Pest control can be a fickle business. In slow periods, when service calls are chiefly limited to regularly scheduled preventive treatments, workdays can be predictable and uneventful. This is the best time to maintain fleet vehicles, traps and other equipment between evenly spaced appointments. But when rain and summer heat crank up insect activity, or the first cold snap of fall sends rodents and other wildlife scurrying into cozy attics and crawl spaces, the pace of service calls can go through the roof.
Peak infestation seasons can be make-or-break periods for a pest control company. With so much to be done, and revenue surging from the high number of service calls, it can be easy to lose track of which vehicles are due for an oil change or state safety inspection, which team has a particular trailer, or which field crew is closest to a customer requesting urgent assistance with a cornered rattlesnake.
In the rush to dispatch technicians, the complexity of aligning service crews to customer sites and the scheduled stops for each vehicle can lead to unnecessary miles traveled, fuel expended, time wasted, and appointments missed. Paperwork intended to create order instead forces pest management professionals (PMPs) to linger at each jobsite to fill out reports. And then there’s the mountain of reports to be processed at the end of each day, requiring managers to often work well after normal business hours.
Despite increased income from the heightened work volume, inefficient operations during the chaos of peak season can sap profits, exhaust field crews and lead to equipment failures at the worst possible times. The way to stay on top of all these interconnecting variables and optimize operations is with field service management technology.
Streamline scheduling and dispatching
With a field service management solution, PMPs can gain real-time transparency into where their technicians are in the field and how they got there. Map-based scheduling tells dispatchers which teams are closest to each customer, which can greatly reduce overall mileage and fuel costs.
Even a basic tracking application that records a service crew’s progress by place and time gives management the ability to provide customers with proof that their accounts were serviced, as well as when and how much time their technicians spent on each account. The same degree of tracking can reveal unprofessional behaviors by employees, such as unscheduled side trips or extended lunch breaks. Advanced field management apps can be set to automatically alert management to preset triggers, such as driving more than 10 miles per hour over posted speed limits.
However, field management solutions provide more than tracking. Automated reporting can eliminate paperwork, helping field technicians document their work easily from a laptop or mobile device that syncs in real-time with the office. This keeps management current on their progress, reduces the need to deliver paper reports and cuts down on end-of-day data entry. Maintenance reminders and other scheduling prompts keep important tasks from falling through the cracks during peak pest seasons.
Incorporating a customer portal lets clients access pricing, proof of service and paperless account information. Cross-selling services, such as mosquito treatments or rodent removal, becomes easier when techs can call up marketing materials on their laptops or mobile devices to better describe those offerings on-site.
Pest management companies that have adopted GPS tracking and field management solutions have reported shorter time to cash, reduced monthly fuel consumption, streamlined business processing and the ability to take on more work with their existing workforce — all thanks to the greater efficiencies achieved with their management app. This means PMPs can face peak pest seasons with confidence. With the right solution, they can know they are making efficient use of time and resources to control costs and better serve customers. In the process, they will be positioning their organizations to grow both their customer base and their capabilities to handle seasonal surges in service call volume.