Summit Interview Series: Weather, growth, employee hiring, retention and training

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April 30, 2024

PMP Growth Summit attendees were interviewed about a few pertinent industry topics. Here is just a sampling of responses; check out our entire video series on our PMP TV YouTube channel.

Attract and retain employees

Jeremy Andrews

Jeremy Andrews

“Keep with a small-company mentality. Don’t get too big for your shoes. Don’t let your technicians or anyone on your staff feel like a number. We have attracted a lot of employees from larger companies, and they honestly love the small-town feel. Keep it simple. Keep it small. Even the bigger you get, keep it small. Take care of your technicians and they will take care of you.”
— Jeremy Andrews, Magic City Pest Control

Shane Mantz

Shane Mantz

“I think we tend to look at it as a business, an analytical kind of decision … What that focus needs to pivot to is the person in the truck. The person who is in the uniform, rather than the body. The moment you make it about the person is when you’re going to attract that talent. It doesn’t matter if you pay the best, it doesn’t matter if you have the best benefits in the world, or shiny equipment or brand-new trucks. If at the end of the day you’re not making sure that person feels valued, validated, wanted and appreciated, none of it matters.”
— Shane Mantz, Magna Pest Solutions

Tim Horgan

Tim Horgan

“I think it’s all about the culture you have at your company; not only making it about making the customers happy but making sure the employees are happy. The owner of my company always says that to make our customers happy, the employees must be happy because that’s how they are going to provide better service. I really think having a good culture and atmosphere in your company and really putting employees first and taking care of them helps your company thrive and grow.”
— Tim Horgan, Debug Pest Control

 

Train employees

Bill Haynes

Bill Haynes

“In the state of Georgia, there are certain requirements — so much video, hands-on and in-the-field training — so we have them achieve those benchmarks. We also have Wednesday morning training where we get together like a huddle and discuss training tips for the season.”
— Bill Haynes, Haynes Exterminating

Daniel Bellando

Daniel Bellando

“We prefer to conduct group, as well as one-on-one training sessions, and we like using data-driven practices. By using our software, we can see how engaged our technicians are with the services they perform based on the documents they upload at appointments, whether it’s notes for the customer, internal notes for us, or pictures they upload. For example, technicians who are uploading a lot of detailed notes, a lot of pictures, I would say they are more engaged with their jobs vs. the technician who is not uploading detailed notes, such as one to two sentences vs. a detailed technician leaving a paragraph of notes. The technicians who take multiple pictures vs. the technician who takes one picture. All those metrics we can track using our software. It’s something we use to track engagement and it helps us fine-tune where the average is … and the average goes up over time. When it comes to group training sessions, we don’t like to pick on anyone individually in those group sessions. We give the broad strokes in those group sessions and then anyone we need to dial in, that’s where we would go one-on-one with those training sessions and really fine-tune skills to get [everyone] up to par.”
— Daniel Bellando, Pro Pest Control

Erika Milenkovic

Erika Milenkovic

“With our training, we have created certain checklists. Of course, there is a lot of hands-on, one-on-one time with our supervisors and then some other staff who can show technicians or office people how to do each job. We have started to add more definition and processes to the training, making sure they complete … and pass certain tests by certain periods of time, so we have gotten better at that. We use these training methods to ensure everyone is on the same page. Once we can check off different trainings, we know everyone has learned what they need to learn.”
— Erika Milenkovic, Pest Czar

Ashley Morrison

Ashley Morrison

“We train all our employees with a consolidated method now. We have gotten all our standard operating procedures down; we have created videos and additional trainings and classroom modules, and we have created an internal website where all these resources are housed. Every new person who joins our team has the same training, and we have their weeks outlined for them ahead of time. As far as ongoing training, all these resources are always available, but we also hold weekly and bi-weekly meetings depending on the department you are in. We are continually educating our team.”
— Ashley Morrison, City Wide Exterminating

 

Weather and pests

Glenn Matthews

Glenn Matthews

“I think this year is going to be a very mild winter, which usually leads to a nice termite year and probably just a nice year overall. I am starting to already see some termite swarms in our area, and I think this is going to be a great year for pest activity.”
— Glenn Matthews, Modern Exterminating

Scott Heath

Scott Heath

“I think the milder winters seem to help with the pest pressures in terms of the number of pests we have to face, so it has been really good for business.”
— Scott Heath, Aiken Pest Control

Janet Preece

Janet Preece

“This year, we experienced a super cold spell, so we had about 12 inches of snow and -20 degrees Fahrenheit and below temperatures for about two weeks. That does make an impact on our business, obviously — getting trucks on the road as well as getting product out. Miraculously, after those two weeks, we had a big surge and actually had a better January than we’ve ever had, so we just fight the weather.”
— Janet Preece, Zip Zap Termite & Pest Control

 

Industry growth opportunities

Marillian Missiti

Marillian Missiti

“The consumer is becoming more educated about hiring professionals and not so much about doing-it-yourself. That’s always a challenge across the industry, so I think opportunities definitely increased.”
— Marillian Missiti, Buono Pest Control Co.

Glen Ramsey

Glen Ramsey

“I see a huge shift going into ancillary services, and I don’t know that’s necessarily going to expand. I think we are going to see a consolidation of some of those into really pest specific services that people can focus on and be really good at. Kind of like when you think about a food truck, they focus on one thing and they get really good at that one thing. I think that’s the way this industry is going to go.”
— Glen Ramsey, Rollins

Dr. Cassie Krejci

Dr. Cassie Krejci

“Actively and aggressively tackling technology is the opportunity for growth in pest management. I heard someone mention this week, ‘you know pest management really isn’t all that innovative, is it?’ On the contrary, I believe we have a ton of innovations coming. But one thing that we can work on together is the adoption of those innovations. When we talk about growth, we always talk about innovation being a huge key indicator where that growth will occur.”
— Dr. Cassie Krejci, BCE, Rentokil Initial

About the Author

Ellen Wagner is a former digital editor for PMP magazine.

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