As the fragile economy slowly gains traction post-pandemic, the housing market is booming.
Last year’s low interest rates and short supply of housing bumped up prices significantly. For new construction, supply chain issues raised prices of materials, which were passed along to the home buyer or renter. With those price increases, inflation naturally climbs and thus interest rates likely will follow. Buyers haven’t been scared away yet from investing in their homes, whether they be single-family or multi-family.
Now is a good time to review marketing plans to approach builders to discuss services that might be offered, such as new construction treatments to prevent wood-destroying insects/organisms (WDO). Most lenders still require new-construction treatments, whether they be soil pretreats, new-construction wood treatments, or baiting systems after final grade is installed.
Providing these services don’t have to be once-and-done, either. They can open the door to long-lasting builder relationships and business, as well as opportunities for new customers for WDO service contracts and regular general pest management services. Opportunities are there, and you don’t have to charge 2018 prices. CNN reported in January that home prices in 2021 rose 16.9 percent, so a fair price for your services is warranted — in 2022 dollars.
Services don’t have to be limited to treatments. They also can include services that lead to more business, such as inspections. Some companies shy away from inspections, but there is a remedy.
One of the biggest liabilities facing the industry is WDO inspections. After years of studying the reasons, most agree the liability is greatly reduced by training. While general pest technicians are on a hectic and sometimes challenging schedule, inspectors need to be trained to take the necessary time, and prepare to inspect by understanding construction, state regulations, and the proper completion of the inspection report.
Today, local tax assessor websites draw footprints of the structure. Often, there is a picture of the property. These both are valuable tools for the inspector. Even property history — including permits pulled — will give clues on the structure before the inspector even sets foot on the property. This information helps the experienced inspector who has an eye for detail, likes the challenge of understating construction, and understands the roles of each party.
Successful inspections can lead to further work not only from the buyer and real estate agent, but also from the neighbors. While in the neighborhood for any service, promotional materials can be dropped at neighbors’ homes to introduce them to the fascinating world of pests found in the region, and services your company provides.
In addition, people really enjoy interesting facts about pests. Looking for a good source? Go no further than the National Pest Management Association’s website, NPMAPestWorld.org, for a wealth of information to assist members in developing marketing materials.
There are many good courses online to keep pest management technicians sharp and expand their knowledge base. Most courses are free or available for a reasonable charge, and online courses are available day or night. After all, our value of service is not merely application of products; our value is sharing our expertise and understanding of pests to offer solutions to customers.
Peak pest season nationwide should be healthy for the industry this year. Employees always are thirsty for information that will make them a cut above the competition. Encourage them to ask questions. It is not only good for your company, but also for the confidence of inspectors, technicians, office staff, and even owners or managers. Take advantage of opportunities to shine and show your expertise to expand the reach of your company.