-Thomas: Well it’s been a fun month, all kinds of fun things are happening. We’ve got Jerry the Bug Doctor set up for a Blog Pest Control interview today. Despite his title as the Bug Doctor, Jerry isn’t working to make the bugs feel better. No,Â Jerry stays busy doing pest control in Ocala. There are a lot of bugs to keep you busy in Florida.
Jerry: Busy is an understatement but it beats the alternative…lol
Thomas:So let’s not waste anymore time here…How many years in the bug business?
Jerry: Started pest control in 1984 with Terminix in Baltimore. I worked my way up from residential to commercial tech and then into sales. I eventually made it to commercial sales and National accounts Rep. before changing companies. I’ve worked for 5 other companies as everything from tech to region mgr. before finally striking it out on my own in 1993–technically 91 as a franchisee but ugh what a waste.
Thomas: From 1984 to presentâ€¦ Thatâ€™s a lot of years! I think in 84 I was probably just starting my first roach collection, my mom didn’t let that last very long. So over 25 years of experience now.Â Impressive.Â And after big company headaches you moved on to a family pest control operation? Soâ€¦ who wins your heart a family employee or a non-blood?
Jerry: My wife and I have built this business, The Bug Doctor Inc., from zero and although we’re not huge we are a strong force in the area.Â She is a Registered nurse whose paycheck got us through the first few years but now she works Bug Doctor full time. She’s my favorite but Kevin is also special. He’s been with me 8 years and has yet to miss even one day. He’s not perfect but he is faithful and I admire him for that.
Thomas: Hard to beat the wife for your heart I guess, so good response. And having loyal employees makes all the difference.Â It is wonderful to have employees you can trust your company and name with.Â How do you find and keep good exterminators?
I guess I break Â a lot of rules. They say don’t hire people you know because you can’t be their boss. Kevin for example was a customer and friend long before I asked him on board. We played on the same volleyball team for years. I’m not a micro mgr. at all and there are whole weeks that go by that I don’t even see him. Because he’s a friend I just know and trust that he gets the job done. Diane also was (and still is) a customer, she’s worked out real well. I tried two guys in the last year that I did not know and neither lasted very long and I didn’t feel comfortable leaving them to their jobs & firing them was an unpleasant experience. Â I want my people to like me and be motivated by that, not out of fear as so many bosses operate.
Thomas: Good employees are important in setting yourself apart. What other areas set you apart?
Jerry: I’d like to think I am the best commercial pest specialist in town and we handle some larger accounts but WDO (as in wood destroying organisms) inspections is something even other pest companies call me for on a regular basis.Â We service 5 counties in North central Florida and my favorite bug is the termite WDO.
Thomas: Termites are your favorite bug? Very cool.Â They are an interesting lot and the damage they cause each year is unbelievable. I like how active you are online.Â Seems like it comes pretty easy for you as a social pest control guy.Â How is the bug blog life?
Jerry: I’m building www.PestCemetery.com to be a ‘real go to’ resource for pros as well as DIY and also have an entertainment value–we’ll see.. blogging is a long hard road
Thomas: Yes. But a hard road don’t mean it can’t be a fun road…. And just for fun do you have a favorite author or book?
Jerry: My favorite book was ‘Escape to Witch Mountain’ –The movie stunk.
Thomas: Typical. Why ruin a good book? Thanks Jerry.Â Glad to have you doing good things for our industry and the overall exterminator image.
Be sure to check out Jerry’s great blog: The Pest Cemetery