Greg McKendall, president and founder of Kilter Termite and Pest Control, a 25-year-old company based in the city of Orange, Calif., is understandably proudly of his firm’s latest accomplishments.

“Last year we earned a Super Service Award from Angie’s List, which reflects our company’s very strong commitment to constantly maintain a high level of customer service. And significantly, last year our sales volume grew to (almost $5 million), 30 percent higher than the sales in 2014,” he says. Kilter has three branch offices in its service territory, which includes the counties of Orange, Los Angeles, Riverside and San Diego. “This year we’re aiming at improving that 30 percent growth rate and adding more branch offices.”

MEET & EXCEED NEEDS. Although Kilter specializes in termite treatments, the company’s other important service offerings include wood replacement, pest control, insulation services and rodent exclusion. “Our ultimate goal is to not only meet the needs but to exceed the expectations of our mainly residential customers — and that’s what drives our success,” McKendall said. “It’s our intent to assist them in choosing the best treatment for their specific pest control needs at the best value possible. That’s been the way we try to operate every day and it’s this business philosophy that has proven to be effective for us.”

THE RIGHT THING. “Awards like the Super Service Award from Angie’s List validate the hard work that our employees put into providing an exceptional customer experience,” McKendall adds. “We always strive to do the right thing in all aspects of our business and to constantly communicate to our employees the importance of maintaining our integrity, which is very important to us.”

Since 1991, the Kilter organization, which now employs 47 full-time and eight part-time people, has operated on the premise that treating termites is a better solution than expensive wood replacement. McKendall reached that conclusion when, as a young man, he worked for several years as a carpenter, replacing termite-damaged wood. “I saw first-hand the extensive damage created by long-term termite infestation and improper treatment. I believed that termite control companies were not getting the message to the homeowner and that much unneeded fumigation was being done, so I and a partner formed Kilter as an answer to these problems,” he says. The two initially worked out of an apartment in Newport Beach.

“Now over the ensuing years, the same integrity and complete treatments that we established and emphasized continue to be the reason why the bulk of our business is referral driven,” he added.

According to McKendall, other factors contributing to the company’s success include an effective marketing program that integrates radio, TV (over-the-air and cable) and newspaper advertising, and door-to-door canvassing, as well as efforts to educate their customers. “We want to help them to make a sound decision concerning the protection of their properties and the treatments necessary to gain that protection,” he says. “There are many ways to exterminate termites, for example, and a myriad of products that can be used to do so. We believe it’s important to take the time to explain the benefits and drawbacks of each method and then to recommend a product that suits the particular needs of their properties.

“We market our termite business as the Kilguard Termite Control Treatment and initiated it about three years ago. It’s been successful in eliminating both subterranean and drywood termite infestations that are found in Southern California.”

HEALTH & SAFETY OBJECTIVES. Kilter’s primary objectives, McKendall says, are the health and safety of the firm’s customers and their families, the eradication of any existing termite or other pest problem, and the establishment of a service program that maintains a home for years to come.

“For 2016 and beyond we aim to be the best termite and pest control company in our area and will accomplish this by providing the most advanced treatments with the best products and the best trained staff in the industry,” he says. To up the company’s sales volume and growth rate he and his management team are looking at adding to the firm’s advertising budget (currently at about 6 percent of sales volume), improving sales closing ratios and average sales per lead, and selling new products and services to their customer base, and reducing cancellation rates. “I’m optimistic we can do this,” McKendall says. — Jordan Fox