Included in November PCT is a feature about Texas A&M University breaking ground on the new Rollins Urban and Structural Entomology Facility at College Station. The new 10,000-square-foot building, estimated at a cost of $4 million and scheduled to be completed in 2014, will serve as a vital resource for the structural pest control industry, The slideshow below includes additional photos from the groundbreaking ceremony.
Most pest management professionals see enough in crawlspaces to give them the creeps. Billy Tesh sees opportunity.
The president of Pest Management Systems Inc. (PMi) in Greensboro, N.C., began renovating crawlspaces in 2002. It’s become a lucrative add-on service, generating $2.7 million in its first four years alone.
Tesh said customers who live in the Southern United States “consistently have moisture issues” with conventional, ventilated crawlspaces.
You’ve seen the mess: wet and sagging insulation, rusting ductwork and electrical connections, rotting wood, mold, fungi and mildew. These factors contribute to pest infestations, buckling hardwood floors, high energy bills, humid and musty air inside the home, even structural damage.
The problems are “easily solved by changing that environment in the crawlspace,” assured Tesh, whose company installs closed crawlspace systems.
With 76 million homes built on crawlspace foundations and 18 percent of new homes using them, PMPs have lots of opportunity to improve customers’ living conditions, Tesh explained at PCT’s “Profit Boosters: Add-On Service Growth Opportunities” virtual conference in May.
If you operate in an area with crawlspace homes, “you should give serious consideration” to adding this service, he said.
What Is It? A closed crawlspace is a sealed, clean, moisture-free environment similar to that inside the house.
To achieve this, crawlspace wall vents are closed and sealed, interior walls covered with termite-resistant insulation board, and piers and floor lined with heavy, fiber-reinforced plastic sheeting. (Transparent plastic and gaps between insulation board and wood framing allow for future termite inspections.)
A drying mechanism (commercial grade dehumidifier, supply air inducers or fan system that injects house air) keeps moisture levels low. A thermo-hygrometer with send/receive unit informs the homeowner of crawlspace humidity levels and lets her know the system is performing.
Closing the crawl may require clearing the space of clutter and damaged insulation, sealing wall and floor penetrations with expanding foam or adhesive, fixing drainage issues or leaky plumbing, evaluating HVAC systems, installing new insulation and providing termite protection.
Tesh also performs an odor-disinfectant treatment “because there’s a lot of nasty stuff” in crawlspaces, and provides mold remediation, which he initially subcontracted but found it lets technicians “take the job from start to finish.”
Closed crawlspaces for new construction are based on the same principles, but installation phases are tied to building schedules.
Sound Science. The science behind closed crawlspaces is hard to dispute. Early on, Tesh worked with Raleigh-based Advanced Energy to conduct field tests for the U.S. Department of Energy.
The study found new-homeowners could save 18 percent on heating and cooling costs annually with a closed crawlspace. Owners of older homes experienced savings of up to 50 percent depending on the condition of the existing crawlspace and insulation, said Tesh.
Why are wall-vented crawlspaces no longer performing as designed? Air conditioning: Homeowners rely on it more and at lower temperatures.
While the air of a wall-vented crawlspace is similar in temperature, the moist air that enters through the vents contains a lot of humidity, which raises the dew point within the crawlspace. This causes water to condensate on cooler surfaces, such as the ductwork, water pipes, framing, overhead floor system and insulation. It’s just like when a glass of iced tea is brought outdoors on a warm day. On humid, August days, moisture can be excessive — Tesh described “raining” crawlspaces — and cause rot, mold and indoor air quality problems.
Some people wrongly think more ventilation, like installing vent fans, will solve the problem but this actually makes it worse. “The only way to resolve this is to close the crawlspace,” said Tesh, who has a general contractor’s license and is president elect of the National Pest Management Association.
A Picture is Worth... Healthier homes and energy savings are an easy sell. In many cases the crawlspace sells itself, said Tesh. Just show the homeowner photos of what they’re sitting on. “They get a much better understanding when they see the bad conditions with their own eyes.”
Explain the science behind your recommendations by providing humidity, temperature and dew point readings from the crawlspace, as well as a detailed map of the space and inspection form.
