Building a Business Model

Urban Wildlife Control Issue - Urban Wildlife Control Issue

Wildlife control is a whole different animal than general pest control. Not only is there specialized equipment, technical expertise and licensing, the business model is usually different as well.

September 7, 2018


The differences in providing wildlife services versus general pest and termite services don’t stop with equipment, technical expertise and licensing. The business model is typically quite different as well. PMPs don’t often establish a recurrent program with wildlife customers; instead, they tend to provide service on an as-needed basis.

In fact, only 12 percent of PMPs who offer wildlife services say they do that annually or seasonally for their typical client; the great majority of calls are in response to as-needed demand. As a result, 90 percent of PMPs offer a “no contract” option — à la carte pricing for individual services — while only 16 percent offer a stand-alone annual contract and 10 percent offer a bundled contract.

There are many ways to structure services, pricing and written agreements. For example, for outdoor accounts, Chad Betts of Betts Pest Control, Wichita, Kan., charges a fee for trap setup and the capture of up to three animals. Beyond that, he gives the customer the option of continuing (and paying a per-animal fee) or stopping, at their discretion. If activity resumes within 30 days, he resets the traps at no charge, but the customer continues to pay the per-animal fee. “At properties that back up to creeks or the river, we can catch animals almost every day for as long as they want. Sometimes a customer thinks they have one skunk, but then they find out they have 16,” he says. “I have my technicians set up three or four traps rather than one so they can catch more. Their 30-percent commissions add up faster, which is a strong incentive for them to do a great job.”

For in-home intrusions, most PMPs now include exclusion work to keep animals out. Warranties are common and take a variety of forms. For example, Mat Ledyard of Avon, Ohio’s Black Dog Solutions offers a two-year warranty on any repairs he completes to exclude wildlife pests. Joseph Edwards of North Fulton Pest Solutions (Atlanta area) offers a lifetime warranty on his team’s exclusion work, provided the customer invests in a full exclusion job, including foundation and roofline, and pays an annual renewal fee. Matt Breda of Breda Pest Management, Loganville, Ga., takes the lifetime warranty a step further by covering not only the entry points his team has sealed but also any new crevices or holes that develop over time.

“When we started out in 2009, we did partial exclusions, sealing the entry point but offering no warranty because we knew that the squirrels, bats and other animals would find another way in,” says Breda. “But today we do it right, sealing the entire home and offering a warranty, renewable annually, that says we are responsible for not only the holes we’ve sealed but also any new ones. We make sure we get our price on the whole-house exclusion so that we never have to nickel-and-dime customers going forward. They like the peace of mind of knowing that, in addition to controlling any wildlife pests, we will monitor the condition of their roofline and the entire house, and stay ahead of any vulnerabilities.”

The author is a frequent contributor to PCT magazine.