Tips for closing a cockroach sale


October 12, 2017

PMP asked readers to share some of their best business tips for cockroach accounts. Got a tactic we didn’t include? Email and we’ll continue the conversation.

The results of Pest Management Professional’s (PMP’s) 2017 cockroach management survey indicate that this pest segment is a profitable one, with few callbacks and high volume. But even a great service has room for improvement, which is why we asked readers to share what they’re doing when selling cockroach accounts that set them apart from the competition.

Be on the lookout at every account

Edward Schwartz

Edward Schwartz, ACE, advises colleagues to conduct a complete inspection at every account, because you never know what might have come along since your last visit.

“I have a church that I serviced for rodents only, but during one inspection I found German cockroaches that they never knew they had,” says Schwartz, owner of Paladin Pest Control, Colorado Springs, Colo. “They are no longer a rodent-only customer.”

After each inspection, communicate with the client. Matthew Winder, branch manager of Avani Pest Control, St. George, Utah, advises to “Let customers know what you see after you service their home.”

Educated customers will pay a fair price

Steve Finley

When a customer understands just what goes on in gaining control over a cockroach account — inspection, sanitation, exclusion, and the proper mix of chemical and monitoring treatments — he or she often is more willing to pay a price that truly reflects the labor and expertise involved. A quick lesson in cockroaches (and their possible health risks) also can encourage customers to clean and do what it takes to help the treatment strategy along.

Steve Finley, owner of Finley’s Lawn & Pest, Fredonia, Kan., has a tried-and-true tactic with cockroach accounts: “We charge per application. This approach usually gets us immediate customer cooperation.”

Build your rep on word-of-mouth

Schwartz advises PMPs to think of their clients as extensions of their sales staff. As such, he also offers referral bonuses.

Charles Osborne, ACE

“But if you offer a referral bonus, make sure your client is aware of it. They are more apt to refer someone else if there is something in it for them,” he adds.

Building your company’s reputation often hinges on technicians being active listeners, empathizing with the concerns and fears of their customers, notes Charles Osborne, ACE.

“Spend ample time inspecting and treating to provide quality service, then you will get referrals from a happy customer,” says Osborne, owner of Osborne Pest Management, Colorado Springs, Colo.

Not every technician can hit the ground running with smooth communication skills. Chris Snyder, president, Quest Termite & Pest, Bethlehem, Pa., suggests specifically training them to ask for referrals.

Michael Patton

“They should be able to educate customers on cleaning and storage practices, and how to prepare for the service,” he continues. “They should also know everything they can about the products they are using.”

Bill Miller, owner of Community Pest Control, Jensen Beach, Fla., suggests an easy way to promote your word-of-mouth referrals: “Make a list of your most successful jobs, then present the evidence when canvassing.”

“Watch for new restaurants opening,” advises Michael Patton, owner of Patton Termite & Pest Control, Wichita, Kan. “They need your service. You should also join local apartment and restaurant associations.”

The final word

Chad Betts, manager of Betts Pest Control, Wichita, Kan., surmises, “If you do good work, educate your customers and are friendly, these things will get you referrals.”

Editor Heather Gooch can be reached at or 330-321-9754.

About the Author

Heather Gooch

Heather Gooch is the editor-in-chief for PMP magazine. She can be reached at or 330-321-9754.

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