By Jessie Wagoner
When the pandemic began, it seemed everyone ran and hid. When the world shut down and we all stayed at home, there was one thing that didn’t stop – pests. Spiders, bugs, mice and more continued to show up, annoying and aggravating homeowners. Since pests don’t quit, Melisa Arnold, owner of Horizon Pest Solutions doesn’t quit, either. In fact, she launched her business right in the middle of the pandemic.
“It may seem like an odd time to start a business, but it had been in the works for a while and I just decided now was as good a time as any,” Arnold said.
Arnold has spent 14 years working in pest control in her home state of Oklahoma and in Kansas. She enjoyed her work, but always wanted a little more. Her mom was an entrepreneur and small business owner and Arnold always kept her example in her mind.
“My mom died in 2018 and I was thinking about all the things she had done,” Arnold said. “She was an entrepreneur. She always had a full-time job and a couple side businesses. I just really felt like she was pushing me to start my own business.”
Arnold, though well versed in all things pest related, wasn’t sure how to start a business. Her husband participates in a bow club on Wednesday evenings, which means she had those nights to herself. She decided to spend the time at the library, learning all she could about launching a business. She read books about writing a business plan, funding a business, licensing and tax requirements.
She spent six months working diligently on her business plan and making sure her finances were in order. Then she got word her business license and other legalities were approved and she could begin. Horizon Pest Solutions, once a dream, was now a reality.
“It is still kind of overwhelming,” Arnold said. “I always knew I wanted to be a business owner and now I just try to give customers an experience they will remember, which will lead to recurring business. I try to provide my service effectively and efficiently.”
Launching a new business in the middle of a pandemic wasn’t easy. Reaching potential customers was a challenge at first. But, as more people were home all day rather than working in their offices, they started to notice more pests around their house. Arnold began making contacts and her contact list grew, beginning with a family in Lindsborg.
“My first customer was a gentleman in Lindsborg,” Arnold said. “He took a chance on me and was super pleased with the service. He is now a continuing customer.”
Word of mouth has helped Arnold attract more customers. She has also made contacts online with other women in pest control, which has been a support and resource to help her grow her business. This weekend, she will travel to Houston for a women in pest control conference, where she hopes to make even more connections.
“They will be giving three grants to women owned pest control companies for $3,000,” Arnold said. “I applied since I met the criteria and my business is less than two years old. I hope to get one of the grants so I can build a company website.”
Though pest control tends to be a male dominated industry, Arnold is making her mark. She specializes in all types of pest control, but says pantry pests are one of her specialties. She comes from a food production background so knows all the strategies to get rid of pesky pantry pests like flour beetles and weevils. She also regularly helps customers bid farewell to ants, spiders and cockroaches.
To contact Horizon Pest Solutions call, 785-914-3684 or email email@example.com. You can also find Horizon Pest Solutions LLC on Facebook. Arnold also maintains a blog at https://pestcontrolchatter.blog/.