For a fairly young business, Orange Ball, a pest control company from Kathmandu has steadily grown to be a forerunner in its area of focus, all within less than a decade of operation. Today, just five years after the enterprise picked up the name Orange Ball, it has become the go-to pest control service within the valley. What’s even more interesting is that the brains behind this successful venture is not someone with a fancy business background but rather a simple individual who saw an opportunity and had the courage to act on it.
Text By: Sajeet M. Rajbhandari
Bidhha Nanda Jha, the CEO and Founder of Orange Ball, was just a high schooler when the idea for a pest control company came to him. Jha, who was still a teen back then had taken up a part-time job at a cell-phone shop in Maha Boudha, and while cell-phones might be a world apart from the business that Jha runs today, it so happened that the shop he worked at was right across a store that sold agricultural and veterinary products.
Jha noticed that a lot of people who bought pesticides would come and complain that it didn’t solve their pest issues. He also noticed that there were a significant number of cases where people were poisoned or harmed from the uneducated use of pesticides. Having witnessed the unsatisfactory service, he understood the gap in the market for proper pest control service.
However, Orange Ball didn’t achieve success immediatey. When Jha first proposed his business idea, his peers were skeptical. “When I first pitched the idea to my friends, nobody believed that it would work,” shares Jha. They questioned Jha’s lack of experience and lack of public relations. Jha decided to take matters into his own hands and educated himself through a few online courses with the British Pest Control Council, along with an internship in India through which he learnt the trade.
In the early days, Orange Ball, then known as Metro Pest Control, started out as a two-man operation where Jha armed with a pump and some pesticide that he had been loaned would provide services to friends and family. However, Jha had big plans and he sought guidance.
He found this direction for his young company through Nepal Communitere, an innovation hub. Bahar Kumar, a strategic advisor at Nepal Communitere recounts, “Our interview with him left a strong impression. We knew immediately that he was a hustler and a proactive entrepreneur.” She adds, “He needed help in creating a strong foundation for his business. He needed someone to help him get organised, and that’s when we knew we wanted to work with him!”
She further illustrates, “He walked in with three cell phones with all his finances stored literally in his head. We finally moved that data into a ledger book and digital format. He was getting great clients but needed a clear contracting system to engage with his clients, so we helped him develop a clear contracting and sales strategy. We helped him build his team by designing clear job descriptions and understanding how to coach and lead them.”
In the early days, Orange Ball, then known as Metro Pest Control, started out as a two-man operation where Jha armed with a pump and some pesticide that he had been loaned would provide services to friends and family. However, Jha had big plans.
We questioned Jha about his choice of name for his company and why it was named after the popular orange candy. Jha replies, “I realised that a business name should always be catchy. We used to run under the name Metro Pest control, but when got about to registering our company, we decided to use the name ‘Orange Ball’. A lot of the people who work as receptionists or call assistants for hotels and business houses are familiar with the orange ball candy; to catch their attention, we decided on this name.”
A catchy name will only take a business so far. What really led to the rise of Orange Ball was the service it provides and the professionalism that comes with it. Today, the Orange Ball caters to both households and establishments for simple cockroach infestation to providing disinfection services during the COVID 19 pandemic.
Orange Ball also excels because of its customer care service. Jha shares that customers can request service as easily as sending them a text message on their Facebook page. They provide free inspections as well as free service should a pest problem not be resolved within the specified time. While households are provided with single time service, large corporate clients undertake annual maintenance contracts that involve systemic and routine inspection of their facilities.
Jha shares that as a company he is always prepared for change. He started as a two-person gig with only Rs 1700 as investment. Today it is a full scale business. “Back when we started, we would simply head out for the job when we got a call, now we have individual departments and systemic procedures for everything,” he shares.
Orange Ball has been enjoying and organic growth and profits have grown, “In the first year, we had a turnover of about seven lakhs, this number grew to twelve lakhs in the second year, nineteen lakhs in the third year, and we are up to thirty-four lakhs in our fourth year.” He hopes that this increase keeps its upward incline. Jha estimates, “In Kathmandu alone, there is market capacity for over two arba rupees. But to capitalise on this market, we need to make people more aware about the need for pest control.”