Business Focus: Precision Pest Control

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Precision Pest Control has been serving and providing full-service residential and commercial pest control to the Huntsville community since 1983. It is locally owned and operated by Charissa Gibson. It was first opened by her late husband, Joe Gibson, who was well-known and loved by his customers and community members. After his passing in November 2012, the state of Texas gave Charissa 6 months (under the hardship clause) to take all her tests and obtain her licensing so she could continue running the business. Knowing she had to be there for her family, she took her tests and passed them, and she has kept moving forward ever since. “As a woman, I never gave a thought to what I could do for a living, because Joe always took care of everything, and although I knew how to run the business side of things, I never had to go out and do the work myself. Suddenly,” said Charissa, “I found myself having to wear many hats. Besides being a mother, I was also having to run the business alone, and do some of the hands-on work as well. I now realize how much my husband did on a day-to-day basis. He gave us a good life and took care of us. 

Things are good now, Charissa added, “Today, seven years later, Precision Pest Control is still a thriving business. We all still miss Joe, but it’s important  to move forward in life, and do what we have to do.” Charissa is now engaged to Billy Don VanCleave, a native of Waco. He began working at the company two years ago, and he has been a tremendous help and blessing to me and the company, said Charissa. Currently, besides herself and Billy Don, she has two other full-time employees: Tyler from Livingston, and Cody from Trinity. She is very proud of their team and is always getting compliments from customers saying how much they like and appreciate their kindness and professionalism. 

Charissa says she always tries to make sure to relay those accolades to her employees and adds they have been fortunate to have a lot of great employees over the years. 

At Precision Pest Control, everyone is licensed through the state in pest and termite control, and they have all received extensive training from the Phillip J. Hamman Termite Control Training School. This training was developed by the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension to teach termite control practitioners the correct manner to apply treatments. Besides general pest and termite control, they also offer “do it yourself” chemicals and try to provide customers with the information they need for proper application. Particularly now, during the COVID-19 pandemic, some customers prefer to do it themselves, because they really don’t want to have other people (besides family members) inside their homes,” said Charissa. During the first few months after the pandemic began, Precision Pest Control made it a point to only treat the exterior of people’s residences. In an effort to provide a little additional relief, they also offered to work with those customers that expressed a need, yet indicated they were struggling to pay their bills. All in all, they’ve managed to continue providing their services to the community, and even though they, too have seen a reduction in profits, they have managed to stay afloat. “Fortunately, things are starting to pick back up,” said Charissa. 

Besides the Huntsville area, Precision Pest Control also serve residences and businesses in a 25-mile radius outside the city limits, but if they get a call from someone that needs their help, “We will make it work,” said Charissa. “I don’t like to turn anyone away simply because they live past the 25-mile mark.” Some of their biggest accounts are local state agencies, but Charissa admits she did have a hard time keeping some of the company’s accounts after her husband passed. “I truly believe people had their doubts whether I would continue running the business and, as a woman business owner, I’ve had to work extra hard to gain people’s trust.” 

Pest control is a complaint-driven industry. People don’t call unless they are having problems, and they want us to fix their problem. Our goal is to always try to make our customers happy and do what we can to help them out. As Huntsville continues to grow, so does Precision Pest Control and, according to Charissa, at least 75 percent of the calls they receive are from people who are new to the Huntsville area. Has owning a pest control company been her lifelong dream? “Not really,” said Charissa, “but I’ve managed to make a good and decent living with it, and I have been able to provide for my family and give back to the community.” Pest control is also a luxury. “People take for granted that many cannot afford it and sometimes have to choose between living with bugs or feeding their family. Although I do want to make a living, I also know that sometimes people are going through tough times and just need a helping hand… and, I enjoy helping people whenever I can.” 

Precision Pest Control also handles wildlife removal if the critters are destroying people’s property. “We have removed everything from birds to raccoons. Depending on the circumstance, we either take them to the state park or to the wildlife rehab.” 

Pest control products have also come a long way since the 1970s when products such as Chlordane were commonly used to kill and repel without much thought or concern of the hazards to the environment or human life. Dursban TC was another popular product until the early 2000s when it was banned by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Today, Termidor is the best termiticide on the market. The termites from the colony feed off the material that has been applied and take it back to the colony for colony elimination. In our area, fire ants are very prevalent, but raspberry tawny ants, or crazy ants, can get into electrical conduits and cause problems. Carpenter ants are also a big nuisance but are usually attracted to decomposed wood materials or cluttered gutters. Cleaning these out on a regular basis will take care of much of this problem. 

When Charissa is not at work, she loves spending time with her family. Her son Tyler graduated from SHSU in 2014, and her daughter Kailee is a 2016 Texas A&M graduate. Charissa also enjoys her two grandkids, fishing, boating, being in the water, or just working in her yard. Although not a Huntsville native, Charissa has been here for more than two decades, has grown very fond of the people here, and truly loves providing service to her community. 

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