Father and Son Pest and Lawn Solutions- Where it all began

Skip Orth:
Hi, this is Skip with Father and Son Pest and Lawn Solutions.

Buddy Orth:
I'm Buddy Orth with Father and Son Pest and Lawn Solutions.

Skip Orth:
And today what we're going to do is we're just going to take a little journey down memory lane. A lot of people ask us is Father and Son the name of the business, and since it is, is it really father and son? How did you guys get started? So today, Buddy and I are just going to share a few memories about how we got started and share them with you, and just give you a little, do a little reminiscing with you.

Skip Orth:
So, Father and Son Pest and Lawn Solutions actually started as Father and Son Landscape back in 2003 when, how old were you back then?

Buddy Orth:
13, 14 timeframe.

Skip Orth:
Yeah. Buddy was a teenager. And at the time, we were homeschooling Buddy along with our other, his other siblings. Buddy just wasn't taking too well to homeschool, were you?

Buddy Orth:
No. No, I did not like bookwork at all.

Skip Orth:
That was a real problem. That was a problem.

Buddy Orth:
Very frustrating.

Skip Orth:
For both you and mom.

Buddy Orth:
Yes.

Skip Orth:
So what I did, I came up with the plan to rescue both of you.

Buddy Orth:
He's never put it that way before.

Skip Orth:
The plan was, I said, okay, well, why don't we start a father and son landscape business? And I could incorporate all of the learning process into the business activities that we did. So, when I first talked to you about that, what was your thoughts?

Buddy Orth:
I think my first question was if I was going to get paid. That was my first question.

Skip Orth:
And the answer was?

Buddy Orth:
It was yes, it wasn't slave labor. So that was a relief.

Skip Orth:
Yeah. There was going to be some, part of the education process was going to be learning how to handle money and how to earn money and the value of money and all that. So anyway, we started out, let's see, I think, why aren't we using mom's van at the time?

Buddy Orth:
We were using the white Safari van.

Skip Orth:
The white Safari van.

Buddy Orth:
Working in the summer heat all day, it smelled wonderful when we had to use it for family functions on the weekends.

Skip Orth:
We did what we had to do. We had the Safari van, we bought a little 12 foot trailer, I remember. And we had an old Scag Out Front mower.

Buddy Orth:
The big orange mower.

Skip Orth:
Yeah. And we got some, I remember it was a Ryobi weed-eater head with three or four different attachments.

Buddy Orth:
We had to keep swapping those out. Only had the one power head.

Skip Orth:
Right. Right. So you and I were, we were in the lawn care business.

Buddy Orth:
Yes. We Were official.

Skip Orth:
Yeah. Yeah. I think we started passing out flyers around neighborhoods, didn't we?

Buddy Orth:
Yeah. We started doing mailbox flyers.

Skip Orth:
Okay. Yeah. So that's how we got our first customers is just walking door to door passing out flyers.

Buddy Orth:
Again, in the Florida summer heat.

Skip Orth:
So it wasn't long before we got our first customer and then another one and another one.

Buddy Orth:
People started seeing our work.

Skip Orth:
After a while, things just kind of took off. And I remember our first big for us was we bought our first truck. You remember that?

Buddy Orth:
It was the white 250.

Skip Orth:
Yeah. It was about a 1993, 94, something like that. Anyway, it was a nice truck.

Buddy Orth:
It was.

Skip Orth:
You know what, I remember, it was a single cab truck. I remember you would sit right there next to me. You know what I'm about to say. When I would go to back up, I would throw my arm back over the seat like that to look behind me.

Buddy Orth:
I never trusted that he was going to back the trailer up properly so I would always turn and look. And obviously, neither one of us are well endowed in the hair area these days. My hat, though, would be facing this way. And every time he'd do that, he'd popped my hat bill by accident. Every time.

Skip Orth:
Every time. And it was totally by accident. I wouldn't mean to do it. But then you started getting me back, you started taking revenge.

Buddy Orth:
I would take the sun visor for his side, as we were finishing up, if I'd finished my duties for the lawn first, I would take the sun visor ...

Skip Orth:
On my side, on the driver's side.

Buddy Orth:
On his side. I would lower it and turn it towards the door so that as he would get in, he'd bop his head on the sun visor. So little harmless fun, but I got a kick out of it.

Skip Orth:
Every time I get into truck, boom, I'd hit the sun visor, and that was his payback for me knocking his head off when I'd go to back the truck up.

