[View Point] Challenge your business model

Columns - View Point

April 30, 2013
Brad Harbison

One of my favorite viral Web videos is from Dollar Shave Club. I laughed out loud watching CEO Michael Dubin stroll through a warehouse, delivering a deadpan infomercial about the Club all while swinging a tennis racket; watching a toddler shave a man’s head; and chatting with a warehouse worker named Alejandro. (If you haven’t seen the video yet, check it out at http://bit.ly/Z6d6YJ.)

While the video has not coerced me into signing up for a membership (yet) it piqued my curiosity about the company, so I did a little research. Dollar Shave Club is able to sell its razors at half the cost of companies such as Gillette and Schick by cutting out the middle man — its razors ship directly from manufacturers. Also, the razors are sold exclusively online, so Dollar Shave Club doesn’t have the added expenses of a storefront, or the need to market itself as aggressively as its larger competitors.

Dollar Shave Club challenges the traditional razor-and-blade business model, in which a company (e.g., Gillette) essentially gives away the razor in order to lock in recurring purchases of (overpriced) blades. One of the things I love about the pest control industry is that there are so many pest control operators (PCOs) out there that have succeeded in much the same manner — by challenging longstanding, accepted pest control business models. And one of my favorite ways PCOs do this is by venturing into non-traditional pest control services (a.k.a., add-on services). Sure, there are risks involved with offering add-on services, but companies that do it successfully not only boost their bottom-line profits, but they re-energize their businesses. For example, a service technician getting “burned out” doing general pest control jobs, might be rejuvenated by becoming the company’s “go to” crawlspace renovation specialist. Similarly, sales professionals might find selling holiday lighting services to be a nice way to make some extra cash around the holidays.

PCOs considering adding new service offerings will want to join PCT on May 15 for the “Profit Boosters: Add-On Service Growth Opportunities” virtual conference. Throughout this day-long event participants will hear leading industry professionals discuss how they have been able to enhance their company’s bottom line through various add-on service offerings.

PCT has assembled an all-star lineup of PCOs from such well-known firms as McNeely Pest Control, ABC Home & Commercial Services, OPC Pest Control and Pest Management Systems, Inc. (PMi), just to name a few. These are businesses — managed by talented PCOs with decades of industry experience — that understand the power of offering a diverse range of residential and commercial services. They will share valuable insights about the profit potential and growth opportunities of various niche markets, including wildlife management; holiday lighting; home insulation; mosquito control; professional lawn care services; and crawlspace renovation. The “Profit Boosters” virtual conference is a series of webinars you watch and participate in from your home or office computer. (To learn more and to sign up visit virtualevent.pctonline.com.)

While PCOs have no control over the challenging economic conditions under which they currently operate, they do have resources at their disposal, and PCT’s “Profit Boosters: Add-On Service Growth Opportunities” virtual conference is just one more tool to help them navigate through these turbulent times.


The author is Internet editor and managing editor of PCT and can be contacted via email at bharbison@giemedia.com.