LAND O’ LAKES, Fla. — Add-on services in the pest control industry include everything from gutter cleaning to pool services. Well, here’s a new one being tried by Land O’ Lakes, Fla.-based VIP Pest Control: lawn painting. Specifically, the company is painting Florida lawns a snowy white for the holiday season.
The service offering is the brainchild of VIP President and CEO Vicki Hutto.
“I was talking to some friends of mine at a football game. They were from up north, mostly the New York area, and they said the one thing they missed about the holiday season was the snow — but they didn’t miss the shoveling,” Hutto said.
So, two years ago Hutto began researching what types of products she could use to paint lawns white. She settled on an organic water-based paint that is used to draw the lines on football fields. VIP already offers lawn services, so it had the sprayers to apply the product, and the company had done lawn painting (it’s not unusual for VIP to paint lawns green during Florida’s water shortages).
This past October Hutto gave it a trial run on her house, in which she noted that the painted snow can stick for up to 6 weeks, as long as it gets 48 hours to dry. Confident with the results she rolled out this service last month, just in time for the holiday season.
|VIP has been painting lawns holiday white using the same paint used on athletic fields.|
|An up-close look at white-painted lawn.|
The response she’s received has been overwhelming. “We’ve done 13 houses so far and the calls are just now really starting to come in because we’ve been all over the news lately,” said Hutto, who said VIP has been on four local TV news segments, and also profiled in the St. Petersburg Times and the Tampa Tribune.
Hutto, who expects to complete 40-50 jobs before the season is over, said she’s been surprised at how quickly the service has taken off. “It was just an idea that I had. It’s kind of been like the pet rock back in the 1970s. Who would have thought you would buy a pet rock in a box While Hutto has been happy with the response she’s received she’s not sure whether she’ll expand into offering other holiday decorating services such as holiday lighting. “It’s something I’ve considered but with the lawn painting you need to wait 24 hours before walking on it,” she said.
In the meantime, Hutto is pleased that she’s found a service that can keep her service technicians occupied until late February, when pest control service requests pick up again.