Knox Pest Control: Building on History, Creating a Future

Lucy Adams

Monday, May 18th, 2015

Though four generations of the Knox family have been in the pest control industry, Knox Pest Control started as a team of a father and two teenage sons door-knocking during the day and treating restaurants during the night. Sean Knox and his brother Justin, who share the role of company president now, learned the meaning of grit and determination in the early 1990s when they helped their dad get the business going. “It was humble beginnings when we restarted,” Sean says. “We had no clients and no employees. It was just us.”

Their great-grandfather, Forrest H. Knox, coined the company motto, “It is not who you get as a customer, it’s who you keep as a customer,” and it continues to be their standard of doing business today. Pest control is a relatively inexpensive service. Customer retention is key to success. Converting new customers to repeat customers and repeat customers to word-of-mouth marketers makes a big difference in growing a business. Adhering to their great-grandfather’s philosophy pushes the firm forward. “Even when the economy slowed down, we grew by double digits,” says Sean. Of approximately 18,000 pest management companies, Knox Pest Control ranks in the top 50 in terms of revenue in Pest Control Technology’s (PCT) Top 100 list.

Sixteen offices in Georgia, Alabama and Florida also extend services to Mississippi and South Carolina. Over 200 employees carry the company motto across the thresholds of residential, commercial and industrial clients. “We have four offices right now that are managed by people who joined the company as technicians,” says Sean. It testifies to the longevity and dedication of Knox Pest Control staff, who are trained according to Georgia’s rigorous standards regardless of the state in which they deliver services.

Many employees also possess specialty certifications in lawn treatment, wildlife control and termite prevention and elimination. “We hold multiple certifications and continually provide in-depth training to make sure we’re qualified to handle those customer needs,” Sean says, referring to the array of municipal, school, medical, military, restaurant, housing and food processing environments in which they operate.

Knox Pest Control has had a steep growth trajectory since its inception, with much of that growth occurring in the last seven years. Acquisitions have allowed them to welcome smaller companies under their umbrella and roll them into the Knox family business culture. In addition, organic growth due to reputation and customer word-of-mouth have significantly expanded Knox Pest Control’s foot print and service offerings in the southeast.

“What we try to accomplish,” explains Sean, “is to have the resources you would get with a national company and the hands-on of a regional, family owned company.” Having a director of compliance on staff ensures the quality control that big corporate customers require. Sean and Justin’s open-door policy maintains lines of communication and an expectation that each customer is one they wish to keep. Knox Pest Control’s flexibility with understanding the needs of each client and willingness to develop targeted plans, even meeting highly specific requests of individual customers, for each corporate account adds another layer of trust and dependability.

Membership in Copesan, a collective of mid-sized regional pest control businesses offering commercial entities nationwide coverage, enables Knox Pest Control to fulfill national accounts with facilities or storefronts in any of the five states they serve. Through Copesan, Knox Pest Control has cultivated strong working relationships with other family owned pest control agencies in other territories.

Sean and Justin look forward to expanding the lawn services division beyond the LaGrange, Columbus and Auburn offices. A couple of acquisitions are also on the front burner for 2015. One of the more exciting projects in the works, however, is the licensing, marketing and distribution of KnoxWare, software designed specifically for service businesses but not limited to pest control. It’s always exciting when a company can take an innovation that increases its efficiency and make it available to other businesses that would profit. But that’s how things are done by people who know their history and are standing on it to catapult themselves into the future.

For more information on Knox Pest Control, visit