John originally started his career as a wool classer, but after becoming fed up with the constant strike actions, his father suggested that he join him in his pest control business, Norris Pest Eradication Company.
John remembers that back then, the majority of treatments were for cockroaches and that it was an expensive business for customers. Bed bugs were another big problem in Brisbane in the 1950s. There were also no safety precautions, so everything from lettuces and tomatoes to sheep and cattle were sprayed with dieldrin.
John soon started looking after the commercial and operational side of the business. Around this time, he and his father decided that they would set up a domestic pest control business.
Their treatments proved to be very effective as well as inexpensive and soon they had many new customers. The treatments were so successful and so popular that they were soon struggling to keep up with the workload. John’s father started phoning relations in different parts of Brisbane to join the business. Some of these relations then wanted to expand to the Gold Coast, Maryborough and Toowoomba. This was how the business spread. There was also no need for advertising as news of their services was spread by word of mouth.
In 1961, John’s father formed Amalgamated Pest Control.
When John moved to Somerset Dam, he received a lot of enquires about termite control and so began the termite business. It was around this time that the company expanded rapidly and eventually, in 1971, John took over from his father.
Training is now a huge part of the business. Amalgamated is a registered pest control training organisation – one of the only private companies in Australia to do this. They are registered with the government and a lot of their income is spent on training.
John concludes “we are spending more and more time on the technical side and we have more people out there with our operational staff on the training side, which is very important.”