Although a pandemic kicked off 2020, pest management professionals (PMPs) have kept their foot on the gas, Pest Management Professional’s (PMP’s) 2021 State of the Industry survey responses show.
Deemed essential service providers early on by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, PMPs were able to continue to provide pest control to residential and commercial customers because they protect public health and property. Business increased for many PMPs, especially those with residential accounts they could service from outdoors.
“The pandemic didn’t affect our residential accounts at all,” says David Cooksey, CFO of McCall Service in Jacksonville, Fla. “If anything, it went up because people were staying home and seeing pest-related issues.”
For McCall Service, 2020 has been a good year so far. Cooksey admits it helps that he’s in Florida and not New York or California, states that temporarily shut down businesses in an effort to curb the spread of COVID-19.
“When the pandemic first kicked off, we thought it was going to be really bad, but that hasn’t been the case,” he says. “In our part of Florida, it was business as usual — or better than usual.”
Paul Wikoff, owner, Total Care Pest Management, Emporia, Kan., says he gained new residential customers who suddenly became aware of the pests in their homes, where they are spending more time because of the pandemic. He expects the uptick in residential accounts to continue, as more customers welcome technicians wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) into their homes.
“I foresee our net profits and revenue increasing in 2021,” Wikoff says. “Business will be a lot better next year, though our revenue currently is up 44 percent year-over-year and we are enjoying every moment of it.”
Most PMPs who answered our survey believe the outlook for 2021 is “extremely optimistic.”
At Admiral Pest Control in Bellflower, Calif., Treasurer Jeffrey Jones agrees. He says he is reasonably optimistic for 2021.
“Even dealing with COVID-19, business will be even better next year,” he says.
Despite the pandemic, Jones said, Admiral’s residential sales increased, as have commercial sales, albeit not at the same rate. He attributes the boost to a hot housing market and a rise in home improvements, as most of his customers have held onto their jobs.
“That has driven the termite control market to the high level we’ve seen recently, and I’m optimistic it will stay that way over the next 12 months,” Jones says. “Of course, no one can predict the future, especially in these turbulent times.”
In Central Texas, Bob Howard, president of 855Bugs in Woodway, Texas, anticipates growth.
“What started out as a banner year was unexpectedly diminished by COVID-19,” he says. “Although we still will finish 2020 with a double-digit increase in revenue, 2021 should allow us to continue our expansion and rapid growth plans.”
SLOW COMMERCIAL REBOUND
Many PMPs who service commercial accounts have experienced a slowdown. But business has picked up.
“Commercial pest control companies have experienced a slower recovery, especially those that cater predominantly to hospitality and restaurant services,” says Joseph Edwards, president of J. Edwards Services in Alpharetta, Ga., who noted this trend while consulting with pest control business owners for his acquisition and growth strategy firm.
Edwards knows the challenges firsthand, as he also serves as president of North Fulton Pest Solutions. “Running our business during this pandemic has taught us we must be more creative while finding ways to be more productive, and still making every effort to maintain a safe environment for our employees and our customers,” he says.
Learn more about PMPs’ expectations for 2021 and how the coronavirus pandemic affected their businesses by checking out the rest of our report. PMP‘s exclusive 2021 State of the Industry supplement, sponsored by Bell Laboratories, includes benchmarking data, infographics and analyses that highlight key pest management industry trends and projections.