In today’s episode I am sitting down for a conversation with Jordan Murad the CEO at Cross Pest Control of Tampa. Cross Pest Control is a 4th generation family owned business in Tampa Florida. After college Jordan was looking to build a career and stepped into working at the family business and learning everything about pest control. She worked multiple positions until two years ago when she became CEO. She tells us about the journey and about where they are today!
In this episode we will cover:
- Stepping into the family business – working with your brother and husband.
- Incorporating and setting up the legal systems
- Transitioning from paper and a handshake to technology based systems
- Building a network that supports you and your business.
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Episode 220: Lady Bug Boss with Jordan Murad Transcript
Andrea: [00:00:03] Welcome to the Legalpreneur Podcast. I’m your host, Andrea Sager, Founder and CEO of Legalpreneur, Inc. As
Andrea: [00:00:03] Welcome to the Legalpreneur Podcast. I’m your host, Andrea Sager, founder and CEO of Legalpreneur, Inc. As a serial entrepreneur and someone that works exclusively with small business owners legally protecting their business, I’m dedicated to covering common legal issues faced by business owners, providing you with the business knowledge you need to catapult your businesses growth and showing you just how some of the world’s most elite entrepreneurs have handled these legal and business issues themselves in true attorney fashion. The information in this episode is not legal advice. This is for informational purposes only, and you should always consult with your attorney before implementing any of the information in the show. Hello there. Welcome back to another episode of the legal podcast.
Andrea: [00:00:50] I’m excited for today’s guest, Jordan Murad with Cross Pest Control of Tampa, Florida. Jordan, thank you so much for joining me.
Jordan: [00:00:58] And thank you so much for having me.
Andrea: [00:01:00] I’m really excited about this because we’ve actually never had, number one, a pest control business. And I know you have more of a local business, not an online business, although we did meet in an online course that we took SEO school with Smitri Tomar,she’s the CEO of Stacks. They have $1,000,000,000 valuation. I’m a huge fan girl of Smriti. But Jordan, I’m so excited for you to be here. Can you please just give the rundown to the audience? Let us know. How did you get to where you are today?
Jordan: [00:01:34] So actually my grandfather started our business in 1968. My dad took over the business in 2000 when he abruptly passed away, and my brother and I kind of took over the business, say, about 2018. I actually started working for the business when I was like 15 or 16, you know, filing papers or doing little things here and there went into hospitality. And then when I got engaged, I decided that, you know, it was probably time for me to take something and make a little more serious career out of myself. And I started to work with my dad to see if that was something we wanted to do. And I loved it. I don’t know why. Maybe it was just the family aspect of it. But pest control is very interesting. No day is the same. No, no house is the same, no problem is the same. So it’s like you’re always evolving and learning and I think that’s so great. So fast forward a few years after some customer service experience, I got into all the nitty gritty details of some of the financial stuff. My brother was working in the field and he and I currently now co-own the business and it’s been quite an adventure coming in and taking over the old school way of doing things where it was like, Here’s the handshake, yeah, you have a job, you know, and trying to get a lot of the things in line that you should have as a business in 2022. So it’s been fun.
Andrea: [00:02:59] That’s awesome. I have so many questions. Number one, I would love to dive into like growing up with a family business. I am so I. I am of the mindset of so I have two kids and I want to leave my kids a business. I don’t want to just leave them money. I want to leave them a business. And so I’m very curious, like what that upbringing was. Was this something talked about like, oh, you’re going to take over the family business someday? Or was it just like, Oh, it’s this thing that, you know, my dad does, my grandpa does, and you never really considered it because you hear about these family businesses where they grow up and it’s like, Oh, this is what you’re doing in life and there’s no choice. So I would love to hear about that.
