Should you buy local when it comes to pest control?


All things being equal, I would say you should buy from a local pest control company. The problem is that all things are not equal at all.

Most local pest control companies are very small operations, one man companies with perhaps a wife in a back office. These companies may have one or two additional workers.

Sometimes these companies are started by hard working, well motivated, well intended entrepreneurs. Other times, they are started by people who have very high opinions of their own ability. Maybe they have some years of pest control experience. They may actually succeed for a while because they are able to bring in customers from the company they previously worked for. Most of the time, these people, even the good ones, are underfunded and are very poor businessmen. Among these small companies you will also find people who were fired from prior employers or who were the type of people who just don’t know what it means to be a team player. Outside the industry, 90 percent of small businesses fail. Inside the industry, I would expect the figure to be worse, because we deal with a tremendous amount of regulation and liability. Even if the small company defies the odds by being properly funded and informed, they may not have the drive and guts to last the first few years. Most people have no concept of how hard it is to start a business. My first two years I averaged 80-100 hours per week. Many businesses fail because the owner is unwilling to do the hours required to build a business.

On the positive side, you may find that successful, local businessman, who knows his (or her) field and is super motivated to serve you. He may have a strong business background. He will do everything he can to please you because you live in his community and you are a part of growing his business and spreading the good karma. Small businesses are always short on resources and broad talent. If you go with a local pest control company because they are small, you need to be willing to take the good with the bad. Buy locally if you have excellent reasons to trust the small time pest control operator. You know him personally. You have seen his work. You have a good understanding of his background. You accept the fact that if he is not available, he may not have a back-up. You also buy, knowing that you are buying into an experiment that may or may not work. You are doing a good deed buy helping someone obtain his or her dream livelihood and hopefully that good deed will be rewarded by excellent service.

If when you say you are interested in buying locally, you mean that you are interested in buying from a small company and you like helping a small mom and pop grow, then I would ask you, is it important that the small mom and pop pest control company be from your town or could it be from the next town over? I ask this because even if for a variety of reasons you want to work with a small company, you still need to shop around.

I’ll write more tomorrow and follow up with the pluses and minuses of larger companies.

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2 Responses to Should you buy local when it comes to pest control?

  1. David Cole says:

    Well, where do I start? I am or was one of those
    “one man companies with perhaps a wife in a back office”. Long ago, just trying to support me family.
    Times were very different, I was working for a small company (very small), I was given a hand full of good,loyal customers (about $5000 annual sales) when the business was sold, as a gesture of appreciation (maybe guilt) for all my hard work.
    After securing an operator and business license and a few years of 100+ hour weeks, I had built a respectable business of my own! I was proud of the fact that, 1. I was a one man operation and 2. My customers loved me and my family and would never leave us for another company.
    As time went by and the business grew more and more, the one thing that was most important to me was that personal connection I had with my customers, this is the one thing that is lost in the corporate world.
    Times have changed; However, I hope there will always be a place in the business world for “The Little Guy”, they are what makes this country so great!

  2. Jim Nocero says:

    Gerry,
    I believe you came close to answering your own question; for me it really comes down to those willing to serve their community, business and clients the best large or small. Which are often those dedicated to go beyond the norm, good foresight and willing to surround themselves with others of the same or better caliber. I have had the pleasure of owning several small companies in the 80’s and early 90’s, and now as an Insurance Broker I have the pleasure to help numerous others succeed using my past knowledge. Not that all do succeed as you have stated, it is those that have insight and wherewithal who finds solutions, networks with the right teams, surrounds themselves with the best and channels all their knowledge and efforts as productive as possible (and a little luck) that achieve success. You can be the most motivated individual on the planet but as Gerry has stated the odds are still not in your favor.
    Those that are NOT willing to find the best answers, work hard and smart while seeking the best around them often success eludes them, often this is found in shortcuts to success, with are often fast tracks to failure… As an example, if you purchase an item for your business, do you determine its return on its investment or just determine it as a cost of business? Some see everything as a cost of business, if one could determine its return and see if other returns are better suited, would build a model of efficiency most business do not understand or experience. As an Insurance Broker I see this all too often while talking to new prospective clients. I ask them “what was your determining factor in purchasing their new office equipment or field supplies”, often value is the answer. The actual return of investment is eluded and unknown or guessed at best. I ask the same of their insurance, what return of investment do you see on your insurance policies, and all say none; it is a mandatory cost. In reality not unlike every purchase or employee you hire you must seek return on your investment, i.e. what are the costs to their reduction in costs, their benefits or returns. Your broker for General liability, Worker Compensation or Commercial Auto insurance during their regular risk analysis should offer you ways to reduce your risks prepare for emergencies through an extensive disaster recovery and risk management plan, find areas to reduce protection costs by using these plans and work with you directly in achieving these goals. Your Broker should deliver a Loss Control plan in the event you have an incident, and the media shows up at your entrance of your business and asks you “what happened”? Do you know what your response should be; I assure you “No Comment” is sure death to your business? If your place of business burned down tonight, what would you do tomorrow to maintain the level of service your clients expect from a professional?

    Cost of current and future protection is often hard to determine, and remember it is not just a state mandate, but business sense or model that is often overlooked or not properly provided and should be included as a benefit to your policy in reducing these future cost or business disasters.
    Bottom-line if you think your insurance as only a cost, then please surround yourselves with the best.

    This is the same of all business decisions that could make or break a business success. I believe most entrepreneurs start out with the best intentions, but lack the ability to ask, seek the right people, under estimated the costs and time necessary to make it a success. If they did the service issues they are presented with would be diminished or removed considerably.
    Thanks to Gerry’s blog we all can ask, locate and surround ourselves with the best…

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