Terminix based its rankings on the number of requests received from each city in 2021*. The top 50 cities for bed bug infestations in the United States are:
|1. Los Angeles, Calif.||18. Tampa, Fla.||35. South Bend, Ind.|
|2. Cleveland, Ohio||19. Louisville, Ky.||36. Miami, Fla.|
|3. Philadelphia, Pa.||20. Phoenix, Ariz.||37. Flint, Mich.|
|4. Detroit, Mich.||21. Dayton, Ohio||38. Shreveport, La.|
|5. New York, N.Y.||22. Denver, Colo.||39. Kansas City, Mo.|
|6. Chicago, Ill.||23. Oklahoma City, Okla.||40. Ft. Smith, Ark.|
|7. Dallas, Texas||24. Nashville, Tenn.||41. Springfield, Mo.|
|8. Indianapolis, Ind.||25. Boston, Mass.||42. Mobile, Ala.|
|9. Cincinnati, Ohio||26. Lexington, Ky.||43. Seattle, Wash.|
|10. Atlanta, Ga.||27. Orlando, Fla.||44. Milwaukee, Wis.|
|11. Columbus, Ohio||28. Little Rock, Ark.||45. San Diego, Calif.|
|12. Houston, Texas||29. Baltimore, Md.||46. Fresno, Calif.|
|13. San Francisco, Calif.||30. Charleston, W.Va.||47. Tulsa, Okla.|
|14. St. Louis, Mo.||31. Paducah, Ky.||48. Las Vegas, Nev.|
|15. Washington, D.C.||32. Toledo, Ohio||49. Sacramento, Calif.|
|16. Pittsburgh, Pa.||33. Birmingham, Ala.||50. Dothan, Ala.|
|17. Memphis, Tenn.||34. Grand Rapids, Mich.|
LOGAN, Utah — Fox Pest Control made its debut on the recently released Inc. 5000 List, which annually ranks the nation’s top 5,000 fastest-growing private companies. Fox ranked in the top 40 percent of the list at No. 1,807.
The list ranks companies by overall revenue growth over a three-year period. Fox has seen a 250 percent increase in revenue since 2017, according to Fox CEOs Mike Romney and Bryant White. It also has seen more than a 250 percent increase in active customers since that time.
“The ranking is significant because in a year where so many businesses worldwide struggled and fought for footing and survival, Fox thrived and had its best year ever,” said Romney and White.
The company leaders said that while the COVID-19 pandemic hit other companies and industries hard, Fox realized a significant increase in service requests and new customers. They attribute that boost to more individuals staying at home, plus the home-buying boom and more people working remotely. Since 2012, more than 318,000 homeowners have used Fox to protect their residences from pests, they said.
This year, Fox has opened five additional locations: Dallas, Texas; Pittsburgh, Pa.; Sterling, Va.; Princeton, N.J.; and Orlando, Fla. The company now has 30 branches in 13 states and more than 900 employees.
“In our newest branches, we’re already seeing great success,” said Romney and White. “We’ve added thousands of active accounts in just a few short months.”
To promote company growth, Fox focuses on internal training and advancement. “Over the last two years, we’ve worked really hard to implement more efficient and streamlined processes, employee training, technology advancements and internal organizational software to keep our services at the highest caliber,” Romney and White said. “Our focus since starting in 2012 was to build a company of leaders.
By keeping people at the core of our business, we’ve been able to retain and attract the best talent.”
Other pest control companies on the list were Moxie Pest Control Phoenix, Phoenix, Ariz.; Aruza Pest Control, Charlotte, N.C.; Native Pest Management, West Palm Beach, Fla.; Ardent Pest Control, Highland, Utah; Insight Pest Solutions, Federal Way, Wash.; Edge, Orem, Utah; Pointe Pest Control, Post Falls, Idaho,; Natural State Pest Control, Lowell Ark.; Aptive, Provo, Utah; Blades of Green, Edgewater, Md.; Neighborly, Waco, Texas; All-American Pest Control, Nashville, Tenn.; and Pest End, Plaistow, N.H.
Eighty-six of the Inc. 5000 companies were based in Utah. The median growth for Utah-based companies was 194 percent.
As they look to the future, the leaders at Fox said they want to continue to focus on building a strong, highly skilled internal team.
“We’re doubling down on investments in our team members, focusing on personal development that helps individuals grow their leadership skills to reach their personal and professional goals,” Romney and White said. “All of this will help us grow through new channels and deliver even better experiences for our customers.”
