Fostering pride in pest control


February 2, 2022

Jerry Schappert

Jerry Schappert

Now hiring: $100 sign-on bonus, $14 an hour to start!

I don’t know about you, but these words can be seen on almost every business marquee in my small town, leaving little room for said businesses to even advertise what it is they do or sell.

The push for quality hires definitely is on, and businesses across the board are feeling the pinch. Just like you (I hope), my company is growing in leaps and bounds. But staffing has become one of our biggest hurdles of late. Not only recruiting, but retaining anyone new has become a massive challenge.


You offer great pay, good benefits, a vehicle and so on, but this approach does not seem to be working very well at all.

This topic comes up quite a bit in the Pest Cemetery Facebook Group I manage, and I can’t tell you how many comments I’ve read where incentives like these just aren’t working the way they once did. There’s definitely been a shift in the employee pool, and perhaps it’s time to think outside the box.

Think back to what really caught your attention to even consider pest control as a career. For me, the staff in the office when I showed up for my interview was very accommodating and made me feel welcome, even though the place was very busy.

Not only did I have a sit-down interview, but I also got a little tour. I observed the few technicians who were coming in to the office, and it seemed like they had a purpose. They spoke of the different challenges they faced that day, and the herculean efforts they needed to solve their customers’ pest management issues. I didn’t hear it all, but I was convinced these folks were proud of their career choice; pride in doing well exuded from them all. That’s when I knew I wanted in.


At my pest control company, I try to recreate what got me so excited to jump on board the pest control train. So, we like to have our candidates come in for the interview and give them a glimpse of just how great this job can be. I’ll walk them by a couple of trucks, open up the one they’ll be driving and even show them the shop. I point out the locker that could have their name on it, speak of (in limited detail) some of the cool accounts we have, and share some of the amazing things technicians get to see.

To me, there is no other career like pest control where you have such exclusive access and see what goes on behind the scenes. Pest control serves a very important purpose in health and safety that many job candidate may not realize. I let them know I love the pest control industry, and I let all the pride I have come out at this time

The U.S. Army did this quite well a few years back when it needed to recruit soldiers. Its TV ads said “see the world” and “be all you can be.” Those ads were all about the pride, adventure and achievement an Army career offered, and saw success.

So, if your marquee or online help-wanted ad is filled with all the benefits a new hire can receive, make sure you leave some room for the best one of all: The pride in pest control.

Tips from the Pest Cemetery crew

“Have technicians write the help-wanted ad, rather than management.”
— John White, President, Pro-Tech Pest Control, Worcester, Mass.

“Leading with a company’s core values is the first step to bringing in qualified employees. If they don’t fit the core values, keep moving on until you find the right person.”
— Crystal Giberson, Marketing and Communications Coordinator, TRNZ4m, Trenton, N.J.

“Hire for attitude, train for aptitude. Customers are buying the technician as much as they’re buying your services.”
— Chris Van Allen, Vice President, County Pest Control, Emmaus, Pa.

“We pay our current employees $1,000 referral bonuses. They receive $500 after the new hire they refer stays 90 days, and an additional $500 once the new hire hits his or her six-month mark.”
— Luke Lewis, President, Native Pest Management, West Palm Beach, Fla.

About the Author

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SCHAPPERT is owner of The Bug Doctor, Ocala, Fla., and administrator for Facebook industry discussion group Pest Cemetery. He may be reached at

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