With valid customers, “our rate of closure is about 60 to 70 percent,” said Tesh. Jobs generally run $3,000 to $4,000, and homeowners see a seven-year return on investment.
Tesh’s closing rate with home builders and remodelers is almost 95 percent. Once they start using your system, they call you up to let you know when the next foundation is ready, he explained. Prices are locked in advance for future installations. “You don’t have to resell that. That’s the beauty of new construction.”
The green building industry is particularly interested and homes built to LEED, NAHB Green and SystemVision specs increasing require closed crawlspace systems.
As the economy picks us, “we see a lot more opportunity to make these systems available to people,” Tesh added.
A Good Add-on. Closed crawlspaces are a good fit for pest management. PMPs already inspect crawlspaces and understand the impact of moisture problems, how to seal cracks and crevices, and use high-tech equipment.
Jobs can be scheduled during slow seasons. Tesh sees the biggest impact from sales in mid-summer, following termite season in early- to mid-spring. Work is scheduled to keep technicians busy year round.
Annual inspections and maintenance of closed crawlspaces provide renewal revenue and can be performed with termite inspections.
Additional liability insurance, certification or equipment is not required. Mold remediation is the exception.
Cross Selling. Cross selling the service helps “increase the revenue stream,” Tesh said. Providing termite pre-treatments? Target existing home builder clients, who prefer “one-stop shopping” for termite protection, mold prevention and closed crawlspace systems, said Tesh.
He sponsors industry meetings to educate the home building trades, green builders and home inspectors.
Technicians often can pick up pest control service while performing annual termite and closed crawl inspections at these new homes. Likewise, they evaluate existing termite and pest customers’ crawlspaces for problems.
Tesh said TV commercials are great at showing the transition from damp, nasty crawlspace to clean, closed environment. Yard signs and truck graphics are effective, as are cut-away displays at trade shows. “Visual is big for us,” he said.
He differentiates his service with comprehensive check lists that provide “a chain of custody from the very beginning to the very end” of the job, and by providing a full complement of science-based information to builders and homeowners.
Learn more about closed crawlspace systems at www.crawlspacedepot.com and www.crawlspaces.org.
The author is a frequent contributor to PCT magazine. Email her at email@example.com.
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To purchase a DVD of PCT’s Profit Boosters virtual conference presentation, visit www.pctonline.com/profit-boosters.aspx.
In 2012, the threat of West Nile virus (WNV) had been as real and in the public eye as it had been in nearly a decade. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2012 about 6,000 total West Nile virus cases were reported, resulting in 286 deaths — easily the most since 2003, when 264 people died and nearly 10,000 cases were reported.
Those sorts of figures command the public’s attention and drive demand for mosquito control services. As an add-on service that requires minimal start-up costs, it can be an appealing investment for some PCOs, according to Donnie Blake, president of OPC Pest Control in Louisville, Ky. “The media, in essence, does a lot of marketing for you in regard to creating awareness,” he said.
Blake said in 2003, when public awareness of WNV was arguably at its peak, demand was booming for mosquito management. That tapered off in the following years, replaced in part by the wave of bed bug hype that captured the public’s attention. However, 2012 brought another wave of media attention. As such, the time was (and still is) ripe for PCOs to add on mosquito services. “The opportunity for the pest management industry has never been better as homeowners focus on family and the enjoyment of their backyards,” Blake said. Families spend lots of time and money on their homes and outdoor spaces and they are willing to purchase mosquito control in order to enjoy them, Blake said.
The ‘Threat.’ With the potential to transmit West Nile virus and other diseases, mosquitoes stand out to the public. Blake reiterated that the news media help focus this concern with reports of West Nile virus — and families become concerned about their property, their health and their children’s health.
However, the public knowledge of disease transmission by mosquitoes is limited. “When [a person] is bitten, they just know they’re going to get West Nile,” Blake said of the “fear factor” that comes into play with regard to the public’s image of mosquitoes.
“They no longer consider mosquitoes to be simply a nuisance, or just something they have to deal with when they go outside,” Blake added. “Now it’s a public health issue.”
For the PMP, this is a business opportunity — but like any other, it requires careful planning and implementation for success. Mosquito control programs vary for different areas of the country, and there is no one-size-fits-all approach.
