President, Native Pest Management
"PCO Bookkeepers allows me to focus more on growing a business"
Native Pest Management
West Palm Beach, Fla.
“I’ve told multiple companies to hire PCO Bookkeepers. We’re pest control, guys. It makes sense to hire a company that specializes in accounting for pest control companies. A big accounting firm or a one-person firm isn’t going to be able to help as PCO Bookkeepers can.” —Luke Lewis
Fast-Growing Florida Firm Saves Time with PCO Bookkeepers
Luke Lewis is a native of West Palm Beach, Fla. — hence his company’s name, Native Pest Management. His connection to the pest control industry is through his parents, who own a high-end landscaping firm in the area.
After getting his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in accounting from the University of Florida and doing a stint in the FBI as an intelligence analyst, Luke returned to the family business. But rather than taking over the “dirt” side of things, he realized lawn care and pest control services were more his speed and had better margins to boot. “I started doing lawns in 2015 and each year added a different category — pest, termite, etc.,” Luke says.
This year, Native Pest Management was named to the Inc. 5000 list of fastest-growing companies in the U.S., growing 317 per cent in three years. Luke attributes the fast growth to a great team and high-quality work, along with cutting-edge software and an integrated business strategy.
Part of Native’s streamlined strategy is an outsourced approach to accounting. Three years ago, Luke hired PCO Bookkeepers, a firm that 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. Luke says he learned about PCO Bookkeepers from articles its Managing Member Dan Gordon writes for industry trade publications.
Even though he has two accounting degrees, as his business grew, Luke quickly understood the value of hiring an accounting firm with a team of experts in the pest control industry.
“There are a lot of people out there who used to be pest control technicians and could do pest control themselves, but they don’t,” Luke says, explaining the value of delegating tasks to people who do the job day in and day out. “I didn’t want to spend my time reading about tax law and keeping up with updates in the accounting industry. Being able to give (PCO Bookkeepers) a quick call is really worth it. It allows me to focus more on growing a business instead of doing all the things needed to keep it running.”
At the time Luke made the switch to PCO Bookkeepers, Native was still using the desktop version of QuickBooks. PCO Bookkeepers converted Native to QuickBooks Online and integrated it with PestRoutes.
“That automated everything,” he says. “Before everything was manual and it wasn’t necessarily being done right. I didn’t even know QuickBooks Online could connect to our credit cards and our bank. PCO Bookkeepers set that all up for us.”
A major benefit of working with PCO Bookkeepers on a monthly basis is access to benchmarking reports, Luke says, noting expenses can get out of control pretty quickly when you’re growing as quickly as Native is.
“With their graphs for every expense category, we can see what other companies are doing for each line item and we can stay ahead of any potential problems,” he says. “It gives us a goal, so if we’re behind we can move to exceed that goal.”
Specifically, the reports have helped Native better manage direct labour and products.
“For example, if we are spending more on products than average at this time, it allows us to improve our inventory management,” Luke says.
He also regularly asks PCO Bookkeepers to weigh in on big decisions. Recently, he consulted with his account representative about a vehicle financing question, and he’s turned to the PCO Bookkeepers team for advice about industry-standard compensation questions.
“PCO Bookkeepers helps with a lot of stuff I wouldn’t have been otherwise known because they only work with pest control companies,” he says. “On some of the higher-level things, I could spend 10 hours researching it, but they deal with it every week or two, so having their experience and knowledge to get the correct answers saves us a lot of time.”