As you start your pest control business, you’re probably going to have a lot of questions.
You’re wondering things like…
- “What types of traps should I purchase?”
- “What brands are the most reputable?”
- “What chemicals should I buy?”
- “What equipment will I need?”
- “Should I go green?”
And these questions merely scratch the surface of what you’ll likely be asking yourself in the near future.
Find the answers to these questions, and get answers to questions you didn’t even know you should be asking.
1. “Should I Even Use Chemicals?”
Before you can choose what chemicals to buy, you should decide whether you’re going to use organic or synthetic chemicals.
As the EPA continues to tighten its restrictions and standards on mainstream pesticides, you might find yourself debating between organic versus synthetic chemicals.
|They’re more environmentally-friendly (reduces your carbon footprint).||Natural pesticides are more expensive than synthetic ones.|
|Typically, they’re more effective for long term use (pests don’t usually build a tolerance to them).||Natural pesticides can sometimes be less effective (depending on the ingredients used in the synthetic pesticide).|
|Natural pesticides are safer for people and pets.||They can sometimes take longer to work (as opposed to synthetic pesticides - which might temporarily perpetuate the pest problem).|
|They’re better for soil (which keeps your landscape looking beautiful).||Organic chemicals may not be as strong as synthetic ones (depending on what you’re comparing it to), so you might need more training on how to ensure their effectiveness.|
|Gives you a chance to “go green” (making you more appealing to clients on the fence about using pesticides).||They’re not as readily available as synthetic chemicals, so it might be harder for you to order them.|
The Pros and Cons of Using Synthetic Chemicals:
|They’re available in most stores, so you can easily find them.||A large number of them can cause health issues to people and pets.|
|Synthetic chemicals are usually fast-acting.||They’re not environmentally-friendly (depending on the chemical).|
|They’re made to be strong and effective (so depending on how reputable the brand is, your problem should be immediately ”exterminated”).||Over time, pests can develop tolerances to synthetic chemicals.|
|They’re more affordable (since they’re more accessible).||Synthetic pesticides contaminate your water and resources (if someone is using well water, you can actually poison them and others).|
|Strong synthetic pesticides have been known to reduce malaria and ||Inorganic chemicals have the capacity to harm pets (dogs and cats are more sensitive to it them we are).|
|Synthetic pesticides provide you with more options (there are more synthetic than organic brands for you to choose between).|
Once you decide if your business will be using organic or synthetic chemicals, you can decide what chemicals you want to buy.
Here’s a quick list of essential chemicals you should consider purchasing…
At the end of the day, I can’t tell you which chemicals are right for you and your business. Your branding and target market are what’s going to determine what types of chemicals you purchase.
Quick pro tip! Think about buying various sizes of measuring cups, so you can accurately mix your chemicals on a minute’s notice. This avoids wasting leftovers, so you can make only what you need at the job.
2. Why You Need Chemical Sprayers
The number and type of chemical sprayers you need are largely dependent on your business’ needs.
Before you decide on these two factors, be sure you answer these questions:
- Will you need backpack sprayers? Green sprayers (for natural products)? Vector control sprayers? Electric reel power sprayers? Pole sprayers? And so on…
- How many clients do you have (or want to have)? And how quickly are you planning on growing your pest control business?
- What services are you going to offer? And what types of chemical sprayers do those services require?
- How pest control techs do you have (if any)?
- What’s your budget?
These are the questions you should be asking yourself. Once you’ve done that, you can start deciding what sprayers you want to buy.
Here are a few popular chemical sprayer brands to think about:
When it comes to chemical sprayers, there are so many brands and types to choose from.
But no matter what you choose, just be sure it fits the needs and budget of your pest control business.
3. Baits, Repellents, and Traps Are Your Best Friend
Deciding on what baits, traps, and repellents to buy is another one of those products where you REALLY need to know if you’re a green or synthetic pest control business.
Even something as simple as traps involves using chemicals to attract pests. This means you need to know what product options are available to you and whether they comply with your company’s mission.
Based on the services you want to provide, you can determine what types of traps and/or baits you’d like to purchase. To name a few, sticky traps, snap traps, and box traps.
From there, you can decide how many you need (depending on how many clients you have or want to have).
Here Are a Few Natural and Synthetic Options to Consider:
|Natural Options||Synthetic Options|
|Nature-Cide||B&G Equipment Company (by the way, they also sell bait guns)|
|NiBan||Kness Pest Defense|
|Rockwell Labs Ltd||Vector Fog (by the way, they also sell bait guns)|
As you choose which products you want to buy, just be sure you and your team are properly trained prior to using it. Contrary to popular common belief, this includes organic products too.
Bottomline: Any and all pest control products are dangerous, if you and your team are not properly trained to use them.
4. “Should I Buy Cages?”
Depending on the services you’ll be providing, you’ll need a small variety of cages for your pest control business.
Based on the pests you're capturing (and bait you’re using), you’ll need to decide what types of cages you need. For example, small or large, one or two doors, kill or live trap, and so on.