Getting Started. “You must start with the paperwork,” Blake said in no uncertain terms. You’ll need a service agreement with disclaimers, a signed service commitment and a customer education sheet that discusses how customers can prepare their property before the PMP does any sort of mosquito control work.
These service agreements are very important. It’s impossible to entirely eliminate mosquito populations, and that needs to be made clear to your customer. Blake recommended using language that says your firm will “help reduce mosquito populations,” rather than completely eliminate them. In addition, it’s important to make sure that your customer is doing his or her part as well; assist customers by providing them a list of things they will need to do in order for your service to be most effective. This could include recommending that customers keep standing water from accumulating in their yards and eliminating damp spots where possible.
Blake recommended coordinating with an attorney when drafting service commitments and disclaimers to ensure the service won’t leave you vulnerable to litigation.
Protocol. The goal of a mosquito control program, Blake said, is to apply an adulticide in areas where female mosquitoes rest before feeding. There are several reasons for this, and they relate to mosquito biology, Blake said.
Only the female mosquito sucks blood from humans, while male mosquitoes feed only on plant nectar and are harmless to humans. However, the average homeowner will not know this, so your job as a PMP is to eliminate both sexes. As well, only certain mosquito species are responsible for transmitting diseases. However, “the customer doesn’t know or care,” Blake said.
Most mosquitoes will forage within one mile of their breeding site, so identifying breeding sites is important in a control program. Just as important is that female mosquitoes require rest before taking a blood meal — this means you’ll be targeting those specific resting sites as well, Blake said.
The first step of a mosquito control protocol, then, is to physically investigate the area for possible breeding or resting sites. Blake said for this reason, you can’t quote services over the phone. His company sends a sales associate out to a home to identify areas and speak with the customer.
After a thorough inspection, recommendations should be made to the homeowner in order to correct certain areas and conditions contributing to mosquito development and breeding. These problematic sites can be in gutters, garbage containers and neglected swimming pools. Also, customers should keep bushes and ivy neatly trimmed, as those can be areas where female mosquitoes will rest.
Once you’ve identified the areas and made the recommendations to the customer, the application of products can move forward. Some things to know about larvicides and adulticides:
- Check with appropriate regulatory agencies before using them.
- Larvicides are insect growth regulators (IGRs), and prevent larval mosquitoes from becoming breeding, biting adult mosquitoes.
- Larvicides are used in standing water and damp areas, and do not affect animals or vegetation.
- Larvicides are easy to use.
- Applying adulticides to resting areas is the recommended goal of a mosquito program, Blake said.
- Adulticides should be applied around the perimeter of structures, including the foundation and underneath decks. They should be applied on shrubs, ornamentals and other plants, as well as to shady areas such as around the bases of trees.
Coordinate with your distributor to find the specific products that will suit your needs, Blake said. “It will vary,” he said. “Try all the different products to find which happens to be the best for you.”
Application can be performed with a simple backpack sprayer, though Blake said larger operations may require heavier equipment.
Routine monitoring is imperative to successful mosquito control. First, you’ll need to ensure your customer is making the corrective actions you recommended, and you’ll need to know if any additional correctable conditions have cropped up. Communicate this information to your customers, and make sure you document it, Blake said.
Your firm’s service schedule will vary based on mosquito season relative to your geographic area. Blake said that his Louisville firm’s busy season for mosquito work ranges from April through October — though in a warmer climate like Florida, for instance, it may stretch beyond. You’ll also want to base charges on how many months a customer would like service — charge less per visit for a customer who has contracted multiple visits than a customer who only wants one service.
Concerns. Providing mosquito control comes with inherent risks, just like all add-on service offerings. Here are some of the most pressing:
- Do your research when it comes to checking with the appropriate regulatory agencies and the licensing your mosquito control technicians will require. Regulations and the types of required permits will vary from state to state, Blake said.
- “Drift,” caused by windy conditions, is an issue you’ll need to consider. A particularly windy day may impede you from performing an application. If this is the case, and you or a technician is already on site, it makes for a good opportunity to sell your customer additional services.
- Breeding on adjacent property can be an issue. If a neighbor has a swimming pool in the back yard, for instance, this may make your control efforts more difficult.
