Womble finds his niche as owner of Bug Man pest control

By St. Clair Murraine
Outlook staff writer

When the company that Terry Womble worked for folded abruptly, he went into desperation mode.

He placed a job-wanted newspaper ad. Within days he got a response and an interview was set up to be a district manager for a pest-control company.
He showed up not feeling too optimistic, especially because he was having second thoughts.

“I walked through the door thinking to myself ‘I’m not taking this job,’ ” he said. “After an hour or so I took the job right there on the spot.”

Almost three decades later, Womble is still in the pest-control business. This time he owns the business that he aptly call The Bug Man.

He does pest or termite control on residential and commercial properties. The list of clients is growly slowly but steady to the point that he had to bring on James Gordon, a former co-worker at the company that hired him from a want add.

James Gordon, left, and Terry Womble have been partners in business for the last eight years.
Photo by St. Clair Murraine

Gordon takes on mostly pest-related jobs, while Womble handles termites. Both stay busy year round.

“It’s a slow monotonous process but we gain every month,” Womble said.
He’s come further than expected, though.

“Twenty-five years ago before I started, if you had told me I would be doing this I would laugh at you.”

For good reason. He had attended FSU and earned a political science degree. He just didn’t foresee the struggles to get a job in his desired field.
He eventually settled on working as a distribution manager with Tom’s Food. But when the company suddenly went out of business he found himself looking for a way to survive.

He took on odd-jobs. Pressure washing. Removing insulation from under houses. No job was too small for Womble.

His attitude was “you just have to go for what you know,” he said.
The offer to work for an exterminating company chomped anything he was doing. He stayed there until 2008 when he decided that his principles conflicted with the company’s policy on customers and employees.

He changed the model when he started up Bug Man, concentrating more on his customers and the quality of work he and Gordon do.

Matt Hale, a realtor, uses Bug Man for his home and business. Womble’s reliability is one of the reasons that he’s used his service for the last eight years, Hale said.

“He is efficient, honest and thorough,” he said. “I was impressed and we use him at our office building as well.”

Womble is also a part of almost every home inspection that Hale does to close a sale. Womble’s work on termites have saved a couple sales, he said.
“Termites can be a real deal-killer,” Hale said. “It can really turn off a buyer and scare a buyer away. When you deal with Terry, he will tell you what it is, how to take care of it and it’s not a death sentence or anything.”

As much as Womble is realizing steady growth in his business, he is doing so without any major marketing scheme. It’s mostly word of mouth and connections he and Gordon establish though their membership in trade organizations like the Tallahassee Chamber of Commerce and Business Network International.

Adam Belcher is one of the clients that he met through BNI. They’ve establish a relationship beyond their profession ties, Belcher said.

“Terry is somebody that if I have a question or an issue I can text him any time and he responds right away,” Belcher said. “He goes out of his way to make sure our property is sound from top to bottom for pest control stuff.”

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