Additionally, you’ll want to decide if you’re going to catch mice and rats with a trap (i.e. sticky traps, snap traps, etc… ) or cage.
These are a few brands that sell various cages:
In order to provide a larger array of services, you’ll have to purchase cages to capture animals and pests, such as birds, mice, raccoons, and rats. As a result, you’ll need to buy a variety of cages to successfully render those services.
Pro tips: Since every area is different, your pests might react differently to various cage types. So try different cage types and brands to see what works best for you in your area.
5. PPE (Personal Protection Equipment) SAVES LIVES
Especially in the pest control industry, PPE should be at the very top of your supply list.
Not only is this mandated by the EPA, but it’s also a potential liability for both you and your clients. Consequently, appropriate PPE must be worn at all times (regardless of how experienced you are).
I can’t tell you how many times I hear service business owners tell me they don’t require their teams to wear proper PPE.
They’ll give excuses like…
- “My team says the PPE is too bulky and gets in the way, so they don’t wear it.”
- “PPE is for rookies. If you know what you’re doing, you don’t need it.”
- “My guys are experienced, so they don’t need it.”
None of these excuses is worth the damage a mistake could cause.
In short, here’s the bottom line: Buy PPE. Wear PPE. Live it. Learn it. Love it. PPE saves lives.
Here’s some PPE you might consider purchasing:
- Bee suits
- Booties (AKA shoe covers)
- Gloves (disposable and non-disposable)
- And so on…
These are some brands that sell PPE:
As always, make sure you understand the EPA standards for appropriate PPE before completing jobs.
6. “Are Flashlights and Headlamps Really Necessary?”
Whether you’re climbing around in an attic, crawling in a crawlspace, or checking for bedbugs, you’ll need headlamps and flashlights (don’t forget UV flashlights too!).
While it’s not considered a part of PPE, it’s still important for you and your workers’ safety. Plus, it makes findings pest significantly easier.
Instead of picking out a standard headlamp from a hardware store - don’t forget that many outdoors stores sell headlamps that are designed for comfort and function.
Many backpackers and distance hikers are weight-obsessed. They want their gear reliable and lightweight - headlamps designed for their use will be better (and more expensive) than ones designed to get used once a month for repairs around the house.
Here’s a checklist to get you started:
- LED flashlight
- UV flashlight
- UV lamp (to attract and kill flying insects)
These are some brands that sell commercial flashlights and headlamps for pest control:
Since you’ll be doing a million different things with flashlights, you should consider purchasing a wide variety of flashlights (different brands too!).
7. “Should I Buy a Bulb or Electric Duster?”
The only true difference between a bulb and electric duster is that an electric duster is a lot less manual work for you and your team. However, the main drawback to an electric duster is its higher price tag.
Based on the needs of your business, the choice between a bulb or electric duster is at your discretion.
These are a few options for dusters:
So whether you decide to purchase bulb or electric dusters, you should have plenty lying around for the various jobs you’ll face.
8. “What Type of Fogger Should I Buy?”
Once you know what chemicals you’ll be using, you’re going to have to consider what foggers you’ll purchase.
When it comes to foggers, there are so many options for you to choose from… In fact, there’s so many options it can be overwhelming.
So here’s a quick rundown of your options…
You’ll have to choose between things like:
- Backpack foggers
- Aerosol foggers
- Cold foggers
- Compressed air foggers
- Thermal foggers
- ULV aerosol generators
- And so on.
These are a few fogger brands and types you can look at:
- Curtis Dyna-Fog (thermal and cold foggers)
- IGEBA (thermal, UV aerosol generators, compressed air,and “knapsack” foggers)
- Longray (thermal and cold foggers)
- Pest Xpert
- Vector Fog (thermal and cold foggers)
In order to offer a wide variety of pest control services, you’ll need to eventually purchase a variety of these fogger types and brands.
9. Why You Should Consider Stabilized Ladders and Stepladders
Choosing ladders for your pest control team is important because it needs to be cost-effective, durable, and safe to use.
Whether or not you purchase stabilizers separately from your ladders depends solely upon the ladder you choose. This is because there are more expensive ladders that come equipped with stabilizers.
You should consider splurging to get ladders pre-equipped with stabilizers because they tend to be safer. Plus, these ladders are typically better for multi-purpose use. In addition to that, you can also adjust the legs’ length on the ladder to meet your everyday needs.
Personally, I recommend choosing a ladder(s) from Little Giant Ladder. They have excellent reviews, they’re pre-equipped with stabilizers, they’re considered durable, and they’re perfect for everyday multi-purpose use… which is exactly what you need in the pest control industry.
For even more stabilization, they also sell wing spans you can use to get onto roofs and protect your clients’ shingles.
Once you’ve chosen a stabilized ladder, you’ll want to choose a stepladder. Mostly, they’re for indoor use, and they can come in handy when you come across hard-to-each places.