Jordan: [00:03:44] Yeah. So I would say that there wasn’t any sort of pressure. It was very much like, Hey, here’s this opportunity. We would love for you to be a part of it, but if you’re not, that’s great. I think that they really fostered the environment of like, you need to go set out and figure out what you want to do. And that’s, you know, I went to school, I got my undergrad in economics from University of South Florida GOBBLES And we ended up just I guess my brother, you know, got in the business as a spring technician and he was just like, I’m going to have this and do this and see if it’s something I want to do. I can if I asked him right now, he’d probably be like, No, I never thought I would be in management. I thought I would just coast for a few years, figure out what I wanted to do, but we both kind of fell in love with the business. I do think having that family aspect of like knowing that my grant, our grandfather and our dad put so much blood, sweat and tears into the business that it really is just that much more special when we do succeed and we do have certain wins, and I think it just makes it that much more special. So I wouldn’t say that there was any kind of pressure by any means. I know that some families do have that, but I’m very grateful we did not.
Andrea: [00:04:52] That’s awesome. And that’s something that I’m very conscious of with my kids. So they’re three and five. So they don’t I mean, they they know Mommy goes to work, but they have no idea what I do. And we have our conference dream bigger in October. And I already told their dad I was like, Hey, I don’t care what you have to say, they’re going to miss school and they’re going to come because I want them to see me on stage and doing all the things. So I want to start introducing them. But I’m very conscious of I don’t want to put that pressure on them. So I’m glad to hear that really just you have those choices and you chose to come and take over the family business. So I would love to hear like. I know you said you started around 15, 16 just filing papers. What have you done? Like every position. Have you been a spring technician? Have you? What are all the roles? Have you done every role? I would love to hear this. And what is really like your main role today?
Jordan: [00:05:50] Yeah, so I have I’m fully certified. So in the state of Florida, you have to have so many jobs in order to be out in the field, in order to gain certain certifications, to be able to hold a pest control license. Florida is one of the top states in the in the entire country as far as pest pressures go. So their licensing is very tough and rigid and you’ve got to go through a lot more hoops in and juggle a lot more things than other states do. So I would say that I have pretty I didn’t hold a pest control route, but I have been out there, I’ve done some installs, I’ve done some treatments and I’ve done that. I’ve been through this customer service representative. I was kind of like a head office manager for a few years. I went into a vice president role and currently I am CEO and my brother is the Vice President and my dad is president. And I also have my husband on board and he’s like our operations manager now. So it’s been quite a family affair.
Andrea: [00:06:51] I’m going to tell you, like I just got goosebumps hearing that you are the CEO and all the other guys are VP’s and I love hearing that. So I, I’m curious, how was there any. Tension with your brother of like. The decision. I don’t know how it came about. You’re going to be the CEO. He’s a vice president. I’m curious, was there ever any tension or was just like, yeah, this is how it is?
Jordan: [00:07:18] Not at all. I think at one point we were just kind of like we didn’t really have any titles and it was like, What do you do well? What do you do? Well, okay, great. And we kind of filled into those seats. So I wouldn’t say that there was any friction or anything. It was, you know, I enjoy the talking, I enjoy the leading, the storytelling and all that stuff. And he is more suited on more operations and finance and making sure that people are doing what they need to be doing. And we just kind of fell into it. And my dad still is a president. You know, he still we still go to him on on a lot of things. He’s more, you know, laid back. I wouldn’t say semi-retired, but semi-retired. And we do go to him for a lot of of reporting or decisions that need to be made. And, you know, it just kind of fell into place, really.
Andrea: [00:08:06] That’s awesome. And I love to hear that you work your husband works with you like that. That’s my dream, is to have a partner that works with me in a business. I don’t know why. That’s just.
Jordan: [00:08:18] Yeah, it was really weird. He’s. He was in physical therapy, and then when COVID hit, he was working at an assisted living, and they shut down, and they were like, Hey, if you want to continue working here, you’re basically going to have to move in. And he’s like, No, I have a two year old, like I have a wife. I’m not doing that. So he was kind of like put on leave for a little bit. And that was an interesting turnaround. And honestly for us, pest control was out of control, like it was the little dive where everyone was shut down, know we were kind of slow and then it was like the floodgates opened and everyone was home. So everyone noticed all the bugs and we just we have not stopped since. So we were like, we’re dying. We need you to come on board. So it was a weird shift for him too, because he never thought he would be in pest control and he loves it now. And our four year old, you mentioned your children, they she loves it. She’s like, oh, bugs, bugs, mommy, bugs, you know? And she pokes out she called a she called a grasshopper a hop grasser for many years. And I’ll never I’ll never not call it a hop grasser because of that. But yeah, she loves it, too.
