If your property is being overrun by gophers, Paul Encinias can come to the rescue.
Based out of Lemoore, California, Paul is the proud owner of a start-up business called Gopher Grabbers, LLC. The start-up company was formally established in February 2013. As its name suggests, the company permanently removes gophers for property owners in central California.
“We offer an environmentally-friendly way to permanently remove gophers,” Paul explained. “We utilize multiple methods to extract them from their burrows.”
Gophers can be found all over the country, including in Lemoore where Paul works.
“A gopher’s main diet is plants and shrubs, so the gopher population in this area proliferates because of the agriculture industries,” he said.
These critters affect farms and other landscapes by burrowing holes in the ground, resulting in a major nuisance for property owners. Not only that, but also this can result in thousands of dollars in property damage. He said some companies only use toxins, which can be harmful to the environment. Unlike these companies, Gopher Grabbers only uses an environmentally-safe pesticide as a last resort for the permanent removal process.
Paul, who is a Navy veteran, isn’t new to the small business world. He previously ran a franchise business with his brother in New Mexico. Still, despite his experience, his new start-up business faced challenges he wasn’t expecting, including getting the licenses and permits required to operate his nuisance animal business in California.
Paul’s summer uniform shirt states, “Customer Satisfaction Before Profit.” He believes that customer satisfaction is the key to making any small business prosper. “I want to help people as much as I can and educate people about wildlife.” He added that being involved in the community has been the most enjoyable part of small business ownership. He also works with some non-profit organizations free of charge.
His company’s main focus is working on residential areas, but his licenses also permit him to do contract work on other types of properties as well. He charges between $60 and $120 per residential yard with a 30-day period of guaranteed follow-up service. Currently, his biggest competition includes pest control companies.
In addition to working with the business, Paul is working toward earning a Master’s degree in business with a focus in organizational leadership. He will be advertising the company using business cards, flyers, and a website. He hopes to run newspaper ads and radio commercials in the future.
Advice for Start-up Businesses: Don’t Get Trapped
Paul said doing your homework is a critical element to the startup phase of a small business.
“Research what kind of company you want to start up and find out what the market is around that area,” he said. “Above anything else, find out your state’s regulations that are required to open a small business.”
It’s all too easy to get trapped into spending a lot of money trying to develop a start-up business that has regulatory restrictions and a smaller potential for profit than you think, unless you do your homework. He said this process is a fantastic learning experience, but it does come with some pressure.
“Trying something new by yourself involves trial-and-error,” he said. “It makes you learn a lot about business structure, laws and regulations, marketing, and just about everything. It’s been a really good way to put what I’ve been learning in college to use. It just takes patience to get it going.”
Paul is a 1-800Accountant client who gives the company high praise.
“Companies like 1-800Accountant can help build your resources and also a successful business,” he said. “The webinars are very helpful, and all of the information they give me provides more building blocks to help my company move forward.”
Paul plans on having an official grand opening ribbon-cutting ceremony in August. Learn more about the company at www.gophergrabbers.com.