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Eye On | Harvest Valley Pest Control — Eliminating pesky problems: Making a happier home is the focus

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Harvest Valley Pest Control technician Richard Westra wears protective gear as he goes into a home to examine a crawl space.

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Since David Kaylor started Harvest Valley Pest Control in March of 2016, the company has grown from one employee and one location (Wenatchee) to nine employees serving the Wenatchee Valley, Moses Lake, Chelan, Quincy, Cashmere, Leavenworth and everywhere in between.

Kaylor attributes the success to hard work, perseverance, faith, love, and search engine optimization (SEO) marketing.

Kaylor, 37, is a husband and a father of five children and received his theology degree from Portland Bible College before working as a call center representative for then-named Alpha Ecological. Kaylor was promoted to regional manager of the Pacific Northwest and eventually took on the entire West Coast, managing over 80 employees.

As a regional manager, Kaylor was able to see all sides of a pest control business from first contact and face-to-face encounters, to effective execution of pest control extermination or removal.

I was traveling a lot when I was the regional manager, and that’s hard on a family when you have five children to take care of,” Kaylor said. “I looked at this area, and it looked like there was an opportunity to pest control right here.”

Kaylor said the first step of the process toward plunging into running his own business focused on a lot of prayer and reflection. Kaylor, who is also an associate pastor at Faith Community Church in Quincy is a faith-driven man. He said he didn’t know if it would be feasible to start and run a business while making enough time for his children (aged from 12 years old to 2 years old) and his wife, Katie.

We just had a push that this was the right thing to do,” Kaylor said.

As soon as Kaylor and his family committed to their startup, he approached Joel Franks and the SCORE Association, a nonprofit association of thousands of volunteer business counselors throughout the United States. Kaylor said the business plan mentoring and the initial research of conducting smart business practices that SCORE provided him with was a huge jumpstart to Harvest Valley Pest Control.

Another key part of Harvest Valley Pest Control’s rapid rise in the North Central Washington pest control scene is its efficiency and dedication to SEO marketing. Kaylor hooked up with Jordan Lindstrom, who owns Web Guides and was previously the marketing manager at Mission Ridge.

(Jordan) specializes in all things marketing, but especially online marketing and especially Washington,” Kaylor said. “We asked if he could do some market research online so that we could build our website around what people were searching for. You know, ‘What are people searching for that we can tailor the website to?’ For someone starting a business, I couldn’t recommend that piece of the puzzle more. Everything is online now. It used to be that people looked in the phonebook for that sort of thing, and that’s just not the case at this point in time.”

Kaylor feels his SEO strategy has been key in getting his business’ name out there and on the tip of tongues for verbal references and referrals.

Harvest Valley Pest Control has a six-stage process from inquiry to resolution. Kaylor says this is intentional to make sure the best quality of service. The six steps are initial phone call, quote, appointment scheduling, 30-point treatment inspection, protection plan, happy home.

Initially, on the first contact, you identify the pest, that’s probably the most important thing,” Kaylor said. “You look to see if there is exclusion that can be done such as keeping the pest out of the area or environmental things that can be done… you know food, water, harbourage, ‘Is it possible to reduce or remove?’ Then you can use pesticides as needed as kind of a last option. It makes for a better pest service; you get way better results. Then when one of our technicians arrive at the home or business, they do our 30-point inspection. That inspection is kind of the foundation of our service. We call it the healthy home pest inspection. The inspection goes down a checklist of things like I said before, looking at options such as exclusion, food sources, water sources … then a list of recommendations that we can present. Sometimes, we can’t help out a specific client and we refer them to other partner organizations around the valley.”

Kaylor said the Wenatchee Valley’s biggest pest problem is rats or mice in the summer months. Odorous house ants, along with spiders and wasps follow, and Kaylor said termite and bed bug activity are also problems, yet less common.

Harvest Valley Pest Control tries to give the best and happiest customer service around, one of the founding pillars Kaylor is proud of.

I tell our technicians, just go over there and show them some love,” Kaylor said. “This is a serious stress time for them, if you can go in there and do a great service, relieve that stress, take time to care about what’s going on in their world, and just love on them, you’ll do a great job. You’ll change their current reality right now.”

Harvest Valley Pest Control has caught the eye and praise of some big names in the industry, including Don Hester, owner of NCW Home Inspections.

Having come from a larger pest management company, seeing operations at a regional scale and applying those lessons to a localized approach gives that business a leg up,” Hester said. “I work with a lot of businesses and one of the things I always look at it is, ‘What kind of business are you trying to be? Is your main focus customer care?’ I think Harvest Valley Pest Control’s main focus is customer care. They want to make money also, but when customer care is paramount I think that is imperative for any business.”

With additional success comes challenges. Cash flow has been a problem for Kaylor and his business because of the skyrocketing growth and demand for his company’s services. First, the problem was to get to the phone to ring, then it was assembling a team that could satisfy the demand. Growth sucks cash, and Kaylor is working with banks to convince them his startup is for real.

They do great work,” Hester said. “There are certain industries that attract a certain type of personnel. Getting someone in here that I am comfortable with what they are doing, their business practices, and helping to give people get the right solutions is somewhat rare. Sometimes there is some flippant work done here, where people don’t know what they’re doing. David is good at learning things, adjusting, and doing a job that he can be proud of.”