Who’s the boss?

July 1, 2007 By    

When a career in the medical field didn’t materialize, Ed Meyer relied on his “entrepreneurial spirit” to carry him into the business world.

“It just happened,” he says. “It was destiny.”

The 35-year-old started his own company, Meyer Industries, and manufactured a product that helps put an end to burrowing pests. Growing in popularity around the world, the Rodenator Pro is “The Boss of the Burrow.”

“People bust their butt making a living, whether it’s farming or putting in a flower garden, and then you have something coming in and trying to destroy what you’ve been doing,” Meyer says. “It’s frustrating to people. They feel like their hands are tied and there’s no way to get them.”

Meyer has targeted the agricultural market as well as the turf and sod market, golf courses, municipalities and the equine market. Anyone who owns land can be affected, he says, by gophers, ground squirrels, prairie dogs, woodchucks, ground hogs, badgers, rats, foxes, moles, voles, rabbits and other pests. According to the company, the Rodenator Pro is effective in eliminating all of them from the ground.

The device injects a mixture of oxygen and propane into the burrow and then ignites it, creating a shockwave that eliminates the animal and its tunnel system. The process, from discovery of the hole to detonation, can take an average of 1 1/2 minutes, the company says.

Propane comprises only 3 percent of the mixture with oxygen, but as Meyer says, “We couldn’t do it without propane.” One 20-pound cylinder of propane will provide about 1,000 applications of the Rodenator Pro, with customers varying their usage.

“Propane is the most beneficial fuel to add with oxygen because of the density of it,” Meyer says. “It’s heavy. You don’t have to cover the holes because the gas settles at the bottom.”

The customer must supply his own propane and oxygen, while the Rodenator Pro comes with hoses, regulators, safety equipment and training and instructional materials. Meyer says safety is as important to him as customer service.

Business venture

Steve Bloomfield found the Rodenator Pro so effective that he started his own business, Burrow Busters, in Boise, Idaho. Bloomfield bought the device for personal use but was having so much positive feedback while working for friends and neighbors that he took things a step further.

“A lot of people are doing poisons and trappings, but a lot of folks in Idaho want more than that,” he says. “They want tunnels collapsed, and you can’t do that without using the Rodenator.”

Bloomfield and his company of five work from February through November, eliminating “anything that lives in the ground,” he says, most of which are gophers. They shoot three guns five days a week, totaling about 1,000 applications, and must replace a 20-pound propane tank every three to five weeks. Every job differs in time depending on infestation level and type of ground cover, but many of his 1/4- and 1/2-acre jobs take 60 to 90 minutes, Bloomfield says.

“I’m totally enchanted with the way it works,” he says. “My customers call me and want to know how effective it is. Time and again I seem to kill 90 to 92 percent of what we’re going after on the first pass.”

Danny Morrison’s Rodenator Pro sat in his shop for a year before he learned how valuable it could be.

“I just didn’t have time to mess with it,” says Morrison of Morrison Propane in Chickasaw, Okla. “Once I started messing with it, I got busier than I needed to be, and I’ve been doing it ever since.”

Morrison utilizes the device for a side job every Saturday, and maybe once or twice during the week, for people in his community. He mostly targets prairie dogs — one job encompassing 550 holes can last up to two months, he says.

Although Morrison says he uses little propane, he adds, “This is a good business opportunity for somebody. Somebody needs to tailor it for custom work. I really don’t have time to mess with it — it’s for fun and extra money — but you could make some good money. It really is good at what it says it does. Somebody needs to get with Rodenator and work side by side with them and not just sell the tool but sell the custom work business side of it.”

Staying grounded

Meyer Industries is headquartered in Midvale, Idaho, a rural town of 175 people in the western part of the state. It contracts with machining companies to manufacture Rodenator Pro parts, which are then shipped to Meyer Industries for final assembly, testing and shipping.


“What’s so exciting about it, I live in the most economically depressed county (Washington) in Idaho, in a town of 175 people, and I’m showing people that these small towns are a great place to do business,” says Meyer, who also serves as the town’s mayor. “It’s great people with a strong work ethic.”

Of the company’s 30 employees, 10 are in Midvale and 20 are in domestic and international sales. Meyer says he sells customers the Rodenator Pro directly or refers them to companies that are using his product.

Since the Rodenator Pro hit the market in 2003, sales numbers have been growing steadily, Meyer says. The company had more than $1 million in sales in its first year and neared $3 million in total sales last year.

“Within five years, I confidently feel our total Rodenator sales worldwide will be $7-10 million,” Meyer says.

The company is selling 100 units per month in the United States, and foreign sales are approaching that number, as well. Meyer expects the product to become even more popular internationally.

“I do a lot of international business. It’s really growing,” says Meyer, adding that his product controls 95 percent of the market for this type of application. “In Europe they are very eco-friendly, and they don’t like pesticides. Americans are catching on to that.”

The Rodenator Pro system with shipping costs $1,890 and comes with a two-year warranty. Meyer says the easiest way to purchase the device is online at www.rodenator.com.

If the Rodenator Pro experiences any problems, Meyer Industries can ship parts to the customer, Meyer says, or the customer can ship the device to the company for timely repair.

Meyer remains excited about the future. The company will unveil a new, wireless model in January 2008 that will have a lifetime warranty, and it will follow a year later with a household model designed and priced more for the average homeowner.

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