Little Giant Ladder also provides stepladders that are multi-purpose, adjustable, and stable/safe.
Whether you purchase a Little Giant Ladder or not, just be sure you’re choosing a reputable brand that suits your everyday needs.
10. “Why Do I Need Endoscopes?”
Endoscopes can be particularly useful in pest control when you either can’t reach a spot or you need something to magnify small pests (making it easier to see).
As you search for the right endoscope, be sure you look for durable ones that can withstand the conditions you’ll be working in.
These are some endoscopes you might consider:
Depending on your potential services, you might want to consider purchasing a waterproof endoscope.
11. Essential Miscellaneous Tools
You pest control techs will need a decent assortment of miscellaneous tools to successfully complete their jobs.
As you begin to expand your service offerings, it might be a good idea to gradually purchase these tools (just so that you’re not doing it all at once).
These are a few miscellaneous tools you’ll need at some point:
- Pole webster (with duster)
You can find these tools at pretty much any hardware store, so these are fairly simple and easy finds.
12. Sealants for Holes Are a Necessity
As you know, indoor pests typically creep into homes through cracks, gaps, and even small spaces around windows and doors.
As a result, foaming sealants are quick solutions and preventatives to these pest issues.
These are a few top-rated foaming sealant brands:
Depending on your climate, you might try a variety of foaming sealants to find which one works best in your area.
13. The Spill Kits Pest Control Owners Swear By
We all get busy and make mistakes… which can be extremely dangerous (and potentially lethal!) in the pest control business.
This is why you should ALWAYS have a spill kit handy for your team(s).
Here are some spill kits for you to check out:
ANY chemical (even the organic ones) should be cleaned and disposed of properly, if a spill occurs. It’s a good idea to have multiple spill kits on hand in case of an emergency.
14. Be Prepared With a First Aid Kit
As a pest control business owner, it’s not only your job to provide a general first aid kid - but you also have to provide a first aid kit for pesticide poisoning.
Even though the chances of pesticide poisoning are significantly lower for properly trained individuals, there’s still the possibility of a freak accident or slip-up.
First, you’ll want to choose a general first aid kit.
Here are a few kits you might consider…
- Be Smart Get Prepared
- First Aid Only
- M2 Basics
- New Pig
- Protect Life
- Swiss Safe (or Swiss Safe Premium)
There aren’t many options for pesticide poisoning kits, so it’s usually better to make your own. Especially, since it’s fairly simple things you can get your hands on (i.e. clean water, eyewash bottle, soap, etc… ).
In addition to making your own pesticide poisoning kits, you should also read up on proper pesticide poisoning procedures (per the Department of Health). Plus, you should catch up on proper immediate treatment for pesticide poisoning.
15. Skid Sprayers That Can Make You Money
As you probably already know, skid sprayers are expensive. However, they have the potential to make you back your money in a flash.
Typically, skid sprayers last a long time, and they usually have quick turnovers. So as long as it’s within your budget, you shouldn’t have to worry too much about the cost.
These are a few skid sprayers other pest control owners have raved about:
No matter what spray equipment you choose, just be sure it doesn’t take up too much room in the bed of your truck.
16. Business Cards That Help You Win More Jobs
After each and every completed job, you and your team should be handing out business cards.
These business cards can act as…
- Reminders to schedule appointments
- And so much more
Truly, the sky's the limit. Not only are business cards a great marketing piece, but they also make your business look and feel reputable, trustworthy, and professional.
Most clients are way more inclined to recommend or repurchase from you, if they know and trust your brand.
To make your life a little easier, we’ve created a few (completely FREE!) customizable business card templates - especially made for the pest control industry.
Just take them to your local print shop, and you’re good to go!
17. “What’s the Best Pest Control Software?”
Do you have software to schedule your jobs? What about one to track your chemicals?... Automatically charge your clients?
For reasons like this (and a million more!), you should consider finding a software for your pest control business.
However, if you’re looking for
- Safely store client account information and data
- Dispatch your teams via mobile app
- Automatically invoice your clients
- Track your teams’ GPS locations
- Automatically charge clients
- Schedule recurring jobs
- Track your chemicals
With Service Autopilot, you’ll get these benefits and so much more.
Service Autopilot has been specifically designed for the pest control industry and has helped thousands of others just like you. So take charge of your growth with the best pest control and chemical tracking software.
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Purchase These Items on an As-Needed Basis…
While the pest control industry can be a highly lucrative business, there are also a great deal of upfront costs.
As a result, you likely won’t be able to purchase everything in this equipment guide right off the bat. However, you can gradually purchase the equipment listed here as you expand your services.
Once you have jobs on the books, you should consider buying your equipment. This way, you’ll only be buying equipment for the jobs you know will quickly make you back the money you’ve spent.
Once you’ve reviewed this equipment guide, you’ll know exactly what you need to purchase for your pest control business… which is one of the hardest parts.
Originally published Dec 17, 2019 7:00 AM