Supplier Case Study: Focus on Fly Control

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Find out how leading pest management companies are have growing their bottom line by offering an innovative drain cleaning and small fly program to commercial customers.

November 2, 2009
Manufacturer press release

Editor's note: In the following case study, submitted by FMC Professional Solutions, find out how leading pest management companies are have growing their bottom line by offering an innovative drain cleaning and small fly program to commercial customers.

Growth is good. Profitable growth is even better. However, that’s often easier said than done, particularly during these recessionary times. Fortunately, FMC Professional Solutions is here to assist PMPs in achieving that goal with a valuable add-on service opportunity designed to address one of the most common causes of callbacks in commercial accounts – small flies.

CB® MicrobeMAXTM Volumetric Drain Foam and the MicrobeMAXTM Continuous Cleaning System (CCS) are “green” solutions for cleaning drains of fats, oils and greases (FOGs), to eliminate the breeding and harborage sites small flies (i.e. fruit flies, phorid flies, etc.) find so attractive.

“MicrobeMAX represents an opportunity for pest management professionals (PMPs) to increase revenue by delivering a new natural product offering to existing customers, which will enhance the effectiveness of their conventional treatments,” observes Ryan Weber, pest product manager, FMC Professional Solutions, Philadelphia, Pa. “Eliminating the pest harborage sites with MicrobeMAX foam provides quick results on the toughest harborage sites — drains. And the MicrobeMAX Continuous Cleaning System manages the harborage sites while you’re not there,” providing a long-term solution.

How MicrobeMAX Works
Both MicrobeMAX Volumetric Drain Foam and the MicrobeMAX Continuous Cleaning System work via a process called bioremediation — the use of naturally occurring microbes to digest waste and return it to the environment harmlessly. Following application of the product, microbes multiply as they feed and consume fats, oils and grease. When the waste is gone, microbe numbers return to normal levels.
MicrobeMAX Volumetric Drain Foam contains multiple strains of naturally occurring bacteria that digest the fats, oils and grease that build up in floor drains, grease traps and sewers. One 20-ounce can of the easy-to-apply foam delivers seven gallons of finished product, making it a cost-effective treatment option for PMPs offering commercial fly control services.

The MicrobeMAX Continuous Cleaning System includes a cartridge that contains naturally occurring bacteria and a dispenser. The state-of-the-art system taps directly into drain lines, automatically treating the drain every 15 minutes. Each 30-day refill dispenses 96 automatic treatments of finished product per day with no programming required, eliminating the conducive conditions that contribute to fly problems in a variety of accounts.

Leading PMPs Report Success
John Flores, general manager, HomeTeam Pest Defense, St. Louis, Mo., says the key to controlling fruit flies, fungus gnats and other small flies in commercial facilities is “going after the source” of the infestation. And as every PMP knows, more often than not the source of the problem is drains caked with organic material. “Your main goal is to find the source,” Flores said. “Where are the flies breeding? Why are they finding an attractive environment to live and breed?”

However, simply identifying the source of the infestation isn’t enough. Once identified, it needs to be treated and the conditions contributing to the problem eliminated. “Our commercial accounts depend on us to take care of their pest problems,” Flores said. “We have to be knowledgeable about our field and stay abreast of the best products to handle each individual situation.”

For a growing number of accounts, HomeTeam applies MicrobeMAX Volumetric Drain Foam to floor drains to break down the organic material small flies find so attractive. Flores likes the foam formulation because it “reaches into areas where liquids will not” and once applied “has an immediate effect” on the fly population. “Customers see positive results in a couple of days rather than 20 to 30 days,” he said.

Dr. Reid Ipser, product development manager, FMC Professional Solutions, said MicrobeMAX Volumetric Drain Foam was developed following input from PMPs “who told us they wanted something they could use to spot treat fly breeding sites. So we set out to develop a product that would meet those needs,” extending the product line to include an automated drain line maintenance system (MicrobeMAX CCS). “We’re getting really good feedback on both products.”

Much of that feedback came during the development phase of the MicrobeMAX line, when PMP input was encouraged during field testing of the products. “We had a couple of suggestions for them and they took our suggestions and implemented them,” said Stan Dawkins, Jr., director of operations, Eden Advanced Pest Technologies, Olympia, Washington. “They definitely listened to what we had to say.”

