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Guardsman enters pest control market - To distribute Orkin products under exclusive franchise

Published:Wednesday | January 27, 2010 | 12:00 AM

Avia Collinder, Business Reporter



Kenny Benjamin, chief executive officer of the Guardsman Group of Companies, has diversified into pest control. - File

Kenny Benjamin, chief executive officer of the Guardsman Group, a security services firm and technology provider, has secured the pest control franchise for Orkin products under an exclusive distribution deal with the American company.

The franchise marks Orkin's 14th worldwide, and its first-time entry into Jamaica, said parent company Rollins Inc.

Benjamin told Wednesday Business that he is negotiating further with the company to distribute its products throughout the Caribbean.

Under the deal that was announced by Orkin this week, Benjamin said he will pay a franchise fee, ranging between three and six per cent of turnover and will also purchase Orkin recommended products, which the CEO notes will be licensed in Jamaica before use.

Guardsman is investing J$15 million to J$20 million initially in products, equipment, and office maintenance, and will use office space at Old Hope Road in Kingston and Ironshore in Montego as operational centres, this year.

"We will be following all their procedures. We will buy their recommended products which we will register in Jamaica," said Benjamin.

Twelve Jamaican workers and a manager have been identified for training in the next three months in Atlanta, Orkin's US headquarters.

In return for the franchise fee, Benjamin said that the Jamaican operation will benefit from "all the training, technical support and retraining as often as we want as well as research and development".

"We are free to send as many people for training up to the Atlanta training centre. There is also a satellite link where we have live training, and a call centre which we will be able to use."

Staff initially trained in Atlanta will become local trainers as well.

Orkin is said to provide pest control services and protection against termite damage, rodents and insects to over two million customers in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Central America, the Caribbean, the Middle East, Asia and the Mediterranean from over 500 locations.

Big opportunity

"Orkin Jamaica will be covering every aspect of pest control - both residential and commercial, and hotels and hospitals. There is a big opportunity for pest control here. Jamaicans are becoming far more informed and aware of pests and the control methods which should be environmentally friendly."

While Benjamin says his company wants to replicate Orkin's near 110 years of experience in Jamaica, the pest control company's vice-president of international development and franchising, Tom Luczynski, said Orkin was impressed by Guardsman's approach to the building of a business that has successfully ventured into horticulture and wellness.

"Tropical climates and the related pest pressures create an increased need for quality pest control services. We are pleased to increase our growing international presence, and meet the pest control needs of customers in Jamaica."

The Guardsman Group, whose core business is security services, operates 12 businesses that employ 6,000 workers in Jamaica, St Vincent and the Grenadines, St Lucia and Barbados.

avia.collinder@gleanerjm.com