How economic change may affect the pest control industry


September 28, 2022

Scarlett Nolen

Scarlett Nolen

The world has had multiple waves of change over the last few years. In fact, forecasters are already projecting the next wave will be one of economic change. With our country and greater parts of the world poised for a recession, where does this leave pest management professionals (PMPs) and other home service providers?

Often, pest control is labeled as a recession-proof industry, but that does not mean we are immune from the impact — both on the customer and employee sides. Recent inflation, higher interest rates, and the impending recession may have homeowners and businesses alike rethinking their purchasing habits.

We have already seen the housing market slow due to the aforementioned interest rates. While demand in most states remain high, particularly for multi-family homes, affordability may slow the movement on the market considerably. PMPs and other providers who rely heavily on new homeowners’ business should watch the trends in their markets and adjust accordingly. As the saying goes, “cash is king” (or queen), in the upcoming years, as interest rates will likely continue to climb.

Providing a service that customers see value in will be more critical than ever. As customers review their monthly bills over the winter and into spring, they will be looking to cut expenses where they no longer see value. It has been proven that in a financial crisis, including the Great Depression, people’s innate fear of insects will prevail over an economic crunch. However, this is a great time to re-sell the value of your service and “check-in” with your customers’ satisfaction.

From a talent-recruiting standpoint, economic downturns can be advantageous for our industry. In order to navigate inflation and meet their margins, some industries are already cutting their most expensive talent. This gives other industries that are projecting growth, like pest control, to capture this talent. Furthermore, businesses that will have to scale down their broad workforce like the housing industry may find themselves looking for a more desirable, steady industry. Pest control companies should think about how they can creatively capture talent outside of our industry —  especially in this low unemployment market.

The bottom line (no pun intended): Any possible economic downturns can absolutely be a large opportunity for a PMPs, provided they are properly prepared.


About the Author

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Scarlett Nolen was promoted to president of Truly Nolen of America in March 2019. Nolen has worked for the company since 2012 in multiple roles. Most recently, Nolen was the district manager for the “Growth District,” a district of new service offices throughout Florida, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California. Prior to joining the company, Nolen graduated Summa Cum Laude from the University of South Carolina with a Bachelor’s Degree in Experimental Psychology and Summa Cum Laude from the University of Central Florida with a Master’s Degree in Marriage and Family Therapy.

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