Buddy Orth:
Until I started to learn how to drive, and then things got flipped around.

Skip Orth:
So you actually started, you got your learner's permit and learned how to drive a vehicle pulling a trailer.

Buddy Orth:
I did.

Skip Orth:
That was your first experience. I don't know how many teenagers first start out driving pulling a trailer.

Buddy Orth:
Not many, but more should.

Skip Orth:
I guess. The other fun thing I remember about that time together is, we would have this, kind of this little competition going as to what we would try to do is we were blowing off, at the end of each job, each maintenance job, we would try to sneak up on the other person and blow their hat off. I'd take the blower, I'd be blowing it and then all of a sudden, turn it, catch the bill of his hat, blow his hat off, and he tried to do the same thing to me. That was our competition. Got to where when he knew I was close with the blower, he'd just close that down really.

Buddy Orth:
[inaudible 00:07:05]

Skip Orth:
That was the fun part. But we still incorporated a lot of learning into, we'd have, I mean, we'd spend most of the day together every day. And in that, it was not just work, but there was some learning that went on.

Buddy Orth:
I think one of my favorite things about that was for history, history and just general self-development, we would always do audio books. So I learned a lot about D-Day, a lot about World War II. Steven Ambrose was one of my favorite history authors. We listened to several of his books. And we listened to, was it For Whom the Bell Tolls, I think was a big one.

Skip Orth:
Ernest Hemingway.

Buddy Orth:
That was a big one.

Skip Orth:
We listened to some of the classics, tried to listen to some of the classics.

Buddy Orth:
It was always really hard for me with my ADD to sit down and read a book, but as we were working and doing a lot of driving between accounts and stuff, the history audio books were awesome. There were several times you made me write a book report on that, and just kind of going over what I learned, we would talk about it. There were many times we would sit and pause the history book and talk about kind of what the people must have been going through, especially during the World War II scenarios, they were talking about things like that. I think that is probably one of my favorite parts, the education side.

Buddy Orth:
And then I would do the checkbook balancing and we'd talk about the business finances together. That was kind of the mathematical side of things. I don't know, what else did we do?

Skip Orth:
We talked about current events. We'd read the newspaper and talk about current events and politics and things, things that were going on in the world and how that related to us and the world and the country and everything like that.

Buddy Orth:
Yeah. Yeah. It was experiences that I wouldn't have gotten anywhere else through traditional schooling. To this day, I know that some of those things that I learned back then I'm still most definitely using. Not algebra at all, but things I learned [crosstalk 00:09:47]. No, we didn't. We didn't.

Skip Orth:
We were doing that time. And then you got to a point to where you just kind of got tired of doing lawn maintenance.

Buddy Orth:
I was just a teenager and had a petty disagreement with you.

Skip Orth:
And I bring this up just mainly for encouragement of any other parents that have teenagers because teenagers will be teenagers, and you just got to go with the flow sometimes. So, you kind of got to the point where it was just like, well, why am I doing this anyway? Is that accurate?

Buddy Orth:
I was a young teenager, because I was working full time, I had money in my bank account. I just didn't see if I didn't [inaudible 00:10:56] any time with him because of a petty disagreement, I wasn't going to work anymore.

Skip Orth:
Yeah. So I don't know if you quit or I fired you.

Buddy Orth:
I think that got a little blurred depending on who you talk to.

Skip Orth:
Anyway, at a point in time, I think you were maybe 16 by that time.

Buddy Orth:
I was about 16.

Skip Orth:
So you decided to try something else.

Buddy Orth:
I tried unemployment for a while.

Skip Orth:
But mom put you to work cleaning windows or something like that as I remember.

Buddy Orth:
Yeah. Was semi-successful.

Skip Orth:
She was going to make sure that you-

Buddy Orth:
At least helped out around the house.

Skip Orth:
Yeah.

Buddy Orth:
Yeah.

Skip Orth:
After that period of time there, you went into the army. You decided that you-

Buddy Orth:
Well, I went to work at Walmart for about 11 months as a cart pusher. I wanted to come back to work with him, and he said, I needed to get experience working for a non-family employer. After working for Walmart, I have to work for you. And that was 2007.

Skip Orth:
I would say eight or nine, 2008 or 2009 because that's about the time the real estate bubble.

Buddy Orth:
Early 2000. Yeah. I worked for you for about six months after that. And then after the bubble crash, I went into the army.

Skip Orth:
Yeah.

Buddy Orth:
Yeah.

