Who doesn’t like big-ticket sales — especially opportunities largely neglected by the competition? And what if these same projects hatched multiple nest eggs?
Welcome to bird management — The Big Ticket. Compared to the revenues pest management professionals (PMPs) often net fending off non-feathered foes, this little niche is a proud peacock.
Bird proofing solutions and services. Bird deterring devices. Bird trapping. Bird droppings’ clean-up. It all adds up — and the market niche is far from oversaturated: Just 19% of PMPs responding to our 2013 Bird Management Survey generated bird control revenues in excess of $50,000 last year. When one factors in that many bird jobs pay thousands to tens of thousands of dollars, it underscores the opportunity.
While residential and municipal sites continue to suffer nuisance bird issues (and represent significant new revenue opportunities), bird business with commercial accounts climbed four percentage points in 2012 — generating 74% of a typical PMP’s total bird management revenue.
Bird management’s Enemy
No. 1 remains pigeons, followed by sparrows, starlings, woodpeckers and geese. Crow control now ranks Enemy No. 6 — ahead of seagulls, turkey vultures and other pest birds — thanks to related demand soaring 140% in 2012.
Another feather in the segment’s cap: 70% of PMPs report revenue from proactive bird management services (aka birdproofing).
Last year, 63% of PMPs netted such sales.
On the safety side, 41% of respondents reported their bird management technicians are lift certified. While still less than half, this marks an increase of seven percentage points. Scaffold work is a different story: 84% admit their technicians are not scaffold certified. Equally concerning, nearly two-thirds report their techs are not certified by the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA).
A sign more PMPs recognize this niche’s promise, more reported their bird management technicians now are power-tool certified. In the bird management business, properly training and equipping technicians is a cornerstone to success.
Bird spikes and netting remain the top two tools of the trade. Bird management professionals also leverage flat tracks/electric shock systems, slope/slide and pin-and-wire solutions, ultrasonic repellent devices and other control technologies and techniques.
More than one-third of PMPs have been providing bird management for 15 years or more — another indicator the market is worth one’s efforts. On the flip side, 40% of PMPs have entered the market in the past five years — evidence that more realize this and now are chasing the golden egg.
The knock on the bird business by some PMPs is that it’s training, equipment, and labor intensive. Yes, in many cases, it’s true. But how many other pest management niches can net PMPs tens of thousands of dollars from a single project?
You can reach Whitford at email@example.com or 216-706-3766.