Dean Burnside, president and CEO of pest control business, is big on motivational slogans to pump up the employees.
The catchphrases work: In an industry that's been ravaged by the recession, revenues at Burnside's company, Venice-based Good News Pest Solutions, are up 38.1% since 2010, from $2.1 million to $2.9 million in 2012. The firm recently changed its name, to Good News from Macy's Termite and Pest Control.
The company's big goal for 2013, says Burnside, is to focus on its customer retention rate. He calls it an unsexy but extremely necessary aspect of the pest control business. The motto for employees this year, therefore, is “retain to gain.”
The company has about 8,000 customers, and its client base includes homes in Charlotte, DeSoto, Lee, Manatee and Sarasota counties. Burnside says he would like to have an 82% retention rate for that customer base this year, which would be up over the industry average of 76%.
Two key factors in that effort are some additional products and the name change. On products, the company uses all-green and natural solutions for pest control. Termite work, especially on the inspection side for home purchases, remains a key part of the business.
On the name, meanwhile, Burnside sought a moniker that more accurately reflected the faith-based company's mission: To spread God's good word while dealing with pests. “Good News” was also the theme of a marketing campaign the company launched in 2010. (See Business Observer, Aug. 25, 2011.)
The name change, moreover, is an attempt to eliminate marketplace confusion. Another pest control business, Massey Services Inc., has a similar name. Burnside adds that some people mixed up the pest control business with the department store of the same name. Local entrepreneur John Macy founded the company in 1989. Burnside became a partner in the business in 1996 and bought out John Macy's ownership stake in 1998.
Burnside projects the company will surpass the $3 million revenue mark by the fourth quarter of 2013. Says Burnside: “Things are really popping.”