I live in a condo unit and I love it here. One of the disadvantages though is that you can’t control what your neighbours do. For the past few months, it was a blessing that our noisy neighbours stopped shouting and arguing with each other. But the other thing that we can’t control is how clean or tidy they are. I’m assuming that some of them may not be as obsessive with germs as we are. This is prolly the reason why there are little cockroaches that I see every now and then. With this, I wanted to call on pest control professionals. I came across Zero Pest and I was really happy with the service.
I wasn’t there when they did pest control since we had to take Zeeka out of the house, but yaya, like a soldier, reported everything. She said the Zero Pest guy was very thorough. They really went through the entire house. They even explained to yaya what type of cockroaches we had. We had German cockroaches… yup, German! These are the small brown ones and not the big American ones. Anyway, for the past few days, I haven’t see any cockroaches so far.
To share the news about their company, I decided to interview the owner.
The Story of Dominic Reyes Behind Zero Pest
I worked in a call center industry for 7 years during a time when there were just a few companies. I got married and resigned. My wife and I managed a business that my wife inherited from her parents. We managed it for 3 years and sadly, it was slowly failing and we were incurring debts from suppliers. I was forced to get out of it, and tried to make money on my own to help my wife so that the business could survive. That time, I was thinking of putting up another business (but I had no capital) or going back to working in a call center.
This is, I can say one of the life changing decisions I have encountered in my life. I really didn’t know what to do. We had to pay for a lot of things. I feared a lot of things. Plus, during that time, our only son was about to go to normal school, and I can’t even afford to send him. I was crying, totally confused which path to take, so I prayed, asked God to help me and help my family. I really don’t know what to do, so I gave myself to Him and trusted Him. The following day, I received a call, someone was applying as a pest control technician. I looked up and said “You are clearly listening and talking to me, I will not look back, I will just trust You”. Then Zero Pest was born. After seven months, I told my wife to close the old business, and Zero Pest will pay the debts to the suppliers.
Interview with Dominic:
Ginger: What is your Startup/brand/business? What is it about? How long have you been in business?
Dominic: Zero Pest specializes in Pest Management, Cleaning and Disinfection Services. We have been eliminating pests and maintaining homes, commercial buildings, restaurants, residential properties, hospitals, schools, offices and hotels for 7 years.
Ginger: Who is your target market? Why did you choose this market? Can you give us the insight behind this market?
Dominic: Our market consists of Home/Residential Owners, SME’s and Institutional Accounts. For Homeowners, we simply would like to provide safe solutions to families given that common practice for pest control solution relies heavily on chemicals. We would like to promote a safer and sustainable pest management solutions to Families and Homeowners.
Ginger: How did you come up with this idea? What made you decide to start this kind of business?
Dominic: The Idea came from our cousins who are doing well from this business. But what made us fully decide is when God answered us from our troubles, and sent us a pest control technician applying for the job. I have very little idea about the industry, but I pushed for it because I consider it as His Gift.
Ginger: Were there any obstacles that you faced when you decided to pursue becoming an Entrepreneur? What are these?
Dominic: I really wanted to be an Entrepreneur even the time I was working in a call center. I most of the time feel bored, and wanted to try to do business, selling I can say is part of my DNA. When I was in college, I sold CDs and Nokia cellphones.
The main obstacle I have encountered is to fit myself in the industry. I have very little idea about it, and pests mostly are in dirty areas. One big obstacle to me is embracing the industry, but I soon realized that this industry is for me. I love nice spaces. I love luxury homes. I love hotels, and this business brought me to the best houses and opulent hotels in the country.
I can say that in all industries they are areas of dislike or not so attractive part of that industry. But at the end of the day, I’m certain that there is that best part of the industry. Also, we just all have to embrace it and learn that the reason why businesses thrive is because it resolves certain problems, so those problems can be profitable.
Ginger: What are the greatest challenges in putting up and maintaining a business in your country?
Dominic: It can be very tempting to give in to the ways of the bad practice (we all know it). But, I always push to do what is right, and so far it has been the practice of our company, doing right and being fair with all our dealings, transactions, and relations.
Ginger: What are three traits that you think an Entrepreneur/Startup Founder should have when
starting their own business?
Dominic: Persistency is one on top of my mind, everything will not go as planned, but focus your eyes on the goal, on your dream, sooner or later, you will find your way up. Also, as for me, humility is a big factor to achieve what you want. Ask for Help. I have always asked God to guide me. There are too many things to decide on, and the fact of the matter is even with due diligence, you will never know how your strategy will find its way to work. So for me, I ask Him, and most of the time, the answer that works is as long as it will benefit your customers, your employees, and your company.
Ginger: Unforgettable moments or lessons that you learned as an Entrepreneur/Startup Founder
Dominic: I used to think and desire about being number one in the industry, but that gives me so many sleepless nights, so many fears, and so many troubles in operations- unhappiness. I learned to maximize my potential and receive the results with contentment – that simply gives me joy, happiness!
Ginger: What advice can you give to other Entrepreneurs?
Dominic: Push for what is right and what is fair.
Ginger: Do you believe that everyone should become entrepreneurs?
Dominic: I have friends who are telling me “when can I be like you? I want to start my own business” but to be honest, they are actually doing very well from their work, and earning well. And they can turn off that work mode. Being an entrepreneur, true, gives you freedom from the 8-5pm work hours, but it requires you to be on call for 24 hours. I remember those days when I have to put the phone beside me when I sleep because we decided to operate 24/7. So not all, may not like to go through that, and that is surely fine. There are personalities that may fit on being an entrepreneur, but that is not a bad thing, there are some employees who are more successful than entrepreneurs, so it depends, it is a choice.
Ginger: What are ways that you can do to raise capital?
Dominic: For my case, we sold our car, we withdraw from our insurance policies, and suppliers provided longer credit terms, but we made sure that suppliers would be paid at the given term. And in doing so, we were able to gain the trust of the suppliers.
Ginger: How do you market your products? Growth strategy?
Dominic: We have tried different Marketing strategy, and one of the most effective is social media. We create stories from the problems of our customers. We get our audience informed of the pest management solutions we have for a particular pest problem of our customer.
Ginger: What are tech tools that you use for your business?
Dominic: Nowadays, a smart phone will make it work.
Ginger: Other things that you want to mention which you think are important
Dominic: Just be sincere in providing solutions to your customers, make them feel that genuine concern of help and everything follows.
Ginger: Thank you, Dominic, for sharing your story. Also, thank you to your team for getting rid of the cockroaches in our home. I really like that your team was very professional (they were actually one hour early). So for the moms and dads out there who want to try out Zero Pest, there are the contact numbers of Zero Pest.
Dominic was also generous enough to give one lucky winner a General Pest Control Service which normally costs 2,000 – 2,500 per service and another lucky winner a UV disinfection service which normally costs 2,000- 2,500 depending on the area size. This is only open to homes that are located in Metro Manila though!
All you need to do is like the Zero Pest Philippines Page and the Mommy Ginger Facebook Pages. After doing those, please comment on this blog post and share why you want to win either a General Pest Control or UB Disinfection Service! 🙂 We’d love to hear your stories!
The winner will be announced on Nov. 30, 2017! Hurry and join!