- Some mosquito control products can irritate skin — some of your technicians may not be able to perform mosquito control for this reason.
- Total mosquito control is impossible to guarantee — as mentioned previously — so this is why your service commitment is so important, according to Blake. The customer must be involved with the process.
In the end, mosquito control can be a wonderful opportunity. Low-cost start-up coupled with increased public awareness — as opposed to the potential high cost of start-up for bed bug control, Blake said — can boost your bottom line.
The author is a graduate of Ohio University’s E.W. Scripps School of Journalism and former PCT associate editor.
Casting a wide, more substantial revenue net is the goal of every pest management professional who fishes the fickle waters of add-on-services.
Through the years many add-on and bundled service concepts have been introduced to the industry from radon gas testing to lawn care services. Some have stuck and become solid revenue and profit contributors to the balance sheet while other have been lost to time under the “Why did we ever do that?” file.
As consumer preferences have evolved to demand convenience and ease of use when it comes to selecting service providers, pest management professionals across the country have expanded their lineup of services to include everything from pool cleaning to home repairs.
Roger More, a management consultant and former Harvard University School of Business professor, offered this viewpoint on bundling service offerings to consumers in his recent book, “Marketing High Profit Product/Service Solutions.”
“A product or service super-bundle is created when your integrated solution creates your customers’ most differentiated and desired choice...You become the mirror image of the customer’s solution process and life cycle. Looking at your solution, your customers see themselves.”
Becoming the mirror image of the customer’s solution process may not have been the goal Bill Turk, founder and CEO of TAP Pest Control Insulation, had in mind when he first started pitching insulation services to pest management professionals, but if that is the outcome he won’t mind.
“Pest control companies have a huge advantage when it comes to selling insulation because they are already in the home and have established a relationship with the homeowner,” says Turk. “You don’t find that with regular insulation contractors who are typically hired by the builder and for whom installing insulation in your customers’ homes is a one-shot deal.”
Why Insulation? Turk focused on introducing TAP — thermal acoustical pest control — to pest management professionals as the industry shed its “bug guy” image and expanded its offerings to include a variety of homeowner-focused services.
“Pest management professionals are the protector of a consumer’s biggest investment — their home,” says Turk. “Homeowners looking for additional home services will turn to a trusted professional who they have a relationship with.”
A pest management company’s organizational structure — a built-in sales and service workforce and a preventive treatment mindset — also contribute favorably to marketing and installing insulation. TAP is EPA registered, and can be used in residential and commercial structures as part of a comprehensive IPM program.
TAP insulation contains boric acid that is impregnated into the insulation, does not need retreating and can be applied directly over existing attic insulation. It creates a thermal envelope around a home that not only improves the performance of the homeowner’s heating and cooling systems but controls cockroaches, ants, termites (drywood and Formosan) and occasional invaders that come in contact with the product.
“The pest management industry offers customers comfort from pests, and TAP is an extension of that,” says Turk. “It is a new product category, but the end result is that it will save homeowners money and proactively eliminate pests.”
Turk says customers are eligible for a 10 percent federal tax credit and possibly local municipality utility rebates after installing new insulation.
Selling Insulation. Identifying if add-on services are right for your firm starts with asking a series of questions. These questions focus on determining if your structure and culture will support a new service offering and include:
- Are you set up to add new services to your existing service routes or will you have to set up a new division?
- Do you have the right people in place to take on added responsibilities and undergo the necessary training or will you have to hire new staff?
- What will your investment be in new equipment?
- Can your sales force support the new effort?
When Turk sits down with a pest management professional to talk about becoming a TAP provider he finds out what the company’s history is in regard to add-on services and what their previous experience was like.
“We want to identify what will make them successful and the first question is, ‘Is inspecting the customer’s attic for pests a routine function for your technicians?’” says Turk. “We have found companies with multiple service routes and dedicated sales forces do well with TAP.”
Turk says the pest management companies that have enjoyed success selling and installing TAP have engaged their technicians in the prospecting and sales process. Depending on the company’s structure, technicians can generate leads for inspectors to follow up on or sell and service the account themselves.
