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how to start a pest control business
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You’re thinking about how to start a 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 Pest Control 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
  • Contracts
  • Termite control
  • Fumigation
  • Trapping varmints
  • Baiting
  • Removal of nests (bees, wasps, hornets)
  • Rodent control
  • Mosquito control
  • Fleas and Ticks
  • Bed Bugs
  • In-home
  • 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 pest control 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:

  1. How does your business solve your clients’ pest control problems?
  2. What benefits can your customers expect from your business?
  3. 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

Get more clients for your pest control business!

4. Licensing, Registration, and Certification

Pest control is regulated in each state. Your best bet is to check with your state’s laws before you 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 Pest Control 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 Pest Control 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 Pest Control Equipment

Once you have your business account established, you’ll need to consider purchasing the right equipment for your daily operations.

Think about:

  • Reliable truck for your supplies and equipment
  • Chemicals
  • 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.

Grow Your Pest Control Business... Faster (and with Less Stress)

  • Instant invoicing
  • Better scheduling
  • Manage your clients and employees all in one system

8. Find Your “Ideal” Pest Control 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 (this one's for lawn care, but the same concept applies to the pest control industry too).

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
  • Businesses
  • 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 Pest Control 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.

Click here to read our full guide on using pest control flyers with your existing clients to win more clients through referrals.

spray-tech-chemical-spraying-yard

9. Hire Your First Pest Control 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.

Click here to read our complete pest control hiring guide.

10. A Quick Note About Lawyers, Bookkeepers, Accountants, HR Professionals, etc…

Consider building relationships with lawyers, bookkeepers, accountants, human resources professionals, and more.

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.

BONUS: Use the Best Pest Control Software to Build a Strong Foundation

As you begin your journey on starting a pest control business, it’s important you build a strong foundation by choosing the best pest control software.

When you choose Service Autopilot, you can put your business’ growth on autopilot by automating your everyday tasks:

  • Chemical tracking
  • Custom forms
  • Instant invoicing
  • Automatic routing
  • Same-day payments
  • Anywhere estimates
  • Marketing made simple

But don’t take my word for it. See for yourself how Service Autopilot will change your life.

Sign up for a FREE tour to see how Service Autopilot will help your pest control business!

Grow Your Pest Control Business... Faster (and with Less Stress)

  • Instant invoicing
  • Better scheduling
  • Manage your clients and employees all in one system

Start a Pest Control Business With Long-Lasting Success

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: How to Price Your Pest Control Services


Originally published March 5, 2019 7:00 AM, updated Sept 15, 2020 1:33 PM

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