. After spending time in Mike’s collector car showcase, the Rogers’ dining room table transformed into a recording studio to the benefit of Buzz bingers. Not only did it make for great coffee talk with a repeat guest, but the brains (and emotional stability) behind Killingworth joined in on our Buzz banter. You’ll even hear Marley, the five-month old labradoodle, make his Buzz debut. What tales didn’t make the Episode 10 tapes? Which stories are worth revisiting with Debbie’s joyful laugh? As the Killingsworth Kouple reminisce on their business and life together, they dish out sage advice on business, life and relationships as well as incredibly funny stories of the early years in unlicensed pest control. At the end of the episode, Paul finally confronts Makenzie, the talent behind Milk Bottle Cookies. Does Paul endorse the infamous cookie, enraging the Mex, or does he cast aside Patrick’s not-so-secret pleasure, winning the Mex’s praise? Patrick’s takeaway : before returning to Charlotte, learn to drive a stick shift.
Episode 28 — Family Business Realities : The Good, The Bad, and the Unproven with Jeremy Kreer
Jeremy Kreer grew up in a family pest control business. Jeremy opens up about Advanced Pest Management’s operations behind closed doors. All seems on-track for future generations until Jeremy’s parents go through a divorce. Dealt a bad hand, how did Jeremy buy out his Mom’s shares, and how did that affect the family dynamic? To drive the wedge even further, how did Jeremy’s dad respect Jeremy as a business leader? Enter Nam, Jeremy’s brother, full-time in the business. Paul remembers Nam as a rockstar salesman, but as the business transitioned to Jeremy and Nam, how would it affect their relationship? To further complicate the 3rd generation ownership, what about relationships with their siblings? Did the extracurricular dynamics call for extra TLC when it was time to sell? What about awkward explanations with potential suitors? Flashback to previous conversations on the Buzz — On Episode 11, Paul spoke about shareholder objectives. The Kreer family dynamic reinforces the importance of aligned business partners. Jeff Annis and Dena Thomas discussed their open book management on Episode 22. Consider forced transparency as doubt creeps in. As another 3rd generation business owner, Go-Forth Pest Control CEO Chase Hazelwood, joined us to give his input on Jeremy’s story. It is interesting to hear how the Kreer family’s story may affect Chase’s business planning.
Episode 27 — ‘The Tax One’ : Top 20 Accounting Firm Partner Cory Vargo Proves his Worth in the Boardroom
How do you make a show about tax more exciting? That is a low bar, but Paul and Patrick invited Dylan Seals to spice it up. Dylan literally hears every cough, um, and extracurricular story. The audio engineer keeps the Boardroom Buzz out of trouble. It’s interesting to hear what Dylan has picked up that Paul and Patrick have put down. Straight out of the gate, Cory Vargo isn’t afraid to address the upcoming presidential election’s impact on taxes. How could a change in politics overhaul tax laws and the economy? But who is Cory? Before WIPFLI became a Top 20 accounting firm, Modern Pest Services CFO, Doug Stevenson, retained Cory Vargo to break a tie between two other tax advisor opinions. What started as a job well done for the Stevenson brothers, has led to Paul involving Cory on several multi-million dollar pest control M&A transactions. It begs to ask the question : Why do PCT Top 100 companies choose to add Cory to their strategic team even after long established tax advisor relationships? Pop quiz, Hot Shot… Paul shoots a pop quiz in Cory’s direction : “How might a taxing authority say, well, wait second, you've been in business two years. You've got a bunch of customers. You're selling those customers. They're under some sort of contract, but you want us to tax you capital gains. We want to tax you as ordinary income. Can you imagine why that would be the case?“ Does Cory’s answer meet Paul’s experienced expectations? Creative and tax are two words not often found in the same sentence. How did Cory construct a reorganization to save a seller from paying $2.5 million in taxes? As the episode guest count increases so has Patrick’s intrigue about CFOs. Patrick asks Cory how adding a fractional CFO adds to the bottom line, and Paul helps clarify controller and CFO roles. Stock purchase vs asset purchase, and why. Enter Episode 5 star Tony Sfreddo’s Triple S case study. Is your pest control business currently a C-Corp and considering making a S-election? Want to avoid paying punitive fees to the IRS? Listen now.
Episode 26 — Benchmarking, Integrating, and the Great P&L Giveaway
It is one thing to look at the best industry performers, but what happens when you dig deeper into profit and loss statements? Anticimex CEO Jarl Dahlfors attended ‘Pest World Congress in Nashville USA’ to research best in class in the industry to understand what was possible for Anticimex. Paul explains how Jarl now focuses on internal benchmarking. Taking a play from Michael Porter’s value chain analysis, Paul breaks down benchmarking like Jarl would at Anticimex. Paul is going to release a standardized P&L chart of accounts for The Boardroom Buzz listeners. Where does margin development max out in the pest control industry? Apples to apples : compare margins with other pest control owners and world-class companies. One of Paul's current sell-side clients recently spoke to a potential acquirer that operates in his area :“I don't even care about what you guys do. I don't even pay attention to what you guys do... I'm a market leader and sometimes market leaders have to forget what the competition is doing and they just have to get out and lead.” Talk about not biting the hands that feed you… how do employee [unexpected] emotions change after an acquisition? Also, what is the importance of the last three years before selling? The Buzz’s pilot episode was ‘Deals, Contingencies, and Gotchas’. Listen to Paul’s new take on due diligence and his stance on contingencies. Speaking of due diligence gone awry, who is to blame for attrition after Terminix acquired Alterra? Oil and water don’t mix. How could foosball-playing, segway-riding, hipster kids integrate with Terminex guys, or was the culture clash inevitable? Paul answers several listener-submitted questions, including : Provide a little more insight into Anticimex’s benchmarking process. How does it actually work in practice and how can I utilize it in my own business? Assuming it would be Anticimex, will Jarl eventually transition the US brands into one brand? With acquisitions in general, what are the first priorities in transitioning employees and customers to the new brand (assuming a brand change) or management? To put yourself on the list to receive the pest control P&L chart of accounts, send an email to theBuzz@potomaccompany.com