Routing software capitalizes on the idea that time is money. It helps companies plan the most efficient route to service the maximum number of customers while minimizing driving or “windshield” time. Rather than leaving it up to PMPs to manually plot a route using a map or ZIP codes, the software eliminates human error and does the work for companies, optimizing routes to increase revenue and save on fuel and car wear-and-tear.
According to the 2021 PCT State of the Naturals Market survey, 22 percent of PMPs have purchased routing software to reduce fuel consumption.
Chase Hazelwood, owner and CEO of Go-Forth Pest Control, Greensboro, N.C., said route optimization is “bringing a heck of a lot of money to the bottom line.”
“We optimize every route when we schedule it, and we optimize it again the day of, just because you only have to save two miles of total driving in a day to save a dollar,” Hazelwood said. “But saving a dollar is inconsequential to saving somebody's time. So if you can add and you can get more done in the day, then you have less technicians.”
When Go-Forth began using PestRoutes software for route optimization in fall 2018, the company had 83 employees, most of them technicians. Using the software has increased Go-Forth’s efficiency and helped the business grow without creating a need to add more technicians to the team.
“We are just over two times the size as when we joined PestRoutes — we're about two and a quarter times the size — and we have 81 employees now,” Hazelwood said.
Route optimization algorithms can save technicians 40 percent or more of their drive time, according to PestRoutes. The software provides real-time assistance and alternative routes to technicians who find themselves in unexpected traffic delays.
Before using routing software, Memphis-based Inman-Murphy used paper tickets and grouped routes by ZIP code.
“That technician was given those tickets, and he was in charge of managing those,” said Chris Murphy, president of Inman-Murphy. “Now, they just plug them in and hit optimize, and it lays them out in the order that they should be done.”
According a PCT survey completed for the December 2020 cover story “Increasing Productivity,” 20 percent of PMPs said that improvements to company software and technology were the primary reason for productivity gains over the past five years. Route optimization software had the biggest impact, PMPs said in follow-up interviews. Reducing windshield time and optimizing routes allowed PMPs to add more stops during the workday, increasing revenue.
Route optimization is also beneficial for the customer. If a last-minute call comes in, software allows companies to reroute the closest technician, allowing for same-day service. Dynamic route planning allows companies to accommodate scheduling changes throughout the day, even when technicians are en route.
Natural State Pest Control in Lowell, Ark., guarantees that if customers call before noon, they can receive same-day service.
“So if we see a customer that's calling in, and you're just wanting to fit it into your schedule, you go to that day [in the software]. You can see exactly how many miles away from that stop you are, and you can just drop your pin there, and it'll automatically route into that particular technician's day,” Amanda Ragar, Natural State owner, said.
Rodent management is never about just one method or tactic. A successful rodent IPM program uses a variety of tools that work together to prevent and eliminate rodents.
One of the newer players on the rodent IPM tool roster are rodent contraceptives. When you consider that two adult rats can be responsible for the birth of up to 15,000 pups over the course of one year, you can probably see the need to identify a way to reduce their ability to reproduce.
Richard Monastero, owner of Amtech Personalized Pest Management in Brookfield, Conn., said his commercial client base is continually threatened by rodents, particularly Norway rats, and that adding rodent contraceptives to his treatment regimen has proven successful.
“For accounts that experience issues with rodents over an extended period of time regardless of what prevention or management programs are in place, adding contraceptives makes sense,” said Monastero.
He said one food service client was in a particularly challenging situation because of its proximity to water and the fact it offered outdoor dining.
“The combination of abundant food waste coming off the patio and having water right next door, created the perfect storm to attract rats,” said Monastero.
Add to the mix multiple dumpsters and the facility’s high volume, and you had a challenging situation for any pest management professional.
Despite implementing an exterior baiting program and garnering cooperation from the owner on sanitation issues, the rats were still a problem. It was then that Monastero added ContraPest to his rodent control program.
“We are always looking to attack rodent infestations from as many different angles as possible and the concept sounded good,” said Monastero. “It works on both males and females and can be deployed in traditional bait stations, so it fit nicely with our regular IPM approach.”
Within three months of adding the contraceptive Monastero noticed a significant reduction in the rat population around the facility.
“There was no bounce back in the population like we had seen before,” said Monastero. “It has been a long-term win for us and the client.”
Benefits of Rodent Contraceptives
In commercial properties, rodent contraceptives allow pest management professionals to ‘stack the effects’ of their existing rodent IPM programs.
In both settings rodent contraceptives complement existing rodent IPM programs, without impacting non-target animals.
For best results pest management professionals need to blend rodent contraceptives with other methods including baits, traps, exclusion and sanitation.
Merger and acquisition activity in the pest management industry has never been more robust, with global companies, national brands and regional pest control firms looking to expand their market footprint and acquire high-quality talent through strategic acquisitions, even as the world feels the aftereffects of a global pandemic.
If you’re interested in learning how to position your company for a possible sale or acquire the necessary knowledge to grow through acquisitions, you’ll want to attend PCT’s eighth annual Virtual M&A Conference, scheduled for Wednesday, Aug. 18, from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. EDT.
- Global Trends in the M&A Marketplace: The Role of Private Equity in Pest Control, Mohit Kansal, partner, Clairvest
- Lessons Learned: How to Prepare for Life After the Sale, Stuart Aust, principal and founder, The Aust Group
- Preparing & Negotiating the Sale of Your Business, Lance Tullius, president, LR Tullius
- Seven Points to Consider for Inking a Successful Deal, Dan Gordon, managing partner, PCO M&A Specialists
- Breaking Through Growth Barriers/Keys to Sustainable, Profitable, Exponential Growth, Greg Clendenin, president, The Clendenin Consulting Group
- Leading in a Post-COVID-19 Environment, Kemp Anderson, founder and president, Kemp Anderson Consulting
DATE: Wednesday, Aug. 18
TIME: 11 a.m.-5:20 p.m. EDT
LEARN MORE: http://manda.pctonline.com
CAN’T ATTEND THE DAY OF? All registered attendees also will receive a link to an online copy of the virtual conference five to 10 days after the event.