Starting a pest control business is a fantastic way to make financial returns in a reliable industry with almost unfettered growth potential. Perhaps you’ve been in the pest control industry for a while, but are tired of working for somebody else. Maybe you’re in another service industry and want to make a switch. Or maybe you’re in the lawn care business and want to add pest control to your lineup of services. Whichever situation you find yourself in, you’ll need to start somewhere. There are many things to think about when starting a pest control business. To make it easier, here is our guide to the areas that you should consider.
1. Determine Which Services You’ll Provide
Before jumping into your business, you’ll need to figure out which services make the most sense for your business. For example, Idaho seems to always have an ant problem. There are fire ants outside and sugar ants inside, but when it rains, they all want to be inside your house, free from the flooding. Likewise, when it’s dry, they also try to find a way inside to look for water. It can be a constant homeowner vs. ant war. The folks at https://www.ifyardbutler.com/pest-control recommend to start thinking about the area you live, and the pest problems that are most prevalent there. If there are a lot of wood-framed homes in your local neighborhood, then you should consider adding Termite control services as an option because termites can cause huge problems for homeowners. If a colony of termites establishes itself, it can permanently damage the structure and foundations of a home which will be incredibly expensive to repair or replace. Inner-city homes may need rodent control and homes with attic spaces and lofts often attract bees and wasps so nest removal services are another great string to your bow. Think about how to customize your residential services compared to your commercial services. Will you offer one-time services as well as regular contracts? Are you just going to offer pest control or are you going to combine pest control with lawn services or other gardening services? Many of the services required depend on the weather and the time of year, so think about seasonal services and special offers. Natural disasters can also lead to infestations so if your local area is prone to earthquakes or big storms, then research the types of pest invasion that tend to follow these incidents.
2. Develop Your Value Proposition
The second thing you need to consider is your value proposition. This is the unique feature of your business that makes you stand out from the competition. Pest control is such a lucrative business that competition can be fierce, so it is very important that you elevate yourself somehow above your competitors. To find your value proposition, you have to ask yourself the following questions about your new pest control business: How does your business solve your clients’ pest control problems? What benefits can your customers expect from your business? What will you do differently from your competitors? Get to the core of what clients in your local area want from a pest control business. Once you know what makes you unique, you’ll be able to use this message in your advertising and promotional material.
3. Build Your Brand
Your brand is your company’s identity. It’s those recognizable characteristics that your clients will associate with you and your pest control business. Your brand is your logo, your color scheme, your name, your font, and perhaps a tagline. Pest control businesses can afford to be a little cheesy when it comes to the name and the tagline as it will be very memorable for clients. You want potential clients to immediately identify what services you do when they see your name. Your logo and color scheme needs to be attractive and eye-catching. Successful branding uses two to three colors simply but in a way that is instantly recognizable. Coca Cola probably has the most recognizable color scheme in the world and it is just red and white. Once you have your name, logo and colors picked out, you’ll want to use your brand image on absolutely everything to flood the market with your name and logo and build brand awareness. Your branding should be prominent on your website and social media pages, your employees’ uniforms, all of your company vehicles, and in any advertising that you run for your company.
4. Obtain The Necessary Licensing, Registration, and Certification
Pest control businesses are regulated in each state and you cannot operate without the correct paperwork. Your best bet is to check with the specific laws in your state or jurisdiction before starting your business as there may be several Federal, State, and County licensing, registration, and certification processes that you’ll need to complete before operating your business. It is very important to remember that when operating a pest control business, you will be dealing with potent chemicals and that usually requires some red tape. The EPA website states: “Federal law requires any person who applies or supervises the use of restricted-use pesticides (RUPs) to be certified in accordance with EPA regulations and state, territorial and tribal laws. Pesticide applicators must know how to apply RUPs properly and effectively.”
Many states, however, require all commercial applicators to be certified, not just those using restricted-use pesticides. Check with your state law about the legal requirements and see if you can access certification courses through your state’s Department of Agriculture.
