When Billy Blasingame started WEB Pest Control in 1981 he had no idea his career path would lead him to sell the business, work for another pest control firm for 10 years and then return to the industry with another start-up company. Such is the life for this second-generation pest management professional.
After attending Jacksonville State University for two years, Blasingame did not have his sights set on a career eliminating termites and rodents from people’s homes. The law enforcement major had grander plans but as is often the case, not everything went according to script.
He worked summers at Stephenson Chemical — a large regional distributor based in College Park, Ga., which was later acquired by Van Waters & Rogers (today’s Univar) — where his father, Bill Sr., was director of training. Blasingame was bitten by the “bug” so many second-generation offspring encounter and he was hooked on the industry.
He worked for Stephenson for five years before opening WEB Pest Control. He ran WEB Pest Control for nearly 20 years before he sold to Arrow Exterminators. After spending 10 years with Arrow, his two-year non-compete expired in 2012 and he opened Blasingame Pest Management and set off down a familiar path.
“We had a lot of contacts from before and we were able to reconnect with a good number of them,” said Blasingame. “We built WEB as a company based on good customer service and that was easy to do business with. People remembered that and also like the fact of doing business with a local company.”
Headquartered in McDonough, Ga., Blasingame Pest Management serves both commercial and residential accounts among its 950 customers. This time around Blasingame says he has adopted a slightly different business model and is focused on selling bundled services rather than focusing on one service at a time.
“We will sell general pest control, mosquito and termite services together and that essentially turns one customer into three,” said Blasingame.
With its three employees, Blasingame said the company has experienced double-digit growth. The company finished 2016 with about a 35 percent increase from 2015.
The 57-year-old would like to spend another 10 years doing what he loves before transitioning the business over to his son, Dylan, a junior at his dad’s alma mater.
“I’ve seen other pest control business take off when the next generation comes on board with new ideas and energy,” Blasingame said. “Dylan has a good personality and customers have received him very well. I think it will be a very seamless transition. Plus I told him, ‘Dad (who turned 91 in August and still makes regular appearances at the office) and I have killing bugs figured out so it should be in your blood.’”
The author is a Cleveland-based freelancer.