The pest control industry is hard work.
You need employees capable of being on time and responsible enough to handle chemicals. They must also be willing to go through an extensive training.
A lot of job applicants aren’t up for that, so reliable employees sometimes seem impossible to come by.
That’s why we’ve created the ultimate guide to hiring the best pest control employees.
You’ll get everything you need to find the best pest control team members.
Knowing When It’s Time to Hire a New Employee
No one wants to risk hiring someone they can’t afford.
But 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. At least not until you put a plan in place to train them.
Nothing is worse in pest control than a poorly trained employee.
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
4. Can you financially handle a short-term profit loss?
Whether they have years of experience in pest control… or they
You’re going to have to train them. And while you (or your best employee) spend time training the newbie, you’re probably going to lose some money along the way. You may 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:
- Manage your new employee
- Put your new employee on the payroll
- Fulfill US Federal Government (or Canada Federal Government) and state legal requirements for your new technician
Where to Find the IDEAL 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 market by using…
- Door hangers, flyers and Craigslist ads
- Social media posts and/or ads
- Online ads in newspapers, general websites (i.e. Craigslist, etc… ) and job recruiter sites (Indeed, Career Builder, etc… )
Now, let’s break out some of these marketing strategies:
Door Hangers, Flyers & Print Ads
In the age of the internet and technology – door hangers, flyers 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.
Social Media Posts & Ads
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 (i.e. Facebooks Ads, Promoted Tweets, etc… ).
Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram,
However, if you’re looking for quick results or have a tight budget, I recommend you use 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. That means that 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 good Facebook Ad for Pest Control:
“Quite hiring mediocre pest control specialists for your home. Here’s why [insert pest control co. name] is different.”
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. In other words, you’re probably reaching a less amount of people, so it might take a bit longer to find new hires.
Your 2-Step Guide to Interviewing Job Applicants
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:
- “What kind of experience do you have?”
- “Are you licensed to work in pest control?”
- “What jobs have you done in the past?”
- “Why do you think you’re a good fit for pest control?”
- “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.
… And if it’s not right, then you may have only lost someone you feel 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:
- “Why do you want to leave your current job?”
- “What types of chemicals (or equipment) have you worked with and for how long?”
- “Are you excited to work for my company?”
- What would you bring to our business?”
- Did you ever have a situation where a customer was wrong or upset you – how did you handle it?”
- “What makes you different from the other people applying for this job?”
- “Can you drive a manual transmission?”
- “Pitch me an upsell on a pest control job.”
- “Are you legal to work in the United States or do you have/need a Visa?”
- “Could you give me some references?” (2 previous jobs, 2 personal)
A few things to consider during the onsite interview…
Phone calls disconnect. Appointments need rescheduling. Life just happens.
… BUT, your candidate should show up on time for your interview.
If not, it’s a potential indicator of what they’ll be like when you hire them. If they can’t show up on time for ONE interview, how are they going to show up to work on time every day?
They’re going to be in constant contact with your clients and other team members, so a respectful attitude is important.
Experienced in Pest Control.
By hiring an experienced pest control employee, you’re going to spend less time and money training them.
Candidates You Should NOT Hire
If you can answer “Yes” to any of these questions about a potential employee, you may want to reconsider hiring that candidate.
Are they looking to make a quick buck?
If so, they’re not going to be reliable, their employment will be short-lived, and as a result, you’re going to waste money.
Plus, you’ll have to spend more time and money finding and training their replacement.
Are they a family member or friend?
Hiring family and friends is one of the most common hiring mistakes… and business owners make it often.
It’s a can of worms you don’t want to open. They’re likely going to feel entitled and too comfortable around you to consider you their boss.
Potentially, they could lose you TONS of money. You could lose clients if they aren’t doing a great job (and listening to your corrective guidance), and other team members (if they sense some nepotism).
Just do yourself a favor and give them… A. Big. Fat. NO!
Are you hiring them because you feel bad for them?
Hey, we all want to help out someone in need, and that’s great… BUT you have a business to run.
If you’re going to take a chance on someone, be sure you have the time and effort to put into their training. If not, you’re going to get caught up in the emotion of the situation and not the financial reality of it.
