5 Questions with Missy Henriksen

|  April 16, 2015
Missy Henriksen

Missy Henriksen Photo: National Pest Management Association

As part of our recent redesign, half of my back-page columns will feature question-and-answer (Q&A) sessions with pest management industry professionals. My first Q&A is with Missy Henriksen, executive director of the Professional Pest Management Alliance (PPMA) and vice president of public affairs for the National Pest Management Association (NPMA).

1. According to PPMA’s research, consumers’ use of pest management professionals (PMPs) has risen 85 percent in the United States during the past 10 years — from 20 percent of consumers calling on PMPs in 2004 to 37 percent in 2014. What’s driving this growth?

The greatest driver of growth in professional pest management has been the public’s enhanced perception of our industry. PPMA found 57 percent of homeowners surveyed in 2013 maintained a favorable perception of this industry vs. 40 percent in 2010. Effective promotion that has brought awareness to the industry’s professionalism and the incredible service offered by PMPs contribute to this strengthened image.

2. What are the seven structural pests with which consumers are most concerned? 

According to PPMA’s “Pest Control Attitudes and Usage Survey,” consumers are most concerned with ants (58 percent), termites (42 percent), spiders (40 percent), cockroaches (32 percent), rodents and mosquitoes (tied at
31 percent), and fleas and ticks 
(tied at 27 percent). Coming in at No. 9, believe it or not, is bed bugs (15 percent).

3. Cost is the No. 1 reason do-it-yourselfers say they don’t call PMPs. How can PMPs overcome this obstacle without eroding margins?

Promote value: Pest management should not be considered a commodity. It’s a service. It should be promoted and sold that way. Consumers must understand the training and experience professionals provide in protecting people and property against pest threats.

4. What more can PMPs do to help ensure more than 50 percent of Americans call on PMPs by 2020?

PMPs should continue to deliver excellent service. This will help strong retention and ensure word-of-mouth referrals to non-users. PMPs also should promote the value of professional pest management. Many companies become overwhelmed with urgent to-dos and lose sight of the importance of this.

Finally, PMPs should support the PPMA. The power of hundreds of industry companies uniting to influence consumers’ attitudes and understanding of the work done by PMPs clearly makes a difference.

5. What more can pest control product manufacturers and distributors do to help ensure more than 50 percent of Americans call on PMPs by 2020?

They can support increased market share for the industry by continuing to serve as supportive allies. These business partners have vast insight, experience and innovations that can be harnessed by individual companies and the industry as a whole. 

You can reach Marty Whitford at mwhitford@northcoastmedia.net, 216-706-3766. For more about the Professional Pest Management Alliance, contact mhenriksen@pestworld.org or visit NPMAPestworld.org/PPMA.

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