I guess you could say that Jared and I have entrepreneurship in our blood. Both of us had grandpas and dads who had their own companies. We were both taught to work hard for what we wanted so we both found ways to make money at a young age. When I was 6, my family visited my grandparents in California where we went camping. I learned what kindling was and decided that since all the other campers there needed it to build fires, I would sell it to them! I picked up a bunch sticks from the ground and approached our camping neighbors. I told them I was selling kindling and wondered if they’d like to buy any! They bought from me and I earned almost $7! To a kid in the early 90s, I was rich! When Jared was in middle school, he would make Koolaid in the evening and then freeze it in water bottles overnight. He would then bring the Koolaid bottles to football practice with him the next morning. With Houston’s summer heat, the Koolaid would be a perfect slush consistency by the time practice was over, which is exactly what every tired, thirsty football player wanted! Jared would sell these Koolaid slushes to his teammates every day after practice, making a nice little business for himself!
Dating, Killing Bugs, and Building a Tulsa Pest Control Business
Back when Jared and I were dating, I learned that for years before, he’d been supporting himself and paying for college by selling pest control door-to-door. While I’d known some summer salesmen that had come and gone through our young adult group at church, Jared was different. He had a bigger vision in mind: he wanted to eventually own his own pest control company. Jared knew how to get the business and was confident in the ability for it to grow and yet still be flexible enough to spend (more) time with his family. As an adult, my entrepreneurial self had taken a back seat. I wanted to get an education, but my main goal in life was to be the best wife and mom I could be. So as Jared and I planned our life together, I jumped on board with his plan to own a business, knowing that I would do what I could to support him and our family in that endeavor.
The Summer Engagement and Falling in Love with Tulsa Pest Control
During the summer we were engaged, Jared was selling pest control in a suburb of Dallas, TX. While visiting him one time, I went with him while he went door to door, selling pest control. It gave me a whole new appreciation for how hard it was to sell on the door! I also realized that it was something I never wanted to do! I love talking to people, but the idea of trying to sell something just about made me want to pass out! Thankfully, Jared is an amazing salesman and great at talking to people, so I didn’t have to!
Jared and I got married at the end of that summer and returned to college for another year and a half. Jared graduated with a degree in international cultural studies and a certification in mediation and I graduated with a degree in accounting with an art minor. After graduation, we moved to Oklahoma City where Jared again sold pest control and I worked part time in the office of the company Jared sold for. Jared had sold in Oklahoma City before and had really liked how nice the people of Oklahoma were. He’d commented to his buddy that he would love to live there someday (maybe God was preparing him for the future?!). Jared’s first year of selling pest control was for 2 brothers who owned their own company. While we were living in Oklahoma City the summer after graduation, the brothers approached us about partnering with them to start a branch in Dallas the following spring. Jared and I loved this idea! We would work together in the pest control office, learning the ins and outs of the business. Then later we could start our own company in another state! With these plans in the works, we moved to Owasso (my home town) at the end of the summer to live there until we moved to Dallas the following spring.
Starting a Business in Tulsa Pest Control
Jared and I both got jobs in the meantime and started looking for places to live in Dallas as well as office locations. Our searches in Dallas turned out to be less than fruitful. We were hitting some roadblocks. It was coming down to crunch time and things just kept getting more difficult. I can remember very vividly the night that Jared came back from a trip down to Dallas at the beginning of March 2011. After filling me in on the latest difficulty, he asked, “What if we started our own company here? Now.” I am a planner and this major change in major plans normally would have thrown me off the deep end. But we decided to look into it. We kept the business partners in the loop about our potential plans and started doing things to start our company to see if we could get it up and running on time, which was no later than May 1st.
When you hear about people starting a business, it is often riddled with difficulties, like the ones we’d been experiencing. However, as we researched starting our own business and trying to arrange things, it could not have been easier. We truly felt like it was what God wanted us to do because we saw miracle after miracle after miracle. After passing the service technician test, Jared got the very last spot in the class that is required to own a pest control company in the state of Oklahoma. The next class wouldn’t have been until well into the summer. We were given the office desk and filing cabinets (complete with file folders and hanging folders!) that we needed so we didn’t have to buy them. We got our first truck purchased and decked out with the design I’d created. We got our website built. With the help of family, we picked out a name. Our first choice was Bug Hunters Pest Control and we were going to have a camouflage theme. In hindsight, we’re glad Platinum got the most votes among our family members! With my art minor, I designed a logo and got the embroidery going for shirts and hats. We were able to do so many things ourselves that normally would have cost money to have someone else do it (design the logo, write content for our website, design and write our contracts, design the truck decals, etc). The list of miracles goes on! This all happened while I was working full time and within 7 weeks. 7 weeks! From just an idea to Jared leaving to knock doors on April 30, 2011.
