Client Spotlight: MakeSafe Australia

In 2011, Gary McMahon and two of his colleagues, Nathan Wilson and James Scales, first founded MakeSafe™, the company now best known for designing and developing the award-winning Australian-made product BaitSafe™, to assist professional pest controllers in controlling rodents and insects more safely. Just ten years later, the BaitSafe™ product has been sold all around the world, with over 100,000 units in operation in commercial and residential buildings, including in Antarctica.

Here’s a look at the MakeSafe™ story.

The Journey

Originally an electrician, and now a Cert 4 Qualified Builder and recognised inventor of industry-disrupting products, Gary McMahon has combined his extensive experience in the building industry with his deep love for the environment to create eco-innovative solutions including BaitSafe™, DetectSafe™ and DefendSafe™.

BaitSafe™, the company’s flagship product, enables effective pest control within ceilings, subfloors, wall cavities and other ‘hard to get to’ areas where insects and rodents live and breed. It’s the most awarded applicator in the world for introducing pest control products into building voids. The company has also developed the DetectSafe™ wireless monitoring camera, and most recently, DefendSafe™ – a green, biodegradable, non-toxic product range designed to reduce the use of chemicals and poisonous baits that have traditionally been used to eliminate unwanted pests such as rats, mice, cockroaches and others.

“At MakeSafe™, we believe in developing products that help remove risks that can lead to physical and environmental harm,” says Gary. “We also believe that these products should be unobtrusive, simple to use and provide a number of different applications for the greatest benefit to our society.”

Over the years, one of his biggest national challenges has been acceptance by the pest control industry, but the company’s products have also experienced success internationally due to their innovation, reliability and the help of distribution partners abroad.

“Our challenge has always been the ability of pest control organisations to change their behaviours and habits,” notes Gary. “As an export company, COVID unfortunately shut down most of our international trade, but with the addition of our new DefendSafe™ line, we believe things will come back strong.”

Building a great business

According to Gary, innovation has been the biggest key to building a great business so far.

“MakeSafe™ is committed to our core belief of ‘design-innovate-create’,” he says. “Innovation is scary. We all experience the fear of making a mistake, of failure, of the unknown, of uncertainty, etc., but we as a company – with the help of others – have managed to push past all of that, and I feel that this will be our greatest success long-term.”

He believes that across all industries, eco-innovation has begun to be considered as a solution for environmental change, and the quest for sustainability is already starting to transform the competitive landscape, which will force companies to change the way they think about products, technologies, and processes.

Accru Harris Orchard Director Chris Marshall says, “Gary is constantly seeking more efficiency and cost-effectiveness. With the help of his shareholders, he has been able to fund the constant development of his products and methods. This is never an easy undertaking, and his success is a testament to his determination and commitment.”

Gary says his advice to other entrepreneurs is, “Learn how to ‘grow wings’, because there will come a time in every business owner’s life when, regardless of the perils that you’re leaping into, you just need to jump.”

Accru Harris Orchard’s role

Director Chris Marshall met Gary over 25 years ago and has helped Gary and MakeSafe™ in analysing costings, establishing entities, liaising with R&D consultants and providing overall business consulting, serving as confidant during the various stages of his business and guiding him during the journey over many years.

Chris says, “Gary’s enterprise is a good example of the assistance available to businesses where the owner is committed to exploring new ideas and markets, using their own funds. The use of the assistance available through the R&D allowances in Australia has been of enormous value to MakeSafe™.”

“The Accru Harris Orchard team has truly been the ‘wind beneath our wings’ during our journey,” states Gary.  “The last 10 years have been an extremely turbulent ride, and this year is no different.  However, their intimate understanding of our company and the environment in which it operates has enabled us to face that turbulence, and to edge the business closer to its ultimate goals. Everyone wants a solution of some type, but very few are willing to participate in that solution. Accru Harris Orchard has always been there for us as a willing partner, assisting with both past and now future solutions.”

The future

The introduction of the DefendSafe™ product line of environmentally friendly pest control treatments, which do not use poisons or chemicals, provides a unique opportunity for Gary to change how the pest control industry functions. This is an exciting undertaking and gaining acceptance in the established pest control industry will provide Gary with many opportunities and challenges in the future.

“It’s my goal to leave a legacy,” says Gary. “I love the idea of leaving behind something bigger than ourselves or the business we started, with the hope that others will be pushed to follow on.”

Want to learn more about how Accru Harris Orchard can help you build a great business? Contact our team today.

About the Author

Chris Marshall
Chris has spent his entire career at Accru Harris Orchard. After joining in 1981, he left to study, and to gain experience working overseas – and then returned to the firm he feels so much a part of.

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