One company that has seen its fly control business grow dramatically, thanks in part to the addition of the MicrobeMAX product line, is Clark Pest Control, Lodi, California. “Fly control is a very important add-on service for our business,” said Corporate Sales Manager Mark Myers. So important, in fact, that the company branded its service “Streamline,” playing up the fact drain cleaning is an essential part of successful fly control.

Clark Pest Control likes the MicrobeMAX Continuous Cleaning System for a number of reasons, including its ease of installation and the recurring revenue it generates. Clark charges an initial setup fee, which includes the cost of installation and customer education, along with an ongoing monthly service charge. “Customers like the system’s small footprint,” Myers said, in addition to the fact MicrobeMAX CSS can be installed quickly and easily in out-of-the-way locations. “We feel it is a strong service that adds to our family of service offerings.”

HomeTeam’s John Flores likes the MicrobeMAX product line because it accomplishes two things for his business. First, it allows him to gain a foothold in a commercial account if the customer calls with a small fly problem that another company has been unable to control. And second, it saves those accounts where a small fly problem may develop unexpectedly. “It gives us a chance to get into accounts we otherwise might not be able to access, and it allows us to save an account we might lose because of a fruit fly problem,” he said.

Eden Advanced Pest Technologies also has had success with the product. “We used MicrobeMAX Volumetric Drain Foam for a very sensitive new hospital account,” according to Stan Dawkins, Jr., director of operations. “Many areas, including the kitchen, had a severe drain fly and fruit fly problem. Previously, we would lug un-practical, heavy foam equipment through the building, so it was a relief to everyone when we started using the Volumetric Drain Foam 20-ounce can, which has been extremely effective and convenient to use. We think this is just the thing to allow our technicians the ability to upgrade accounts easily and vastly improve drain cleaning.”

While a boon to commercial accounts, MicrobeMAX Foam also offers significant add-on service opportunities for PMPs involved in the residential market. Eden Advanced adds $15 to the cost of residential service calls for its floor drain treatments, which are aggressively marketed to customers. “It’s a small add-on (service), but anything you can add on that doesn’t take a lot of time is bound to be more profitable,” Dawkins said.

Add-On Service Opportunity
J.C. Ehrlich, an organization that understands how add-on services can positively impact a company’s bottom line, has spent the last 15 years developing a business unit devoted to drain cleaning services. “The last thing you want to worry about is maintaining and servicing your drain lines and grease traps,” a sales brochure targeted at commercial accounts states. To address this issue, Ehrlich is installing and servicing the MicrobeMAX Continuous Cleaning System for a growing number of customers as part of an overall drain line maintenance program that includes:
? Replenishing the injection system with microbes.
? Manually treating all floor, condensation, fountain, bar and trap drains for fly breeding sites and odor control.
? Removing the lids on the customer’s outdoor grease interceptors to inspect, measure, shock, and aerate the interceptor.

Advising when the customer’s interceptor needs to be pumped. Providing the customer with a written report on the services performed and the overall health of the system.

The drain cleaning treatment is performed by the same technician who provides the company’s regular monthly service to the account. As a drain line specialist, however, each technician performing this service receives special ongoing training. Jed Hammel, bioremediation division manager for J.C. Ehrlich, says it’s an efficient use of both the technician and the customer’s time since both services can be performed during a single stop. “Whereas in the past we didn’t have the opportunity to dose (the drains) as frequently,” Hammel says, “now with the MicrobeMAX Continuous Cleaning System we can. We’re seeing some good initial results with MicrobeMAX, but like any other Ehrlich service or product, it’s being monitored extensively.”

The long-term investment in bioremediation sales and service training as well as product analysis has been worthwhile, according to Hammel. “I joined the company nine years ago and started in bioremediation sales,” he said. “My job was to educate the sales reps and managers about the value of bioremediation services and train them on how to do the work properly. It’s really a matter of getting the techs to promote the service and sales reps pounding the pavement,” Hammel said. In addition, virtually any commercial kitchen account is a potential client, from mom and pop restaurants to college campuses and nursing homes to hospitals. “Anyone who generates fats, oil and grease is a potential client,” Hammel said.

How to Get Started
Eden’s Stan Dawkins, Jr. said small fly control was “viewed as more of a headache to us” five or six years ago, but that changed with the introduction of the MicrobeMAX product line. “Our staff is now more willing to sell a program like this, because they’re not relying on the customers to clean up the drains. This opened up a whole new area of business for us.”

To learn more about how to grow your business with MicrobeMAX products, contact your FMC Professional Solutions customer service representative at 800/321-FMC or visit