At the end of last year I had an employee meeting. We talked about the year in review, praised some for their accomplishments, and expressed my enthusiasm about the upcoming year. Similar to what I do every year. I’m very optimistic that way. I believe the next year will be our best and busiest. This year seemed a little different though. I had my office staff in place, I had a full crew, I had my general manager in place to help me with day-to-day stuff, and I had my mind-set ready to run a business and make some money.
Over the past 4 or so years this business has grown two fold, and of course that is something I can not complain about. We were getting so busy so fast that I was playing technician every day all day then finding time to do my ownership stuff at night or in between stops. This was driving me crazy and frankly I was being stretched too thin. That all changed in 2014 when I hired a general manager and one more field tech. Now I was able stay more at the office, get more of a hold on finances, prepare proposals in a timely manner, and organize the business better for the future. I was busier in the office but less stressed. Now don’t get me wrong I still had my hand full of customers that I treated, but most of my field work consisted of new customers, new businesses, and finding other ways to drum up business. 2014 was working smoothly and I felt I had finally gotten to a place that I had wanted to be for a long time.
One month in to the new year and everything is going as planned. One Friday night I get a text stating one of my techs, whom I had big plans for this year, just dropped off his truck and is moving. What??? and of course he had to work that next Saturday, so guess who had to work? I don’t have a problem with that. It is my company and I have to do what I have to do. I found out later that this employee moved out-of-town to work for his dads business. Good for him and perhaps he will get a chance to run it the way I was able to run my dads business. I was still a little bummed though and at the time a little pissed. This screwed up all my plans. Monday rolls around and we are scrambling to change all the schedules and since everyone else was full, I ran his schedule. It was a little weird going to the office and seeing a full day of jobs on my schedule and a little crazy cause I had to quickly get back into tech mode. Over the last year I had gotten rid of most of my chemicals, had a smaller power rig in the back of the truck, and really stream lined what I was doing. I found myself going to houses not prepared with supplies, and not prepared to give my full customer service attention cause I still had to do all my ownership duties. It was getting frustrating. I felt like a new technician learning the ropes again and I felt like a new owner that was overwhelmed with not being able to handle all my management parts of the company. I felt out of control and I hate feeling out of control. I finally took one weekend day went to the office by myself and re organized everything . I cleaned out my truck, restocked it with everything I would need and thought about what I did and how I worked when I was just an employee. I then had to prioritize my management stuff. Figure out what needed to be done immediately and what I could space out over time.
That next Monday I was ready to go. I was going from house to house, seeing old customers I hadn’t seen in a long time and selling. I found my self selling new services, doing the things I had told my employees to do and seeing what worked and what didn’t worked. It was fun getting back in to it. I also realized something. In order for me to fully run a business and manage employees, I have to never forget what they go through on a daily basis. Traffic, weather, equipment failure, time management, everything that a pest control technician deals with every day. I believe I had forgotten some of that. On the flip side I also remembered what I did for 12 plus years and what it took to make money and to make the customer happy. So now there are no excuses. If I can do it, you can also.
I think it’s good to never forget where you came from and how you got to where you are now. My customers like the small company feel and the family style of customer service. Now that I’m experiencing this first hand again, I can demand the same type of work ethic that I’m currently doing. Of course I’m still looking for additional help and I should have that position filled next week, but hopefully this year as we keep growing I will continue to stay in touch with the coral values of McGrath Pest Control.
Now let’s go make some money