Skip Orth:
You spent six and a half years in the army. Did EOD work in the army. And then you got out, you were kind of figuring out, trying to figure out what you were going to do after you got out of the army.

Buddy Orth:
I was thinking I was going to work for a little bit in the oil fields in North Dakota. I had explosives training and I got my CDL at that time too. But within several months of my getting out of the military, oil took a dive in price. So I wasn't getting any calls back from any of the jobs I applied for. Wasn't really sure what I was going to do since that didn't pan out. You offered to put me to work again. So I figured, at the time, I just kind of thought that was going to be a temporary thing until I figured out what I wanted to be when I grew up.

Skip Orth:
And so, by that time, we had kind of transitioned the business from a landscape and lawn maintenance company to a lawn treatment company, which we are now, where did lawn treatments, we didn't do much of a landscaping anymore. So when you came back in, we had kind of reinvented ourselves into a long treatment program. You started as a technician, right?

Buddy Orth:
I did. I started as a technician. I would help out with the treatment side of things. We were still doing a little bit of landscaping.

Skip Orth:
A little bit.

Buddy Orth:
When you didn't need me for the treatment, I was helping out with the landscape jobs. It came all right back to me. Once you've landscaped once or twice, it's the same thing.

Skip Orth:
Yeah, right. And so, you just kind of did that, and then you went from there. Were you a route supervisor ever?

Buddy Orth:
In essence. At the time, I don't think we had that official title. That's mostly the position you had me in unofficially.

Skip Orth:
And then from there, you went into sales. We had you put in sales. And most recently, now that we have multiple sales persons, and you're functioning as a sales, you are the sales manager of the business. That's over a 17 year span of time. I think it's kind of funny how we started out. In 2003, who would have guessed 17 years later, we would be sitting here talking about the last 17 years and how we've grown and now we have almost 3000 customers with 30 plus employees. It all started with you and I going door to door, putting out door flyers.

Buddy Orth:
In a van.

Skip Orth:
In the van, and everything. If anybody's wondering, yes, this is truly a father and son business. It started out that way, it's still that way. And as far as we can see, it'll be that way for a while anyway. So that's our story. I don't know, do you have any thoughts you want to add?

Buddy Orth:
I do have a funny story.

Skip Orth:
I think I know.

Buddy Orth:
Well, there's probably a couple.

Skip Orth:
Yeah, there is.

Buddy Orth:
Over 17 years, you got to have a few.

Skip Orth:
Absolutely.

Buddy Orth:
As we discussed, I had gotten my learner's permit and learned how to drive with the truck and the trailer. I would like to point out the fact that, I don't think I ever caused any damage to the truck. And there was at least two instances I can think of off the top of my head. We tried to do a U-turn through a circular driveway one time. This is Don. We tried to do a circular U-turn through a circular driveway. Of course, I look back and check to see how the trailer's tracking, and I noticed the inside wheel of the trailer is tracking into the planting bed, and coming up is a sapling pine tree. I try to get him to stop, don't catch him in time. The fender hits the tree and completely rips the tree off the roots. And the tree comes crashing down on top of the truck. Luckily, it's a small enough tree. And the husband and wife come out of the house.

Skip Orth:
We don't know these people.

Buddy Orth:
We don't, no.

Skip Orth:
These are not customers.

Buddy Orth:
They thought we took out part of their garage.

Skip Orth:
It was boom.

Buddy Orth:
We replaced the tree for them and apologized. There's another time, you were driving a tractor. Do you want to share that one?

Skip Orth:
Well, actually, there's two other times that I can think of. There's a time I was driving the tractor and I had one of the stabilizers on the tractor. It wasn't retracted, and I drove by the truck and hit the truck with the stabilizer.

Buddy Orth:
Crumpled the bed.

Skip Orth:
Crumpled the bed. And then there was another time that I was cutting down a fairly good sized pine tree. I didn't think about the fact that the truck was parked in front of the pine tree. And as the pine tree fell down, it was like slow motion, I could see the pine tree falling [inaudible 00:19:02].

Buddy Orth:
Was I around for that one? I don't remember if I was around for that. Anyways, we don't have any stories of me and the truck. I was taught how to drive by this gentleman, and evidently, he's a better teacher than the driver himself. Maybe, I don't know, we'll see.

Skip Orth:
Okay. All right. Anyway, but that's our story. We just make it work together. That's how Father and Son Pest and Lawn Solutions got started and got to where we are today.

Buddy Orth:
Yup.