“Even in the busy summer months technicians can identify possible customers during a routine service visit and record that for follow up in the fall,” says Turk. “The key is having the ability to manage the sales process and continually identify prospects.”
The initial investment in equipment — blower, hose reel and hoses — can run a company in the neighborhood of $7,000. The investment also includes a start-up marketing kit and one day of on-site training for staff that involves classroom time and an actual hands-on attic install job.
An optional commercial vacuum system for removing insulation — a job often associated with rodent or nuisance wildlife cleanouts — will run another $6,000. Companies also will need to have a 14-foot trailer or box truck to carry the equipment and insulation.
It typically takes two technicians to do a half-day job including the preparation and installation of the insulation. An average home will require about 32 bags of insulation. If the company has sold an insulation removal job as well, it can take two technicians a full day to complete that work.
Getting The Word Out. Turk recommends pest management professionals integrate TAP insulation into their other marketing vehicles for pest control and promote it as an additional tool to fight pests.
“Do not treat this like an outside service but instead promote it as another way your company can prevent and eliminate pests in a customer’s home or business,” says Turk. “Most customers won’t ask for insulation and explaining how it fits into their overall pest management program is important.”
For Dennis Wilson and James Grande of Pacific Coast Termite in Tustin, Calif., TAP has turned out to be a solid complement to their firm’s regular termite, wood repair and rodent exclusion service offerings.
“As our termite, wood repair and rodent exclusion services were growing, insulation was a natural fit,” says Grande, who with Wilson founded Pacific Coast Termite in 2007. “We were already working in the attic for our other services, and we decided to give it a go.”
The company hired installers and sales inspectors to support the new venture and it has paid off. The insulation services portion of their business has experienced steady growth since they added the service in April 2010 and now makes up 7 percent of the company’s overall revenue.
“We took advantage of the marketing tools and support TAP offered, and each year our inspectors gained more confidence and are getting in front of more potential customers,” says Wilson.
Wilson cautions, however, that adding insulation installation and removal services isn’t for companies simply looking to “try something new” and that they must be willing to make the investment in equipment and people to receive the maximum benefit.
Pacific Coast markets TAP insulation alongside its other services when presenting to a customer and as the numbers indicate, the response has been positive.
“Consumers will spend a good amount to ensure the comfort of their family or customers,” says Grande. “They are willing to invest in the comfort as well as enjoy the energy cost savings that come with a better insulated home.”
Grande says one of the best sales tools his inspectors have is when they show the customer damaged insulation full of feces as a result of a rodent or wildlife infestation in their attic.
“Our customers like the convenience of having one company be able to protect their home from termites and rodents, as well as give them comfort in their insulation,” says Wilson. “In our market we come across many homes that are under insulated or have no insulation at all.”
If you haven’t thought about diversifying your business yet, chances are good that you will at some point in your company’s life cycle. When you do, lawn care might emerge as a natural choice. The science and licensing requirements for lawn care and pest management are similar, after all, and your technicians are already accustomed to working with chemicals. Profit margins tend to be similar for the two businesses, and the systems required for lawn care success probably aren’t all that different from those you have in place today.
Still, making the lawn care leap isn’t for everyone. In fact, diversification itself isn’t always the answer. Whether you’re considering adding lawn care or some other service offering to your business, it’s important to evaluate the pros and cons, operational and financial requirements, and potential outcomes of diversification. Not every company is cut out for it, and those that are must be thoughtful in determining which business area is the right fit.
Jennifer Lemcke, chief operating officer of North American franchise lawn care provider Weed Man USA, shared important insights into the pros and cons of establishing a lawn care arm during PCT’s recent Profit Boosters Virtual Conference. Highlights of her discussion follow.
Deciding to Diversify. Business owners opt to diversify for a number of reasons. Many are looking for a way to grow their business quickly. Others want to maintain their strong competitive stance. Customer satisfaction is a determinant as well: If customers are requesting a service, or if a business believes that adding a service will augment customer satisfaction or loyalty, diversification might be in the offing.
“When done properly, diversification can increase revenue and profits, offering great growth opportunities for both your business and your employees,” says Lemcke. “However, when carried out poorly, diversification can send your business into confusion and chaos. It can harm your core business, decreasing revenues and profits. It’s vital for you to understand whether your business is ready to diversify and, if so, what steps you need to take to do it right.”