Andrea: [00:09:18] That’s so cute. My my kids have some words that they say backwards and it’s so cute. Oh, my gosh. So I would love to hear about growing the business. So when you took over or when you really started getting more involved with the business, I’m sure you were at a certain point, and it sounds like you’ve grown a lot since then. So can you talk about that a little bit?
Jordan: [00:09:41] Yeah, I think that my dad and my grandfather did a really good job with the tools that they had available to them and growing the business. And I think that with technology in the way that it’s advanced in the last, it’s really five years. But in the last 20 years, the Internet, I think our our customer base was used to a lot of the older fashion style. You know, I’m going to come out, I’m going to treat I’m going to talk to you for 30 minutes like and that’s what that’s what got us here. But our customers have evolved as much as the business and technology has evolved. So I think it was really just aligning our business to where technology and where our customers were coming at us from. And I think that we when we kind of stepped in, we were like, okay, we’re still using paper receipts, we’re still using phones to communicate certain things. Like the Internet is it’s such a tool, like let’s use it. And we, we went paperless in 2019 and that just was the catalyst for us to really put us in a great position.
Jordan: [00:10:44] We wanted to go work from home, but it was more like a three year kind of plan. Like we really didn’t. We had a large office, we really didn’t have any need for it. And then COVID hit and we were like, Okay, all right, we’re going to take our time. We’re going to really scout this out and see how can we get our team members from working from home. Our techs were already remote, so we just were looking at the internal staff, really focusing on those technologies advanced us. We got cloud computing for pretty much every type of software. Our team works from home. I can work. We were in Nashville in January and I worked seamlessly from there so that also that flexibility would have never been there. We not done some of the steps for technology, and I think that there’s literally not a single facet of the business that has not been revolutionized in some way, shape or form for the better. Just with those technological advancements, it’s been great for us.
Andrea: [00:11:37] Amazing. How many team members do you all have now?
Jordan: [00:11:40] 20.
Andrea: [00:11:41] Wow. So how many technicians? I’m curious, like, what are the different positions? Like technicians or you have like techs.
Jordan: [00:11:51] Yeah. So we have we have 11 technicians. We have, I think five for customer service representatives. We have. And then the rest is management or executives, etc.. But yeah, we, our technician team is growing and we have, some of them are certified and just termites and some of them are all types of pests and termites. Termites are their own beast in itself, literally. But I think that that Bob rounds it out. We have a customer service rep team. They we all work from home and that’s been great.
Andrea: [00:12:25] Okay. I have a personal question, which I know you’re in Florida. I’m in Houston. Mosquitoes are crazy. And is there like an actual mosquito treatment to keep them away from your house?
Jordan: [00:12:39] So not permanently, although if somebody can come up with it, they’re going to be bajillion errors. But there are treatments for what we typically do in Florida. And Houston is very wet and humid, just like, you know, Tampa Bay area. We typically do treatments, but we recommend frequent treatments. Sometimes they can last anywhere from 3 to 4 weeks, depending on the environmental factors. It could last up to 6 to 8 weeks per property. But I know like for us, our mosquito season is pretty much almost year round, whereas other places it’s just the hot and humid. We go mostly from like February to October. So we recommend either bi monthly treatments or monthly treatments depending on the property to help keep those.
Andrea: [00:13:23] And how much is that?
Jordan: [00:13:25] It can depend. Some people have it included in in their larger packages. So it’s kind of like bundled in some people like a la carte. Some people do it for events. It could be if you’re treating a smaller space anywhere from 100 or $150 upwards, up to four or $500, depending on what you’re trying to treat, how often you’re treating it. If you’re doing it more on a monthly basis, the cost can go down because you are keeping it under control. Whereas if you just do a one time treatment, sometimes it’s like a Hail Mary, you know, like, okay, we’re going to do it, but don’t know how long it’s going to last because of the environment and whatnot.
