How to Start a Pest Control Business
Every building will have rodents or bugs hiding somewhere. This is why pest control businesses are in high demand. As the population continues to grow, the demand only increases. There’s never been a better time for starting a pest control business.
Whether you’re starting a mosquito control business or a rat extermination company, it takes a lot of work to start a pest control company and expand it. Here’s what you need to know about getting your pest control business off the ground.
What Does a Pest Control Business Do?
First, what does a pest control business actually do?
Pest control companies specialize in getting rid of unwanted rodents and bugs with the use of chemicals. They also deal in prevention to avoid new problems taking hold, such as putting down traps and regularly spraying areas prone to infestation.
Some of the services offered by pest control companies include:
- Attic and crawlspace treatments
- Nest removal
- Rodent control
- Outdoor pest removal services
The services you decide to offer when starting a pest control business will vary depending on your field of expertise and your location in the U.S.
Starting a Pest Control Business
Like any business, launching a pest control franchise needs some serious thought before pulling the trigger. It requires a large amount of time and money to make this work. Unless you’re 100% committed to the job, starting a pest control company and achieving your business goals will be impossible.
Let’s discuss how to start a pest control company and the aspects you need to consider.
Pros and Cons of Starting a Pest Control Franchise
Starting a new pest control business isn’t right for everyone. If you’re trying to figure out whether you should start your own operation or work for someone else, here are the main pros and cons to think about.
- You have job security. The demand for exterminators is only set to grow.
- Repeat business is common in this industry.
- High profit margins.
- The job can be unpleasant as you crawl around hot attics and freezing cold basements.
- You need to adhere to stringent local and state requirements on chemical storage, transportation, and usage.
- It’s a highly competitive business.
Step One – Know Which Services to Offer
The first step is to figure out which services you’re going to offer. This will be heavily dependent on your location.
For example, Florida has a serious problem with fire ants. On the other hand, New York is more prone to bed bugs and rat infestations.
Scout the local area and find out what the biggest pest control problems are.
Step Two – Get Your Credentials in Order
Pest control is regulated in every state, so you need to be aware of any specific state laws regarding registration and certification before starting a pest control company.
Remember, you’re dealing with harmful chemicals, so you’ll need to be prepared to deal with a lot of red tape. Plus, every state requires a certification for commercial applicators.
An easy way to get certified is to visit the Department of Agriculture for your state. They usually offer courses and guidance on how to navigate the bureaucracy.
Step Three – Get Insured
Insurance is a must in the pest control business. The fact is that property damage and bodily injuries are not uncommon, so you’ll need a comprehensive business insurance package.
Insurance may seem like a hassle to find and maintain, but if you get sued and don’t have insurance, any costs will need to be paid directly out of your pocket.
Step Four – Purchase the Necessary Equipment
After getting all your paperwork in order, it’s time to start purchasing the necessary equipment. New equipment is tax-deductible, and you’ll also be able to deduct for equipment depreciation in subsequent years.
Some of the equipment you’ll need includes:
- Traps and cages
- Storage compartments
- Safety equipment
- Pest control truck for transportation
If you’re not working from home, you’ll also need to think about finding an office and filling it with all the office supplies you’ll need to run a smooth, efficient operation.
Step Five – Find Your First Clients
Starting a pest control business is an arduous process because netting those first clients is tough. It’s a super competitive landscape, and building up your reputation will take time.
A good place to start is friends and family. Put the word out and see if anyone needs an exterminator.
Encourage them to leave some online reviews for your new business and ask them to recommend you to any of their friends and family members.
Also, think about your branding. As in any industry, pest control companies need a solid brand story to make themselves stand out in a sea of competition.
Pest Control Business Start-Up Costs
To start pest control business services requires an injection of capital. The five main steps listed above are only part of the puzzle. There’s so much more that goes into building a successful pest control company.
Finding financing takes time and patience. Explore the various financing options in your local area, including bank loans, HELOCs, U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) loans, or even paying directly out of your pocket.
The average cost of starting a pest control business can be as low as $20,000 but can also cost as much as $50,000.
Cost of Pest Control Startup
Most of your startup costs will be on supplies. The single biggest purchase will be your transportation. A brand-new truck could cost you at least $20,000, but it can be even more expensive if you want to brand your company vehicle.
Supplies for doing your job vary depending on your location, but a single-gallon foamer typically costs $200, whereas a single-gallon sprayer is roughly $250.
Safety equipment, such as gloves, respirators, and shoe coverings, can be bought in bulk to save money. In most cases, you can buy personal protective equipment for around $100 if you shop around with wholesalers.
There are also insurance premiums, business formation fees, and certification costs. Again, these vary based on where you live.
Additional Costs and Considerations
There are lots of hidden costs that can increase your overhead costs. Don’t get caught out when figuring out how to start a pest control company—plan for the inevitable.
Here are some of the additional costs and considerations you need to account for when learning how to start a pest control business.
Marketing and Branding Costs
Marketing will be a big part of your costs. How are you going to reach your ideal client and compete with brands that have larger advertising budgets?
The obvious avenue is to build your own website. Hosting a basic WordPress website can be done for less than $100. But building a website isn’t enough; you need to go further in your marketing.
There are many ways to market your services, including:
- Newspaper ads
- Radio ads
- Paid social media
- Business cards
Marketing costs can quickly add up to thousands of dollars a year. Smart advertising and taking advantage of free and low-cost options can help you to maximize your footprint.
Dedicated Management Software
Contractors are increasingly turning to dedicated software to help them run their businesses from anywhere in the world. These tools can simplify, streamline, and automate your day-to-day activities. Software suites like FieldRoutes are designed to help you achieve growth and reduce your overhead.
If you decide to invest in a software solution like this, make sure you budget for the regular monthly subscription fees.
Will You Buy a Franchise?
An alternative to forming your own company and building it from the bottom-up is to purchase an existing pest control franchise.
The benefit of buying a franchise is you already have a brand name that people know. You’ll also have the support of the parent company who will help navigate all the challenges of creating a successful organization.
Purchasing a franchise is usually more expensive, but you can find some great deals by shopping around. For example, Company A may require an investment of at least $99,000, whereas Company B asks for just $15,000.
It’s also worth looking into franchise financing options. Many major pest control franchises offer in-house financing. This is ideal if you have a poor credit score and can’t get the backing of a traditional lender.
Pricing Your Services Correctly
There’s a sweet spot every new pest control business needs to hit. You’ll need to price your services high enough to leave yourself with a healthy profit but low enough to remain competitive.
The best place to start is to calculate your monthly overheads and consider how many jobs you’ll need to take to cover your expenses, including paying yourself a salary.
Most income from pest control comes from subscription fees. Customers will pay you a regular fee to treat their buildings and keep infestations from breaking out.
There’s a huge amount of variation in pest control pricing. For example, removing mice may cost just $200, whereas termite infestations could cost as much as $1,000. One place to begin is your competition. Learn what the average prices are for various services in your local area.
Should You Work Full-Time or Part-Time?
Another consideration when starting a pest control company is whether you want to start part-time or full-time.
Many contractors start their companies in their spare time to give them a chance to test the viability of their business offerings. However, starting full-time means you can concentrate all your time and attention on making your pest control brand a success.
There’s no right or wrong answer when it comes to the decision you make. If you desperately need the income, consider starting part-time so you’re not betting everything on the success of your new venture.
There’s nothing more gratifying than running a successful business you built. But it takes time and effort to carve out a niche for yourself and build the trust necessary to win and maintain customers.
Get the right support for your new venture. FieldRoutes is the number one solution for helping pest controllers expand and streamline their businesses.