Over the course of the past several years, the Pest Management industry has experienced an acquisition and merger resurgence. In the late 1990’s, President of ATCO Pest Control, Richard Estrada, remembers hearing about the sale of a family owned pest management company. At the time, the sale of a family owned business was a big shock. In fact, what has been seen in recent years is still a bit surprising.
According to Pest Control Technology (PCT) Magazine, this resurgence has taken a larger scope and expanded to include even San Francisco Bay Area companies. Large and small family owned companies are being bought by larger nationwide pest management companies such as Rollins (Orkin), Rentokil, and Terminix. Touted as the largest family owned company on the West Coast, Western Exterminator sold to Rentokil back in 2012. At the time, this was one of the largest transactions in our industry. Recently, we heard that Santa Rosa, California based Hitman sold to Rentokil, which was a smaller company that started back in the late 1970’s. To our surprise, we recently heard of another larger family owned company, Clark, that was bought by Rollins (Orkin) in January of this year. This information comes at the same time the news came out about a South Bay company, A-Pro Pest Control, being acquired by Terminix. Many of these companies mentioned we have come to know and respect over the years.
All these changes occurring raises the question: why all the movement? We feel the economy has much to do with it. Many of these companies were started by people who were previously employed by large companies. As the various founders age and the next generation comes through the ranks, the decision to continue the family business or sell must be considered. In talking with experts and seasoned veterans in our industry, it appears that we are experiencing a cycle”of mergers and acquisitions that tends to hit our industry from time to time. When this happened in the late 90’s, ATCO received several calls from customers involved in the acquisition who were not pleased to be handed over to a large company. The level of service changed with many of these companies causing them to lose the family feel they once enjoyed with their previous provider.
ATCO is proud to be a San Francisco Bay Area family owned and operated company. When we purchased the company back in the early 2000’s from the Athanson Family, we were determined to continue to offer a superior level of customer experience while maintaining a family feel. Our vision to Be Leaders Who Care About Family, Customer, Team and Environment still remains something that is very important to us.
-Richard & Estella Estrada, ATCO President & Vice President