Enjoying outdoor spaces — decks, patios, backyards at home or while out in public — has become more popular than ever. The pest management professionals (PMPs) who offer mosquito management are experiencing a revenue boost, while providing their customers with a much-needed service.
For most PMPs, it is a service customers will not go without. Brian Boozer, president of Prime Pest Solutions in Dacula, Ga., says the retention rate for his mosquito control customers is strong.
“Most of our mosquito control customers expect us to renew their services every year without any questions,” he says. “Mosquito management is the ultimate add-on service, and one of the best ways to attract referrals and new customers.”
Mosquitoes certainly are prevalent in the south, as Lisa Johnson, VP of Kil-Mor Pest Management in Durham, N.C., explains.
“While not all houses have issues with ants, cockroaches or mice, if you are living in the south, you are going to battle mosquitoes,” she says. “No one ever calls our office and asks us when we’re going to start putting out mouse bait for the winter, but they do start calling while there is still frost on the ground, asking when we’ll be starting up our mosquito control services.”
But your pest control company doesn’t have to be located south of the Mason-Dixon line to earn steady revenue from mosquito control services.
Pest Management Professional’s (PMP’s) 2022 Mosquito Management Survey data show 77 percent of the PMPs who answered project an increase in mosquito management revenue this year, a figure that has remained steady over the past five PMP surveys.
“When mosquito management is priced appropriately, it is a great source of monthly recurring revenue for a pest control company,” says Luke Lewis, president of Native Pest Management in West Palm Beach, Fla. “It also will allow you to add recurring clients you otherwise would not have reached, creating the opportunity for you to sell them additional services you provide.”
Word-of-mouth, especially during mosquito season, is another great way to increase business.
“The ability to get higher margins on our services grows from accounts that are acquired from the referrals happy customers send our way,” Johnson says. “We have found that the potential customers who call us because their friends and neighbors were raving about their mosquito-free yards rarely even factor in price when they are setting up their services.”
She suggests offering a free mosquito control service to customers whose referrals lead to new customer contracts, as a way to ramp up mosquito management sales.
Boozer recommends seeking out additional customers who are located near current customers. “If you can reduce drive-time costs while reducing fuel costs, your mosquito control work will be more profitable,” he says.
Positioning yourself as a mosquito management expert conveys value for which customers are willing to pay a premium, says Greg Crocker, owner of Mist and More of Central Florida in Winter Garden, Fla.
“Service providers are interchangeable because most people can perform a service,” he explains. “But a solution provider is an expert in their craft, and can be trusted to do a great job and deliver the desired outcome.”
It’s important to learn which species are prevalent in your area, and which control methods are best. Check with an entomologist for an accurate identification, and ask your manufacturer representatives for effective control solutions.
“That knowledge makes you the professional who can assist customers with their mosquito problems,” says Brad Dutoit, BCE, owner of Jones Pest Control in Billings, Mo. “Customers rely on what they read or hear about insects, regardless of whether the source is legitimate. When you can provide them with the proper information, it will alleviate their concerns about you being able to help them. Your professional services may lead to more income.”
In addition, providing customers with a faster, more effective resolution to their mosquito problems will result in higher profit margins, he adds.
PUMPING UP PROFIT
Robert Szczech, general manager for Central Exterminating Co. in Cleveland, Ohio, says his company educates its customers on how and why the service is needed: “Setting up your customers’ expectations from the start will let them know what to expect and how the service works. Hence, they will understand why the cost is what it is.”
Customers who refer your company to their neighbors not only boost business, they help increase profits, too.
“Increasing the number of stops on a street reduces fuel use, which results in higher profit margins,” Szczech adds. “It’s also a great add-on service for your current customers. In one stop, two services will be completed.”
Another strategy that helps increase revenue is choosing the appropriate products for the job.
“To land more mosquito work at a higher profit margin, we must use the best products on the market, spend the time at each account to apply the products, provide suggestions to customers, and make the customer feel like we really care,” says Service Manager Jason Graves of Aiken Pest Control in Aiken, S.C.
Trained technicians, effective products and excellent customer service will lead to successful mosquito management and give your company a glowing reputation that will lead to additional work.
“You need an exceptional mosquito management program that your team must be able to sell and service according to company protocols. This will allow you to sell your services at a slightly higher market rate and perform a valuable service in a reasonable amount of time,” says Greg Bausch, ACE, operations manager for American City Pest & Termite in Gardena, Calif. “Basically, be better than the other guys, charge for your better service, make a profit, and repeat.”
General pest control customers who seek protection from mosquito-borne viruses and diseases while enjoying the outdoors gladly will opt for mosquito control services, PMPs say.
“Mosquito management provides the customer with an enjoyable outdoor living space that otherwise would not be comfortable during the mosquito season. It also helps protect clients from the viruses and diseases mosquitoes may carry,” says Skyler Byrd, general manager for Mosquito Squad of Central VA in Richmond, Va. “Both provide peace of mind, which is what the majority of pest control customers want.”
PMPs help protect customers from mosquito-borne viruses and diseases, including West Nile virus, the Zika virus, malaria, dengue, chikungunya, yellow fever and Eastern equine encephalitis.
“Not only are there serious health issues for your customers, but because mosquitoes are known to carry the heartworm parasitic nematode, there are serious potential health issues for their furry family members, their dogs,” says Dan Seymour, operations manager for Green Pest Services in Chantilly, Va.
Managing expectations at the time of the sale is the way to go, says Bausch. “A large portion of our mosquito management services include treating properties where the source is off-property. For this reason, it is important to communicate the expectation is mosquito suppression, and not eradication,” he adds. “It’s not surprising that communication is an extremely important part of mosquito management.”
Lewis concurs, saying he informs customers they should expect to see at least an 80 percent reduction in the number of mosquitoes, but 100 percent control will never be achieved. “When we explain how our mosquito management service works during the sales process, we set expectations by telling customers it takes two to three months to see the best results,” he notes.
Johnson says that, after explaining to customers how their control methods work, Kil-Mor technicians use examples from other service industries to offer perspective. For example, customers are told they may see a few mosquitoes after a service call, just as a few leaves may fall after a landscaping crew wraps up a service call.
“If expectations are communicated ahead of time, customers won’t feel like the service isn’t working or wasn’t applied correctly,” she adds. “They will expect this to be part of the service. This is crucial to a successful mosquito program.”
At Central Exterminating, technicians provide customers with a handout about mosquitoes, as well as an inspection sheet that shows standing water problems and places where mosquitoes potentially could lay eggs. They then answer any questions that customers might have during the visit.
“Education is key when it comes to customer expectations,” Szczech says. “Anyone can Google how to control mosquitoes, but do they have our knowledge and years of experience?”
The sooner you educate customers, the better, Dutoit says. “You need to make it clear to the customer as soon as you begin the initial consultation that complete control of this insect problem is unlikely,” he says. “Use your knowledge of the mosquito to explain why, and give them a more realistic expectation of what will occur after treatment.”
Encourage customers to help you increase the effectiveness of your treatment, he adds.
Boozer agrees. “We try to get as much customer support as possible to help limit mosquito breeding factors,” he says. “For example, correcting drainage issues, trimming bushes, removing standing water, and other actions get customers involved in the mosquito management process.”
As people continue to head outdoors, whether relaxing at home or enjoying a meal on the patio of their favorite restaurant, mosquito management is seen by many as a much-needed service.
“Mosquito management is a service that sells itself,” says Szczech. “Once we educate the customer, set expectations, and perform the service, it’s a done deal.”