As The Bug Doctor himself, Jerry Schappert, ACE, notes in his “Problem Solvers” column in our February issue, “Look sharp, and the client is automatically confident in your service. Is it fair? Maybe not. But it’s true.”
Psychologically, it can make your employees more confident in themselves, too. Kevin Sherrill, third-generation president of Sherrill Pest Control, Manchester, Tenn., sees the three-in-one coats he recently purchased for technicians as a morale booster. The purchase was made with Tennessee’s climate in mind: Each water-resistant coat protects the wearer in rain and snow, and unzips into a windbreaker jacket for warmer weather.
“When COVID-19 first hit, we realized we could only focus on what we could control,” Sherrill explains. “Keeping our employees ready for rain, snow or sun — while at the same time reinforcing our brand — was an easy thing to do.”
A BONUS OF SAFETY
Scott Robbins, ACE, is technical services manager for Evansville, Ind.-based Action Pest Control, whose parent company is TruGreen. He notes that with all its brands, TruGreen makes safety a top priority.
As an example, Robbins says, on a recent weekly safety call, it was brought up that a lawn care specialist had slipped and fallen on a customer’s lawn. “The first question was, ‘What was the condition of his boots?’” he says. “And then the conversation turned to providing boots for all technicians, lawn care and pest control alike.”
The leadership team took into consideration that the heavy-lugged boots that make sense for outdoor lawn and pest technicians would make less sense for pest technicians who primarily work indoors. Indoor techs would also need a low-profile boot, because if it’s too high on the calf, it would be uncomfortable for bending underneath counters or foodservice equipment to inspect for pest harborage, for example. Everyone agreed it should feature a safety toe and be waterproof and slip-resistant. They would be a unisex model, and women technicians (and men with narrow feet, for that matter) could be given insoles to ensure comfort.
“We were able to arrange a pilot program through our safety products distributor, Martin Safety, for a brand-new boot not even on the market yet,” Robbins said. “And it ends up not only protecting our technicians from potential slip-and-fall incidents, but it will be a great benefit once the program is in place: ‘Look, you don’t need to spend your hard-earned money on work boots. We have you covered.’”
Heat stress is another safety consideration, Robbins said. “For years, our field associates have been wearing dark hunter green, heavy poplin uniform shirts. Moving forward, we will providing lighter-weight, lighter green shirts made from a polyester blend that is more breathable,” he said. Of course, there’s no pleasing everyone, he jokes: “My test subject went from saying ‘I’m melting in the heat’ to ‘I might get cold!’ Well, put a T-shirt on underneath or wear a jacket!”
Robbins said some of the new uniform options include new jackets and hoodies, too. Dark green (heat-keeping) shirts are for winter, and mint green shirts are for summer.
“Safety wins, and morale wins,” he said.
Read more from Sherrill, Robbins and other PMPs in our January cover story, “Gearing up for growth.”