The Ultimate Pest Control Hiring Guide

Published on September 6, 2019

The pest control industry is hard work. Since it's hard to find skilled employees, it's important to use this ultimate pest control hiring guide to help you find the best employees FAST.

You need employees that are qualified and capable of being on time and responsible enough to handle chemicals. Also, they must be willing to go through an extensive training.

However, many of job applicants don't want to partake in rigorous training, so reliable employees sometimes seem impossible to come by.

For this reason, we’ve created the ultimate guide to hiring the best pest control technicians. You’ll quickly find out everything you need to know to find the best pest control employees.

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Know When It’s Time to Hire a New Pest Control Employee

No one wants to risk hiring someone they can’t afford.

However, if you can answer yes to these questions, you should start considering a new hire:

1. Are you growing fast enough to put a full-time employee to work?

If you and/or your team feels like you’re constantly swamped, it’s time to consider adding an additional team member(s).

2. Do you have enough resources to properly train a new team member?

If you don’t have the time or money to properly train a new hire, you should consider holding off on hiring until you put a plan in place to train them.

Nothing is worse in pest control than a poorly trained employee. They have the potential to hurt your business… or themselves.

3. Are your clients happy with your services?

If you’re providing quality services that your clients appreciate, then you know you’re doing something right.

You’ve got a good training plan in place that’s teaching employees to perform at a high-quality standard.

4. Can you financially handle a short-term profit loss?

Whether they have years of experience in pest control… or they came to you straight out of high school… no employee is EVER going to start out as 100% efficient. You’re going to have to train them.

While you (or your best employee) spend time training the newbie, you’re probably going to lose some money along the way. You may even have to pull back on the number of jobs while you train.

But here’s the good news: Once you properly train your new pest control technician, your profits should be even better than they were before they started.

5. Do you have a new hire process in place?

In order to hire a new employee, it’s important you have basic procedures in place.

You’ll need to be prepared to:

Where to Find the Best Pest Control Employees

Most pest control owners that are having a hard time finding new technicians think they’re looking in the right places… When in reality, they’re going about it all wrong.

Here’s the thing: In any service industry, you have to market your business to new employees like you’d market your business to a new customer.

You can start marketing by:

  • Utilizing social media strategies that work
  • Creating effective flyers, door hangers, and ads
  • Using online ads to attract the top talent in your area
  • Transforming lukewarm applicants into eager ones excited to work for you

Now, let’s break out some of these marketing strategies:

Flyers, Door Hangers, and Print Ads

In the age of the internet and technology - pest control flyers, door hangers, and print ads STILL WORK.

You can treat these as you would with 9-arounds. Simply, have your guys drop off the ads at the nearest 9 houses within every neighborhood they do work.

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Organic and Paid Social Media

You’re missing out if you’re not using social media to find new hires.

While you can use regular social media posts for this, you’re probably more likely to reach your audience using paid ads (e.g. Facebooks Ads, Promoted Tweets, etc.). 

However, if you’re looking for quick results or have a tight budget, I recommend using Facebook.

As of October 2018, Facebook has over 2 billion active monthly users. Facebook's extensive reach is what makes this platform so lucrative for ads.

With Facebook Ads, you can directly target who you want to reach, so you know your ads are reaching the right people.

Another awesome part, you can set your daily budget, release your campaign and “forget about it”.

Plus, you’re only paying on a CPC (Cost Per Click) basis. In other words, even if your ads are reaching 10,000 people, you’ll only pay for the ones that actually click on your ad.

As a result, Facebook Ads can meet you at any budget you see fit.

Here’s an example of a great Facebook Ad for Pest Control:

“Quit hiring mediocre pest control specialists for your home. Here’s why [pest control business name] is different.”

Online Ads

When it comes to online ads, you have several different options. Depending on your budget, you can place ads in newspapers, on general websites, and/or on job recruiter sites.

Here are a few sites you can go to:

These ads are great because you’re reaching those who are actively job seeking.

Due to a lower reach of people, the main negative is that online ads might potentially take a little longer. However, you're more likely to reach more ideal candidates.

How to Hire the Best Pest Control Technician

Now that you have your new technician candidates, let’s talk about what you should do first.

You received an application. You love it. Now you want to know more. Start by doing a pre-screening before you schedule an in-person interview. 

A pre-screening should be a quick phone call that knocks out some high-level questions and “qualifies” a candidate.

Use the pre-screen to determine if a candidate is actually qualified enough to do the job.

Do they have experience? If they pass the pre-screen, go ahead and schedule them for an onsite interview at your office.