5. Protect Your Business (and Yourself) with Insurance
It is highly advisable that you consider purchasing insurance when starting a new pest control business. There are many accidents that could occur which will need insurance coverage to prevent you from having to pay out of your pocket. One of your employees may accidentally damage a client’s property, stain an area with chemicals, or inadvertently misses a pest problem which ends up spiraling out of control at a later time. These things happen to even the best-run pest control businesses so it is very important to give yourself the peace of mind of quality insurance backing you up. As you start to grow your business, you will need to hire employees for your extermination team as well as for the other areas of your business so you need to look into buying worker’s compensation as well as auto insurance for your drivers. These days employees usually expect their employers to pay at least part of their health insurance so it is worth doing your homework about which workers’ health insurance policy will be most suitable for your team. These days more and more employers are looking at group insurance policies for their employees because they tend to offer cheaper premiums as well as tax advantages for employers. Be sure to research your insurance options and choose the path that’s right for you.
6. Open a Business Checking Account
Before you start purchasing equipment for your business or collecting any money for jobs, you’ll want to open a checking account for your business. It is also advisable to open a separate business account rather than just running your business’s finances through your account. Co-mingling these funds is not a good idea as it distorts your mindset when it comes to your business. There are several perks from opening a business account such as account protection, lines of credit, and tax breaks on business purchases.
7. Choose the Right Equipment
Once you have your business account established, you’ll need to consider purchasing the right equipment for your daily operations. There is a lot of equipment that you will need to operate your pest control business, including a reliable truck for your supplies and equipment, the necessary extermination chemicals and chemical applicators, safety equipment like gloves, boots, and respirators, as well as traps, cages and other storage compartments. As well as the pest control equipment, you are also going to need to source all of the equipment you will need for your office, including a solid computer and printer, as well as accounting and any other software which may be useful such as a scheduling platform and invoicing software.
8. How to Find Your “Ideal” Client
The next thing you will need to consider is how to identify your client base. When thinking about your ideal client, you’ll want to uncover their biggest pain points. What is your potential clients’ biggest gripe when it comes to unwanted pest infestations? You’ll more than likely be faced with the same types of critters and pests causing the same problems throughout your area. Think about the needs of your clients. This will help you develop a “persona” around your client. Consider who your clients are, where they live, what services they need, why they need them, and how much they are willing to pay. If you currently own a service company such as lawn care and landscaping business, you can tap into that clientele and upsell them on pest control.
Pest control is a great business because there is such a wide demographic of potential clients including property owners, property investors who maintain several units, apartment complexes, small and corporate businesses, and government offices. Generally speaking the more contracts you can get the better as while one-time services can be a good additional source of revenue, it will be your regular clients who will most enable your pest control business to succeed.
If you’re adding pest control services to an existing business, marketing a new pest control business is very easy as you can just offer your new services to your existing clients. However, if you’re new to the scene, you’ll have to dig in and find your first few clients. Start with family and friends and then ask them to refer your pest control services to people they know. You can also advertise your business through social channels like church bulletin boards or at sports and social clubs. Digital marketing has become the most effective way of targeting and engaging with customers and clients in every area of business. Build an effective website and develop a social media and web presence. Check out your competition and see what they are doing well and where you could improve.
10. Hiring Employees
If you can answer “yes” to any of the following questions, you may need to seriously consider expanding your pest control team:
- Are you working more exhaustive hours now that your client list has picked up?
- Are you turning down jobs because you don’t have enough time to do them?
- Are you constantly out in the field instead of focusing on growing your business through marketing or sales?
- Are you missing calls from potential clients because you’re too busy?
When you do come to hiring employees, make sure your employees are certified according to the Federal EPA laws and State laws governing your area. This may include on-the-job training for several months – so plan to be ready for the onslaught of work coming your way. Research typical salaries and benefits for pest control employees and discuss both your expectations and your potential employees’ expectations.
11. Lawyers, Bookkeepers, Accountants and HR Professionals
When starting your pest control business it is important to build relationships with professionals who can help you with matters that you are not too familiar with. Without fail, you’re going to have questions in one of these areas sooner rather than later. It’s best to consult a professional rather than try to forge through these delicate matters on your own. You’ll save yourself money and a potentially big headache further down the line.
Starting your own pest control business (and being your boss) can turn into your dream job if you know how to do it properly. There are several things to consider before you even step foot into your first client’s home and it is far better to have these things in place before you start operating than trying to play catch up with a lot of orders already on the books. Follow this guide and you will be well on your way to building a successful, profitable pest control business.