Andrea: [00:14:01] But that’s awesome because I, well, at the moment I’m living with my parents waiting. It’s a whole housing situation, waiting on one house to set up.
Jordan: [00:14:12] But fun times, we just went through that. Yeah. I totally get it. Yeah.
Andrea: [00:14:17] It’s, it’s not that bad. It’s pretty good. My dad is great, my parents are retired and my dad just like cleans and does laundry so I don’t have to do anything. So that’s really nice. But anyways, they, I’ve been wanting to get mosquito treatment for their house because they’re, they have like a whole acre of land, which is a lot for the Houston area, and it’s just swampy back there. And I’m like, we need to get rid of these mosquitoes. But I’m like, I don’t even know if that’s a thing.
Jordan: [00:14:46] Oh, definitely is. Like, there is.Yeah, especially the areas. If you’re going to hang out outside, you don’t have to treat the whole property. But if you’re focused on one area, I would make sure to get that because I actually contracted meningitis from a mosquito. They trace it back like I was in a coma. It was. It was insane. What? Oh, yeah. I went and I went crazy. Basically, it had my spinal fluid swelling. I had brain swelling. Like I almost tried to hurt my husband. I was trying to hit him because it was there had such swelling on my brain and the doctors thought I was all on drugs when they took me to the hospital. And my husband’s like, no, she’s never done a thing in her life. Like, you can’t. You have to keep looking. And sure enough, after I woke up, like they kept doing testing and they traced it back to a mosquito bite. Which is ironic considering I’m in the field, so I always push for make sure you’re protecting yourself because mosquitoes are the most like dangerous animal in the entire world. Shark bites nothing. Nothing compares to a mosquito.
Andrea: [00:15:49] Yeah. Mm hmm. That’s how long ago was that?
Jordan: [00:15:52] That was about five years ago now.
Andrea: [00:15:55] Oh, my gosh. Well, glad to know that you are much better.
Jordan: [00:15:58] Yeah, thank God.
Andrea: [00:15:59] That’s insane. Oh, my gosh, that is insane.
Jordan: [00:16:03] Sorry to sidetrack, but yeah.
Andrea: [00:16:05] No, I love talking. I mean, don’t want to hear about that. I love, like, the sidetrack. So what? How long were you in a coma?
Jordan: [00:16:12] So it was about 48 hours where I was knocked out. They had to put like because I was going so crazy for the lack of a better word. They had to pump me with all kinds of stuff and it just knocked me out.
Andrea: [00:16:24] Wow. That’s crazy. That’s insane. Oh, my God.
Jordan: [00:16:30] I always try to push for not, like, fear selling base tactics, but, like, if somebody asks me, I’m like, hey, you know, I am always going to push for that because, you know, and because I had traveled I went to New Orleans for a wedding and I came back and immediately after it was like the five, six weeks leading. After that, I had migraines and was throwing up and they were like, Oh, it’s just stress. And I’m like, No, my like my body went numb and it was like a whole thing. So yeah.
Andrea: [00:16:59] Wow. That’s that’s pretty crazy. Shifting gears, getting a little bit back on track.
Jordan: [00:17:05] Right.
Andrea: [00:17:05] What I am curious about some of the things that you guys have used an attorney for, because I know we were talking beforehand that y’all didn’t have any agreements with employees. I would love to hear about that.