Fox is working on creating a larger, company-wide philanthropy plan that will allow it to give back to the community in an expanded capacity. Romney and White also want to give back to other businesses in the pest control industry so they may experience similar growth.
“Fox Pest Control has been blessed with the guidance and thoughtfulness of leaders from other companies,” they said. “Their insight and assistance have been instrumental in helping Fox get to where it is today. Now, it’s our turn to give back. To help serve other companies in our industry, we love sharing our experiences, insights and practices with those that are interested in learning from our efforts. We are happy to share our knowledge with others who are searching for answers to how to implement positive culture and growth in their own businesses.”
To view the full Inc. 5000 list, visit inc.com/inc5000.
FAIRFAX, Va. - For some, the news of a readily available vaccine seemed like the long-awaited solution to the havoc the COVID-19 pandemic has unleashed on today’s world. But the divisive, politically charged conversation surrounding vaccination has created a whole new set of problems, including some specific to the pest control industry. Select commercial clients, especially food processing plants, hospitals and assisted living facilities, are requiring that all technicians that enter their premises be vaccinated against COVID-19. Meanwhile, employers’ worries are increasing regarding unvaccinated employees and the health threats the Delta variant poses for team members, customers and the larger community.
To provide insight into some of the measures pest control companies are taking to address this issue, the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) hosted the webinar “Navigating the Challenges of Employee Vaccinations” on Aug. 31. Jim Fredericks, vice president of technical and regulatory affairs, NPMA, served as moderator, with speakers Kylie Luff, senior vice president and managing partner of Seay Management Consultants, Orlando, Fla.; Bobby Jenkins, owner of ABC Home and Commercial Services, Austin, Texas; Ross Treleven, president of Sprague Pest Solutions, Tacoma, Wash.; and John Myers, president and CEO of Rentokil North America, Reading, Pa.
Office policies. Luff, whose firm has been advising companies about vaccination policies and COVID-19 best practices, said that at first, most employers were reluctant to implement a company-wide policy regarding vaccination. However, as the Delta variant becomes more widespread, this attitude is changing.
“Employers are beginning to create and set policies for employee safety, and some are choosing to implement policy differently for their vaccinated team members versus their unvaccinated team members,” said Luff.
Examples include mandatory temperature checks, elimination of business travel, mask requirements and remote work for unvaccinated employees.
Applying policy differently to different groups of employees, i.e., vaccinated versus unvaccinated, can create HR concerns, said Luff. So much surrounding COVID-19 is unprecedented, leaving companies to face the unknown without clear answers as to how to approach the situation.
“The question still remains: how much liability can these policies create for employers in the long run?” Luff asked. “This question is still unknown in terms of having different requirements for different groups of employees. We're always trying to advise clients to apply their policies consistently and fairly.”
To avoid HR snafus, some companies are developing universal policies for all employees, Luff said.
Mandatory vaccination policies have become more common in workplaces over the summer, with the FDA approval of the Pfizer vaccine playing a large role in that decision, she said.
“Many employers are hoping this approval will help ease concern from employees about receiving the vaccine,” Luff said.
Research from law firm Littler Mendelson showed the number of employers currently mandating vaccination has doubled from the 10 percent the company surveyed in January to 21 percent in August.
However, employer concerns remain. Company leaders are still experiencing resistance from employees who are either afraid or unwilling to get vaccinated. Mandatory vaccination policies are negatively affecting employee morale, Luff said, and companies are experiencing staffing issues in an already impacted market.
Luff reminded employers that they must consider reasonable accommodations regarding religion, disability, health and pregnancy when applying a vaccine mandate, though the details on how to implement such accommodations are still fuzzy, as the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has not provided much guidance on the subject, she said.
Employers can also choose to provide a small incentive to employees who do choose to get vaccinated, so long as that reward is not substantial enough that an employee would feel coerced or pressured to receive the vaccine, Luff said.
“We are suggesting a gift card or a small bonus to employees who choose to get vaccinated,” she said.
Client mandates. Treleven explained that Sprague’s clients are all commercial, mostly in the food processing and distribution markets. Currently, 381 of Sprague’s clients have vaccination mandates for technicians who service their accounts. The company has had to reroute technicians to accommodate these mandates.
“We have a lot of disruption to our operating team right now because of the vaccine,” Treleven said. “We’ve had significant pushback from the vaccine-hesitant. We have offices and departments that are 100 percent vaccinated, and we have offices that are 20 percent vaccinated. So, we have significant issues here with making sure that we have a workforce that can service all the places that need to be serviced.”
