Pest Pro of the Month: Animal Pros

Pest Pro of the Month: Animal Pros

The USPMPA is delighted to announce Ryan Hall and Animal Pros as the March 2016 Pest Pro of the Month.  In just 12 years, Ryan Hall has gone from being an operator for another wildlife company to creating his own rapidly growing, successful wildlife operation now spanning 4 states and with over 20 employees.

Headquartered in Nashville, TN, Animal Pros offers animal removal for both residential and commercial accounts; exclusion and repair service; contamination cleanup and odor control; attic and crawlspace restoration; insulation replacement; dead animal removal and inspection services for real estate transactions. Grossing over $3M annually, Ryan credits the rapid growth to a sniper-like focus on his goals, and learning to adjust to whatever situations come up.

USPMPA sat down with Ryan to learn more about how he’s grown his business.

USPMPA: What was the scariest part of making the decision to start Animal Pros?
RH: As it turns out, the choice was sort of made for me. I wasn’t agreeing with the management at the wildlife company I worked at, and I was fired 2 weeks before Christmas. I had my first child on the way, and to say it was a scary time is to put it mildly. Ultimately I did what I think any entrepreneur has to do: to reach down deep within, stay composed, and believe in yourself.

USPMPA: What was your biggest challenge as you launched?
RH: I knew that there was a lot of business to be had. The real estate market was just starting to really take off, so the challenge was to get my name out there to as many realtors as possible, as quickly as possible. I did this through a lot of networking, handing out business cards, and making it a daily priority to connect with realtors in the area. This led to me immediately having to hire two technicians, and then two more in very short order.

Hall describes his busy season as the day after Christmas, when skunk mating and breeding season begins. He also shared that he learned to eliminate “down time” from his first employer, and repeated the technique in his own business. During periods of business contraction, he expands his coverage area. While this means there’s more driving for technicians to get to a job, it keeps the trucks rolling and the techs busy. Very much a self-starter and not afraid to learn, Ryan admits that he had no marketing experience in the beginning.

USPMPA: Can you share some of your marketing techniques? What works for Animal Pros?
RH: I do PPC (pay-per-click) advertising as well as organic web-marketing. I didn’t know how to do any of this, so I initially depended on consultants to manage my sites and campaigns. Overall this was a let-down, so now I do it myself. I learned through trial-and-error: finding what wasn’t working, learning what was effective, and applying it. I’m still learning! Short of actually coding a website, I feel confident that I can do it. We’ve also had good success in getting our brand out using radio, TV spots, and direct mail.

USPMPA: We’ve heard many wildlife companies wanting to expand into offering pest services. What are your thoughts?
RH: Offering pest control is something that we’ve thought about, and may do in the future. We currently work with a few local pest companies and trade leads. Of course, if we start offering competitive services this might change! (laughs) I feel that it can be a mistake to stretch too thin, and get I’m still thinking about pest control at this point.

USPMPA: Do you still go out, and what’s your favorite call?
RH: I love going out! I don’t get to as much as when I started, of course. I love the skunk call – lots of wildlife guys don’t like it because of the risk, and while I’ve been sprayed 15 times, I can usually do a manual extraction without getting sprayed!

USPMPA: What would you say to the smaller wildlife company looking to grow?
RH: There’s a difference between being IN the business, and RUNNING the business. It’s a choice each of us has to make if we want to grow. I have a great management team, and have hired experienced managers both from the wildlife side, and those with more of a business acumen that can help me grow the business. I have deliberately slowed down in order to focus on maximizing our potential…something that really takes discipline.

USPMPA: Is your wife or family involved in the business?
RH: Amber’s not a fan of anything that has the potential to bite, attack or spray! While she wasn’t involved in Animal Pros, I am truly lucky that she left a state job to become a full-time mother to our growing children. This allowed me to really focus on the business early on. We both realized that after a few years of long hours and extremely hard work, the business stability would eventually work out to allow me to be home more. This has become reality, so even though Amber isn’t directly involved, I do credit her as a huge part of our success.

For those active on the Facebook group, Wildlife Control Business Builders, you know that Ryan is glad to offer his knowledge, advice and images. Often he will ask questions of others to both test awareness and also educate. Through his hard work and commitment, Ryan has built a wildlife control empire while providing security for his team and family. Please join us in congratulating Ryan Hall and Animal Pros for being the USPMPA’s 2016 February Pest Pro of the Month!

Don Leland editor