Don’t cut corners, even when you’re late again


November 1, 2023

Photo: dusanpetkovic/iStock / Getty Images Plus/Getty Images

Photo: dusanpetkovic/iStock / Getty Images Plus/Getty Images

I’ve been honing my craft as a pest management professional for oh-so-long and guess what? I still haven’t mastered it. While there are days when I feel I’m hitting my stride, nothing comes close to the joy it brings when I get a message like the following. And it’s not even about me — it’s about one of my techs:

Hey buddy, I wasn’t home today when your guy came, but my wife said he was the most efficient and thorough one that we’ve had so far. Don’t get me wrong. LOL. All your other guys have been great, but she was impressed with this one and we’ve not seen him before. Just wanted to let you know! Hope all is well with you and yours. All the best, John the Tree Man.

Well, shiver me timbers and all’s right with the universe!

John is a friend I met at a lead exchange group we were in about seven years ago. He’s been a faithful customer ever since. What John doesn’t know is that this tech was having a terrible time the day of the visit. He was new to the company, new to the area, and was about 2 hours late at every turn. Yet that didn’t stop him from excelling at his work, taking the time to do his job right. What normally would have been a 3 p.m. knock-off time was suddenly 5:00 to 5:30 p.m. Yet he still gave his best — and so should you.

An important decision

One thing I know about pest control is that there will be days when you fall behind. It’s inevitable and happens to us all.
How do you handle it? I’ve done the “rush, rush, gotta go” — and yikes, what a mess. I miss things, I disregard the clients’ concerns and wow, oh hey, I picked up an entire 10 minutes. Yay?

Jerry Schappert

Jerry Schappert, ACE

Well, I’m not bragging about time in the industry here because in reality, who cares if you can’t deliver? After 38 years of working in pest control, I decided long ago I’m not rushing anymore. My clients are paying me for results, and whether their pest problems are an instant solve or one that takes two hours, I’m theirs.

Take time for every client

This happens to me quite a bit because in my little world, I’m a problem solver. I’m the go-to guy, maybe not for long. Yes, I have windows of time on my tablet and yes, I can see I’m getting behind. But I’m not going to short-change the person paying my way. It’s just not how I’m built.

After I received John’s message, I messaged back that I thought this would be a great Google-type review. Who knows? He may just leave it at this. That’s really OK with me. I’ll just bask in the win I have. And the tech who muscled through his day with a whole heckuva lot against him? He has my gratitude!

The Pest Cemetery Crew

“Be quick, but don’t hurry. Make no wasted motions. Also, I don’t want to wreck their schedule; it’s disrespectful. So, I will call and let the next one or two customers know I am running late as soon as I realize I’m running late.”
— Bill Rowe, President, Integrity Pest Management Inc., Sand Springs, Okla.

“Call and let the next customer know you are running behind. But focus on the customer at hand and ‘love the one you’re with.’”
— John Stopka, Sales Professional, Orkin Pest Control, Bowling Green, Ky.

“Customers get a call if I will be more than 5 minutes late. I give them full service. Do not cut corners. I repeat until I get caught up. Every customer deserves your best work.”
— Marty Jones, ACE, Co-owner, Prestige Pest Control, Pooler, Ga.

“I let the next customer know I’m running late. Perhaps they have somewhere else to be. It’s the respectful thing to do. Your current customer also will respect that you did that.”
— Toni Markey, Managing Partner, Office and Sales, MI Pest and Wildlife, Beulah, Mich. 

About the Author

Avatar photo

SCHAPPERT is owner of The Bug Doctor, Ocala, Fla., and administrator for Facebook industry discussion group Pest Cemetery. He may be reached at

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