By Eddie Wooten
Setting up recurring services and monthly payments offers multiple benefits, not only for customers but for pest control businesses.
It's a way to put the "win" in "winter."
"We've gone to a monthly budget plan for payments," says Carl Braun, owner of Quality Pest Control in Omaha, Nebraska. "That evens out our cash flow and makes it a lot easier to keep our guys in the wintertime."
Recurring services also function as preventive maintenance for the customer's property, keeping pests at bay.
"That's because we're doing our job," Braun says. "You're paying for pest insurance."
And it all beats a one-time service, which some customers want but some companies find costly.
"It's not profitable," he says. "Oftentimes, it's a loss leader."
Those are among the lessons Braun has learned since he bought Quality Pest Control in 2010, lessons that are far different from those that set him on his original career path.
As an undergraduate, Braun studied microbiology and biochemistry at the University of Nebraska. He earned a degree from the University of Nebraska Medical Center's College of Dentistry in 1984.
"I embrace science," Braun says. "Science is how my brain works. Some people read Shakespeare, and I don't."
He practiced dentistry for 28 years but soured on seeing businesses selling to corporate owners.
"It was just time to move on," he says.
During a short career break, he and his wife, Kathy, pondered selling their rural home and moving into Omaha.
"Or do we buy a job that's not practicing dentistry?" he asked her. "So we bought a job that happened to be a bug business.
"Funny thing happened, it grew."
While treating dental patients differs dramatically from pest control treatment, Braun could find similarities that have helped Quality Pest Control succeed.
"We help our clients, just as we helped our patients, solve problems that are painful," Braun says. "It's just a different kind of a pain, and they can't do it themselves. You have to be in the people business to practice dentistry, and you have to be in the people business to be successful in pest management."
When the Brauns bought Quality Pest Control 13 years ago, the opportunities to move operations forward seemed almost limitless.
The business ran on Windows 94, a DOS-based routing software, and dot-matrix printers. Over the first few years, the Brauns cycled through three software providers. When the last one left him “super-frustrated” in 2020, Braun chose FieldRoutes as his new software provider.
"It helps me run my business, very efficiently, on a daily, even an hourly, basis," Braun says. That goes for his office and service managers at Quality Pest Control but also for him. Among the additional improvements through FieldRoutes® software’s capabilities:
Reporting. Braun says he's able to track revenue daily, sometimes twice a day, and get details on technicians' production, recurring subscriptions sold, or Sentricon cases. "My sales force is expanding, I want to have teams, and I want to have competitions," he says. "We were too small before to do that."
Automated communication for accounts receivable. Clients are notified that services are forthcoming. Within 30 days afterward, Braun says, a customer has four opportunities to say they're not happy with service. Later, at 60 days past due, an account is automatically sent to collections. "That's helped manage our accounts receivable very efficiently," Braun says.
Mobile app. Braun touts improvements in the FieldRoutes® Mobile app that are making life easier for Quality Pest Control. But he also touts the ease of learning and the ownership his team, particularly the service specialists or technicians, takes in passing along knowledge. "One of our core values is to collaborate and teach each other," he says. "I want to have a culture of leaders who train. If you know something, share it. If you don't know something, ask."
Time. Braun credits FieldRoutes software with returning 16 hours of his time, or about two days per month. So what does Braun do with that time? "I serve NPMA (National Pest Management Association) and our state association," Braun says. "That’s what they kid me about: ‘You have more time, now you're going to commit to something else. You can't say no.’"
Braun has built connections with FieldRoutes employees during his first three years as a customer. He also welcomed an invitation to join the Pathfinder Network, a community of FieldRoutes software customers who meet to share their successes, highlight their companies as industry leaders, influence the platform’s future in discussions with the FieldRoutes team, and network with fellow customers.
“I feel that we’re listened to,” he says.
All of it – the software functions and the engagement – are putting Quality Pest Control in position to reach a goal of becoming best in class.
"We elevate that to we're more profitable, we’re more efficient, we have better clients, happier technicians, happier staff," he says.
"That’s where we're going with FieldRoutes."
2x increase in business since partnering with FieldRoutes in September 2020
Routing as many stops per day with FieldRoutes as it did in a month before FieldRoutes
Owner Carl Braun has picked up 16 hours per month because of work efficiencies
Owners: Kathy and Carl Braun
Years In Business: 13
Office Staff: 4
Information: QualityPestControlOmaha.com, 402.629.6154
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