Early in the pandemic, clients rescheduled or postponed termite work because they didn’t want to get exposed to the virus from technicians or by having to leave the premises for fumigation.
As such, termite work stalled. Then it picked way up. “In our six-and-a-half year history, we had never seen the kind of volume that we did in June,” recalled Jim Swayne, who shut down online lead sources each day that month to keep up with the volume of work coming in.
Kevin Mills, president of Mills Pest Management, Burbank, Calif., experienced a similar recovery. “When June hit, everybody seemed to be a little bit more informed and a little bit more comfortable and they started leaving their homes again and so all the fumigation started back up,” he said.
Another factor allaying client fears: “Termites are typically an exterior treatment,” said David Moore, Dodson Bros. Exterminating, of the subterranean pests.
More than a third (34 percent) of PMPs agreed that perimeter termite treatments were an attractive option for homeowners during the pandemic, found the 2021 PCT State of the Termite Control Market survey.
PMPs typically provided post- construction termite treatments (95 percent), termite renewals (87 percent) and pre-construction termite treatments (77 percent). More than half (52 percent) used liquid control products as their primary method to control termites. Fifty-five percent of PMPs offered both liquid and bait system treatments to customers; one-third offered termite damage warranties. The average callback rate for termite control services was 1.9 percent.
The PCT survey also found that 31 percent of PMPs agreed customers were investing in their homes by proactively treating for termites.
Tracy Rice of Rice Pest Control saw older customers embrace preventive termite service.
“They tend to spend more for (home) maintenance and understand how you need to maintain your investment,” he said. Younger homeowners, by comparison, spend discretionary income on raising children. They tend to be more reactionary when it comes to home maintenance and termite control, he said.