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Surviving Uncertain Times in the Pest Control Industry

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected all aspects of life. Our routines are adapting to this new normal, but we don't know if "life as we knew it" will return. Small business owners have justifiable concerns as they consider the current economic situation, but there is hope!


As we talk to our pest control industry contacts across the country, we have seen reasons for optimism in this sector. Pests won't follow stay-out-of-home orders, even if the order comes from the governor! We are hitting the busy season right in the middle of COVID-19 chaos. Pest services are in demand, but some companies are doing a better job adjusting to COVID-19 than others.


Let's take a look at the characteristics of companies that will succeed in a year unlike any we have experienced. 

Efficiency in All Areas 

Now is the time to increase efficiency and decrease expenses. Streamline workflows and eliminate red tape so your operation can run at maximum efficiency. Review every aspect of your business to identify opportunities to save money. Contact landlords and utilities to negotiate special arrangements as your business needs change. Identify work routines that could transition online. Can technicians start their routes from their house without having to come to the office? Minimizing trips to the office saves fuel, and it is safer for your employees. 

If you do allow employees to start their day from home, don't forget to optimize their routes based on this new starting point. You knew we couldn't get through a post like this without talking about how important it is to route your techs efficiently! When most companies look for opportunities to increase efficiency and reduce expenses, tech routing is almost always low hanging fruit. 

Rigorous Hygiene Procedures 

Your employees are risking exposure when they visit customer homes, so your company must take implement precautions and safety measures. Implement rigorous hygiene and cleanliness standards to protect employees and customers. All employees should wear masks, gloves, and proper work clothing. They must clean and sanitize their hands often and in between customers. Make sure to provide all employees with the personal protective equipment necessary to do their jobs safely and responsibly.  


This is one area where there is some good news. Pest control companies perceived as having strong commitments to cleanliness and professionalism are thriving right now. We have seen several companies score high on consumer trust metrics that had record-setting months in April. 


Communication is Authentic and Honest 

Consumers and employees expect honest, open communication. Be transparent about significant changes or disruptions to the business. Share information that will help each person plan and adapt to changing circumstances. The companies that survive and thrive will do so because they are trusted, and protecting the welfare of your employees protects your business!


Marketing Is Focused On Education And Trust, Not Promotion

Consumers are overwhelmed with generic emails about COVID-19. Your "Now more than ever is the time for pest control services" message is going to get lost in the noise. Convey important information about safety procedures through your website and in communications related to specific service appointments. 


If you have a long-running bed bug removal campaign, this could be the time to switch it up. Some pest problems like bed bugs are trending down due to travel restrictions, but others are on the rise. Many residential customers are having more ant problems because they are cooking at home instead of eating out. Mosquito complaints are increasing in some areas as families spend more time in their backyards. Review your marketing budget to verify you are spending money promoting relevant services during this time.


We also recommend reviewing the tone of all marketing materials and communications. This may not be the time for aggressive sales strategies. The marketing messages generating sales during this time use a tone more educational than promotional. Show you have your customer's best interest at heart. Your marketing should focus on building trust with the people you serve, the safety of your products, and keeping families safe from pests. If your business is "locally owned and operated," make this clear. Consumers want to help local businesses during this time


Let's Have a Conversation

[7] Software was started by pest industry professionals, for pest industry professionals. We usually say, "We've been there, and we understand" when clients share their problems. The pandemic created circumstances none of us have ever seen before, so no one can say "we've been there" about these challenges. While this is a new experience, we have insight into how successful pest control companies are handling this situation. Would you like to have a conversation about strategies for surviving and thriving during 2020? Give us a call. There is nothing we love more than helping pest control companies thrive. 


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