Pest management professionals (PMPs) have faced obstacles during the global pandemic. This unprecedented event has had an impact on how pest control companies do business, particularly when it comes to staffing. Hiring, training and retaining employees are among the most prevalent challenges company owners currently experience.
Pest Management Professional’s (PMP’s) 2022 State of the Industry survey shows hiring and training employees now rank No. 1 on our list of Top Obstacles, moving up from the fourth spot. Although pest control was deemed an essential service by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security in the early days of the pandemic, PMPs say many workers left their jobs to collect unemployment benefits that paid better than their wages due to pandemic-related supplemental programs. Pest control companies with fewer employees and more work than they could handle were left scrambling to fill positions.
On a related note, employee retention ranked No. 6 on our list of Top Obstacles, as pest control companies do their best to keep the workers they have at a time when employees are changing jobs in droves.
Fuel costs made the Top Obstacles, landing at No. 4, as oil and gas prices rose over the summer. Experts agree that the price of crude oil, and a demand that exceeds supply, are two of the main reasons why PMPs are paying more at the pumps.
HEAD FOR THE END ZONE
Restrictions related to the coronavirus pandemic remains on the list, but drops to No. 5 after coming in second last year. No doubt, PMPs are eager for this obstacle to disappear soon. As a result, do-it-yourself competition did not make the list for the first time since 2016.
Opportunities abound, however, if you know where to look. Many PMPs have been able to meet — and exceed — the needs of their residential and commercial customers despite the challenges COVID-19 have brought.
Carlos Lugo launched Resolve Pest Management in March 2020, just as the pandemic hit the United States. The CEO of the Bayville, N.J.-based company admits he was not sure how COVID-19 would affect his newly established, family-owned business. But as he looks back 21 months later, he realizes he need not have worried.
“By the grace of God, we were able to successfully navigate and overcome the hurdles necessary to not only maintain business flow, but flourish as well,” he says.
For Lugo, the pandemic kept more people home, either working or home-schooling their children. As a result, they have been using technology and social media platforms more than ever before. “Online marketing and advertising, especially targeted marketing on social media platforms, have provided many new opportunities for PMPs to access customers by the masses without exceeding their monthly marketing budgets,” he says. “What began as what many saw as an opposition in reference to going virtual, has been a very rewarding benefit.”