Pest control door knockers often hear “no”. Even for the thickest skin, hearing this word can be deflating.
But Armor Pest Defense CFO Shon Gregersen, who knocked on doors while on a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, was able to do so without issue when he started. knocking on doors in Las Vegas. .
“Pest control is an easier way to say ‘no’ than to be told ‘no’ to Jesus,” he said. “Almost all of [Armor] partners have been somewhere on a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. And I bet two-thirds of our sales reps are all returned missionaries. It is our culture.
Armor, which is No. 90 on this year’s Top 100 list, got its start in 2010 when Gregersen and his brother-in-law Morgan Spillet (who is still a partner in the business) knocked on the doors of a another pest control business to make the money, and decided they could go into business themselves. In the fall of 2010, the duo moved to Phoenix and, with the support of his father Jerry, who is the CEO of Armor, began securing accounts.
“[Spillet] I was the first salesman, I was the first technician, we shared office duties,” Gregersen said. “We had about 2,400 accounts in our first season.”
Since then, all via door-to-door sales, Armor has expanded to approximately 18,000 customers in five markets: Denver; Phoenix; Kansas City, Kansas; Columbus, Ohio; and Oklahoma City. Each marketplace has an owner/partner, sales reps, and technicians, but there are no offices, which made it easier to withstand a pandemic that limited in-person work.
“We started with an office in Phoenix, Denver, and Oklahoma, and we realized that we’re paying office rent, we’re paying for phone lines, we’re just wasting ridiculous amounts of money,” Gregersen said. “We have closed all offices, which was unheard of in the industry.”
Gregersen’s business relies on vendors shipping products directly to technicians’ homes, and there are plenty of virtual meetings and training sessions, so the company is always tight-knit. Before the pandemic, they got together as a group for an annual golf outing and will reconnect as soon as conditions allow.
“Linked to the golf trip, [suppliers] will come and do specific training for our technicians,” Gregersen said.
Gregersen credits Armor’s technicians, sales staff and owners/partners, including Adam Sellars, Braxton Peterson and Scott Peterson, for the reason they were able to grow. But the company, which primarily serves residential accounts, tries to keep its offerings up to date. About a year ago, he switched from power sprayers, which Armor had been using since 2010, to backpack sprayers, which allow technicians to deliver more targeted and specific treatments.
If a customer reports scorpions, spiders, or crickets, for example, technicians can create a treatment plan more focused on eliminating the specific pest. “We can specifically address this pest rather than say, ‘We have 50 gallons in the truck. We’ll throw it out and see what it kills,” Gregersen said.
This year, Armor is second on the Top 100 list, and Gregersen expects big things for 2021. His youngest brother Nate will become a partner in the business, joining fellow brother Chris in Oklahoma City.
“It wasn’t intentional that it was the whole family, but our family is very successful in pest control,” Gregersen said. “We are sellers, and so it worked really well that way.”