Jordan: [00:17:19] Yeah. So coming into the business and trying to get our hands on everything and learn everything from the bottom up, a lot of things back in the day were on handshakes and they basically filled out their W-4 and that was it. There was no agreements. There was no like, hey, this is what we’re going to do. This is, you know, and not necessarily that it didn’t work, but it’s just in this day and age, just, you know, you kind of got to protect yourself. And we’ve run into a couple of instances. One, when we transferred ownership, we did go through an attorney to make sure everything was legal and taken care of. And if anyone who knows me knows I’m by the books and I want to make sure that I am following the rules. And that was an adventure. And I learned quite a bit too, and jumping. Fortunately, I will say with all the things that we did not have done, it was a learning process for us. So I was able to learn all of those things. We have transitioned from a C Corp to an S corporation. We’ve used an attorney for that and that’s been an adventure along with our accountant. The employee agreements was a huge one. We had some employees that had were with us for 30, 40 years, I mean, longer than I’ve been alive. And they didn’t have employer agreements and there was some toxicity involved with some of the people that were here. But at the time it was like, listen, they’re only going to be here for a few more years.
Jordan: [00:18:35] Let’s just ride it out. And my brother and I were like very much against that. But we started changing some things and they started to see their way out and they tried to take quite a bit of clientele with them. And I will say that they were successful with taking quite a bit. So the reason they left was because they didn’t want to assign a non solicitation basically to do what they could do with the non solicitation. So they refused to sign. They took some clients, but the way that we were operating, we intended on that possibly happening because we didn’t have that in place and we created a lot of other streams of revenue and different things in place so that we wouldn’t really feel that. So we’re grateful for that. But that was a learning curve. I was like, Oh God, you know, I know sometimes they don’t necessarily stand up in certain things with like non competes. Like I know with pest control there’s thousands of companies just in our local radius and sometimes it’s a little hard to enact, but having those papers in place at least gets you like, okay, we’ve done this, we’ve done this, it gets you that. So when you have to argue a case in the future, like when we almost took this to an attorney and was like, listen, like they shouldn’t be doing this, they that’s not fair. Like we were, we were in the business. They were just the vessel, you know, going out and doing the not to discredit what he did or what they did.
Jordan: [00:19:56] But as a technician, it just many, many years where those customers, they were also with us for 30 and 40 years. And it’s like not only am I protecting me as a business owner, my child’s future, but you’re also protecting your other employees. And that’s where we were trying to drive home the point of like, Hey, team member, this isn’t like to prohibit you from growing. If you want to start your own business, go right ahead. That’s not what this is for. This is to protect you from somebody else taking clients or somebody else on our team, doing something shady or trying to get around the system. And it’s protecting your future as well. So I think it was an easy sign for pretty much everybody else and I think just a few bad apples. But honestly, I would rather them take the entire clientele base that they had that they had access to, because that that toxicity was not worth any of that. So it worked itself out in the end. But now we have we have non solicitations and we are we feel much better in a position to where if there ever is anything in the future we have that to fall back on and there’s explicit language in it that says you can’t do X, Y, Z, you can’t take X, Y, Z with you and you, you, you, you have access to certain things and you’re privy to certain information and you can’t utilize that period. And that that’s comforting.
Andrea: [00:21:19] Yeah. And for those listening she is Jordan’s referring to a non solicitation. I’m guessing it’s in lieu of a non-compete. Correct. And for those listening. Most people revert to a non-compete though like, oh, I want to India or a non-compete. Most states will not enforce a non-compete agreement because they don’t want to suppress anybody the ability to make money. Yes. However, the non solicitation is typically what benefits the business owner the most because that means they cannot take clients. And a lot of times and just like you said, you’re like, hey, we don’t want to stop you from going out and starting your own business. We just don’t want you to take our clients. And so that’s exactly what the non solicitation does. You can’t stop somebody from going and making money, but you can stop them from taking your clients. So just wanted to explain that to the listeners.
Jordan: [00:22:11] Way more eloquently than I could have put it.
Andrea: [00:22:14] Well, and that’s the default mean, because most people, they’ve heard of a non-compete and so they’ll come to me and they’re like, Hey, I want to get a non-compete with these employees. I’m like, okay, let’s dig into this a little more because probably we can’t do a non-compete, and then that’s when I explain that to them. So. One thing I’m curious about being a local business. How how are you guys getting customers? Is it a lot of just word of mouth? Do you all pay for marketing? I’m curious how you how you do get clients.
