Overcoming training obstacles for new, current employees


March 5, 2020

At the 2019 Pest Management Professional (PMP) Growth Summit, PMP’s staff encouraged attendees to share the business and pest control tips that work for them. Check out this column each month for advice and tips overheard at the 2019 PMP Growth Summit.

In the pest management industry, there is no shortage of training. Product manufacturers and service providers offer in-depth demonstrations; distributors present classes and webinars; and the national, state and local associations hold educational sessions. But perhaps the most useful training technicians receive is from their employers. What they learn — company protocol and customer service preferences — will transform them into successful pest control technicians, and likely keep them employed.

During the 2019 PMP Growth Summit, we asked the pest management professionals (PMPs) in attendance how they train new and existing employees. Read on for ideas that may be suitable for your company.


Bill Hoffman, ACE, pointed out that training and development are key to hiring and retaining quality workers. The president of Hoffman Exterminating in Mantua, N.J., said it’s important to understand that the employees of the future want to work for companies that make opportunities available to them.

“They want to know what is going to happen in two, three and four years,” he said. “So, you are going to have to be very quick in developing, identifying and then giving them those opportunities.”

Mentoring is a helpful training method for new employees, Hoffman said. At his company, seasoned technicians serve as mentors to recent hires who are new to the pest control industry. Plenty of training is available to those in the industry, he added, so there’s no need to redevelop what already is available.

“You just have to execute it to make sure your people have the right information and are telling customers the right information,” he said. “Then, you must have some type of process in place so you’re making sure your people are actually absorbing what they learn.”


Bob Todd, general manger for American Pest Professionals in Muncie, Ind., has had success hiring mature workers with families. Many job candidates don’t know pest control is critical to public health and food safety, Todd said.

Like Hoffman, Todd trains new hires by having them work with his experienced technicians, who teach them company protocol and proper customer service.

“Service is the only thing we have to offer, so if we’re not doing a good job at that, it’s not going to benefit us very long at all,” he said. “They go with our guys who have shown over the years the ability to handle not only the technical side of pest control, but also the communication side with our customers.”

In addition, American Pest Professionals holds training meetings each month for employees. Sometimes, they are led by staff members. Other times, distributor or manufacturer representatives take the lead;  these meetings allow employees to keep up on new products and application techniques, and offer a refresher on pest control methods. Todd said technicians receive additional training if he notices it would help them step up a service they offer.


Joe Silvestrini, president of Pest Control Technicians in Norristown, Pa., has come to realize that many of today’s young people don’t have basic tool skills, so he has since altered his company’s training programs to teach them how to use electric drills and screwdrivers.

“There’s not a lot of things you can repair at home anymore, so people don’t have the opportunity to develop those skills,” he said. “But they are necessary for what we do.”

Pest Control Technicians is a Copesan company, and training is provided through Copesan University, an online learning management system for members.

“We have different curriculums in the University for new employees, as well as ongoing training for existing employees,” Silvestrini said.

Ongoing training consists of technical information related to pest control. Safety training is offered, too.

“It’s much better to train and have good, competent people, and keep training them, too,” Silvestrini said. “The better they get, the happier they are going to be in the job, and the longer they are going to stay.”


2020 PMP Growth Summit | If you’re a pest management professional who makes the purchasing decisions for your company, we invite you to apply to attend the 2020 PMP Growth Summit at Reunion Resort in Orlando, Fla. Qualified attendees receive complimentary accommodations, meals, beverages and golf. To learn more and apply, visit PMPGrowthSummit.net.


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