Getting into pest control: An unfoolish move

May 9, 2016 -  By

Nobody likes to be called a fool, especially not Mark and Brad Leahy, owners of Edgewater, Md.-based Blades of Green.

But that’s what happened when they attended a meeting for pest professionals held by Real Green Systems in early 2008. Veteran pest management professional Don Jamison told them, “You guys are damned fools if you don’t get into pest control.” About a decade earlier, the owner of Jamison Pest & Lawn in Memphis, Tenn., had sold a previous business with 30,000 customers to Terminix.

Mark Leahy left the meeting thinking, “I don’t want anyone to call me a fool in front of a bunch of people and mean it.”

At the time, the brothers were running Blades of Green as a primarily landscape installation and lawn care company. Jamison’s comments stemmed from his belief that pest control was a better business model because of the opportunity for recurring revenue. Pest problems are also “an easier problem to solve” for clients than weed-filled lawns.

So the Leahys sat down with Jamison the next day, and they walked away with an outline for their pest business.

“We just needed the licenses,” Mark Leahy says.

Not long after, a supplier connected them with pest control operator Neil Blackwell, who was considering selling his business. They couldn’t work out a deal, but Blackwell agreed to train Brad Leahy, who then worked for him for a few months. About 18 months later, Blackwell had a change of heart and agreed to sell his business to Blades of Green and work for the company for five years. That agreement expired late last year, but Blackwell just signed on for another three years.

Today, with Jamison’s and Blackwell’s mentorship, and the team’s hard work, BOG Pest Control has grown to nearly $2 million in revenue.

About the Author:

Marisa Palmieri is an experienced Green Industry editor who's won numerous awards for her coverage of the landscape and golf course markets from the Turf & Ornamental Communicators Association (TOCA), the Press Club of Cleveland and the American Society of Business Publication Editors (ASBPE). In 2007, ASBPE named her a Young Leader. She graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Journalism, cum laude, from Ohio University’s Scripps School of Journalism.

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