Pest management professionals (PMPs) who answered our 2023 State of the Industry (SOI) survey were spot-on when they predicted fuel costs and inflation would be their Top 2 obstacles this year.
Their responses reveal labor costs and the economy moved ahead on the list, whereas material and equipment costs dropped two spots.
Because costs have increased for just about everything, especially fuel, Giancarlo Fernandez, president of Solaris Pest Solutions in Santa Clarita, Calif., recommends reviewing your pest control operations.
“Take a second or third look at your routing to determine whether it is optimized and your fleet maintenance is on schedule,” he advises. “Make sure you are using pesticide products at recommended rates, and your team is trained how to do this.”
Kent Smith, owner of A+ Quality Pest Control in Oskaloosa, Iowa, suggests fighting inflation by shopping around to compare equipment and material features and pricing. PMPs should learn how to use their pest control products efficiently and effectively, and price their services correctly.
“Looking for the best prices on materials from multiple sources takes time, but the savings are worth it,” he says. “This has reduced my material costs 6 percent so far.”
Fred Willey, ACE, president of Invader Pest Management in Glendale, Ariz., advises PMPs shop wisely and control costs as much as possible.
“Raise rates accordingly; don’t avoid it,” he says. “Market more than you think is necessary. Knowing that money might be tight with customers, more marketing is needed to touch more potential buyers.”
The economy can be a boon for business, depending on where your pest control company is located. For Slug-A-Bug Pest Division Training Manager Randy Darrah, people who are relocating for better options have been good for the Melbourne, Fla.-based company.
“Some regions will have an influx of new residents driving up the need for services, and some regions will see jobs reduced, lowering the ability for residents to afford pest control services,” he says. “I am based in Central Florida, and the influx of people moving to our area has helped the housing market, which in turn has increased business.”
Other opportunities PMPs expect to encounter include upselling their services and increasing repeat business. Interestingly, improving customer retention did not make last year’s list of projected opportunities, but it made No. 3 this year. Emphasizing the need for services that protect health and property ensures customers know why pest control is essential.
“The average consumer is not aware of the education, training and licensing required to be a PMP,” says Jennifer Blythe, president, Bug Commander Pest Control, Prosper, Texas. “We need to change consumer perception on the value and services we provide.”