Technicians vs. ‘checknicians’


August 2, 2019

Graphic: PMP staff; Jim Fredericks

Graphic: PMP staff; Jim Fredericks

Checking insect light traps, pest monitors and rodent stations are all important parts of a pest management professional’s (PMP’s) integrated pest management program for commercial accounts. Recording evidence of activity associated with these devices is an essential part of the recordkeeping requirements for compliance with internal quality assurance standards and third-party audits.

At a recent National Pest Management Association conference, though, an attendee stated, “We expect our people to be technicians, not checknicians.”

He was referring to the need for quality candidates to fill available jobs across the industry, and the difficulty many companies have finding the right people to fill those roles. The comment was made as part of a larger discussion surrounding recruitment and retention, but it applies to every PMP’s duty to their customers regarding pest control and prevention.

As every PMP knows, technicians must consider all factors influencing pest populations, including sanitation, pest exclusion and behavioral or operational changes that a client can make in their business. By focusing solely on checking stations and recording data, without an attempt to analyze, interpret and act on findings, “checknicians” only do half the job a client hired them to do.

The best technicians are detectives, educators, communicators, problem solvers, data analysts, salespeople and trusted partners — and that requires a lot more than just checking traps. In today’s job market, successful pest control business owners are challenged to recruit quality technicians. As clients continue to demand more, this task will only become more difficult.

Ultimately, though, it’s a good problem to have. For many years, the pest control industry has endeavored to change client’s perception of the services we provide — from exterminators, to operators to professionals. Today, technicians are delivering on that promise.

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