Little things mean a lot


December 6, 2023

Jerry Schappert

Jerry Schappert

For this column, I posed a question to the members of my PestCemetery Facebook group and was heartened by the responses. Simply stated, I asked, “What are the little things you do extra for your clients?”

To learn that many folks in our industry actually do the things they listed gives me a sense of pride in knowing that they are my colleagues and peers.

Look for opportunities

At my little firm, we try hard to provide the best possible service and keep the homes and businesses we serve pest-free. We also strive to go the extra mile. If we see an opportunity, it’s always worth a little bit of extra effort.

When I’m training someone, I make sure I show them what this means. Sometimes, it’s as simple as bringing the newspaper or the trash can up from the curb. Around this time of year, it’s the offer to bring down a box of holiday décor from the attic. Because of this, I’m pleased but not surprised when my techs get a personal tip or when a call comes into the office saying how thankful they are for the care.

Show compassion

One act of kindness from years ago really sticks in my mind. I still marvel at the actions taken by my very first employee, Kevin May. He was with me for 15 years before relocating to Pennsylvania, and I still consider him to be a good friend.
One of Kevin’s regular clients had fire ants streaming into her pantry. They ruined her meager food supply. Kevin obviously treated the problem, but pressed for more ways he could help. The elderly woman lived alone and was barely mobile. She didn’t even know about the infestation until Kevin discovered it.

The client told Kevin she could not drive to the store by herself and would wait for her family to come in a few weeks so she could restock her pantry. Well, this didn’t sit right for Kevin. He told her he’d stop by the house on the weekend to take her to the store.
True to his word, Kevin drove her to the store and let her shop to her heart’s delight. Living alone, she probably only filled three bags of groceries, but that was enough to absolutely thrill and warm her heart.

The thing is, Kevin never told me of this incident beyond the fire ant treatment. We only found out about it with our next call to schedule her regular visits. The client passed away not long after, but I’d like to think that one of her last impressions of the people in her life was that of loving and caring compassion — all because of Kevin and his actions.

Going the extra mile should not be for a reward or a referral. It’s definitely not to pat yourself on the back. Rather, these little things — acts that some people may never know you do — often reach further than you know. Be good to one another.

The Pest Cemetery Crew

“It can be small gestures that no one expects but everyone appreciates — like bringing up the newspaper and trash cans. I have also changed heater filters and light bulbs while I was doing attic inspections.”
— Tony Bolger, ACE, Route Planning/Scheduling Manager, Cooper Pest Solutions, Lawrenceville, N.J.

“Try to remember the names of their kids and pets. I also help as much as I can in the time that I have allocated. It’s often little handyman things, like fixing cupboard hinges or curtain rods.”
— Andrew Critchley, Owner, Instinct Pest Management, Darwin, Northern Territory, Australia

“Blowing off driveways, bringing in trash cans and newspapers, refilling pet water bowls, etc. — these are all a part of our normal course of duty to give legendary service to our clients.”
— Will Holloway, Market Manager, No More Bugs, Sandhills, N.C.

“As Pest Management Professional Hall of Famer John Cook [Class of 2015] often said, ‘Do what is promised, plus a little more.’ This was taught at my first job in pest control. I’ve taken it to heart, and I always find something else to do to go above and beyond. I teach my crew to do the same.”
— Joey Polster, Technical Services Manager, GenTech Associates, Smyrna, Tenn.

About the Author

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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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