How to Bid (& Win) Commercial Pest Control Accounts

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… Every Time

So you want to grow your pest control business.

You want:

  • Steady growth
  • Increase in clients
  • Increase in recurring jobs
  • Higher profits on your jobs
  • Increase your word-of-mouth referrals

And guess what?

Adding commercial pest control clients to your business can accomplish all of these goals (and more) for you.

And unlike residential pest control clients, commercial clients are locked into a contract with recurring pest control services. In other words, it’s consistent revenue.

Get more clients for your pest control business!

Start by Asking for Referrals from Your Best Commercial Clients

Have you ever heard that old phrase: “It’s all about who you know.”

In the pest control industry, commercial clients (more so than with residential) are more easily acquired when they’re sourced from a referral.

… But in order to start getting referrals, you’ll have to network a little bit.

Once you win your first commercial pest control client, you should strive to build a strong working relationship with them:

  1. Make sure you and your team are giving them 110% of your best effort 110% of the time.
  2. Send surveys after each service to see how well they think you did, and find out how you can improve for next time.
  3. Always have you or your team leave behind your company business card, so they can reach out to you for feedback (or potentially give it to a friend).

Then, when you’re confident your first commercial pest control client is happy, you can ask the decision maker to send you referrals.

Be sure you address the silent, “What’s in it for me?” question. You can do this by offering them some sort of a discount.

Hand the decision-maker your business card and let them know how much you appreciate their business.

And wait! It doesn’t just stop there. Many business owners forget this extra touch, but it’s a very important one if you expect to get even more referrals… 

For every referred client they win for you, you should also send them a handwritten thank you card in the mail.

This is a nice personal touch, because you’re giving them value (with the discounted service) AND you’re taking time out of your day to thank them for helping you.

Nice little touches like this make your clients way more likely to refer you to your next ideal client.

Fix your pricing in under 10 minutes!

Check Your Pricing for Growth Profits

Now that you know who to go after… you’ll have to re-evaluate your pricing.

If you’re only pricing enough to cover your costs and salaries, you’re pricing yourself out of the market.

The pricing formula doesn’t just stop after expenses and salaries. You should also include extra revenue profits for growth.

And while you might be afraid you’ll price yourself out of the market, fear not.

Did you know that 86% of your ideal clients are willing to pay more for a great customer experience?

In other words, you should focus on improving your customer experience so that you can increase your prices to grow your business.

If you improve your customer experience, you’ll have a much higher likelihood at winning future upsells and cross-sells.

PLUS, studies show your ideal customers are willing to pay up to a 13% price premium. As a result, you stand to make even higher profits on these clients (meaning, more business growth).

“You’ve Got to Look the Part”

Uniforms That Make You Look Legit

Growing up, you’ve probably been told, “You’ve got to look the part,” a time or two. And unfortunately, I’m here today to tell you the same stands true in your adulthood.

If you want high-quality, high-profit commercial pest control clients, you and your team are going to have to wear uniforms.

And while you may or may not like this idea, your uniforms need to look nice and professional.

If your clients are going to pay you top-dollar, they’re going to expect top-dollar service. This includes you… well… looking the part.

Let’s put it this way: No high-profile commercial business is going to want someone in a dirty t-shirt and worn-out jeans walking around their suit-and-tie office.

So invest your money into some high-quality uniforms. A good rule of thumb is to provide 5-7 uniforms for each of your employees, so that every day they have a fresh uniform.

A Truck That Stands Out in the Crowd

While you should stick to what you can afford, you shouldn’t go after commercial clients if you can’t afford to buy a decent truck or van for your pest control business.

In order to more easily acquire new commercial clients, you should look as professional as possible.

Consider what your clients would want sitting in their business’ parking lot…

The way you present yourself sends a clear message to your clients. What message do you want to send?

Do your research and find a truck or van that meets your pest control business’ needs and budget.

Tell Your Clients What They’re Paying For

As you prepare to meet with your potential client, you should put together an itemized list of the various packages you provide.

Make sure to list what services each package includes (as well as any potential add-ons to upsell or cross-sell them).

After all, businesses are on a budget, and they want to know what they’re paying for.

Plus, your prospects will be way more inclined to convert, if they know what they’re getting for your price point.

If they’re truly your ideal client, your prospect will see through your low-balling competitors and won’t even consider them. They just need to know what they’re getting, and how great and professional you are, which will explain why your prices are higher.

Prepare Questions for Your Consultation

Before your client consultation, in addition to your list of packages, come up with a list of questions to ask your prospective client. This will help you determine if that prospect will be an ideal client.

If you can determine if they’re an ideal client up front, it’ll help you to decline prospects that are either unprofitable or a poor fit.

Here are a few questions you might ask:

  • What do you expect to get from our services?
  • Our prices are non-negotiable. How do you feel about them?
  • Do you have any concerns with any of our policies?
  • We auto-charge your card on file when your bill is due. Will this be an issue for your business?
  • We require a 1-year contract with all of our commercial clients. Will this be acceptable for your business?

These are just a few starting points of a few things you might consider asking.

Keep in mind, when you’re doing a consultation for a potential client, you’re not the only one being interviewed.

You’re also interviewing them to see if they’re going to be an unprofitable problem client.