When Jared came home that first night, I shouldn’t have been but I was surprised that he’d gotten a couple of sales! Platinum Pest Control had customers! In the beginning, Jared sold door to door while also treating the homes of the customers we gained. His brother Josh joined him in June to sell as well. They did awesome! I’m still so grateful to our very first customers who put their trust in us to protect their homes from pests. We are here because of them and still continue to exist because others have continued to put their trust in us, which is something we do not take lightly. When Jared and I decided to start our own company, we had a few key goals in mind: 1) provide exceptional service to those in our community; 2) provide employment opportunities for those in our community; and 3) create a life for our family where we could work together and support our family. These are still our goals today.
Learning As We Grow Tulsa Pest Control Solutions
Running a business together as husband and wife has been interesting! While it may not work for some, it has been such an amazing opportunity for us. We each have strengths in the business that complement each other and over time, we’ve refined those roles. Due to the nature of the business, Jared was able to work things around when I finally delivered our first son, Cooper, in early 2012. Jared was able to be home almost all the time those first few weeks while still being able to keep up with the needs of our customers. God blessed us that while Cooper was not a great sleeper, at least when he was awake he was such a happy baby! We had great family and friends that would come play with Cooper if I had a big task to get done. It truly takes a village!
After Platinum’s first anniversary, we were growing enough that I wasn’t working outside the home anymore but in the home as a mom and a business partner. We ran the business out of our home and I kept up with the invoicing and finances while Jared handled the customer services and the phone calls. Jared’s brother returned the second summer to sell again and because we’d grown enough to keep Jared busy servicing our customers’ homes, he wasn’t selling as much. Our awesome customers would tell their friends about us and those friends would then start using our services. We were so grateful for the growth and success that we had in those early years.
Our 3rd summer we had 5 door to door sales reps and oh my were we busy!! My sister sold for us that summer and because she’s the sweetest person you’ll meet, she made more friends than sales! She also sold with her boyfriend that summer and I like to think we had something to do with them going from dating to engaged. As far as the business went though, Jared and I look back on that summer and are still glad we’ve never had another one like it! We were as busy as we could possibly be! Part of this growth came from starting to offer termite services that summer. We hired our first seasonal employees but still struggled to keep up. We were grateful for the growth in business, but at times it felt like we were struggling to stay alive.
Tulsa Pest Control Continued Growth
Because of the growth from that infamous summer of 2013, Platinum Pest Control began to outgrow our house. We hired a full time office staff member and a full time technician, then moved the office out of our home and into an office not far from our house. We really had to start learning time management because in order to work, we had to go to our office instead of just sitting down at our desk at home whenever we had a spare moment. But it was also nice because we had enough staff to help us out with all that we had to do and we were able to have time to be physically separated from our business. We were also learning how to ensure our employees were acting in accordance with our core values that made us who we were. We have always and will always insist on being honest in all dealings with our fellow men. While this is not always popular in society or easy, it’s something that we stick to and have been fortunate over time to find employees willing to live in the same way.
As throughout our entire journey, we found God’s hand in this time period as well. We became pregnant with our daughter and had our office assistant trained on the day to day duties before I became too sick with “morning” sickness that lasted all day. I would not have been able to keep our office up and running without the additional help. Our daughter, Emmalani, was born at the end of summer and since that coincided with the end of our busy season, Jared was also able to be around a lot during the time after she was born. From the beginning, she has had a strong spirit and it wasn’t long after she was born we decided she’d be the one to take over our company some day! Due to the nature of our business and the busier seasons being in the summer, during Emmalani’s newborn time Jared was around a lot to either help with her or help by taking care of Cooper, who was 2 ½ when she was born. Though I was still struggling to find a balance between being a wife, mom, and business owner, I was grateful that Jared and I were in all of it together. It’s a unique opportunity that I really feel is one of the greatest things about my life.
By this time, we found a pattern in ourselves with our business. We would get to a point of achievement, then add something else to make life difficult. Then we’d get that figured out, then add another “learning opportunity” to our plate. I realize that’s the only way to grow and develop, but that doesn’t exactly make the growing pains any easier! We added weed control and fertilization to our list of services in 2015, which led to us changing our name to Platinum Pest and Lawn. This included changing our logo, uniforms, and overall look of the company to reflect the larger scope of services. We have been continuing to grow since that time in both our pest control and our weed control divisions. As with all growth, it’s been a learning experience but in the end, we are better for it.
Where We Are Now
We are now at the point that Jared and I are not in the day to day operations of the Tulsa pest control business, but instead we’re making sure that those things get done with the quality that we require. And for those of you who have never owned or run a business, I’ll tell you straight up – it’s hard! It’s a challenge to find the right people who also believe in being honest and working hard. It’s a challenge to make things fair for customers but still run a profitable company. But in the end, it’s 110% worth it. We absolutely love hearing that a customer loves how thorough our technician was or that he truly listened to their concerns. We love hearing that we have improved someone’s quality of life because we were able to eradicate their apartment of roaches. We love talking to a customer and hearing that their day is always better after talking to one of our office staff members. We are truly in this to improve our customers’ lives and when we hear about that happening, it makes us so happy!