Next year, Carlos Lugo expects to double his revenue and net profits. What is giving the CEO of Resolve Pest Management, Bayville, N.J., such confidence? In part, a booming housing market and the ability to sell home protection plans.
“Our plans are tailored to each customer based on the level of pest protection their home requires, as opposed to a ‘one-size-fits-all,’ cookie-cutter approach for treatment,” Lugo explains. “These plans help develop a personal relationship with the customer, which in turn, builds trust.”
With new construction on the rise both commercially and residentially, Lugo adds, there has been a growing demand for wood-destroying insect (WDI) inspection and treatment inquiries. “Not only termites, but carpenter ants and wood-boring beetles, as well,” he says.
Although not everyone is expecting a 50 percent gain — and it’s worth noting he has only been in business for a year — Lugo’s experience seems in line with the majority of respondents to Pest Management Professional’s (PMP’s) 2022 State of the Industry survey. Only 9 percent predicted their revenue would be down or flat, compared to 18 percent in 2021.
Stewart Lenner, president of Arrow Pest Control, Morganville, N.J., says the secret to his recent revenue success can be attributed to one thing: monthly payments.
“We have added 35 percent more customers in two-and-a-half years, and upped our retention rate immensely — all based on how people are billed,” he explains. Rather than a large amount due once a year, giving customers a reason to cut such a number from their budget, 12 monthly payments offer both reliable revenue and customer loyalty.
“Every year before we switched to this, it was a fight to have growth,” Lenner admits. “When we made the change in early 2019, we grandfathered in anyone who still wanted to make an annual payment. But new customers automatically are put on a monthly payment system, and it’s been going great. I forecast 20 percent growth for us this year, and we plan to double in size within seven years, all through organic growth.”
Employee retention is key to that growth, Lenner says. He is a strong believer in having licensed technicians, to reduce callbacks and bolster a quality reputation. “I incentivize the technicians to study by giving them a salary increase with each passed test.”
Zone Pest Solutions tends to hire people without a pest control background. “Our experience has been, if a tech is in the field and comes across something he is unsure of, he will call in and get the answer,” explains Greg Holley, owner of the Buford, Ga.-based firm. “If he has worked elsewhere, chances are he won’t call and just do what he did at his old job — which may not be what we’d prefer he does.”
The bottom line for revenue growth? Holley keeps it simple: Happy employees lead to happy customers, so “if you don’t invest in your people, they won’t invest in you.”