Our question-and-answer session this month focuses on Sam Tutton, who co-owns Ecoskan with his wife, Heather. Ecoskan was founded four years ago in San Bernardino, Calif., to offer eco-friendly pest management services. This spring, the Tuttons opened an office in Las Vegas, Nev., that focuses solely on pest control auditing services for commercial clients.
1. How does your Nevada office differ from your original location in California?
Our mission for the Nevada office is to partner with companies within the hospitality industry that have a real commitment to environmental stewardship and sustainability initiatives. Because Ecoskan is a woman-owned business (WBE), we are in the process of qualifying for several supplier diversity programs with companies in Nevada.
In California, we maintain a residential pest management company that works with clients who prefer products that have less of an impact on our environment. We truly love working with our “green” clients, and want to keep testing botanical solutions in the field. Our bird management department has grown substantially this year, which has allowed us to move away from termite work. Bird management services fit perfectly into our model, because few chemicals are involved and most of the work is exclusion or behavior modification.
2. As a pest management professional (PMP), how did you get started in consulting?
The consulting concept came to me when working as a district commercial sales manager for a national firm. I enjoyed working with clients to solve their existing problems, and training the service and sales personnel to identify potential issues. Few companies provide all-inclusive facility audits to minimize pest pressure, so we knew the market was there — it was just underdeveloped. To keep the business healthy as we slowly build a consulting client base, we offer eco-friendly pest management.
We actually prefer to work with other PMPs to help them develop scopes of service, communication protocols and environmentally responsible programs for their clients. When we expanded to Nevada, we made sure to remove any competitive anxiety among our colleagues by not offering any pest management services in the state.
3. What are some differences in audit work vs. pest management inspections and treatments?
With audits, we do the audit, and another company does the work. With pest management, we do the inspection, and then we do the work. Also, with audits, we are paid on delivering the scope of service. With pest management, we are paid on implementing the scope of service.
4. How does a PMP benefit from incorporating your auditing services into a commercial account?
We can help PMPs with customer attraction and retention, and our services can be added as an upsell. The PMP can tell the client, “one of our additional services is to have an independent audit company come in on a set schedule to monitor our work as well as to make recommendations on a greener footprint for your pest management program.”
Our auditing team implements continued customer service, while allowing the pest management company to perform the work on site. Our reports are detailed, with photographs and descriptions of current conditions that may be overlooked in the day-to-day business of running a route. When a pest management firm adds an independent audit to its scope of service, clients tend to have a deeper trust of the work being performed — knowing they will get the best service possible.
5. Where do you see Ecoskan in five years?
Our fifth anniversary is in March 2018. We anticipate we will experience a slightly more aggressive growth pattern over the next five years. That includes at least one additional auditing office in Nevada, and perhaps a second pest management branch in California. Further down the line, we have talked about franchising.
You can reach Editor Heather Gooch at email@example.com or 330-321-9754.