Typically, companies should consider diversifying when:
- Business growth has stagnated. If your momentum has reached a plateau and you don’t anticipate long-term core business growth, diversification can get revenues rolling again.
- You’re struggling to compete. When your competitive environment includes local, regional and national companies, each offering different types and levels of service, diversification may give you the differentiation you need to give your business a leg up.
- Your core business is not creating healthy profit margins or equity. If your business is underperforming in terms of either profit margins or resale value, it’s a good time to analyze the financial potential of adding a new line of business.
- The new service offering can bring subcontracted work in-house or offer new efficiencies across your customer base. Your existing customer base offers a solid foundation for cross-marketing your new services. If these are services you’ve been subcontracting for your customers, bringing them in-house can offer you great profit potential.
- Employees have limited growth potential in the current structure. People are always at the heart of business success. If you want to keep your best employees, then you need to provide them with opportunities for growth. Diversification creates new positions and responsibilities that enable your key employees to explore their full development potential and become even more integral to the company’s success.
When should you not diversify? When:
- You are comfortable with your business the way it is. Diversification takes considerable drive and energy. If your heart isn’t really in it, and your business is as big as you want it to be, don’t feel obligated to try diversification. It’s not for everyone.
- You don’t know how, or lack the systems, to diversify. If you can’t decide which service offerings are right for your business, or you simply don’t know how to go about expanding into new areas, don’t do it! You need to have systems in place to accommodate the changes and growth that are about to come. Take a step back and thoroughly prepare your organization for the change, or pass.
- You lack the financial and/or human resources to support diversification. People and capital are critical to diversification success, from getting things started through delivering the new services on an ongoing basis. If you can’t pull sufficient resources together, or if your team isn’t behind your new pursuit, then the time isn’t right.
Is Lawn Care Right? “If you’re serious about diversifying, your next step is understanding where you are in your current business,” advises Lemcke. “Are you in the infancy stage, wearing all the hats yourself; the adolescent stage, beginning to build your staff; or the mature stage, solidifying systems, training and verification measures to ensure you’re sticking to your mission?”
Mature businesses — those with proven systems, a strong corporate vision and culture, and dedicated employees with a collective passion for building the company into the future — are ripe for diversification. These businesses know who they are and where their strengths lie. The question becomes, is lawn care the right offering for us, and are we prepared to branch out into this area?
The following questions can help in your evaluation:
- Is lawn care a good fit with our other service offerings?
- Does it offer our customers added value? Does it solve a problem for them?
- Is it consistent with our corporate culture?
- Does it align with and facilitate our corporate mission?
- Does it have the potential to inspire our team to new heights of operational and service excellence?
- Will it provide new growth opportunities for our employees?
- Do we understand this business?
- Do we have the delivery mechanisms and bandwidth to provide the level of service excellence our customers have come to expect from us?
As a line of diversification, lawn care offers a variety of advantages to pest management companies, says Lemcke. “You want to diversify into a business that’s in growth mode, and lawn care certainly is. Everyone wants a green, weed-free lawn. That proactive appeal shows in the industry’s growth — about 20 percent annually — and in the renewal rate: At Weed Man, we renew 75 to 80 percent of our customers each year,” she says. “Add to that the natural cross-marketing opportunity — your customers are already focused on protecting their homes — and lawn care is a natural diversification choice.”
Weighing The Pros and Cons Of Lawn Care
Lawn care is easier to schedule than pest management, too, because the customer doesn’t need to be home, Lemcke points out. On the technical side, the science is similar, as technicians use similar products, and there’s a strong focus in both businesses on customer service skills.
What’s on the other side of the scale — the negatives of lawn care as a new line of business? “It is a different business, which means you have to create separate systems to support the business operations,” says Lemcke. “You also need to commit to developing a strong business plan and sales plan. Otherwise, you will be making a very large investment but setting yourself up for a very low yield.”
Because the businesses are different, you also need to seek out technical knowledge and experience, whether on your own or with the help of a lawn care consultant. The busy seasons for lawn care and pest management are virtually the same, so using the same technicians for both services isn’t a likely option. You need new training, equipment and marketing to set your new business up for success.
