As a member of Pest Management Professional’s Editorial Advisory Board, I was asked: What should pest management professionals (PMPs) prioritize in 2024? (Editor’s Note: Check out additional responses from other board members.)
For me, it’s the same things I have prioritized for each of the past 34 years. Here are my Top 2:
1. Build your recurring services business
Growing the base of repetitive customers tops my list. One-time business may do some good things for you and your business, but those good things are only good today. When you are making your budgeted numbers based on one-time services, you bring in revenue without growing your customer base.
Whether you are performing maintenance services quarterly, bi-monthly or monthly, these customers become part of your “family” and begin filling your schedule in months to come. This gives stability for you and your income needs, as well as for the employees you have or will hire.
Making hires when your business has a large portion of customers that will not repeat is precarious for you, for your employees, and for your business. If you can show a potential employee that your repetitive customer base already has services to be performed in the future months, they will feel like working with you is worth a shot.
Whether you are focused on residential or commercial accounts, every customer should be offered a recurring service. If they only want a one-time service, you need to consider whether it is worth it.
If you have never looked into other types of businesses and how they are valued, you will know that our “not-very-sexy” service business becomes the sexiest thing going if it gets sold to an interested buyer.
2. Build your equity in real estate
Another thing I focus on is the office. Sure, when you first start a business, you are probably working out of your home. My
dad did, and I did, too. But sooner or later you need a real office
Renting a location also is something you might do at first. But as soon as you can, try to rent from the best landlord you will ever find: you.
Spend some time in your market area looking for a possible location for you to purchase to serve as your company’s headquarters. Now in doing this, when I say you act as the landlord, I would strongly recommend you have another entity — not your business — to own properties.
For example, we have an entity called TEAM ABC, which owns properties from which ABC Home and Commercial Services of DFW Inc. rents. Basically, the rent money goes from the pest control company to the real estate entity to the bank to pay off the loan.
When you blink, time will have flown by. You will be thinking of retirement, and your real estate loan will be paid off. Now you own an asset that can either be sold or provide your family with a monthly income.
Paying rent to someone else is a seemingly wasted opportunity for you and your family. I have tried to time my retirement to coincide with when the loans on real estate are paid off. My plan is to pass the business onto the next generation and live on the rent for the real estate from which they are running the business.
In my mind, repetitive business is the best way to build a pest control business — and real estate is the best way to build a retirement.