Okay, so its time for you to open that pest control business that you have been day dreaming about for the longest time. You have worked for someone else and you are sick of the fact that your hard work is fattening your bosses wallet. You’re breaking your back for pennies on the dollar and you’re fed up. You know you have what it takes to do it on your own. You’ve chosen the service industry because you realize that it is recession-less and your a hands on kinda gal/guy. You will definitely encounter hurdles and problems but we are here to help! We recently posted a question on social media to other Pest Control Professionals. We asked them this question.
“What advice do you give to the start up pest control businesses, or new technicians out there that want to start their own eventually?”
Heres what the pros had to say.
Steve Jackson From Titus Pest Control, based out of Warner Robins, Georgia was excited to answer the question. He is a veteran who knows a thing or two about the business side of things as well as the field work. Steve told us “Some folks say the best way to get referrals is to ask for them. I disagree. People refer products, services and companies because they like to, it makes them feel good, it’s just human nature. Give people reasons to brag about you. Show up on time and in a clean vehicle. Look, speak, and act in the most professional manner possible. Use cool looking equipment. Make follow up phone calls on your new starts. “Wow” your customers with professionalism and they will “wow” you with referrals.”
Another long time pro, Rick Lamp, owner of Lamp’s Pest Solutions located in Lexingtion, SC has this advice about utilizing your people skills. I think he hit it on the head with this one. Rick said “I think one of the greatest pieces of advice I could give anyone starting out is to work on your people skills. In a service industry like ours, think of your job as taking care of people foremost and as pest solutions provider second you will go so much further. I can think of some very skilled bug killers which have limited people skills and as a result have a hard time keeping customers happy. I also know some “just alright” pest control guys who have an over abundance of happy customers because they know how to deal with people.?”
New to the game, RIDTEK – Basingstoke Pest Control has only been in business for two years. Even though they are rookies in the game, they still have some great advice to you brave new comers. They tell us about the attitude we should have while working and why it helps.“We are now in our second year and I would have to say the most important thing is to stay positive. If your knee deep in bed bugs our waiting for the phone to ring, just keep smiling and loving what we do. Customers are drawn to positive solution orientated people and in turn not only will your business grow you will also grow in confidence.”
Steve P. from Knockout Pest Management out of Orlando, FL is the guy you want to listen to. He knows his stuff pretty well, and always has an answer to everyones problems. Steve gives the right advice to take your time. Steve contributes “Don’t rush the inspection. Ask plenty of questions to the clients such as “Where have you seen the problem? Do you have a sample?” If they ask a question you don’t know, tell them you will find the answer and get back to them ASAP. Learn the IPM and take a checklist so you know you have covered all the areas that YOU may be concerned with. Don’t baffle the clients with technical details about the insects, unless they ask. They just want the problem dealt with. Don’t say yes to anything your not sure you can do.”
Next up is a detailed, in depth response from the professional New Era Pest Control.They suggest you have proper pest identification “Know your pest!! In trying to convey this small tip to pest control employees is the greatest challenge. You can train them as much as you want, and show them the proper procedures and all the rest, but if they don’t understand the pest, the job will NEVER be completed correctly. Ill give you an example. White footed ants and crazy ants. Very easy to mis-diagnose and you WILL drive yourself crazy if you mistake White footed for crazy. I tell my tech’s all the time. Diagnose and verify the pest you are treating. One tech saw what he thought were crazy ants on the structure and assumed they were crazy ants. 3 services later, pissed customer, and a supervisor (me) going out, I put the pest under the microscope and clearly see its White footed. Now, that I know where these ants live, what they eat, moisture needs, etc. I was able to resolve the situation in one treatment. I am not throwing flower pedals at my feet, and trying to impress you all. I am simply trying to impress upon you, that correcting a problem right away, with limited customer monies and time is a game winner and far more attractive to the customer. The customer sees that you know what you are doing and you do what you say you are going to do. Your genuine and concerned about their problem. Now thats a way to get your customers to recommend you!”
Next up is the always honest and straight to the point, Mickey Ferrell Jr. from HomePro Pest Control out of VA. He gives some very valid, honest bullet points and we felt we had to add all of them. Mickey says 1. You are not in pest control, you are in sales and promotion. You are selling pest control services 2. cash is precious. You can never have too much. if you believe you have enough, you will burn it and crush your chances at growth. 3. debt is suffocating. if you consider financing a piece of equipment and you rationalize it with “I’ll make x more $. So it’s like they are paying me.” You will likely be disappointed. If you really want to buy something, sell more services and buy it cash. 4. Systemize everything. If you are doing it today, write it down. That way you can give the steps to your first hire and he can give them to the next. Then start recording the steps of your new position. Rinse repeat. 5. Find a mentor. Go find an old pro, take him to lunch and listen. you have 2 ears and one mouth, use them in that ratio. 6. Network. That doesn’t mean join networking groups. simply go meet new people, ask them how you can help them, no strings attached. Selfless givers never want. If you try this with an alternative agenda, it will fail.” Thanks for the goldmine of tips Mickey!
American Pest Control, LLC out of Lexington, Kentucky offers these 7 short, but to the point tips. 1. Do it sooner rather than later – meaning if you want to get started, do it and if you want to grow, make it happen. 2. Find a trusted marketing consultant. I’m lucky as I have my wife and that’s what she does. I attribute my website ranking to her and that’s where most of my leads come from. 3. Do your best to operate on your own cash and not take out loans. It’s just good to live that way. 4. Sell on your service/quality and not on price. There’s always someone out there who is cheaper than you, but there’s only one you! 5. Get involved in your community through the Chamber of Commerce, BNI, etc. Give back by sponsoring sports teams, etc. 6. Know your pests!! Follow the laws of your state and be able to communicate your knowledge to your customers. 7. Lastly, answer your phone and return calls promptly. Better yet, use email and texting to communicate with your customers. Stay connected!?
Well there you have it. It might be over whelming but these pros know their stuff. If you’re a newbie read this blog post a few times over and make sure you soak up all the info. Remember, never give up and always stay hungry. Never get too comfortable with business and be ready to adapt to changes. Good luck and feel free to comment below to ask pros any follow up questions you may have. Knock ‘em dead!