[Tech Talk]

Departments - Technically Speaking

Add-On Services Should Be On Your Horizons

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October 21, 2010

One possible way to grow your pest management business is to institute annual price increases. But consider this: you also could sell more services in your commercial marketplace to grow your business. Researching new service opportunities and then creating one as an add-on could pay your pest management firm handsome dividends.

In today’s highly competitive marketplace, you must differentiate your organization and look better and perform better than your competition to move on to the next level. But if you are keenly aware of today’s business climate and listen to your customers’ needs, you can unearth some new opportunities to enhance your service offerings.

When considering a new service, be sure to do your research and understand what you are taking on in terms of capacity and investment. Ask the following questions:

  • Can your current employees perform the service effectively?
  • Is additional training and/or certification required?
  • What are the costs of materials, labor and overhead?
  • Will the new service be profitable in your market?

What add-on opportunities exist today for the commercial sector? The possibilities include small fly control, mosquito control, bed bug treatments, nuisance wildlife management, bird control and lawn care, to name a few. New services along with a strong commitment to providing superior service and exceeding your clients’ expectations can help you grow your bottom line.

BED BUGS. As I see it, bed bug control could be a viable business opportunity for pest professionals. In recent months, bed bugs have received media attention nationwide — they’re showing up everywhere from apartment complexes, public housing, assisted living and nursing homes to hotels and even office buildings. There are a variety of detection and treatment options available, including bed bug scent-detecting dogs, cryogenic freezing and heat treatments (which Rottler has found to be the most successful). Bed bug scent-trained dogs have proven to be highly accurate in sniffing out live bed bugs and their viable eggs vs. a visual inspection by a service technician. When bed bugs or their eggs are found, your service technicians can successfully eliminate them.

SMALL FLY CONTROL. Small fly control could be another growth area for you. To successfully eliminate small flies in commercial accounts, such as health-care facilities, schools and restaurants, it’s important to initiate an IPM program that includes biodegradable products that remove the scum (organic debris) where larvae develop. If detailed sanitation and proper cleaning efforts are performed, they can help prevent or alleviate a fruit or drain fly infestation in kitchens or other areas. However, maintenance staff may overlook problem areas such as drains, floor cracks, missing grout lines and underneath dishwashers where organic materials build up in moist environments. Your add-on service could involve examining these areas for organic matter, cleaning and treating them with appropriate biomaterials. Steaming infested mats and kitchen equipment could also fill an important need for your existing or potential customers.

MOSQUITO CONTROL. Consider, too, mosquito control. It’s an important and needed service since some mosquito species carry serious diseases that affect humans. They also can transmit several diseases and parasites that can infect dogs and horses. The Culex mosquito, for example, is a particular species that is a vector for West Nile virus, which triggers encephalitis. Anytime you can position your company as being in the public health arena, that’s good for your image. Mosquito control for municipalities, through misting or conventional treatments, allows people to safely use parks, golf courses and swimming pools for recreation.

BIRD CONTROL. There are also a number of bird control options to consider such as exclusion work involving nets, misting systems, OvoControl for pigeons, and installing bird deterrents such as spikes, shock tracks, lasers and audio devices. These are all designed, of course, to keep birds from roosting and nesting in your commercial customers’ locations.

NUISANCE WILDLIFE CONTROL. Consider, too, nuisance wildlife control. Industry’s growth and expansion into suburban and rural areas has created a booming opportunity for you to expand into wildlife control. You can primarily resolve human/wildlife conflicts through a variety of means. These might involve using non-lethal approaches, such as catching and removing the animals and relocating them, or using repellents or exclusion methods. In some cases, a combination of both measures is required.

FINAL THOUGHTS. In today’s economy, our competitors consistently sharpen their pencils and go after new business with lower prices. To compete, our pest management firm is continuing to look at adding more services instead of lowering our prices. Additional services have really helped us grow and maintain our customer base. They could do the same for you.


Jason Everitt is technical director for Rottler Pest & Lawn Solutions in St. Louis, Mo. He is a 16-year veteran of the pest control industry and a member of the Copesan Technical Committee. He has completed his ACE (Associate Certified Entomologist) certification through ESA. He describes himself as "a school of hard knocks guy" who has enjoyed every moment of working his way up from service technician to sales representative to commercial technician supervisor to branch manager. "I’ve been very fortunate to grow with Rottler," he says.

Copesan is an alliance of pest management companies with locations throughout North America. To learn more, visit www.copesan.com.