ServiceMaster was founded in Chicago in 1929 as a moth-proofing company by Marion E. Wade, a former minor league baseball player. Wade, who operated his new business out of his home, had a strong personal faith and, translating this into the marketplace, he viewed each individual employee and customer as being worthy of dignity and respect.
Wade’s company was incorporated in 1947 and expanded its offerings to include carpet cleaning in 1952, establishing one of America's first franchise businesses. In 1962, the company took its expertise to the health care arena and was a pioneer in third-party outsourcing, known at the time as management services. In 1980, the company began serving the education market and expanded its offerings to include a broader range of commercial services.
In the 1980s, the company experienced further expansion of the consumer segment of the business. During this time, ServiceMaster built on its original franchise business to form a network of high-quality branch- and franchise-based service companies – including Terminix, TruGreen and Merry Maids – and other category-leading commercial and residential service brands, including American Home Shield. In 2001, ServiceMaster divested its management services businesses to focus more on its residential and commercial business.
In July 2007, a group of equity sponsors led by Clayton, Dubilier and Rice, Inc. (CD&R) acquired ServiceMaster and took the company private. Also in 2007, the company moved its headquarters from Downers Grove, Ill., to Memphis, Tenn., to better enable the corporate staff to work side by side with all of its business units. Robert J. Gillette was appointed chief executive officer in June 2013. The company began publicly trading (NYSE: SERV) in June 2014.
Today, ServiceMaster operates under many of the same tenets of Wade’s original purpose – to deliver exceptional service and quality to customers. And like our company’s founder, we stress the importance of:
- Treating all of our customers, suppliers, employees and partners with respect and dignity.
- Doing the right thing… all the time.
- Being accountable… doing what we said we’d do, even if it means a follow-up visit to your home or business to get it right
When we do these things well, we’re living up to our legacy.