We asked Pest Management Professional’s columnists and editorial board members to share tips for the busy season — and what tasks many PMPs inadvertently overlook. Here are some of their responses — including a few extra that didn’t make it into our April print edition.
Daniel Baldwin: Preparing your field staff for the seasonal surge by reminding them of their true function: protecting human health and property. As PMPs, we perform many tasks. We make inspections, sales calls and applications. We check monitoring devices, and so on. But we have to focus on our purpose, our function. Reminding ourselves, and each other, daily that what we do impacts people’s lives in many ways, from protecting them from rodents at home to helping maintain food chain stability by preventing pest damage at food processing facilities. A sense of purpose is our armor against the pressure that summer brings.
Dr. Gary Bennett: Equipment maintenance is usually high on the list of items that get overlooked.
Ryan Bradbury: Goal setting. Few PMPs take the time to write down their goals. If you don’t have a plan, you’re planning to fail. People say, “I want to grow 15 percent this year.” But they don’t plan how to get there. Few PMPs properly budget their finances, hiring needs, advertising strategies, etc. Budgeting, forecasting and communicating are essentials many PMPs avoid.
Michael Broder: Busy season or not, for your health and sanity, block off personal time. Even just one afternoon a month can make a difference.
Doug Foster: Spray equipment maintenance. Others are price increases, marketing plans and, as I get older, my health!
Brian Lunsford: A proper inspection. Most PMPs can get overwhelmed and let this task go unchecked. Some PMPs go into autopilot mode and miss key things. Letting this task go will hurt potential up-sell opportunities and cause callbacks. Making sure you conduct a proper inspection at every property will make sure you catch that ant trail or termite mud tube.
Dr. Faith Oi: Allowing time for follow-up and evaluation after a service. PMPs should ask themselves: Did the service accomplish its goal(s)? Are adjustments in protocol needed? To whom do I need to communicate this information?
Dr. Stephen Vantassel: Revisit your plan for equipment breakdowns, illnesses and accidents.
Mark Sheperdigian: Re-read the labels of products you haven’t used since last fall; they may look surprisingly different.
Pete Schopen: Sometimes annual reviews get overlooked. Also, the maintenance on warm-season equipment can be overlooked.
Eric Scherzinger: After the first of the year, start planning and ramping up by February. You never know when spring is going to show up, and you don’t want to be caught short-handed when the busy season blows up.
Kurt Scherzinger: Many employers forget to make sure all equipment is fully maintained and ready to go in the spring. Not fully maintaining items now will cost you a lot when they go down.
Paul Hardy: In small groups, meet in the parking lot and unload everything that is on the vehicle. Using a checklist, look for understock and overstock product, as well as equipment that does not work as well as it should. Demonstrate proper examples of personal protective equipment (PPE).