Love affair with pests still strong 25 years on
A SUCCESSFUL Whitsundays business is celebrating a 25-year love affair with pests, this Valentine’s Day.
Blue Peace Pest Control, owned by well known businessman Ivan Lizarralde, will turn 25 this Friday, February 14.
Mr Lizarralde first got into pest control in 1992, while living in Sydney with his partner, the late Gloria Burley, and he answered a newspaper advert for a university graduate in science with sales experience.
“Having a degree in marine biology, I went for an interview without knowing what the job actually was. To my surprise it was for a technician doing pest control,” he said.
“I worked there for three years, gaining experience, and I was happy but I wanted more free time to follow up my passion of hang-gliding and flying. During a competition, and flying at 8,000 feet towards goal in my hang glider, I had a ‘eureka’ moment and decided to go out on my own.”
Mr Lizarralde registered Blue Peace Pest Control on Valentine’s Day 1995.
“As I had a passion for the environment, and being a member of Green Peace, I had in mind registering Green Peace Pest Control but that name was already taken, so Blue Peace was born.
“I did three other jobs, including window cleaner, barman and waiter, working 80 hours a week to get the business going, but two years later, the hard work and long hours began to pay off - I was getting positive feedback and many referrals.”
In 1999, Mr Lizarralde’s partner Gloria convinced him to come to Airlie Beach on a short working holiday with her.
“I was impressed with the casual village atmosphere and the cheap prices of real estate compared to Sydney,” he said.
“Before we left, we put a deposit on a townhouse in Island Close, as an investment, and signed the contract by post a week later.
“Upon my return to Sydney, I began doing the necessary paperwork to register the business in Queensland and obtain my Queensland licenses.”
In 2005, Mr Lizarralde felt it was the right time for the move and, in September, he arrived in ‘paradise’, with Gloria, who he says was the backbone to his drive and helped in all facets of the job. The business has grown every year since.
Mr Lizarralde attributes the success of the business to determination, experience and an environmentally-friendly approach.
“My qualifications, and the diversity of pest control jobs and clients I had to deal with in Sydney, had me well prepared for the challenge.
“Being your own boss, the buck stops with you, and you take the job more seriously. A job well done in the first place saves a lot of call-backs. Your success greatly depends on having a happy client.”
In the past four years, having an employee has also played a critical part in helping the business to grow, with pest control technician Ben Adriaans sharing the workload.
“We offer top-of-the-range pesticides, including natural pyrethrum and biodegradable pesticides, which has certainly attracted an alternative clientele to my business,” Mr Lizarralde said.
“I will certainly focusing on the non-killing services moving forward, such as timber pest inspections, physical termite barriers and preventive and repellent pest control, as opposed to the remedial type.”
Easter weekend 2007 saw the arrival of Mr Lizarrald’s termite sniffer dog, a pure blood beagle, who had undergone six months of intensive training in Townsville.
“Blue certainly gave the business an edge, working with me for 10 years,” Mr Lizarralde said.
“Now Blue, who is 14, is retired but his nose is still OK, particularly as he is 85 per cent blind and 70 per cent deaf. He almost transcended to dog’s heaven, in November 2019, but vet intervention has allowed me to still enjoy his company.
“The pest management industry is a service industry - the goodwill of the business is made up by the quality of service provided.
“Here, one can’t go unnoticed - there is always a client somewhere you go, whether it’s the shopping centre, a restaurant, or an entertainment venue.
“Often they ask how I am going but mostly they ask how Blue is. I find that endearing.”
Mr Lizarralde thanked all his clients over the past 25 years for supporting his business.