Rodents have two natural fears: being on fire and birds of prey. Not much of anything will send them packing like either one of these. Given that, we can’t burn down buildings or send in a peregrine falcon. But by necessity, we’ve figured out many other ways that are just as effective.
Pest control business owners have a couple of natural fears as well, and reducing tax liability and providing healthcare insurance top the list. Since we’ll end up in the pokey for avoiding taxes, let’s pay those and we’ll save that discussion for another day.
Providing healthcare for your staff, however, is something of a mystery. Is it a right? Is it a perk? Is it just the right thing to do to keep those who are the heart of your company happy, content and cared for? Is it key to your growth?
The overwhelming response from most of our Pest Cemetery Facebook page members is a resounding “yes,” it is both a right and a perk. And it should be a strong consideration, absolutely, but not a stone cold absolute.
There are a lot of business killers out there. Providing expensive healthcare definitely can add to this, if wise choices are not made. It is an owner’s duty to keep the company alive and well. If they don’t, the ship sinks and then none of this discussion is relevant. This is another natural fear.
While pondering this subject, I was astounded by the many healthcare coverage options out there. You can pay all or part, most any percentage or combination that fits. Whole families can be included, or just your employees. Employees can opt in or out. There are group and association discounts. Perhaps this is why it’s so complicated: There are just too many options. Besides being mind-boggling, with every new whim of our politicians, things can turn on a dime and change overnight.
Suffice to say, unless they are well versed in this field, this is not something an owner should approach alone. Unwise decisions can really cripple your cash flow and burden the growth of your business. There are simply too many options, needs, variables and decisions that must be considered. To do this by yourself is overwhelming.
Just as you seek professional advice for taxes, business growth and other strategies, you should do the same if providing healthcare. You also should talk with your employees to find out what their needs are and what’s in their best interest. Nothing could be worse than signing up with a program only to find out it is of little benefit to you or them. Gather as much information as you can so that when you finally roll out a healthcare program, it’s a plus to the company, employees and your future growth.
It’s a big step, to be sure, but once you have explored a fear, it becomes less terrifying. Part of courage comes from extending our knowledge. And with that, we all benefit.
Tips from the Pest Cemetery crew
“To retain great people requires sacrifice. I believe that when you invest in your people, they appreciate it and will stay.”
— Alex Altizer, CEO, Eastside Exterminators, Woodinville, Wash.
“We must invest within our employees and their health. One way is to provide health insurance to them, so they can feel valued.”
— David Poplin, ACE, Founder and President, Legion Pest Management, Murrieta, Calif.
“We believe that providing as many benefits as we can helps us attract the best talent that will make Colony their career.”
— Joseph Sheehan, CEO, Colony Pest Management, Brooklyn, N.Y.
“As an employee, I appreciate that my employer provides a health insurance option. The employer covers about $1,000 of the total cost. I understand it eats into their profits, but it’s something they want to do, and I appreciate it. I wouldn’t work for a company that didn’t.”
— Robert Seigrist, Pest Control Technician, Yates-Astro Termite and Pest Control, Savannah, Ga.
SCHAPPERT is owner of The Bug Doctor, Ocala, Fla., and administrator for Facebook industry discussion group Pest Cemetery. He may be reached at email@example.com.