The All-American staff.

New to the List: All-American Pest Control

Erin Richardson is carrying on a tradition her grandmother started back in 1962, when she came into her husband’s year-old business to put some systems and processes into place. “My grandfather started All-American in 1961 and was a true salesperson — he never met a stranger,” Richardson shares, “but without my grandmother’s behind-the-scenes work, I don’t know if All-American Pest Control would be in business today. She provided the structure the company needed to reach its early growth goals.”

With that in mind, Richardson, now owner and CEO, turned to a systematic approach herself when she decided to move the company to a four-day workweek in the summer of 2016. “The two things that are most important to us are our ‘Make Someone’s Day’ commitment to our customers and our pledge to provide meaningful work with time for meaningful relationships to our team,” she explains. “I knew we could improve both our customer and team experiences by adopting a four-day workweek, so we reverse-engineered our processes, and reimagined our routing and scheduling practices, to reach that goal.”

Ironing out the details took about 18 months, but once the new workweek was rolled out in January 2018, it went off without a hitch, reports Richardson. Service members, who had previously averaged 45 hours a week, now work about 38, without a decrease in pay; customer service has expanded from five to six days a week; productivity levels have improved; and the company experienced 20 percent year-over-year organic growth. The downsides to employees are minimal: Everyone works one Saturday a month and is on call one day a month.

All-American Pest Control primarily serves residential customers in the Nashville market (96 percent recurring residential business) and has more than doubled its revenues since Richardson bought the company from her father in December 2012. “When I started as a part-time employee in 2003, we had 13 employees and one office. Now we have more than 50 employees and three offices,” she reports. (The company has hired seven people in 2019.) “We have continued to grow the business by hiring great people who love serving others and by focusing on thoughtful innovation and continuous improvement, as my dad did when he led the company. He introduced a solid hiring process and perimeter pest control, and was an early adopter of the Sentricon System, which transformed the way we did business back then.”

Founders Ruth and Al Foster Sr. with staff in a 1961 company photo.

The company’s leadership team carries on that spirit of innovation today. The team includes Richardson; Carolyn Cox, director of operations; John Oakley, director of service and training; Anna Lewis, director of sales; Blake Foster, director of safety and quality; and Lexus Crowder, director of human resources. But Richardson says the network of support for All-American Pest extends much further than the internal staff. “We wouldn’t be where we are if it weren’t for the nature of our industry and the people in it,” she says. “Pest management business owners are remarkably open and caring, and our vendors are super helpful and encouraging. We’ve built great relationships over the years, and we truly value the overwhelming camaraderie.” — Donna DeFranco