Self-Employed

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NASE Member Profile: Arachnophobia

Thursday, May 13, 2010
Keith Birkemeyer has been an NASE Member for two years. He owns ProBest Pest Management in Gilbert, Ariz. His Web site is www.callprobest.com. Follow him on Twitter: @probestpest.

Tell us about ProBest Pest Management.
We are a full service pest and termite control company. I started working in pest control back in 1982 in Florida and had done work in Australia, Japan and Louisiana on termites and other general pests, including fire ants.

ProBest Exterminating was started in 1981 by Donna and Jerry Probst. I met them in 2003 while doing some work with termiticides.

When I met Donna and Jerry, I thought they ran a great company and were honest and ethical. I mentioned that if they were ever interested in selling to give me a call. Well, in 2004 they decided to retire and they called me. In 2005 I purchased ProBest Exterminating and changed the company name to reflect a more current industry nomenclature.

You evict all sorts of pests, from scorpions to bats. What pest really gives you the creeps?
I think for me it’s spiders. My mom hated spiders, and I think I got that from her.

A bite from a black widow spider can kill you. Lucky for us, we don’t have brown recluse spiders here in Arizona. We do have a relative called the Arizona brown spider. It’s not as aggressive as the brown recluse, but the bite and damage is similar.

How does the NASE help your business?
I like that I have access to different health insurance options. I also read every issue of Self-Employed magazine and try to incorporate advice from all the articles. My theory is that two heads are always better than one. I enjoyed the article from September/October 2009 issue regarding Twitter. It gave me some pointers since I use Facebook, Twitter, MySpace and a blog.

What do you post on your blog?
In my articles, I try to pass along helpful information that people can use to help control pests. I have teamed up with other pest management folks, and occasionally they do a guest blog. I in turn do some for them. The blogs help get our name out there.

What’s your favorite part of being self-employed?
I like working with talented people like the nine employees at ProBest. I share as much as I can with them on how things are going. I enjoy working with the employees and working on new ideas with them.

What’s one of the most effective ways you market your business?

On our service tickets, we encourage our customers to take the time to write a review on Kudzu.com. Kudzu is fantastic. It is real people giving their opinions. When someone gives their honest opinion about the service they received from our company, that is a great way to let others know about us.

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