There’s never been a better time for starting your own pest control business. It is one of the fastest-growing industries in America, and it’s only getting hotter.
The pest control market has had an average growth rate at over 5% since 2015, though it suffered a lull in 2020 during the pandemic. Now the market is opening up, the real estate business is on fire, and there are many promising opportunities to get started now before competition catches up!
The article will give you detailed information on how to start your own successful pest control service company from scratch.
Step 1: Get organized
If you haven’t put together a business plan yet, now is the time. You’ll want to define your goal for the company and how it will be structured in order to keep expenses low while maximizing profitability. The plan, which might live on your computer or in a 3-ring binder, should have sections for:
- Your team: Who are your leaders, and what business experience and knowledge do they have? Do you have an attorney, accountant, or other advisors?
- Market analysis: Who are your competitors? What is the demand like? Is there a niche that’s not well-served?
- Marketing plan: How will you reach your target market and sell your services? How will you set yourself apart from the competition?
- Startup cost estimate: Vehicles, equipment, licensing, etc
- Financial projections: How much can you expect to charge, based on the competition? What kind of revenue can you expect each month? What are your fixed monthly expenses (marketing, location, payroll, vehicle maintenance, insurance, software, accounting, phones)? What are the variable expenses for each job (chemicals, mileage, credit card processing, staff time, etc).
Your marketing plan is helpful if you approach a bank or investors for financing, but it’s also vital to solidify your business model.
Research each cost as carefully as you can, but be aware that all entrepreneurs base their plans on educated guesses at some point.
The Small Business Administration offers free resources to help you create your business plan.
Step 2: Set up your company
Start by setting up your company, and get a business license. You may need to register for pest control licenses in your state or county and comply with other local and state business regulations.
You’ll also need to decide if you want to be an independent contractor, LLC, or corporation. Your attorney and account can guide you, or contact your local Small Business Development Center for help.
Step 3: Fund your company
Many entrepreneurs apply for an SBA loan through their local bank. Others use the “friends and family” financing method, take out a personal loan, or take out a second mortgage.
You may also want to fund in your business by selling shares of the company or buying equipment on credit. Crowdfunding is another creative idea for funding your business.
Step 4: Get insurance
You’ll need to purchase liability insurance for protection from lawsuits if someone gets injured on your property or as a result of pest control service work performed by your employees.
Get your insurance agent to help you choose what kind of protection is needed for your business, including coverage for the assets, liability and a business policy.
Make sure your insurance policy covers liability in case of damage due to staff error.
Step 4: Create your systems
Spraying for pests is only one aspect of running a pest-control business. Most of the action happens behind the scenes.
Most of your time will be spent on booking, scheduling, creating efficient routes, managing your supplies, staying in touch with customers, and keeping client and financial records. Having a smooth-running operation is vital if you want to manage your business efficiently and give your customers a good experience.
An all-in-one field management software package like ServiceWorks can make running your operation a breeze, for way less than the cost of an office manager.
ServiceWorks can help you stay organized and manage your business. You’ll be able to keep track of customer information, create a schedule that suits your needs, send reminders when customers are overdue for service, accept payments online or by phone (accepting credit cards is also an option!), print custom invoices on the go, and more. Try the software free for 14 days and see what you think.
Step 5: Hire your staff
Payroll will be one of your biggest expenses, but if you skimp on wages and benefits, you won’t be able to attract good people.
Your employees will be the public face of your company, and your customers will judge you by the experience they have with your office and field staff. You need to make sure you hire people who are punctual, friendly, articulate, and eager to learn new things.
Step 6: Begin marketing
Get a feel for your competition by checking out their websites, social media accounts and asking around to see what people are saying about them. Will you be targeting residential or commercial clients?
Differentiate yourself with an eye-catching marketing plan that showcases the uniqueness of your service like unique pricing structures, package deals or specialties in pest control.
Be as specific as possible about your target market. What are their ages, genders, hobbies, income levels? You can use this information to help you create target audiences for advertising on Google and Facebook, and also to help you figure out creative ways to sell.
Set up a website and at least one social media channel for your business. Make an offer on Groupon, and set up listings on Google Business, Yelp, and Angie’s List.
Include offline marketing in your plan as well. Set up a booth at home shows, parenting fairs, and other events that local homeowners are likely to attend. Buy a billboard. Offer discounts in new mover kits.
You’re in business
Now you have all the pieces in place to run a successful pest control business. You know your target audience, you have a website and social media channels set up for marketing purposes, and you’re ready to start making some sales.
ServiceWorks can help you streamline your pest control business and make it run smoothly, so you can spend your time doing what you love—serving your customers and making them happy.