Finding time to fit in work during months with fewer than 31 days can be a challenge.
As a general rule, our service window in any given month is 20 working days. We build and organize our routes on the premise of working Monday through Friday the first, second, third and fourth weeks. Because a fifth week of days is not always a guarantee, we strive to get in all our work during 20 days.
Extra days are nice, but holidays, skipped services, vacations, weather events and other things often get in the way. Hurried services, frazzled staff and a manager hoping she doesn’t miss her numbers make for an unpleasant month’s end, for sure.
3 TACTICS TO TRY
Here are three strategies that may make for a full, productive month:
- Work Saturdays. There are four extra days in any given month that can be used to help catch up. Some companies do work on Saturdays already, with alternating technicians taking different weeks.
When I was young and single, I signed up for a lot of Saturdays. The pay was time-and-a-half. Also. I never felt like I was in a rush like I did Monday through Friday.
Once I got married and started raising a family, however, my taste for weekend work changed. For me, and perhaps you, Saturdays are reserved for when we get extremely backed up, or a huge termite job comes in and won’t comfortably fit in the schedule anywhere else.
- Improve routing. Are your technicians all over the place, driving back and forth between zip codes? This saps precious time. Even during a long month, techs tend to work at a frantic pace. Good scheduling will cut a lot of wasted time, leaving room for more stops. Whether your firm is small or large, looking into software that automatically sets up your routes is a great way to go.
I’m no tech guru, but more pest control companies are using these programs because they really speed up the whole process. Sure, these programs will put your stops in order, but the software goes beyond that. With just a few clicks of a button, your service receipts are sent and emails that include dates, notes taken and even photos of a potential problem area that needs attention fly out to your customers. All in just seconds.
- Plan ahead. Do two technicians both want to take days off for vacation at the same time, but it’s just the three of you? Did you see on the news all week that the weather forecast was calling for three straight days of rain, and now you’re suddenly looking at five service trucks in the parking lot, not moving?
A lot of people think planning can wait because they have time, right? Well, the word planning is actually a verb and connotes action. So, take a Saturday or a fifth Monday and sit down and plan. It’s a great use for that extra day, now that you got all your work done.
Tips from the Pest Cemetery crew
“With weather or an off week where we have a few people out at a time, we transition to ‘priorities mode.’ Any scheduled maintenance work is moved within that target month, and then we schedule
in any new work that already was sold and push back any new customers who call in.”
— Audrey Hall, President, Eco Serve Pest Services, Orchard Park, N.Y.
“I build my routes to accommodate new customers every day, five days a week, and don’t schedule regular work on Saturdays. This gives me room to fill in customers with services postponed from rainy days, when necessary.”
— Dane Gilson, ACE, Owner, Bug Wranglers, Payson, Utah
“We are fortunate to have some quarterly accounts scheduled for February that let us provide service in January. We tell them it may be a bit early, but the weather is so unpredictable we can do the work in January and still offer all the same guarantees. No one has ever said no. It’s been a lifesaver.”
— Keith Romer, Owner, All Pro Pest Control, Layton, Utah