Time to Commit? Lemcke suggests carefully weighing the pros and cons before making the diversification decision. If you decide to move forward into the lawn care business, commit to planning; to putting the right people into place; to backing your plan with adequate financial resources; and to developing your people and giving them the tools they need to succeed.
“Remember that you will need solid systems, outstanding training and consistent follow-up,” says Lemcke. In other words, give your people a structure, the knowledge and skills they need to excel in this new business, and the reassurance that you will keep them on a positive path toward success.
“More than anything else, successful diversification depends on having the right people in place,” she concludes. “If you have good people who understand your business, embrace your culture and share your passion, your potential for success is outstanding.”
The author is a frequent contributor to PCT magazine. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
More Add-On Revenue Opportunities
In the market for an add-on service? Consider these opportunities to cross-sell your customers:
Pest Bird Management. Pigeons, house sparrows, starlings and other pest birds can cause serious health and property hazards.
More than 60 diseases are associated with birds, their nesting material, fecal droppings and other detritus. Accumulated, acidic droppings can damage building materials long after they are removed, and may cause employees and customers to slip and fall. Feathers and other debris are combustible and cause ventilation problems.
“Even a handful of birds can get to be quite a nuisance,” making bird control an ideal add-on service for pest management professionals, said Tasheena Dillingham, president and CEO of Avitrol.
Avitrol has produced EPA-restricted grain baits to control specific pest bird species since 1971.
Its active ingredient, 4-aminopyridine, targets the birds’ central and motor nervous systems when ingested, causing species-specific distress signals like alarm cries and visual displays that frighten away the remaining flock. Target flocks treated with Avitrol do not return, Dillingham said.
Affected birds feel no pain, and PMPs can target as low as 4 percent of the flock for minimum mortality, said Dillingham. Avitrol products are proven humane in an independent study by a renowned animal welfare advocate, she said.
“Our products are cost effective and highly efficient,” said Dillingham. They can be used to provide a profitable add-on service, recurring revenue through monthly monitoring programs and a competitive advantage. They offer long-lasting, quick results and are well-suited for clients without large budgets for pest bird management, she added.
For more info, visit www.avitrol.com.
Lighting & Restoration. Outdoor Living Brands has four franchise opportunities, among them, exterior lighting and surface cleaning and restoration.
Outdoor Lighting Perspectives — North America’s largest, full-service outdoor landscape and architectural lighting company, Outdoor Lighting Perspectives (OLP) has 45 locations and has installed more than 1 million fixtures since 1998, said Operations Vice President Rich Young.
“We’re selling warm and welcoming outdoor environments that create a sense of pride and illuminate special moments spent with family and friends,” he said.
OLP franchisees design, install and service exterior lights for residential and commercial clients. Holiday lighting and annual maintenance plans provide a recurring revenue stream.
The sales closure rate is 60 to 70 percent. Last year, the average location had sales of $398,000 and a gross profit margin of 56 percent. Young said sales from LED lights, alone, are expected to increase 60 to 70 percent in 2013.
Named a World-Class Franchise by Franchise Research Institute, OLP supports franchisees with marketing and lead generation, customer relationship management, and training and support. Its operational platform offer web-based scheduling, Google maps integration, email reminders and in-route text messages, QuickBooks integration, and online proposal design.
Renew Crew — A “dramatic before and after” experience creates a robust referral business for this outdoor cleaning and restoration service company, said Stan Krempges, vice president of operations.
The company’s 30 U.S. locations clean, restore and protect exterior surfaces, from wood decks to siding to driveways and paver patios, using environmentally friendly products.
Renew Crew’s professional approach, marketing and image raises the bar, providing gross profit margins of 62 to 72 percent and an average sales closing ratio of 58 to 62 percent, said Krempges.
Franchisees get support with marketing and lead-generation, as well as help cobranding their existing and Renew Crew businesses. The start-up investment is $60,000 with a flat monthly branding fee.
For more info, visit www.outdoorlivingbrands.com. — Anne Nagro
Editor’s note: Outdoor Living Brands’ other franchise opportunities include MosquitoSquad for the prevention of nuisance mosquitoes and Archadeck, which builds outdoor living spaces.