Fall focus for PMPs: Staffing, training and building relationships


October 29, 2021

We made it through the summer! The season has changed. The weather is starting to cool, people are sipping on pumpkin lattes and pests are finding their homes for the winter. What should pest control operators be thinking about this time of year?

I believe there are three things that company owners and managers should be focusing on for the fall: staffing, training, and building relationships.

Staffing up for the spring. Everyone is thinking about staffing right now. Finding the right people during the off-season might seem counterintuitive to some, but the employment crisis has placed extra pressure on companies to find great people. Employers are offering more work-from-home options, which reduces the employment pool for all service providers that have jobs in the field. It is important that we educate perspective employees of all the opportunities with pest control — after all, it is an evolving science. At Truly Nolen, we are focused on career pathing each partner in 2022. Employees, current and future, need to see their career paths in pest control. It is the responsibility of an employer to provide that feedback and illustrate the opportunities within their organization.

Training during the downtime. Winter is the best time to train your team. The general household pest and termite pressure drops off during this time, thereby alleviating long days. It is a great time to provide classroom training or take the extra time to cross-train your crew. At Truly Nolen, we are systematically cross-training our partners to expand their knowledge and further their career opportunities. Beyond the pests, we are also focused on leadership skill-building, customer service skills, and business development.

Building relationships.  During the off-season, a savvy business developer will work hard to strengthen their relationships with current customers, referral partners and their community. Customers are preparing to host for the holidays — it is important that we build upon the value of maintaining their services even through the colder months. There is nothing worse than a rodent scratching in your customer’s attic Christmas morning. One of my father’s mottos — or “Trulyisms,” as we call them — was “An educated customer is the best customer. Knowledge is power…Always try and give customers as much accurate information as they want.” During the colder months, focus on building the relationship and educating your customer on preventative measures. The same goes for referral partners: Take Realtors out for coffee or spend extra time engaging with homeowner association (HOA) leaders, for example.


Scarlett Nolen talks to a patient at AdventHealth in Orlando during the “Truly Spooktacular” program in 2019. PHOTO: TRULY NOLEN

In fact, one of our favorite things to do for Halloween is our “Truly Spooktacular” program, where we deliver plastic pumpkins, decorating kits and mouse car stress balls to 27 hospitals across the country. My sister Michelle started the program as a one-off in 2014 with a delivery in costume to Tucson Medical Center for Children, and every year since then, our marketing team has connected with more and more hospitals to deliver some holiday magic. I have visited AdventHealth for Children in Orlando multiple times during the program’s history because it is important to all of us to give back those who may be going through a difficult time, and what better way than for a holiday that children are typically very excited about!

Therefore, whether it is a holiday parade or some other “Fall Ball” this season, I encourage you to find a way to build relationships and give back to your local community. Nothing beats the feeling of making a difference in some small way, each and every day.


About the Author

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Scarlett Nolen was promoted to president of Truly Nolen of America in March 2019. Nolen has worked for the company since 2012 in multiple roles. Most recently, Nolen was the district manager for the “Growth District,” a district of new service offices throughout Florida, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California. Prior to joining the company, Nolen graduated Summa Cum Laude from the University of South Carolina with a Bachelor’s Degree in Experimental Psychology and Summa Cum Laude from the University of Central Florida with a Master’s Degree in Marriage and Family Therapy.

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