 Step 1: Pre-Screen Candidates

As you conduct your phone screening, your overall goal should just be to ask about their work and experience in the industry.

In order to hear a glimpse of their raw, “unscripted” personality, be sure to throw in 1 or 2 curveball questions.

Here are a few quick screening questions:

  1. “What kind of experience do you have?”
  2. “Are you licensed to work in pest control?”
  3. “What jobs have you done in the past?”
  4. “Why do you think you’re a good fit for pest control?”
  5. “What would you bring to our pest control business?”

When you call, pay attention to your gut. If your gut tells you something is off, then listen to it. It’s usually right.

However, even if your gut is wrong, then you'll still only lost someone you've felt you couldn’t trust.

If they do well in a phone interview, be sure to schedule an in-person interview.

Step 2: Conduct an In-person, Onsite Interview

In order to discover potential inconsistencies, it’s ok to ask some of your original pre-screen questions. With that said, you should have even more in-depth questions to ask them in-person.

Here are a few questions you should ask your candidate in-person:

  1. “Why do you want to leave your current job?”
  2. “What types of chemicals (or equipment) have you worked with and for how long?”
  3. “Are you excited to work for my company?”
  4. What would you bring to our business?”
  5. Did you ever have a situation where a customer was wrong or upset you - how did you handle it?”
  6. “What makes you different from the other people applying for this job?”
  7. “Can you drive a manual transmission?”
  8. “Pitch me an upsell on a pest control job.”
  9. “Are you legal to work in the United States or do you have/need a Visa?”
  10. “Could you give me some references?” (2 previous jobs, 2 personal)

Also, be sure to pay attention to the things the candidate is not saying. This is just as important as, if not more important, than what they're actually saying.

For example, these are a few things to consider during the onsite interview:

  • Were they punctual for the interview?
  • Do they have a professional, respectful attitude?
  • Do they have the experience you're looking for in pest control?

In addition, look out for red flags of candidates you should NOT hire.

If you can answer, "Yes," to any of these questions, then you'll want to consider eliminating the candidate:

  • Are they looking to make a quick buck?
  • Is this person a family member or friend (if so, be very cautious)?
  • Are you hiring them because you feel bad for them (remember, you're running a business)?

Pay Your Pest Control Team What They Deserve

Even if other pest control businesses don't properly compensate their technicians, you should still compensate yours.

Don’t get caught in the trap of hiring cheap labor. Cheap labor usually equals lesser quality work.

If you compensate your employees properly, they’re more likely to want to work for you and will put in their best work because they’re happier with their jobs.

In turn, you’ll attract better pest control techs, have happier clients, and may even be able to charge more for your services. Plus, having great pest control technicians is a great way to beat your competitors.

Here's how to pay your pest control technicians what they're worth:

  1. Get your pest control pricing right.
  2. Find the average pest control technician salary in your area.
  3. Pay your techs well (pay averages around 12% of sales).
  4. Create yearlong incentives for your team.
  5. Pay attention to Overtime Laws.
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How to Keep Your Best Pest Control Techs

Great pest control employees are hard to come by, so it’s not surprising that your competitors would try to poach yours.

Every time you lose one of your star employees to a competitor, you’re not just losing a prized employee...

… you’re losing their experience and the time it took to train them, your team’s morale can drop, and you risk giving away your business’ plans and practices to your competition.

Here’s how to get your best pest techs to stick around:

  1. Build a reputation for producing quality work.
  2. Reward your team's loyalty with annual pay raises and bonuses.
  3. Give them perks they can't get anywhere else.
  4. Give your employees a stake in your pest control business' growth.
  5. Recognize talent. If you see another business' technician doing great work, then talk to them. Give them your pest control business card, and tell them you think they'd be a great addition to your team.
  6. Cultivate a healthy company culture.
  7. Give your technicians a clear career path with career development opportunities.
  8. Listen to employee feedback, and watch out for signs of unhappiness. Think about you'd do to keep a client, and work ten times harder to keep your best technicians.

Do Non-Compete Clauses Work?

In most cases, non-compete clauses don’t work.

In any industry, non-compete clauses are incredibly difficult to enforce.

Plus, if you hire someone with significant experience, they shouldn’t have to give up on their career just because they had to leave your company.

Non-compete clauses have been proven to decrease employee performance because they’re unhappy and feel trapped.

Often times, employers who force their employees to sign non-compete clauses will likely be deemed unattractive to excellent, experienced pest control management professionals.

Instead, have your new hires sign non-disclosure agreements.

This agreement will protect your business’ intellectual property, such as processes, client lists, routes and maps, future plans, and more.

