Wall Street Journal – Pest Control Critters and Companies

February 27, 2013

DO you read the Wall Street Journal? You should. At least today you should. The front page of the WSJ Personal Journal has an article entitled Critter Counteroffensive, highlighting integrated management approaches to rodent control, a leading pest problem sited around the country by pest control companies contacted by Ellen Byron of the Wall Street Journal.

This is very good publicity for the pest control industry and for those pest control companies sited in the article. Where can you get this kind of free publicity and recognition.

Check out the websites of the companies listed:
Wild Removal Services of Austin

Adcock’s Trapping Service

Big Blue Bug Solutions in Providence, R.I

Hearts Pest Management, Inc.

Consider the history, discipline, programs and marketing of these companies. This kind of free publicity doesn’t just happen to the lucky.

Mea Culpa – Guilty of Shortchanging the Ford F150

February 12, 2013

So a while back I posted two blog entries about the discontinued Ford Ranger.

1) Fleet Ford Rangers or Tacoma and Other Options
2) Ecoboost My Ranger

At this point, I have to retract most of my concerns about the Ford F150.

Yes, the gas mileage is too low, but having eliminated 7-8 Rangers and replacing them with F150s (3.7 liter engines), I have realized that the gas mileage is not very different. In fact, I get more consistent gas mileage from the F150 than the Ranger.

More importantly, I have had virtually no mechanical problems with my F150s. My pest control technicians are happy with the comfort and with their increased productivity. Turns out, they don’t enjoy sitting around the dealership with their route work building up.
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Drone Pest Control

February 10, 2013

The Rise of Drones and Homefront Application

In the past few years, with the rise in the use of drones in warfare, there have been some serious discussions about the ethics of these unmanned warriors that patrol the sky. Last week’s Time Magazine cover story, “Rise of the Drones,” asks a very serious question about what happens to our privacy when the drones return home. (These devices are more neutrally known as UAV or UAS – Unmanned Aerial Vehicles or Systems).

Lev Grossman states, in his Time Mag article, Drone Home, “There’s something uncanny about drones. Flying one is a heady experience, but being watched by one is an eerie, oppressive, somewhat annoying feeling — wielding the Parrot in public will get you a range of reactions, from ‘OMG I have to try that” to ‘Get that giant bug out of my face. They’re machines with ghosts in them, and the ghost is saying, ‘I can see you, but you can’t see me.’ It’s roughly analogous to interacting with an anonymous commenter on a blog: you’re dealing with someone who is both present and absent, who has decided that what they say or do will have consequences for you but not for them.”

Imagine the uses and potential abuses of UALs by our government, the police and private enterprise – tracking the movements of criminals and illegal aliens, movie stars, private detectives working for suspicious spouses.

Drone (UAL) Application in the Pest Control Industry

Let’s drill down to our pest control industry. But first wrap around your mind the fact that drones can be purchased from local stores such as Brookstone and that UALs and other land based UASes are getting smaller every day.
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Malala, Carly and Our Future

December 3, 2012

Women can and should be in every area of human endeavors, most of all at the forefront of human progress. That begins with the ability to study and excel to great heights equal to or exceeding any man.

I follow current events very closely, especially overseas, more so than many people who have never left the confines of this great country of ours. Because I do, I am extremely worried about what is happening to women and girls in the non-western world, where they are being driven back into forced isolation, illiteracy and physical oppression.

One of the few times I close my eyes to politics and current events is when I’m in couch potato mode. And one of my favorite breaks from the stress of life is “Reality TV.” My favorite reality TV show is X Factor, a song competition. But song is not song without passion. So even watching X Factor, I am reminded of that world that awaits us… a world that awaits women – here in American and overseas in very different ways.
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Unintended Results of a Discontinued Pesticide

September 1, 2012

Many of you know that I came into the industry in 20002 when I purchased Hearts Pest Management. Several years later, I added Hearts Consulting Group, as a means of offering my skills far beyond our company boundaries.

Since day one, I heard all the cries of old timers who spoke about the various tools of the trade that had been taken away from them in the pursuit of a pest free environment. Exterminators constantly railed against environmentalist for their short sightedness. They said that the pests would overwhelm us and we would have new and more virulant pest presence to solve. Perhaps they were right is some ways.

Now the environmentalists rail against the exterminators for their short sightedness. They said that the pesticides were too harsh and were killing organisms that were not targeted, destroying good organisms and in quantities that have irrepairable consequences. And so too they were right in some ways.

Having watched the industry for the past 10 years, I too have seen pesticides go away. The first was diazinon. Later I saw restrictive labeling for Termidor, but not a full on retraction of the label. This past year, I have seen Fumitoxin go away for residential use – a portion of the market far greater than many people realized.
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The Culture of the Negotiated Pest Control Transaction

August 27, 2012

Culture and Negotiating Price

If you’ve ever lived in different countries or even different regions of the United States, you have learned that we do have real differences beyond personality. Our culture informs us of how to view life events. That’s especially true in commerce and the transaction of merchandise and services.

Examples of Cultural Issues in Pest Control Pricing

Here are a few examples of situations I’ve run across:
My technician tells me he gets really tired of certain nationalities that are always looking for bargains. He tells me, “The customer can take my price or leave it!”

This is a bad attitude informed by lack of exposure to other cultures and lack of understanding for the intent of the customer’s action. The technician gets his pride hurt when the prospect tells him that his price is too high, not understanding that in the eyes of the prospect he is taken for a fool if he doesn’t negotiate a lower price.

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More About Pizza and Pest Control

July 4, 2012

Pizza and The Pest Control Interview

Last year I wrote an article with a humorous title about Dominoes Pizza getting free publicity from all the dominoes (countries) with economies crashing, with reference to how the macro-economy impacts our pest control business outlook. I didn’t think I’d be writing another article with reference to pizza until a few weeks ago.

What Companies Want in the Job Candidate

I was interviewing a candidate for a pest control position who had many years of pest control experience. He didn’t have a real good depth of experience that I would have liked for his years in the field, but I liked his communication ability and his educational drive. He had achieved a B.A. and was working toward a counseling degree. It’s very hard to find blue collar workers who value education, so when I found this guy I felt he had potential.

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Finding A Way To Contribute

June 25, 2012

Contributing within the Pest Control Industry

Last month, the San Diego Chapter of the Pest Control Operators of California held their annual San Diego Padre Night / Tailgate Party. It was a great opportunity to go across company lines and just have fun with other pest control operators, managers and workers.

For my own staff at Hearts Pest Management, it was a great early season break. We had a productive spring and this was an opportunity to show the staff some deserved appreciation. It also gave me a chance to meet the families of new staff members.

The folks who put this together each year deserve a lot of credit, Gary Atkins, from Water Tech Ag Supply and P.C.O.C. board members – usually the same volunteers year in and year out. It would take pages to list all the ways they have volunteered during their lives. These are people with service in their blood.
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Pest Control Risk Verses Benefits

April 20, 2012

Risk Vs Benefit of Pest Control Jobs

Looking at Risks When You Want Benefits

Pest control technicians are normal people with normal needs. I’ll rank them here.

  • Money
  • Satisfaction of Work Done
  • Recognition
  • Go Back to Money

The job of a pest control manager is to temper that with the risks associated with the benefits that the pest control technician wants to derive. Read the rest of this entry »

Subcontracting Roof Rat Work

March 10, 2012

In the past several years, particularly since the onset of the economic crash of 2007, we have noticed an increasing reliance on subcontractors for insulation removal, vacuuming, decontamination and reinsulating. I don’t much like the trend. Of course I don’t like it because companies are low balling. That could just be sour grapes.
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