Bring Your Contract (Even on the First Visit!)

You’d be surprised by how many business owners think bringing a contract to the consultation is being too presumptuous.

However, I assure you – It’s not.

If you bring your contract to the consultation, your prospects are more likely to convert because… 

  • It’s harder to say no in-person
  • It shows you’ve come prepared
  • It helps to keep them from backing out last minute
  • It’s a testimony to your confidence (that you stand by your services)
  • You can answer questions and explain what’s in the contract as they’re signing it

Bottom line: Bring your contract with you to every single visit with a potential prospect.

Be Prepared for Whatever Comes Your Way

No doubt about it, your prospects are going to be asking you questions… and lots of them. This is especially true, if they’re really interested in becoming a client.

Here’s a list of questions you should ask yourself to be prepared for whatever comes your way from the client. These questions will also help you decide if this is the right client for you BEFORE you make your bid:

  • How low can I go?
    • If you don’t know how low you can bid, you might end up bidding too low. You want to win commercial pest control contracts… but remember, you’re only interested in winning the profitable ones.
  • Is this an ideal client?
    • Think about your best clients that (in a perfect world) you could clone and make a million more of them. Does this prospect even come close to the type of clients you’re wanting to take on?
  • Can I meet this prospect’s needs?
    • Are they asking for anything that’s unreasonable? Are they asking for any add-on services you don’t provide? Be sure you can meet their needs.
  • What can I upsell on this contract?
    • If they’re asking for a service you don’t typically provide in a standard contract, see if there’s a way you can upsell them on it. On the flip side, be on the lookout for possible upsells your client doesn’t know they need yet.
  • Will I make a profit on this contract?
    • The answer here is simple… If you’re going to lose money (or won’t meet your desired profit margin), don’t bid to this client – Even if they’re interested.
  • What’s the competition doing or offering?
    • Is the potential client referencing your competition’s offerings or prices? Who are you competing against? Is their quality of services comparable to yours?
    • Clients have a budget, and they want to know what they’re paying for. Even if they’re an ideal client for you, there’s a good chance they’ll do a little research on the other pest control businesses in your area.
    • Know your local market, and justify your pricing with them. And for those clients that only care about the cheaper bid – Kick ‘em to the curb!
  • What’s my relationship with the decision maker?
    • If it’s a potential client you want to bid, see if there’s anything you can do to improve your relationship with them.
  • Are there any potential networking opportunities?
    • With EVERY client you have, there are always networking opportunities. If the client signs a contract with you, don’t be afraid to ask your new clients about potential referrals.

These are just a few of the many questions you should begin to ask yourself before bidding to any potential clients.

And always, remember this: No matter how badly you may need another client, it’s better to turn down a non-profitable prospect than to gain them and lose money.

What Happens When You Lose an Account?

No matter how GREAT you are… You WILL lose clients.

It’s nothing personal, but for one reason or another it’s going to happen. So be prepared.

When this happens, be polite.

Even if your client has chosen someone else for next year, that doesn’t mean they won’t come back to you later on. This is why it’s important to stay polite.

You want to end things on a good note.

Plus, this gives you the opportunity to occasionally reach out to them and see how things are going.

Try to convince them to stay… but don’t overdo it.

Your client wants to leave, and it sucks. But don’t act desperate.

See if you can offer them a better deal, and if you can’t (or if their answer is no) – Then, let them go.
If you keep your emotions in check, then your client might reconsider doing business with you in the future when they’re on the hunt for a new pest control contract. Plus, they might even consider referring other businesses to you.

Let your soon-to-be-former-client know that you’re sad to see them go, but you’re always available if they ever need your services again.

In most cases, don’t take it personal.

Losing clients is a part of doing business. It’s going to happen, so you just need to be prepared.

Many times, the loss of great clients is due to budget cuts. And in many cases, the competing pest control business that outbid you is new and non-profitable. In other words, they might go out of business before the end of the contract – leaving your former client in the lurch and ready to rehire you.

… And in some cases, it actually is personal.

The obvious fact is that there are times the loss of a client is personal. Sometimes, clients cancel due to poor satisfaction.

This is why you should always ask your clients why they’re terminating their services.

And if it is due to poor satisfaction, find out what you did wrong and see how you can improve to do better next time.

After some time, try to win your favorite former clients back!

Whether you do this by phone, email, mail, 9-arounds, or door-to-door – Don’t forget about your favorite former clients. (If they were a super profitable client… Personally, I prefer by phone. It’s more personal that way.)

After a few months, check in on your former clients to see how they’re doing! It’s an easy way to restart the conversation and win them back.

And when you think they’re ready, present an offer to them and see if they bite.

The Key to Growing a Successful Pest Control Business

As you begin building your commercial pest control contracts, don’t forget to stay true to yourself and your goals along the way.

There will be some profitable commercial pest control prospects that you’ll have to turn down.

Because at the end of the day, not every profitable client will be right for you.

They might ask for things you don’t or can’t offer… Or they may not fit as an ideal client.

Don’t forget to always take a step back and second-guess yourself before bidding to potential clients. And after a few bids, you’ll be a pro at it before you know it!


Related: How to Make More Money in Pest Control By Marketing


Originally published January 24, 2020 8:51 AM

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