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For The Rottler Family, Bugs Are Big Business


St. Louis Business Journal Ben Unglesbee February 2nd, 2015

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Mike Rottler and his brother, Gary, began working for their father's pest control company when they were in high school.

"When I got involved, it was a two truck business," Rottler said. "My mom would come pick us up at school and she'd have a uniform in the car, and we knew we were working that day."

Rottler Pest & Lawn Solutions has changed much since then. Today it has about 130 employees and the Rottler brothers have gone from trying to root out termites for their father to managing the family company. Rottler, who is the current president and CEO, said the company could add up to 50 additional employees and expand its geographical reach in the next 12 months.

Killing bugs has been good business for the Rottlers. Revenues for the pest control company grew about 15 percent last year. The pests just keep coming, especially as the city's infrastructure and housing stock ages. Rottler Pest generated revenue of $13.9 million in 2014, and Rottler said he hopes that number will grow to $15.4 million in 2015. About 80 percent of the company's business is residential customers. The other 20 percent is commercial, including Busch Stadium, BJC HealthCare and Bellefontaine Cemetery.

Rottler attributes the growth largely to the company's relationship with its employees.

"If you treat them like family… they'll work hard for you," he said. "I think what sets us apart is we keep our people." He added that the company doesn't lay off employees. It helps on that front that bugs don't care about recessions — they keep doing their thing regardless."

In the previous recession, the company didn't contract, but rather went through slower growth. In recent years growth has picked up, as the local and U.S. economies heated up. Pest control in the U.S. was a $7.2 billion industry in 2013, according to the National Pest Management Association.

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