Owner, Guardian Pest Control
“Anybody who wants to sell a business and doesn’t use a broker is crazy. It’s worth the price and then some. The peace of mind, the confidence I had — I never felt
like I was being lead the wrong way with PCO M&A Specialists.”
Guardian Pest Control
Deep River, Conn.
Through the 'Art of Negotiation' PCO M&A Specialists Delivers for Guardian Pest Control
Don Balint got into the pest control industry in the 1990s, working for a large national pest control company. After a few years, he went out on his own and started Guardian Pest Control to better serve the customer. “I was broke — I had $742 in my account,” he recalls. But he built up his company over the years to a 12-person operation focusing on customer satisfaction and offering a spectrum of commercial and residential pest control services, including eco-friendly pest programs. “After 25 years, I decided I wanted to retire,” Don says. “My stress level was high, and I decided I don’t need any more headaches.”
The Decision to Sell
At PestWorld in Baltimore in 2017, Don began “getting his feet wet,” learning about his options for selling his company. He spoke to several business brokers, including PCO M&A Specialists. A sister company to accounting firm PCO Bookkeepers, PCO M&A Specialists is an exit-planning firm dedicated to get the highest after-tax value for pest control operators selling their businesses. At the time, Don thought he’d sell in two to three years. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, his timeline changed. He was too focused on the ever-changing regulations and requirements of running his business, he didn’t have time to prepare for a sale. Although both 2020 and 2021 were fantastic years for the company, they were difficult, Don says, especially when it came to finding employees. He attended PestWorld 2021 in Las Vegas intending to reconnect with the PCO M&A Specialists team. There he met with Managing Member Dan Gordon and started down his path to exiting.
The process entailed gathering financial and operation data and turning it over to PCO M&A Specialists. Next, the team assembled a board book to go to market. After several buyers expressed interest, Don met with them via video conference to introduce himself and get to know them. Eventually, he received multiple offers. “I was happy with it,” Don says. “I expected multiple offers, and I had multiple offers. Through the art of negotiation, Dan got the numbers up to where both he and I liked it.” Don was pleased with both the process and the PCO M&A Specialists team. “I give them five stars-plus,” he says. “Dan and the crew have been through this process many, many times. They are very reputable and the team is fantastic.”
Don’s goals for the sale included fully exiting the business and choosing a buyer that would retain his team. Ultimately, he opted to sell to Orkin. “I had a good vibe with the people there, and I wanted to have all my employees — office staff and technicians — to have an opportunity to continue working for the company,” he says. “Everything worked out that way.” With the sale in the rear-view mirror, Don emphasizes how important it was to find a broker he could trust. “I’m a person who worries,” he says. “It’s a big decision — it’s my retirement. But everybody at PCO M&A Specialists has been fantastic.”