As PCOs can attest, there is no one single formula for growing a successful pest control business. Some companies grow by building their brand, then leveraging that brand by adding new services and/or expanding to numerous markets. Others take the opposite approach, staying true to their core offerings and refining their protocols to become a leader in a particular pest control category; in the case of Southlake, Texas-based Versacor, that category is commercial.
“We’ve decided to stick to our business model, which is to provide premium pest control services for high-end commercial accounts. Many of these are in regulated industries (e.g., third-party audited accounts),” said Eric Eicher, founder and director of Versacor.
From a start-up business with just a handful of accounts in 2009, Versacor has grown into a major player in the commercial sector throughout Texas and Oklahoma, generating more than $6 million to rank #96 on this year’s PCT Top 100 list.
Versacor, a name created by combining the words “versatile” and “core,” was launched when brothers Eric, Jason and Bryan — all veterans of the pest control industry — pooled their collective knowledge and experience and went into business. Each of the Eicher brothers brings a different skill set to the table. Jason, the company’s president, is very process-oriented; he is responsible for day-to-day operations. Eric’s primary focus is sales, including business development and training/developing new sales professionals. Bryan, who has an accounting degree and background, serves as controller and handles all accounting and financial aspects of the business.
The company settled on the Dallas-Ft. Worth area as its headquarters location due to Jason’s familiarity with the region (he was already living there) and because of its market potential. “All of Texas is experiencing a growth surge. We saw huge opportunities to offer premium pest control services to industries such as health care, food-processing facilities, property management and hospitality industries,” said Jason Eicher.
Jason Eicher cited the company’s introduction of the AuditPro Managed Pest Program, a separate and branded offering for the food and beverage industry, as an example of how Versacor has tried to differentiate itself. “We have separate training and a separate certification process for people that work in that portion of the business because we recognize this type of work is really different from general pest control in other types of commercial accounts,” he said.
Another offering that has helped Versacor stand out from the competition is its EcoGuard program, which focuses on pest exclusion and addressing structural issues; it is popular among facilities wanting to maintain (or seeking) LEED certification. LEED, an acronym for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is the U.S. Green Building Council program for certifying buildings as “green.” One of the ways buildings earn points towards LEED certification is by incorporating a pest control program with stringent IPM guidelines.
Both Jason and Eric Eicher credit the company’s success to its people. “We put a tremendous amount of effort, resources and time into sourcing and identifying qualified candidates,” said Jason Eicher, who noted that the company’s first home office hire was its human resources director, Patti Flores. Another key personnel addition was pest control industry veteran Steve Byrd, who joined Versacor in 2011. His familiarity with the Texas commercial market helped open up doors for Versacor. His current position is regional manager of Versacor’s North Texas office.
Added Eric Eicher, “Steve (Byrd) once made the comment that ‘First and foremost we are in the people business, and we also happen to do pest control.’ It’s a really good philosophy. When we hire, we look for people who are motivated and have a passion for making the customer happy. And we’ve been fortunate to find really quality people.”
The most recent chapter in Versacor’s story occurred last March when the company relocated its headquarters to a brand new, custom-built facility in Southlake, Texas. The 6,300-square-foot building houses Versacor’s home office as well as DFW branch office; the Southlake location was chosen because it is central to the Dallas/Ft. Worth metroplex. Said Jason Eicher, “We are located on two acres so we have the ability to add another 10,000 square feet, so it was built with the future in mind. We are proud of it and we think it demonstrates our commitment to continue to build the business.”