How to Hire an Office Assistant

Hiring an office assistant feels risky, because they’ll never produce billable work. However, it’s absolutely necessary to hire one if you want to grow your pest control business.

Think of it this way... Right now, you’re probably doing all the office work. Whereas, you could be paying someone else to do the work for $14 an hour (hypothetical number).

An office assistant would free up your time to:

  • Sell more work
  • Grow your client base
  • Build your processes for future growth

So now the question is this:

“Is YOUR time worth more than $14 an hour?”

Now, decide what you need your office assistant to do… Answer calls? Keep track of tasks? Schedule and book jobs?

These are the qualities you need to look for:

  • Punctual
  • Organized
  • Friendly and personable (especially on the phone)
  • Tech-savvy (must be able to operate you pest control software)

Keeping an open stream of communication between you and your assistant is important. Due to this fact, you should have a quick chat with them every day to stay on the same page.

During these daily chats, you should ask them three questions:

  1. What did you get done today?
  2. With what do you need help?
  3. What do you need to get done tomorrow?

These three questions tell you what your assistant is doing, struggling with, and planning to do.

Having a mutual understanding between you and your office assistant ensures that everything is smooth sailing.

Know When It’s Time to Fire a Pest Control Employee

Think about your WORST employee. 

You know, the one that calls in sick all the time with a lame excuse. The one who produces shoddy work, upsets clients, and possibly costs you a few in the process.

They’re costing you money, and that’s a consequence of a bad employee that you just can’t afford.

However, how do you know when it’s time to fire that employee? It’s the one thing every single business owner hates doing, but nonetheless it’s a necessary evil.

Here’s how you’ll know:

Do They Cost More than They Make?

No matter the reason, when an employee starts bad-mouthing, scares, or upsets clients to the point of causing them to leave you, it’s time for that employee to leave.

Occasionally, employees stop caring about their job, or sometimes they weren't even the right fit to begin with.

A bad employee can hurt your business by:

  • Bad-mouthing clients or coworkers
  • Scaring or upsetting clients (sometimes causing them to leave)
  • Doing a continuously poor job with zero signs of improvement

How to Handle the Sticky Situation

If your bad employee continues to trend from bad to worse, then it's time to take a few steps in handling this sticky situation:

  1. Talk to them, and find out what's wrong. You might be able to save them.
  2. Find out if it's a training problem. Some of the worst employees can make a complete turnaround after retraining.
  3. Give them clear, achievable goals with deadlines. In turn, you'll have a mutual understanding of expectations.

Always make sure you track the employee’s performance - before, during, and after your talk.

Keep an ongoing record of any issues and what you’ve said and done to alert them of these issues and need for improvement. (You’ll need these records as proof if you choose to terminate the employee.)

If you’ve tried to improve the situation and the employee’s actions just aren’t getting better, then it’s time to let them go.

As you fire them, be respectful but firm.

Always remember, even though firing someone is a difficult thing to do - in the long-run, it’s what’s best for you, your business, and everyone in it.

What to Do if ALL of Your Employees Are Bad

You’ve been there. Done that. Tried it all. Nothing works. Even worse, it feels as though ALL of your employees are bad.

In this scenario, the previous steps won't work because firing all of your employees at once is going to cost you too much money.

Additionally, if ALL of your employees are underperforming, then it might be something systematically wrong with the business itself.

In this instance, you’ll want to re-evaluate two systematic elements in your business:

  1. Re-evaluate your hiring practices. Do you have the right expectations? Are you asking the right interview questions? Have you required the proper credentials?
  2. Re-evaluate your training practices. Are you giving employees enough time for training? Have you been properly training them? Are you giving employees enough time to adjust to your company culture and work ethic? Are you giving your team the right resources to become great team players?

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Use This Pest Control Hiring Guide to Hire Local Top Talent NOW

While hiring (and keeping!) excellent pest control employees is challenging, it’s certainly not as difficult as you might think.

When you start taking advantage of the top strategies in this ultimate pest control hiring guide, you can start finding the perfect employees… FAST.

In addition, as you become more skilled with interviewing and hiring, you’ll gradually get the hang of the hiring process.

At last, you have everything you need to be an entrepreneurial pro at hiring and keeping the best pest control employees in your area. Before you know it, you can be the envy of your competitors!

Related: How Much to Pay Pest Control Employees

Originally published Sept 6, 2019, updated Aug 31, 2021 9:41 AM

Alyssa Sanders

Alyssa is a Content Marketing Specialist II at Service Autopilot. Her bookworming began after she discovered the Harry Potter series. Her love of books evolved into writing and creating content. When she's not writing, you can find her watching a new sci-fi series or shoving her nose into a book.


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