According to the 2022 PCT State of the Small Fly Control Market survey, more than half (53 percent) of PMPs said small fly control was included in their company’s general pest control service; 45 percent said it was not.
At Walker Pest Management, Greenville, S.C., it’s a mix depending on the situation. For existing commercial and residential customers, the company conducts courtesy inspections and recommends how to resolve the small fly problem. “Most of the time it’s a leak somewhere,” such as HVAC condensation running into a crawlspace that creates a breeding ground for the flies, said Walker Pest’s Lucas Geer.
Recurring small fly problems are handled differently. “If it’s an ongoing issue, we figure out how to add it into a service,” said Geer. Flying insects are not covered in Walker’s commercial contract.
Small fly service also is an add-on at TNT Exterminating. It is a “premium” service that involves a separate crew to get the fly situation under control. Then, small fly maintenance is provided by the route technician. “We don’t do one-and-done-type small fly services,” said Mike Grace.
Ultra Safe Pest Management handles small fly issues for existing clients in a similar fashion, but if a new customer calls, the inspection incurs a charge. “The inspection really is the meat of the service. We don’t do free inspections for stuff like that because there is that time to diagnose” the problem, said Victor Palermo.
For TNT Exterminating, an initial small fly service call for a commercial facility takes an hour to 90 minutes. As such, Mike Grace charges accordingly. “You’re in the hundreds of dollars rather than under that,” he said.
On average, the typical cost for small fly treatment (when not included in general pest control service) was $171, found the PCT survey. Half (50 percent) of PMPs who charged separately for small fly control expected to increase the price of this service in 2022.
“It’s usually more expensive” to resolve a small fly issue, said Billy Tesh, Pest Management Systems Inc., Greensboro, N.C. “You can spray and spray and spray, but if you don’t take care of the source of the problem, it’s an ongoing issue,” he said.
The average callback rate for small fly control jobs last year was 3.9 percent. Customers need to understand that small fly control is a process that takes time, otherwise they call back.
“They want immediate control and unfortunately there’s no magic bullet,” said Todd Barber, president of Barber’s Best Termite & Pest in Tallahassee, Fla.
Setting expectations is key. “If you don’t communicate with the customer and let them know what to expect and set expectations, you’ll end up losing the account,” said Scott Ballard, Ballard Pest Management.
Successful control also requires customer cooperation. Without it, “you’re doomed. It will be very, very difficult” to get control, said Grace.