Rod Diehl – Rod Diehl Pest Control – Sonora, CA
It’s common for Rod Diehl’s customers to be surprised when he — the namesake of Rod Diehl Pest Control — personally shows up at their homes.
“They’re like, ‘You’re the Rod? We expected you to be playing golf and having one of your minions coming out,’” Diehl says. “I just explain to them, I love this work. I enjoy it every single day. I want to meet every customer and hear about their ups and downs, and their grandkids graduating from high school, and all that.”
Customers also like to point out that his name sounds like “raw deal,” which is the exact opposite of what Diehl strives to provide. Quality service is the whole reason his business exists: Diehl previously worked for a larger pest control company he felt was mistreating its customers.
“One day, my dad says, ‘Either hush up and put up with it, or start your own company,’” Diehl says.
So Diehl did. He focused on quality rather than growth, doing things the way he thought a business should be run. So Diehl never raises his existing customers’ rates. He doesn’t offer service levels or add extra fees for calls or pets. He provides one plan for all general pest control. And he pays his employees a high salary — so they never feel pressured to make sales for a commission’s sake.
It’s paid off. In 2015, Diehl’s inquisitive, do-it-yourself approach led him to tree injections for bark beetles. He researched the Arborjet system. His Univar rep, Veronique Olivarez, helped him get all the products he needed. And then Diehl’s tree service promptly quadrupled his company’s income.
Even so, Diehl hasn’t changed his approach. He still gets out and sets the pace for his technicians (“Confined by walls, I get claustrophobic,” he says.) He’s still wary of growing his business too quickly. And though other companies now offer similar services, Diehl is bucking the trend by still offering the lowest rate.
“I figured out in business that’s the best position to be,” Diehl says. “The innovator, the starter — not the one jumping on the bandwagon.”