When Stuart Aust talks about Bug Doctor Nationwide, his New Jersey-based firm, his feelings of pride, excitement and enthusiasm pour out. “We had tremendous growth in 2015 — an amazing year that launched us to more than $6 million in revenues for the first time,” he said.
That significant success, he explained, is due in large part to the 24-year-old company’s business model and marketing strategies, along with ongoing efforts to motivate, communicate and engage the company’s 40+ employees in the organization’s mission.
“We’re involved in a never-ending pursuit of customer satisfaction that’s designed to create a pest-free environment through persistence and determination,” he said. “Also, we want to be an industry role model, exhibiting the courtesy and high professionalism of our employees, and their knowledge and understanding of customer needs.”
Strongly encouraged by his wife Donna, Aust founded Bug Doctor Termite and Pest Control, as it was first named, in 1992. Previously, he worked for several large pest control companies (in both sales and service) but he wanted to start his own company.
“Initially, Donna and I served ‘mom and pop’ accounts,” Aust said. “Trying to grow the business, I would cold call by walking into stores, banks, cleaners and apartment buildings, promoting ourselves and handing out business cards.”
After five years of selling to commercial accounts such as bagel shops, pizzerias and McDonald’s franchises, Bird Doctor had a paradigm shift and expanded its customer service base by targeting higher-end commercial accounts, such as large corporate headquarters, hotels and utility companies. Today, among Bird Doctor’s customers are Yankee Stadium, a 15-year client; the United Nations Building; retail chains; and even the New York City residences of the King and Queen of Qatar. In addition, Bird Doctor partners with many pest control companies around the country.
“As we grew, we put together a team of employees and management personnel who represent a wide variety of experiences, ethnic backgrounds and cultures,” Aust said. “And we all share a common focus on exceeding customer expectations for exceptional quality service and support. We listen, respond and work closely with our customers to create custom solutions.
“It all starts with our internal customers. By that, I mean our employees. If they are happy in their work, believe in our mission and are committed to success, that’s instrumental in providing great service to our external, paying customers. So we’re always trying to identify and recognize those of our employees who are providing that exemplary customer service.”
According to Aust, diversity in service offerings, combined with diversity of employees has been instrumental in the company’s success. “We knew that thinking outside of the box can help grow a company, so over the years we’ve added six new divisions after our paradigm shift,” he said. These divisions are Bird Doctor Nationwide, created in 1997 and now called Bird Doctor Worldwide; Mosquito Doctor (2002); Animal Doctor (2005); Bedbug Doctor (2009); Restoration Doctor (2014); and Tree Doctor (2015).
One of Bug Doctor’s marketing accomplishments, he said, is employing outstanding salespeople. “They’re well qualified and really love to sell,” he said. With that in mind, Aust hired his son, Daniel Aust, about two years ago. The younger Aust has become one of the company’s top salespeople. “He doesn’t take no for an answer,” said the elder Aust.
Another marketing strategy is the company’s formula for creative advertising on its service vehicles and cars, according to Aust. “Some companies create billboards on highways, but we drive our billboards down the highways,” he said. “Our fleet has grown to more than 30 vehicles, all of which proudly display ads for one of our seven divisions. Our vehicles can be found throughout the New York tri-state area and have been featured in numerous parades, career fairs, malls, trade shows and other community events.”
Aust said he founded the company on the old-fashioned principle of hard work and superior customer service. “We all take pride working diligently and doing what’s right for our customers. And I take pride in the fact that our employees, utilizing those principles, have built our company into a well-respected organization and one of the fastest-growing pest control companies in the New York tri-state area.” — Jordan Fox