Jordan: [00:22:44] Great question. Up until about three years ago, we had zero marketing. It was all word of mouth, which is impeccable considering we’re here 54 years later. I would say that the marketing we’re doing now is just like SEO. So it’s not even I mean, it’s still marketing, you know, I’ll give you that, but it’s not like we’re doing tons of paid advertisements. It’s basically just our website and our SEO and we’re still doing really well. We’re trying to change some things around, so we have a little more flexibility in the budget to do a lot more marketing. But we just started some in-house event or local events recently. We got involved with some events downtown Tampa for a birthday bash. We’ve done a couple of different fun things around the community and that’s about it. But that’s mostly it’s all word of mouth. Our customers have been the best thing for us.
Andrea: [00:23:34] That’s awesome. Are you guys on TikTok?
Jordan: [00:23:37] Yes, we are. We’re new. We’re new, but we are on TikTok. I think that the tik tok thing is I feel almost like geriatric because it’s not really my gig. I feel like I’m beyond like, just give me give me Instagram, give me Facebook. I’m good. But we have one of my creative my creative directors brought that on board with Taylor and she’s like, We need to do it. And I’m like, okay, I’m game, but we’re trying to get more presents on there.
Andrea: [00:24:03] Yeah, I feel like there can be so many funny videos for pest control.
Jordan: [00:24:09] Oh yeah.
Andrea: [00:24:09] So we will definitely link that in the show notes. So everybody make sure you go check out their new tik tok account. Okay, Jordan, before I let you go, I ask everybody the same question. What is the number one business advice you would give somebody? It doesn’t have to be related to pest control or anything specific. If somebody just came off, came up to you off the side of the road and was like, please, your best business advice.
Jordan: [00:24:34] I would say to find your network, find your tribe, find the people that you can bounce things off of. I think that’s what really elevated us as a company was when I was able fortunately I was chosen as one of ten across the country to be a part of a leadership program with the National Pest Management Association’s. I mean, you know, so getting involved in any kind of I think you that association it really exploded our business because I had so many people to reach out to for X, Y and Z thing like, hey, what did you what do you what do you suggest for this? What do you want to do for this? Or what do you think would be would be great? And providing that feedback and really finding your tribe, finding those people that can help elevate you has been a game changer. So I would definitely don’t don’t keep things to yourself, like no gatekeeping. Like talk to your friends. Talk to anybody. Get your circle.
Andrea: [00:25:27] That’s great. I love that. Okay, Jordan, thank you so much. This has been so fun. I’m so excited that we did this interview and you guys will link everything in the show notes below. If you are in the Tampa, what do you all service? Is it just.
Jordan: [00:25:41] The Tampa Bay area? Right now we are looking to open a few locations throughout the country. So be be ready for that. But as of now, we’re just in Tampa, Florida.
Andrea: [00:25:52] Perfect. Amazing. Jordan, thank you so much.
Jordan: [00:25:54] All right. Well, thank you.
Andrea: [00:25:56] In case you missed it, our flash sale for Dream Bigger is now over. That crazy good deal that you’ll never see again. It’s gone, however. Tickets are actually now 50% off. General VIP. Whatever you want. 50% off. Get them now because this event is going to sell out. I don’t know when, however, it will sell out. We are so excited for this. We have Ali Webb, Danielle Canty, Pollyanna Reid. We have Chris Harder. Lawrie Harder. So many more big names that are going to be announced soon. So stay tuned. But for now, go get your ticket 50% off and get those rooms booked as well. I cannot wait to see you in Phenix October 5th with this. Here at Legalpreneur, we’re committed to providing a supportive legal community for all business owners. I know how scary the legal stuff can be. If you found this information helpful. I would be so grateful if you could share it with the fellow business owner. And quite frankly, it doesn’t cost anything to rate, review or subscribe to the show. Your support helps me reach more listeners, which allows me to support more business owners in their entrepreneurial journey. Have any questions or comments about the show? Feel free to drop me a line on Instagram, I promise. I read all of the messages and comments and if you want to be a guest on the show or know someone that would make a great guest, simply fill out our application form and a team member will reach out if we think it’s a good fit. I’ll see you in the next episode.