ON THE RECORD: Swarm Season Approaches — Be Ready


March 18, 2009

Great news, everyone — termites are swarming. OK, so that might not be the kind of great news any regular Joe might like to hear, but to pest management professionals (PMPs) that’s awesome news.

In Florida, Charles H. Bronson, agriculture and consumer services commissioner, has issued a release urging homeowners to protect their homes. The release states “Although homes are usually the single largest investment a person will make in their lifetime, half of the houses in Florida do not have regular termite protection.”

Although this release is specific to Florida, this is most likely true for most of the country. Termites can cause serious damage to homes. Of course, as PMPs, you already know this, which is why you’re out there trying to seize this opportunity.

With regards to the awesome news I stated above, though, perhaps I’ve jumped the gun. In speaking with Greg Baumann, PMP columnist and vice president of technical services for the National Pest Management Association(NPMA), I found out that maybe termites aren’t swarming as much as PMPs would like them to.

“Swarms have been spotty, at best,” Baumann tells me. “I don’t think it would be fair to say there have been big swarms this season, not yet anyway.”

Well now, that’s kind of a bummer — or is it?

Whether the number of termite swarms are increasing or not shouldn’t stop you from getting out there and selling your termite business. The economy may be slow, but people are still spending money on their homes, Baumann tells me. Termites are still big business.

“PMPs shouldn’t sit around waiting for the phone to ring for termite business,” Baumann says. “Cross-selling your termite service with your general pest management service should be a top priority.”

Make sure your technicians are leaving behind information on your termite service after they perform a general pest management call. Make sure your customer service representatives are informing all customers who call about your termite service.

In his presentation at the Purdue Pest Management Conference this past January, Baumann gave some interesting statistics. When it comes to getting new business, in the service industry, companies have a 70 percent chance of landing that business with existing customers compared to only a 20 percent chance with a cold call. Even more interesting than that, you have a 40 percent chance of landing business with an ex-customer.

“You’d be surprised at how many times a homeowner calls a different company to handle a termite problem because they didn’t know their regular pest management company did termite work,” Baumann says.

Large or small, it’s still swarm season. Use this time of year to promote your termite business. Advertise this service to everyone. Send out press releases to the local television stations and newspapers about the dangers of termites and offer homeowners tips on how to identify termite damage.

The more you get the word out about your termite service, the more termite business you’ll get.

You can reach Grasso at pgrasso@questex.com.


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