Where Do All Those Invisible Pest Control Companies Hide?
Every year when the yellow pages come out I look to see whose still in business and which companies have bowed out. Not an exact science mind you but you can get a pretty good idea of who has survived, maybe grown some, (bigger ad) or those who downsized and ultimately those who have fallen off the map. Where my annual census fails however is that somehow there are little companies out there with no phone book listing at all, nothing on line and that I almost never see out on the road. Just where did this invisible company come from? Where does he go & how have I missed him for so long?
Now I get around a lot, (I cover 5 counties) & in such a small community as mine you’d figure to see almost every company big or small at least a time or two here & there. But spotting the invisible company is a rare sight indeed. I don’t even think these guys show up for our local ceu’s or if they do, it’s gotta be in an unmarked personal vehicle. Still, once in a 5 year span or so I’ll pass a non de-script home with a small company sign or service truck in the front yard & it’s obvious this is home base for them. Or I’ll come side by side with one such firm at a red light. He may or may not wave and when the light turns green, off he goes and although it’s obvious he’s been in town for years, I might never see that truck or him again. Where do these companies hide?
Just Moseying Along
Now when I say invisible I don’t necessarily mean small. Some of their trucks are sweeeeet and they might have all the latest in rigs and equipment. Mostly however, these chameleon companies blend into traffic with a small sticker on the door and a low profiled 25 gallon rig you can barely see. On the rare occasion you do bump into one at a convenience store they are usually nice to talk to and you quickly find out their just cruising along happy with their route(s). It seems they don’t have a care in the world and you get the sense that their routes are tightly knit with very few problems.
Like the Star Trek ship Enterprise they are content riding around with their ‘cloaking’ device fully engaged, and they don’t seem bothered in the least by every other Tom, Dick & Harry’s pest control that has flashy business cards, more than one truck and a website complete with a 1000 Facebook friends. From what I’ve seen, envy is not an issue with these folks and they just smile and say in a slow drawn out way “Goooood” when you ask “How’s business?” You want to ask them the where what whens and hows but somehow that all doesn’t seem to go too far as you both mention the hot weather and the price of gas and then say goodbye.
Thou Shalt Not Envy
Still, I wonder if they have or have ever had aspirations of growing big, adding on trucks and maybe even a full on ad campaign one day. Did the pressures of many customers make them scale back? Were they stifled somewhere along the way with a lawsuit, lack of money or realization of the higher costs of more business? Or was this their plan all along and having hit cruise control, they couldn’t be happier?
Maybe- it’s none of these things and in reality they’re some of the smartest operators around. Not having to deal with tons of complaints, mostly overlooked by the states watchful eyes, no worries about arranging oil changes for 5 different trucks, 60 hour work weeks and the secretary with a migraine who can’t come in so the phone will go unanswered for the day. For them a 3 day weekend is a way of life and their fishing pole has a permanent spot along side the rig. They never miss their kids recitals or sweat the challenge of getting all the data entered into the computer. Their routes seem more than enough to supply them their boat behind the house and the 4 wheeler in the carport. Taxes are not completely burdensome and besides a few hundred dollars in chemicals & gas, they have little to no overhead.
Hmmmm, maybe there’s more to this invisibility then meets the eye. What I wouldn’t give for an extra day off here or there- Well enough chatter, I’ll think about who is smarter later; Quarterly taxes are due and I have a tech who has called in sick and there’s that stack of bills on the counter and more coming in the mail. I need to fix my flat tire and get out to service 5 complaints so I can at least enjoy my Sunday this week. Envy? Who me?
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