Owner, Halt Pest Control
“You couldn’t pay me to work with another accountant.”
Halt Pest Control
“Start early. Have a firm grasp of your business and value. Maintain a strong balance sheet, and seek professional advice from a well-established company that knows the industry and the process, like PCO M&A Specialists.”
A smooth process
Founded “from scratch” in 1990 by Rob McMaster, Halt Pest Control has since grown to a thriving operation in Beaverton, Ore., based on providing personalized pest control service rather than a one-size-fits-all treatment approach.
The company tells its clients “We deliver peace of mind.” When it came time for Rob to consider selling the company, that’s exactly what he was looking for from a buyer and a pest control M&A consultant.
The decision to sell
In early 2020, McMaster and his wife, Jodi, a former computer industry executive who serves in a consulting role to Halt, turned to PCO M&A Specialists to better understand the company’s value and the M&A process.
They were unsure if they wanted to sell the business at that time, but they were interested in learning more. The McMasters knew if and when they sold they would need to enlist the help of a professional like Dan Gordon, managing partner of PCO M&A Specialists. Halt has worked with sister firm PCO Bookkeepers as its accounting firm for about five years.
“We’ve never done this before and we’re probably never going to do this again,” Jodi says. “When we started wrapping our head around it, we wanted to make sure we did it in the right way.”
An offer emerged quickly, and by February Rob signed a letter of intent to sell Halt Pest Control to Certus. The McMasters liked the buyer’s business model, including the ability for their company to retain its name, and they believed this deal would set up their employees for success and allow the firm to grow.
“Everyone at Halt wears 16 hats,” Jodi says. “To be able to have backend infrastructure and tools will make everyone’s life much easier. They’re going to be able to take it to another whole level.”
Rob’s goals were to maximize the value of the company, make sure his employees were well taken care of and make it a smooth process. With the help of PCO M&A Specialists, he achieved those objectives.
“Early on (PCO M&A Specialists) saw the value of our business and could negotiate on our behalf,” says Rob, who will exit the business after a transition period. “They made suggestions on how to take care of our employees. They managed the entire process with us to get us through the deal.”
Although the M&A process can be taxing on an owner, it was easier for Halt than it is for some companies because the firm uses PCO Bookkeepers for its bookkeeping and accounting services. Having organized books and years of monthly reports showing growth and other key performance indicators is attractive to buyers.
The McMasters say the terms, conditions and price were better than they could have gotten going it alone, and Dan and his team had the experience to walk them through every phase, including due diligence.
“Due diligence is heavy lifting, but the PCO team knows what’s needed,” Jodi says. “I don’t know how anyone could do it without that type of support system. They added a ton of value.”