Pay Your Pest Control Team What They Deserve
Even though other pest control companies may not properly compensate their teams, 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.
Here’s how to be sure you’re paying your pest control team well enough…
Step 1: Make sure you’re properly charging for your services.
Always remember, cheap prices attract cheap clients. The right prices attract the right clients.
And properly charging for your services will allow you to properly pay your employees.
Step 2: Find out the average pay for pest control technicians in your area.
In order to attract the top pest control techs in your area, you’re going to have to beat that number.
Step 3: Create yearlong incentives for your team.
While the pest control industry isn’t as seasonal as many other service industries such as lawn and landscaping, nonetheless, it IS still a seasonal business.
This means, you could lose some of your star team members if you aren’t giving them enough incentives to stay with you.
Step 4: Obey Overtime Laws!
Believe it or not, there are more cheapskate pest control owners who don’t follow these rules more often than you’d think. The consequences are real.
A word of caution: If you’re using a “pay for performance” model, you especially need to pay attention to these laws.
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.
Quality work attracts quality employees. Plus, your team will likely have pride in working for your top-notch pest control business.
2. Reward your team’s loyalty.
By giving your employees a raise every year, you’re giving them an incentive to stay with your business.
3. Give them perks they can’t get anywhere else.
When you give your employees something they can’t get with any other business, you’re making your business invaluable and irreplaceable to them.
4. Give your team a piece of the pie.
For example, when they meet a goal – like a set number of upsells or new sales – give your employees a bonus. Or when your company hits a certain monthly revenue, give the entire team a bonus. This not only lets them know they’ve achieved something momentous for your company, it also incentivizes them to work harder.
5. Instill healthy company culture.
Instill a healthy company culture where your team is happy to work for you. Create a culture where your techs recognize each other’s great work and are willing to help each other out.
6. Give your team members career development opportunities.
You don’t ever want your team to feel like they have a dead-end job at your business.
Your team should see career advancement opportunities.
By consistently recognizing and promoting star pest techs, you can show your team the possibilities of advancement within your business.
7. Listen to your team members’ woes and watch for signs of their unhappiness.
Notice when your team isn’t happy in their jobs, and listen to their feedback.
Think about how much you’d do to keep your best client, and go above and beyond that.
By keeping your best employees, you can keep your best, most profitable clients.
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.
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 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.
Know When It’s Time to Sack Your Pest Control Tech
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 and upsets clients (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.
But 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:
1. 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.
2. Are they doing a poor job with zero signs of improvement?
In this scenario, you should talk with your employee to find out why they are doing a poor job in the first place.
Maybe there’s something temporary going on in their personal life that you didn’t know about. Give them a chance to explain themselves.
Then, find out if their poor performance is due to a training problem. Retraining this employee might just be what they need to turn around.
Finally, give them goals to strive for, and give them a deadline. In order to meet or exceed your expectations, they need to know what you want.
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, it’s time to let them go.
As you fire them, be respectful but firm. And always remember, even though this is a difficult thing to do – in the long-run, it’s what’s best for you, your business, and everyone with it.
What To Do When All of Your Employees SUCK!
You’ve been there. Done that. Tried it all. Nothing works.
But here’s the thing – firing all of your employees at once is going to cost you money.
Before you make this drastic move, you’ll want to re-evaluate some things in your business:
1. Your hiring practices.
Do you have the right expectations?
Are you asking the right interview questions?
Have you required the right credentials?
2. Your training practices.
Are you giving them enough time?
You might not be giving your employees enough time to adjust to your company culture and work ethic.
Re-evaluate your training practices to be sure you’re giving your team the right resources to become great team players.
BONUS: 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:
- Friendly and personable (especially on the phone)
- Tech-savvy (must be able to operate you scheduling software)
Keeping an open stream of communication between you and your assistant is important. So you should have a quick chat with them every day to stay on the same page.
- What did you get done today?
- What do you need help with?
- 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.
While hiring (and keeping!) excellent pest control employees is challenging, it’s certainly not as difficult as you might think.
When you start looking for the right employees in the right places, 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.
If you follow the tips in this article, you’ll be an entrepreneurial pro at hiring and maintaining the best pest control employees on the market. And before you know it, you’ll be the envy of your competitors.