Business Growth

7 Mistakes That Can Doom Pest Control Businesses (And How to Avoid Them)

Erin O'Byrne
Apr 08, 2024
6 min read
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Operating a successful pest control company includes various daily challenges, from communicating with customers to managing equipment and workers.

Leadership is a constant balancing act. From directing teams and managing turnover to keeping clients happy, controlling costs, and staying ahead of the competition, the pressure to excel is immense. In this demanding environment, unproductive habits can creep in, offering a deceptive sense of ease in getting through the day. However, these seemingly quick fixes ultimately hinder your ability to lead effectively.

This blog highlights seven common pitfalls that pest control service providers often encounter. Whether you're a small business owner or operate a large chain, chances are some of these mistakes resonate more than others. The key is critically evaluating areas where you can enhance your operations and implement solutions tailored to your unique needs.

Mistake #1: Failing to communicate with customers clearly

Errors and miscommunications are inevitable. However, if left unchecked, they can also harm your business's profitability and financial performance.

Failing to communicate clearly about services, expectations, and pricing is a recipe for unhappy customers, negative reviews, and business loss. Even if their homes are pest-free, customers may feel disappointed with service if communication falls by the wayside.

Your reputation relies on more than service quality. It includes being an authority in your field and a trusted resource. People who know what they’re paying for are usually happy to do so. 

The last thing you want is a bad Yelp review over a miscommunication or unexpected service change. 

How to avoid this mistake: Ensure the final invoice matches the estimate. And if it doesn’t, explain why. Customers want an easy-to-access, detailed service plan with transparent pricing and expectations. 

With field management software, pest control businesses can enhance the customer experience by automating customer communications. Mobile apps enable technicians to access all customer information and project details before arriving at the job site, reducing errors and miscommunication.

Comprehensive pest control software with marketing capabilities helps businesses reach their target customers in various ways, including email marketing and direct mail. This helps you deliver the right message to the right customer at the right time.

Seamless customer communication builds trust, leading to happy customers and repeat business. 

Mistake #2: Skipping thorough inspections

It’s easy to take shortcuts when dealing with a packed schedule. After all, you’ve seen signs of a specific pest throughout the neighborhood, so it must be the same critter again.

Remember what they say about assumptions? Customers expect and deserve a thorough inspection and detailed review of the situation. 

Skipping steps is a sure way to miss common pests, including termites and cockroaches. Failing to diagnose the pest issue accurately will lead to a negative customer experience.

How to avoid this mistake: Train technicians to conduct meticulous inspections and search diligently for pest problems. Give them the proper tools and relevant checklists for the job at hand.

Develop a comprehensive pest management plan that includes ongoing training for all employees. Re-emphasize what you expect from them whenever they go into the field.

Promote this approach as part of your company’s culture, and make sure to recognize employees as examples and promote positive aspects, not just negative enforcement. 

This ensures safe and responsible practices, improves customer loyalty, and gives them the peace of mind they want. 

Mistake #3: Overlooking prevention

Focusing solely on reactive measures rather than proactive prevention could lead to continuous pest infestations, frustrated customers, and increased service calls.

That may sound good for the bottom line, but as frustration mounts over unwanted pests, your customers will begin to look for other solutions.

How to avoid this mistake: Educate your customers on common preventive pest control measures. Ensure your team uses every opportunity to share informative content, on and off-site. 

Offer regular inspection plans as part of your services to identify potential issues. Discounts on prevention programs often help customers feel more confident about signing up for services. Promote them among first-time customers or in areas that experience a rise in a specific type of pest. 

When interacting with potential customers, prioritize offering solutions over simply identifying problems. Even if there's no immediate need for your services, use your expertise to provide valuable insights or recommendations. A genuine "thank you" for their time, coupled with a business card, leaves a lasting positive impression. People appreciate honesty and remember those who offer helpful guidance, making them more likely to turn to you when a relevant need arises.

Mistake #4: Neglecting proper training and certification for technicians

The pest control industry is constantly evolving. New chemicals, new techniques, and new regulations on handling pesticides, insecticides, repellents, and follow-up treatments exist.

It's difficult for management to stay on top of change, but it’s just as crucial for those in the field. Ineffective or improper methods can harm workers and customers, raise liability insurance rates, and even lead to legal issues.