Treleven said other commercial customers have indicated that they have mandates in the works.
“We’re expecting to have significantly more mandates headed our way from our commercial customers, especially in that food processing and in the hospital and assisted living sectors, which are very large customers of ours,” said Treleven.
At Rentokil, Myers said about two to three percent of its commercial clients have vaccine mandates, either due to a state law or individual company policy. Some residential clients also request vaccinated service technicians. Rentokil’s HR department is keeping employee vaccination records on file to respond to this demand.
“We felt that we had a fiduciary responsibility to our customers to literally prove that our colleagues had the vaccination,” Myers said. “Nothing would be worse than we just believe someone, perhaps they misled us, and as a result, someone got sick.”
Employee resistance. Jenkins said vaccination is a controversy he didn’t see coming at ABC.
“I guess I just was of the mind that, oh, my God, we've got a vaccine that came in incredible time, and the data and the information is just overwhelmingly positive. Surely, everyone's going to jump on this,” he said.
“And obviously, that's not the case. And I can testify that here at ABC, it's definitely not the case.”
At the time of the webinar, just over 40 percent of Jenkins’ employees were vaccinated.
“This is something I’m not happy about,” he said. His goal for the company is 70 percent vaccination status.
Sprague’s vaccination status is higher at 67 percent. However, the company has still received significant pushback from the vaccine-hesitant, Treleven said.
“There’s this angst about the vaccinations, and that’s hurting our company culture,” he said.
Means of encouragement. Jenkins said his focus has been finding creative ways to increase the number of people vaccinated at his company. He started by giving vaccinated employees red wristbands that indicated their vaccination status. Those with wristbands did not have to wear a mask in the office (that has since changed in the wake of the Delta variant, he said).
“It did provide some impetus for people to get vaccinated,” he said. It also allowed employees to more easily distance from those who were not vaccinated.
ABC has hosted two group vaccinations for employees on site. The company also has hosted six drawings for $500 gift cards out of a pool of its vaccinated employees.
“There's a lot of people who are saying no, and they just need to be pushed, pulled, begged, pleaded with, to step over the line to get the vaccine,” Jenkins said. “I understand that there are people with medical reasons or religious reasons; I set them aside. But I do believe there's a lot of people that have chosen not to get vaccinated because, well, they're not going to be told what to do by the government.”
So far, ABC has “strongly, strongly, strongly encouraged” its employees to get the vaccine, Jenkins said, but he hasn’t made it mandatory, though he hasn’t ruled that out. He fears a mandate would cause a huge loss of his workforce. He’s also considered mandating that employees either be vaccinated or submit a weekly negative COVID-19 test, which he said he thinks would be less upsetting to employees.
Another option is, as Delta Airlines recently mandated, tacking an additional $100 charge on health insurance for employees who aren’t vaccinated. Treleven said Sprague has considered this policy.
Other options Jenkins has mused over include pay increases for vaccinated staff or a vaccine mandate for all new hires.
Sprague has instituted a policy that all new hires be vaccinated. Treleven said this has limited its candidate group by about 30 percent.
As more commercial accounts institute mandates, Sprague has told its vaccinated employees that they are more valuable because they can service more accounts. Employees who submit proof of vaccination receive a $1-an-hour raise.
“For us, this is a permanent investment in the fact that we need to service those customers,” Treleven said.
Rentokil has not implemented a mandate, but Myers said the company will continue to highlight the benefits of the vaccine. In the meantime, the company is requiring masks, social distancing and symptom monitoring and encouraging remote work when possible.
“It's important to remember that what we're trying to do is prevent the spread of COVID, and that can't be accomplished just through vaccination,” he said.
Remaining concerns. Jenkins said the struggle to hire new employees is making doing business even more difficult. His company currently has over 45 open positions. “There are so many people that are not coming back into the workforce,” he said.
Jenkins sends out a weekly video on COVID-19 numbers at the company. About 13 percent of his employees have tested positive for the virus since the beginning of the pandemic, he said.
“I’m frustrated, and I’m worrying a lot…how do we get past this? We won't get past this, I truly believe this, until we get to a much higher percentage of people who have made the decision to get vaccinated,” Jenkins said. “I'm not going to stick my head in the sand and just hope this goes away. We are looking at being aggressive about how we move our unvaccinated people to a vaccinated status so that all of us can move forward.”
To view a recording of the webinar and find NPMA updates on COVID-19, visit pestcontrolcoronavirus.com.