Sly Stallone and the future of pest control


October 27, 2023

Pete Schopen

Pete Schopen

Forty years ago, my dad, Pete Sr., was using color-coded index cards to document clients’ services and intervals: Green was for quarterlies, blue meant monthlies and pink was outside only. He had one customer service rep for every four techs because the office staff was responsible for typing route sheets every day. Dad was also big into “cloverleafing” — knocking on the doors of the homes surrounding his clients’ houses.

In 2023, we have door-to-door (D2D) sales instead of cloverleafing. Domestic companies are hiring overseas office support. Marketers are using ChatGPT and other artificial intelligence (AI), and companies are merging with other outfits at a dizzying rate.

Pest control has become much more white-collar than blue-collar in the past 10 years. D2D and AI have completely changed the way pest control companies are formed. Now, an entrepreneur with no technical experience can grow a multimillion-dollar pest control business in just a few years instead of decades.

Future looks bright

Where will we be in 2033 — the year the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) and Pest Management Professional (PMP) celebrate their 100th anniversaries? God willing, here are my predictions (with tongue firmly in cheek — for the most part):

  • Sylvester Stallone will produce and star in “Rocky X,” “Creed VII” and “Expendables V” before his
    87th birthday.
  • Marty Whitford, VP of Content for PMP’s parent company, North Coast Media, will still be telling dad jokes at the PMP Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony and Banquet.
  • I will be enjoying my 27th year of writing for this great magazine.
  • The spotted lanternfly (Lycorma delicatula) no longer will be called “invasive” because it will be in every state except Hawaii and Alaska.
  • Pesticide formulations that used to be mixed in the backs of our trucks will come in little pills you pop out like cold medicine tablets and dissolve in water.
  • Pest control companies will be forced to charge premium prices for their services, as wages for new hires hits $30 an hour (by contrast, I was making $4 an hour in 1988).
  • Scientists will discover yellowjackets love Drakkar Noir. This will save thousands of unsuspecting techs from getting stung each year. Hmm, maybe I should look for my stash, also circa 1988, so I’m ready for the increased demand.
Photo: metamorworks/iStock / Getty Images Plus/Getty Images

Photo: metamorworks/iStock / Getty Images Plus/Getty Images

Baby you can drive my car

On a serious note, I think one of the most important advancements in technology that will affect the out industry will be self-driving cars. The biggest risk we face is vehicular accidents. That risk increases the moment a tech gets behind the wheel. Self-driving cars will eliminate driver error, and techs might become their own customer service reps, completing paperwork while ”driving” to accounts.

Don’t laugh, or you might choke on your popcorn at “Rambo VIII.”

About the Author

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Schopen is owner of RV There Yet Pest Consulting and my email is

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