Top five worst bird business mistakes


March 1, 2013

1. The wrong tools for the job
It’s important to fully understand a job’s scope prior to executing a treatment plan. Jason Viar, branch manager, Clegg’s Termite & Pest Control, Durham, N.C., suggests laying out a difficult netting job before ever starting work. Peter Schonemann, service manager, Russ Pest Control, Greenville, N.C., echoes this, explaining that the worst mistake one can make when netting is not having all of the materials you need on hand.
Raymond Navarro, special operations manager, Cooper Pest Solutions, Lawrenceville, N.J., cites a job where height was underestimated resulting in the use of a ladder — instead of a lift —to reach a difficult area. “Not having the correct equipment to do the job right is the worst mistake a pest management professional (PMP) can make,” says Foster Brusca, account manager, Clark Pest Control, Milpitas, Calif. Increased efforts and decreased safety become obstacles when trying to “make it work” with the resources on hand rather than the right tools for the job.

2. Missed connections and opportunities
“If you’re going to do bird work, you have to sell it right,” says Fred Willey, owner and president, Invader Pest Management, Glendale, Ariz. “It’s an all-or-nothing type job if you want to offer quality.” Cutting corners rarely produces good results. Educate the customer, understand their expectations and only move forward with a treatment plan if you’re satisfied that it’s inclusive and expectations are reasonable.

A thorough treatment plan includes future monitoring and follow up. Kevin Lemasters, service quality manager, Copesan, Loveland, Colo., said his toughest lesson was on a large-scale job. “Early on we should’ve considered including annual maintenance visits to ensure that the workmanship stays effective.” Opportunities to increase effectiveness and include follow up can lead to missed revenue. Good communication between sales teams, technicians, management and customer are integral to receiving the best work for the best price.

3. Mistaken identity
Being well informed and educated on the species involved in a specific job will save time and increase effectiveness of a treatment program. “All trapping is not created equal. Different species respond to different methods of trapping,” says Patrick McDonald, president, McDonald Pest Control, Clearwater, Fla. Knowing the specifics of the population being excluded is the first step to seeing positive results.

4. Bad timing
Many PMPs toughest lessons have come from underestimating the amount of time a job will take. Bird management is notorious for having unpredictable timelines. “It always takes longer than you would think,” explains Mark Fry, manager, Falco Pest Management, Uvalde, Texas. Budgeting for the additional time is not always the easiest solution either. Customers can find extended projects and open-ended figures hard to swallow. “It’s tough to be exact when timing a particular project, but an open estimate is hard to sell,” explains Richard Estrada, president, ATCO Pest Control, Novato, Calif. Educating and communicating expectations is always a good idea.

5. Don’t miss a spot.
Birds are notorious for finding ways to outsmart PMPs. “Not fully excluding an access point” is the toughest lesson Eric Palmer, owner, Southwest Exterminators, Washington, Utah, has learned. “Leave no spot open or untouched in your treatment plan and you’re sure to see results,” he advises.

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