The Americanized PCO market in Canada: Good, Bad, or Who Cares?
In 1994, some young rebel Yankee took over management of the Canadian non-ag markets for a chemical company, whose name has changed 4 times now, by sitting on his duff in Delaware making phone calls.
Of course the first move was to fire the Canadian rep, save money.
Little did he know he would move to Canada 5 years later and be working in the pest control industry.
And thus the southern wave of ill-legal (get it?) border forays began.
It all started with me!
But I jest, as Orkin had made the first move into the North with the acquisition of PCO Services. But Orkin maintained a true Canadian flavor in my opinion. A lot of autonomy from “Corporate” in the US.
The market was fairly settled and stabilized, and everyone was getting fat and happy. Not quite, but nearly 2 decades have past.
Abell and Orkin were the 2 dominant players, followed by strong private regional players spread across the major markets.
Canadian in the BC market, Ecopest and Edmonton PC, Poulins. Toronto was still fairly diverse but changing. Smaller companies but well established. Standard PC, and Reliable to name a couple.
Plus Stella. maybe not huge in dollars, but big in heart! And not a small woman if you got sideways with her.
Maheu et Maheu and the Cameron brothers, enjoying solid growth, were chomping baguettes in Montreal and Quebec City.
Not to be forgotten, as usually happens to the down easterners, and finishing the group would be Braemar.
The turning of the the century brought massive consolidation in the States though, with new player Rentokil throwing pounds sterling around like the Queen farted them for breakfast. Orkin and Terminex gobbling up who they could. And a late comer AntiCimix jumping into the fray quietly.
One of the last majors was taken this week, when Orkin firmly raided the far west with Clarke falling by the wayside.
Dig out the 2001 PCT issue on The Top 100, you know the one toward the bottom on the toilet tank, and compare it to today’s.
You can link all this to two coinciding events: A huge market and a generational change.
Easiest entry to market? Buy it
Third generation owners hitting mid life crisis? Sell it.
Simple simple simple.
But the thirst for size and share can’t be quenched, and eyes started turning Northward!
I’m not talking Alaska!
So stayed tuned to Part 2!
The Canada US border wars!
And my prognostication for the next 20!
I think my!!!!! Button is frozen!!