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Brian Olson was as surprised as anyone that the coronavirus pandemic wreaked such economic havoc, but he’s grateful for the business improvements he’s made over the past few years that have prepared him to get through it.

“Even though I didn’t know COVID-19 was coming down the pike, what I’ve been doing over the last two years was setting us up to be a company that’s able to weather something like this,” says the president/CEO of The Bugman Termite & Pest Control in Anaheim, Calif.

Brian joined The Bugman in 1983 when it had six employees and annual sales of about $500,000. His father, Herb, founded the company in 1958. The pair worked together to build the business with residential and multiunit housing clients to where it is today: 70 employees with annual sales closing in on $10 million. Brian’s daughter, Linzi, is the company’s HR manager. “We’re hoping to move it along to another generation,” he says.

The changes Brian has been making include implementing core values as a framework for making tough decisions and tightening up the company’s finances.

The latter began with a phone call to Dan Gordon, managing director of PCO Bookkeepers, who Brian had known through the pest industry for more than a decade. Gross profit and net profit were down, among other things, so he asked Dan for a financial analysis.

From the analysis, Brian learned there were several changes he could make to improve The Bugman’s chances of flourishing in the future. Recommendations included raising prices, spending more on pay-per-click marketing, converting monthly accounts to quarterly clients and better monitoring key performance indicators (KPIs).

He quickly signed on as a PCO Bookkeepers accounting customer. “All I can say is I wish I knew the extent of Dan’s expertise and value earlier,” says Brian, who previously had an in-house accounting manager and an outsourced tax accountant. “He’s worth every penny I pay him and I appreciate his professionalism.”

Part of the PCO Bookkeepers service includes receiving a monthly dashboard of KPIs. “The dashboard is fabulous,” Brian says. “It not only measures us and our critical KPIs, but it benchmarks us against the industry.”

The relationship goes further than accounting and bookkeeping. For example, Brian has consulted with PCO Bookkeepers on questions like whether he should lease or buy trucks. “Any business transaction I’m considering, Dan has been instrumental in guiding me,” he says. “PCO Bookkeepers has been tremendous in helping us streamline systems and operations.”

Managing by the metrics is one thing that’s helped The Bugman with its COVID-19 response. For example, Brian’s team created a new dashboard to track KPIs like reschedules, cancellations and absenteeism attributed directly to coronavirus.

“We watched all those things before, but we created a dashboard so we could meet with leadership every morning to know what this pandemic was going to mean to us,” he says.

The Bugman also has been working to increase its percent of recurring revenue to PCO Bookkeepers’ recommendation of 80 percent. The company is at 73 percent, up from the mid-60s. “That’s one of the things that’s helping us weather the storm,” Brian says. “Fortunately, customers are looking for their essential services to carry on.”


Business Background

The Bugman Termite & Pest Control

Anaheim, Calif.

President/CEO: Brian Olson

Size: 70 employees

Best advice: “One of the most comforting things as an owner is to talk to other owners. I’m now a member of a peer group. It’s been so important to be able to be there for each other to navigate through the waters together.” –Brian Olson



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