Stuart's Pest Control going strong for 49 years in Houston
by Ellen Miller
If Houston's big brown flying cockroaches hadn't horrified James Stuart's German-immigrant mother, who knows what line of work he'd be in today.
But Louise Stuart's disgust, followed by husband William's inability to afford an exterminator, led the elder Stuart to try his own methods. They worked, and a neighbor offered to pay for his services, leading to the 1963 birth of Stuart's Pest Control. Forty-nine years later, son James runs the company where he's worked since age 12 and which he bought from his retired parents in 1997.
"I've been a customer for 32 years," says Angie's List member Mary Sward of Houston, who's contributed to Stuart's 30 A reports since he debuted on the List in 2004. "If I can't be home, I have no problem leaving a key for them. I trust them implicitly."
Stuart believes customers like his straightforward style. "What we do right is keep it simple," he says. "We don't try to sell people things they don't need. For instance, we don't have contracts - in my view, they're often used to lock people into a deal - but we offer a discount if customers have us out every three months."
Though he knows some competitors forgo the required pesticide application certification through the Texas Department of Agriculture, Stuart says he makes sure he and his technicians are properly licensed. "It shows an effort to be more professional," he says. "It says we're serious about this. We're out there studying and getting better."
Stuart credits his staff of two schedulers and approximately 10 commission-only technicians with much of his success. Angie's List member reports often praise employees by name.
Julie Heveran of Friendswood says she was relieved that technician Rodney Jones spot-treated a small area of her home for only $253 after termites swarmed from a hole in the brick of her home.
"When I first saw them, I was like, 'Oh lord, there goes my savings,'" she says. "Quite frankly, until I met these guys, I considered pest control a bit of a racket. But now I have them out quarterly and have discovered a few roaches and silverfish. They were dead, though, so whatever Stuart's is doing is doing its job." B
William's They're always on time or early. do reassured her after Friendswood . She was relieved the pests were limited to a small area, which Jones spot-treated for $253come here and there