Starting a Small Business/Fail?


I am hoping you can help me with my question, I was not sure where to ask it. My fiancÚ dropped out of real estate school ( thanks to our new room mate) and has this wonderful idea to start a pest control company. The room mate brought it up and now I cant get him to get the idea out of his head.

For starters we have at least 4 people in our neighborhood who all work for different pest companies and I know very well that its a cut throat business since there is so much competition.

Another issue is my fiancÚ knows NOTHING about pest control or starting the company ( our room mate says he knows everything about pest control but then again he seems to tell quite large and dramatic stories about his past life).

Due to him racking up credit cards, paying bills late and not paying his cards off, he has very bad credit and cant get a loan and we do not at all have the extra 10-50 grand to open a business.

So in your honest opinion, if it was even possible to open the business, would it be a waste of time to go into this field?

Amber, this is not a legal question, so I'll give you my opinion but it carries no more weight than asking any other experienced business person.

First, you say that the pest control business is cut-throat in your area. Even in businesses where there is a lot of competition, there may be gaps that can filled by a new business if it can recognize and exploit the opportunity.  But, if your boyfriend is entering a highly competitive market with no plans on how he will differentiate his business from the established companies in his marketplace, he is going to have a very tough time.

Even assuming that your boyfriend has a good plan for marketing the business, entering a business like pest control without experience is a big problem.  The chemicals involved must be properly stored, applied and disposed of. Proper training is essential. In most states, pest control businesses must be licensed and in many cases bonded.  Proper equipment and storage facilities are also a must.

Finally, crawling under porches and in crawl spaces is usually part of the job, and that is hot, dirty and uncomfortable.  It's not all a matter of simply walking around the house with a sprayer.  Is your boyfriend prepared to do that?  My brother was a manager for a pest control company for a couple of years and hated that part of the job, so he eventually quit.  What happens to your boyfriend's investment if he hates the business?  Quitting a job is much easier than walking away from your own business.

I would strongly suggest that your boyfriend take a job with a pest control company for a while and see what it is like before he sinks money into a business he has never worked in.  That way, he will get free training and learn the ropes of the business.  Of course, if he plans to start his own pest control business, he will need to make sure not to sign a noncompete agreement with his employer and should not solicit his employer's customers when he does start his own company to avoid legal entanglements that a new business can ill-afford.

Starting a Small Business

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David K. Staub


I am a business and tax attorney and have spent more than 35 years assisting people in starting a wide variety of businesses. I can answer questions about the basic differences between the various entities available to new businesses, including limited liability companies, corporations, S corporations and partnerships. I can provide guidance in other areas facing start ups, such as hiring employees, signing contracts and obtaining necessary licenses. I can also direct people to sources for answers to specific legal questions which cannot be answered in a forum of this nature.


I have an extensive practice in the mergers and acquisitions area and have been involved in the tax and legal issues on hundreds of business transactions.

Staub Anderson LLC
Illinois business attorneys

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Illinois State Bar Association; Chicago Bar Association (former Chairman of the Corporation & Business Law Committee and former Chairman of the Mergers and Acquisitions Subcommittee; former Executive Committee member, Federal Tax Committee and Chairman of subcommittee on general tax issues); Keystone Foundation (Trustee); Association for Corporate Growth; Midwest Entrepreneur Forum; Midwest Association of Alpha Delta Phi

Commerce Magazine; YLS Journal; ISBA Section of Taxation Newsletter

Harvard Law School, J.D., 1977; University of Illinois, B.S. in Accounting, with highest honors, 1974

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