CEO, Cross Pest Control of Tampa
"PCO Bookkeepers is one of the changes we’ve made that’s really launched us forward."
Cross Pest Control of Tampa
“Consider being open to change. I wish we would have been more open to change and progress prior to when we did.” —Jordan Murad
One Small Step for Cross Pest Control, One Giant Leap for the Business
Making one small step in the right direction has led Cross Pest Control “to go up an entire staircase,” according to CEO Jordan Raburn Murad.
She and her brother, Tanner Raburn, are fourth-generation leaders of the Tampa-area business. As they have taken over the business from their father over the past few years, they’ve modernized operations, including going paperless in 2019. A small step that yielded the big results? Signing on as a client of PCO Bookkeepers in spring 2020. PCO Bookkeepers works with more than 300 pest control and lawn care companies across the U.S. to provide accounting, bookkeeping and CFO services; tax preparation and planning; and accounts payable management.
Murad became familiar with the firm as a participant in the National Pest Management Association’s Executive Leadership Program in 2019. She acknowledges that she resisted PCO Bookkeepers’ pitches at first, thinking “We don’t need a bookkeeper.”
“But when I talked to peers throughout NPMA and the Executive Leadership program, they knew how many hats I was wearing and said ‘You’ve got to talk to them,’” she says. “When I talked to them, I realized how much was going to be taken off my plate. PCO Bookkeepers is one of the changes we’ve made that’s launched us forward.”
Learning to outsource some tasks to someone more qualified to execute them is a major lesson Murad and her brother have learned as they’ve taken the reins.
“My dad was responsible for all the things (in the business),” she says. “We learned over the last few years that you work better when you delegate to other people who do the job better than you. If you own the company, you don’t have to wear all the hats.”
Cross’s leaders quickly learned that the benefits of working with PCO Bookkeepers go beyond simply outsourcing. Its knowledge of pest industry accounting practices is unmatched, as is the management information the team provides its clients. Previously, Cross had an internal bookkeeper and worked with an outside accounting firm who “plugged in information and gave it back to us,” Jordan says. “There was no guidance.”
On the other hand, Jordan says she believes PCO Bookkeepers wants her to succeed. “They genuinely care for their clients and seeing their businesses take off,” she says. “When I reach out to them for guidance on pretty much anything relating to our books or any kind of financial decisions, they have given us a clear path on what would happen if we did X, Y or Z.”
One of the biggest changes Cross has made due to PCO Bookkeepers’ expertise is its commission structure. The company always has paid employees well and has enjoyed good employee retention. Unfortunately, the result was a small margin that did not allow for the owners to reinvest in the business.
“Our labour percentages were extremely high,” Jordan says, noting PCO Bookkeepers’ industry benchmarking reports have been enlightening for understanding the appropriate ranges for expenses. “We were never able to grow or do anything to push us forward because we didn’t have the funds. (PCO Bookkeepers) helped us find that middle ground to retain as many employees as we possibly could during a change in commission structure, while also helping us create a recurring sales stream.”
The last point is key to the company’s future success, she says. “By making this transition, we allocated more money to marketing, software and a cloud-based system — all of the things we never would have been able to afford before.”
PCO Bookkeepers also has been instrumental in helping Cross change its corporate structure from a C Corp to an S Corp, as well as improve its pricing.
“We were providing exceptional service at Kmart prices,” Jordan says. “They showed us it’s OK to not be the most affordable and to get paid for what you’re worth. I feel like we have a lot of opportunities to learn and grow and we’re not afraid to change, and that has benefitted us greatly.”