You’re contemplating starting your own pest control business.
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, 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.
And HERE is the right place!
Check out the following 10 sure-fire steps every pest control business owner should consider before taking the plunge.
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.
Start by thinking about the area you live in and the pest problems that are most prevalent there.
For example, Florida seems to always have an ant problem. You’ve got fire ants outside, sugar ants inside. When it rains, they want to be inside your house, free from the flooding. When it’s dry? They’ll also find a way in looking for water. You’re constantly battling ants.
Have a lot of wood-framed homes in your town? Termite control may be a great option to add to your services.
Some services you can add include:
- Residential, commercial, or both?
- One-time services
- Termite control
- Trapping varmints
- Removal of nests (bees, wasps, hornets)
- Rodent control
- Mosquito control
- Fleas and Ticks
- Bed Bugs
- Lawn services
- Attic and crawl space treatments
Be mindful that as the weather changes, so, too, will the types of pests, and services needed to take care of those pests. You’ll want to consider adding specific services during those times of the year.
Also, any type of natural weather event could cause specific infestations, events such as earthquakes, fires, and floods.
2. Develop Your Value Proposition
What’s your value proposition?
Or rather, what makes you stand out from the competition?
To find your value proposition, ask yourself the following questions:
- 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 makes your clients want to buy from you.
Once you know what makes you unique, you’ll be able to use this message in your advertising.
3. Build Your Brand
What do I mean by “branding”?
Well, your brand is your company’s identity. It’s those recognizable characteristics that let everyone know you.
Your brand is your logo… your color scheme… your name… perhaps a tagline… or even the font you use.
You want it to be memorable and eye-catching.
Once you have your name, logo, and colors picked out, you’ll want to use your brand image on EVERYTHING:
- Your website
- Uniforms – shirts and hats
- Vehicles – wrap your trucks
- Social Media – your Facebook page
- Advertising – any ads should contain your name, logo, and company colors
4. Licensing, Registration, and Certification
Pest control is regulated in each state. Your best bet is to check with your state’s laws before your start your business.
There may be several Federal, State, and County licensing, registration, and certification processes that you’ll need to complete before operating your business. Remember – you’re dealing with potent chemicals and that usually requires some red tape.
From the EPA website:
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.
And many states require ALL commercial applicators to be certified, not just those using RUPs.
Be sure to check with your State law on the legal requirements. And you may be able to find certification courses through your state’s Department of Agriculture (DOA).
5. Protect Your Business (and Yourself) with Insurance
Consider purchasing insurance for your pest control business.
What if you damage a client’s property? Stain an area with chemicals? Miss something altogether?
You’ll want insurance backing you up so you don’t have to pay everything out of pocket.
Being that you’ll probably hire a few employees along the way, you’ll want to look into worker’s compensation and auto insurance as well.
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.
Don’t use a personal account!
Co-mingling these funds is not a good idea. Plus, you’ll get several perks from opening a business account such as account protection and lines of credit.
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.
- Reliable truck for your supplies and equipment
- Chemical applicators
- Safety equipment (gloves, boots, long sleeves and pants, respirators, etc.)
- Traps, cages, and other storage compartments
Don’t forget the office equipment!
You’ll need a solid laptop and printer, plus accounting software like Quickbooks or a scheduling/routing platform like Service Autopilot.
8. Find Your “Ideal” Client
When thinking about your ideal client, you’ll want to uncover their biggest pain points.
What’s their biggest gripe when it comes to bugs, critters, and varmints?
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.
Who they are…
What they need…
Why they need it….
If you currently own a service company such as a lawn care and landscaping business, you can tap into that clientele and upsell them on pest control.
Your best clients will most likely be:
- Property owners
- Property investors who maintain several units
- Apartment complexes
- Government offices
And, the more contracts you can sign vs. one-time services, the better off you’ll be in the long run.
How to Find Your First Clients
If you’re adding pest control services to an existing business, this one’s a no-brainer. Start marketing your new service 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, then ask for referrals.
- Develop a social media and web presence.
- Spread the word through social networks like church and recreational sports.
9. Hire Your First Employee
If you can answer “yes” to any of the following questions, you may need to hire an employee:
- I’m working more exhaustive hours now that my client list has picked up.
- I’m turning down jobs because I don’t have enough time to do them.
- Someone was helping me but they quit.
- A friend (or maybe even part-time employee) is helping me but he/she is burning out… FAST.
- I’m constantly out in the field instead of focusing on growing my business (i.e. marketing, sales, etc.)
- I’m missing calls because I’m too busy, and it’s costing me $$.
When you do hire an employee, 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 ahead to be ready for the onslaught of work coming your way.
Want to know how to find, train, AND keep great employees? Download Our FREE Hiring Guide Now!
10. Quick Note about Lawyers, Bookkeepers, Accountants, HR Professionals, etc…
Consider building relationships with these folks. 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 a big headache down the line.
Starting your own pest control business (and being your OWN 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:
- The services you’ll provide
- Your business name, logo, and colors
- What sets you apart from your competition
- Protecting your business from… everything!
- Marketing, hiring, and much much more.
This article will kick you off in the right direction and make starting your pest control business a lot easier!
Related: Best Software for Pest Control?
Lisa Marino is a copywriter for Service Autopilot. She uses her 15+ years in direct marketing, sales, and product development to push entrepreneurs beyond their limits. She's passionate about helping others grow their businesses through time-tested marketing techniques. When not writing, you can find her belting out a mean Stevie Nicks at a local karaoke night.Author's Website