Pest control services are strictly regulated, and specific certifications are required in many states. Even if your state doesn’t mandate compliance, ongoing training protects your employees’ health and minimizes the risk of accidental harm to customers and the environment. 

How to avoid this mistake: Invest in comprehensive training programs for the entire team to remain current on industry standards while delivering effective and efficient solutions. Along with formal training, identify regular times for toolbox talks where veterans share their experiences with newer staff. 

FieldRoutes’ Tips and Tools provides an essential resource for helpful blogs, webinars, podcasts, videos, guides, and more. Also, consider placing one-page tip sheets and reminders in a break room or where technicians pick up their vehicle keys.

Recognizing and regularly emphasizing the importance of ongoing training sets your business up for long-term success. 

Mistake #5: Ineffective marketing and advertising 

Pest control companies rely on various marketing channels to attract new customers, nurture leads, and grow their businesses.

Finding the right blend of marketing tactics is critical for your company. With ineffective marketing efforts, businesses risk limited customer reach, slow growth, and inability to keep up in the market. 

How to avoid this mistake: You don’t need to invest significant money into marketing to have success. Just be smart about building a strategy and where you spend.

Build a strong online presence, prioritizing information and responsiveness over flashy design elements. Develop a user-friendly website, leverage social media effectively, and consider email marketing to connect with potential customers. Focusing on clear, valuable content and prompt communication will establish trust and attract clients seeking reliable pest control solutions.

With Google and other search platforms, online advertising can target people searching for your services. Build SEO and keywords into your website to attract new leads.

Another minimal-cost investment is customer referrals. Offer a discount to existing accounts that bring in potential customers. Their testimonials automatically build trust through referrals to neighbors, friends, and family.

Mistake #6: Not leveraging technology 

While technology can seem daunting for some business owners and employees, especially those more accustomed to traditional methods, customer preferences and expectations continuously evolve. Younger generations, such as Millennials and Gen Zers, have grown up immersed in digital technologies from an early age. As a result, they are highly comfortable with online interactions and digital processes and actively prefer these modern approaches over conventional methods. 

Leveraging the latest technology for scheduling, billing, and customer communication creates more efficient operations, meets your client base where they are, and reduces potential errors.

How to avoid this mistake: Find the right digital solution for you.

With the FieldRoutes software mobile app, everything you need is at your fingertips. Connect your technicians and managers through their phones to give them the tools they need and the power to close more deals in the field.

Along with scheduling, billing, and collection, FieldRoutes offers business owners:

  • Route optimization so drivers don’t waste time on the road.

  • Seamless communication between team members in the office and the field.

  • Targeted emails to welcome back customers and offer upsells.

  • Help with website design and email marketing strategies.

  • Real-time reporting and analytics.

Mistake #7: Overlooking employee morale

In a tight labor market, good help is hard to find. Businesses must retain their best workers.

Employee dissatisfaction can lead to high turnover, decreased service quality, and increased training costs––not to mention negative online reviews from former employees.

People want to work for companies that invest in the right tools and technology. They also want to feel appreciated for their work and be rewarded for going above and beyond.

How to avoid this mistake: Invest in employee training with an onboarding process that goes well beyond the first day. Set a regular development schedule and reinforce key messages you want at your workforce's core.

You nurture a team that thrives by fostering a positive work environment that prioritizes safety, growth opportunities, and support for employees' personal goals. This translates to higher morale, a more positive outlook, and high-quality collaboration that fuels success.

Recognize and reward good performances. Positive reinforcement goes much further than always being reactive and negative. Workers who feel supported and know their managers recognize their successes feel better about their jobs.

Motivated workers who enjoy a good work-life balance bring a positive mindset to the job daily.

Need Help with running your pest control business?

Whether you’re an established business owner or starting a new pest control company, there’s always room for improvement.

FieldRoutes is a cloud-based software solution designed to simplify and automate field service operations for pest control professionals. The all-in-one system allows users to manage customer data, schedule appointments, optimize routes, send invoices, collect payments electronically, send reminders, access reports, and view analytics in real-time.

Additionally, FieldRoutes provides a Marketing Suite to streamline digital marketing for field service businesses, including website design, search engine optimization, PPC, and email marketing.

Ready to get started? Schedule a free demo with FieldRoutes today!

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