Fred McMurry & Katherine Driskell
Owners, Havard Pest Control
“It’s been a very positive venture for us"
Havard Pest Control
Katherine Driskell & Fred McMurry
Approx. 100 employees
“We try to be on the better side of the (benchmarking) numbers because we want to be better than most. We don’t want to be just average.”
Havard Pest Control has been quietly getting the job done since 1947. “We’re a pretty low-key, stay-under-the-radar company,” says Fred McMurry. “We like to have a good product, hire good people and get the work done for the customer.”
Fred co-owns the company with his sister, Katherine Driskell. The siblings are the third generation to operate the company. Their father and grandfather worked for original owner before buying the business in the early 1980s. Along with their modest attitude comes the mentality that small improvements make a big difference over time.
“If we can improve one-tenth of a percent on every item, that helps our bottom line,” Fred says. “If we can look at each item and keep it in check, that’s tremendous for us.”
That was the thought process that led them to get in touch with Dan Gordon, managing partner of PCO Bookkeepers, three years ago. They were familiar with him from hearing him speak at industry events and reading his articles in trade magazines.
“We heard about him and we needed a little more direction,” Katherine says, noting the industry benchmarking information was particularly appealing to the Havard team. “We really like the dashboard where he lets us know where we relate to other people in the industry. He understands our market, our branches and how they affect our bottom line.”
PCO Bookkeepers, which works with more than 300 pest control companies across the U.S., provides accounting, bookkeeping and CFO services; tax preparation and planning; and accounts payable management for companies in the pest control industry. Along with these services, clients receive in-depth monthly benchmarking reports comparing them to other firms in pest control industry.
Prior to working with PCO Bookkeepers, Havard prepared its own financial statements in house and talked with other pest control companies to compare spending on marketing, labor and other factors, but those numbers weren’t always reliable.
The financial benchmarking information PCO Bookkeepers provides helps the Havard team understand whether they’re headed in the right direction or need to improve in some areas.
“As far as fuel, products and labor, (Dan) has helped us on each one of them,” Fred says. “Probably our biggest improvement has been overtime.”
PCO Bookkeepers also has helped Havard’s management team set up monthly closing procedures and implement checks and balances within their software program. This move improved continuity across the company’s branches and allowed the team to better trust and understand their numbers.
“Those numbers no longer change,” Katherine says. “Now, if you run a P&L for May of this year, it should be exactly the same as it was when we reviewed it with managers earlier in the year. That was a huge part of what our complaint was before — everyone was getting different numbers.”
In addition to providing industry benchmarking information and setting up a monthly closing process, PCO Bookkeepers has consulted for Katherine and Fred on other issues where they “just needed a sounding board.”
For example, they’ve checked in with Dan prior to making major purchases, tapped him to help train their managers to better understand P&Ls and relied on his expertise throughout the Paycheck Protection Program process. “It’s been a very positive venture for us,” Fred says.