Bugs will always be here.
For Bobby Jenkins ’81, bugs are merely the beginning. As the CEO of ABC Home and Commercial Services in greater Austin, San Antonio and Bryan/College Station, Jenkins has seen the company evolve from the pest control business that his father, Robert W. Jenkins ’59, began back in 1965.
Although ABC’s arguably greatest claim to fame is its treatment of unwanted household guests, the company has since diversified into all realms of home and commercial labors, including air conditioning and heating, electrical and handyman services, lawn care, rodent and wildlife treatment, and even plumbing.
Bobby Jenkins ’81 stressed the importance of investing in a company’s infrastructure to graduate management students: “We hire good people, we keep good people, we build with good people.” (view more photos)
“We are the quintessential small business,” boasts Jenkins, whose company is a perfect reconciliation between “Ma and Pa” businesses and impersonal corporate America. ABC Home and Commercial Services is a family-run, professional enterprise whose roots grow deep in Aggie soil.
Jenkins’ father had no experience in pest control when he began the company with only one technician and one van. He did have, however, a deep passion for business, and saw pest control as a field with unlimited potential for long-term growth.
“There’s always going to be bugs, and there’s always going to be people who don’t want to live with bugs,” Jenkins muses. “He was very smart, and very lucky.”
The company has since come far. After changing its name three times in 15 years and expanding into seven different cities, including Tampa and Orlando, ABC Home and Commercial Services is still flourishing.
Jenkins credits much of his success to his customers. By listening to the needs and wants of his clients, Jenkins has pioneered the company into many new areas of commercial and residential service.
He avoids the old adage of “jack of all trades, master of none” by offering advancement programs and master-technician instruction for his employees. “The company is only as good as the weakest person answering the phone,” he says, adding that the commission-driven pay structure and profit-sharing plan for every employee helps keep them focused on company success.
The business is expanding still â€” Jenkins predicts that the greatest growth in the next five years will be heating and air conditioning specialization, and, oddly enough, bed bugs.
“Every move’s been a learning experience,” he acknowledged when speaking with a class of Mays business students on a recent visit to campus. “We seek a long-term relationship with customers through repeat ongoing service work.”
Jenkins has built each new service from emerging customer needs. This makes his company a people business. “When we’re selling a service, we’re selling intangibles,” he explains
Jenkins is committed to employing the best. “One of the keys for me is hiring people that you trust,” he says. For instance, the vice president of the company is one of Jenkins’ childhood friends and college roommate, and the average length of time on the management team is 20 years. “We hire good people, we keep good people, we build with good people.” He values his company’s exceptionally low turnover rate as an indication of the success of the business’s overall infrastructure.
Although Jenkins claims to be “old school,” forward thinking, like good business, clearly runs in the family. With the manifold new labors offered for its customers, ABC Home and Residential Services is in store for exciting new growth. And although they may change the name, Jenkins says clients can rest assured that they will always keep their trademark jingle.