Pest Control Business Attracts A New Breed of Capitalists Who Want to Roam Free and Be Their Own Boss

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Surprisingly low-capital, high-margin business of rodent control beckons those tired of sitting behind a desk.

I just want to get out and move around more!

"I just want to get out and move around more!" How many times have we heard this refrain from ourselves or co-workers who spent four years cloistered within classrooms only to land a job working within a 6' x 6' cubicle for the next several years. Before launching his own underground rodent control business this year with a partner, Dennis Elia had already proven his business chops in the "cubicle" world. Formerly a Texas Instrument executive, then a market strategist for Purex Corp., Elia later launched a joint venture with a Fortune 500 company to manufacture and market highway crash equipment nationally. Why then would Elia consider starting a local pest control business based in Fresno, California?

“To launch a small manufacturing business can require start up capital of at least $2 million and 18 months of dealing with bankers, lawyers, and investors," explains Elia. "Then you’re dealing with mature markets, low margins, and overseas competition. I was ready for a change.”

When Elia discovered the Rodenator rodent control system at an agricultural trade show, he found it to his liking.

Manufactured by Meyer Industries of Midvale, Idaho, the Rodenator Pro injects a calibrated mix of propane and oxygen into the burrow of a gopher or other rodents. Since propane is heavier than air, the gaseous mix sinks to the lowest parts of the burrow where the gopher nest usually lies. When the operator electronically activates this mixture of blended gases from the end of the application wand, the oxygen mixture rapidly expands at 5,000 feet per second, creating a high pressure shockwave that kills the gophers or rodents and collapses the tunnel system.

Elia also welcomed the opportunities presented by launching a low capital, high margin service business with little competition and low market penetration. Today his company, DECO Systems, sells its underground pest control services to markets as varied as golf courses, school districts, wineries, resorts, business parks, horse racetracks, orchards, and cemeteries—all of which suffer the risks and problems caused by gophers and other rodents.

Elia has improved his income stream with equipment sales in addition to his pest control maintenance service. “Considering the minimal cost of equipment and licensing, we recouped a return on our investment in just 40 days,” says Elia.

But the rewards of owning your own pest control business are more than financial according to Mark Ayers, a former district sales manager of a now defunct Internet business who recently started his own Rodenator, gopher exterminating business.

“I recently scheduled two weeks off to spend time with my new four-month old grandson,” explains Ayers, who plans to pack equipment into his RV and work from the road. “If I wanted, I could easily ramp up the business so there’s no time for me to breathe. But right now, I set the time, the pace, and recently saw a gorgeous full moon set and the sun rise on the way to work. How many others can say that?”

To see a video of how the Rodenator Pro pest control device works, visit

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Ed Meyer
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