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Weathering the drought

Business Forecast

Bobby Jenkins likes his location, but it has its disadvantages.

Kristen Hampshire | June 7, 2012

Location is everything, and Bobby Jenkins is pretty proud to be based in central Texas, where the economy has been in a better position than most areas of the country. “We consider ourselves very fortunate to be in Texas, and even more so in Central Texas,” says Jenkins, president of ABC Home & Commercial Services with offices Austin, San Antonio and College Station.

But weather is a different story. Central Texas was bone dry last year, and this had a “huge impact” on Jenkins’ business, he says. “We were so hot and dry, turfgrass just stopped growing,” he says. “People abandoned their yards because we were under such stringent water restrictions that they couldn’t keep their lawns alive. So we lost a lot of business.”

Clients cancelled lawn service contracts. “There was nothing growing,” Jenkins says.

This is where diversity worked to ABC Home & Commercial’s benefit. While water rationing was in full effect and the Dust Bowl went months without rain, the wildlife went rampant. “The drought put a lot of wildlife under tremendous stress,” Jenkins says. “Our rodent and wildlife business went through the roof.”

While insect pressure wasn’t as great because of lack of moisture, the rodent and wildlife business made up for those losses. And the sweltering hot, dry conditions opened up opportunities to expand into new service lines.

“What a great year to go into the air conditioning business,” Jenkins says.

Also, the company entered the tree trimming business. “The sad reality of the drought is that it caused a lot of trees to die, and we are trimming trees, removing dead trees and planting new trees,” Jenkins says.

Overall, ABC Home & Commercial Services grew by 14 percent last year. And this year, the weather looks wetter.

“We have had rain so far,” Jenkins reports. “Our business is up nicely right now, so I’m guardedly optimistic.”
 

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