Do you want to start a pest control business? If YES, here is a complete guide to starting a pest control business with NO money and no experience.
Okay, so we have provided you an in-depth sample pest control business plan template. We also took it further by analyzing and drafting a sample pest control service marketing plan backed up by actionable guerrilla marketing ideas for pest control businesses. In this article, we will be considering all the requirements for starting a pest control business. So put on your entrepreneurial hat and let’s proceed.
Why Start a Pest Control Business?
If you are thinking of starting a business that can guarantee you steady income, then you can consider starting a pest control business. Pest control business is a business that is involved in removing or eradicating potentially harmful insects, rodent and reptiles from farms, commercial and residential properties.
It is important to state that before you can start a pest control business in the United States of America and of course in most developed countries of the world, you must apply for a pest control license and pass an exam to demonstrate your ability to properly handle chemicals and other means of pest extermination properly.
It is very important that you analyze the existing pest control businesses in and outside of your area. You will also be required to know their strengths and weaknesses. Knowing the weaknesses of the existing pest control companies around you means that you would be able to learn from their mistakes and in turn come up with a better and more preferred pest control services devoid of the mistakes and weaknesses of others.
So, if you are serious about starting your own pest control company, all you need do is to read this article and you will be well equipped.
Starting a Pest Control Business – A Complete Guide
- Industry Overview
Pest control basically refers to the regulation or management of a species of insects, animals or birds defined as pests, usually because they are perceived to be detrimental to a person’s health, the ecology or the economy and a person who carries out pest control services is known as an exterminator.
When we talk of pest control, we are talking of a service that is as old as agriculture itself. This is so because there have always been a need to keep crops free from pests; which is why in order to maximize food production, it is advantageous to protect plants from competing with pests.
Basically, the Pest Control industry provides a wide range of services such as extermination services for mosquitoes, rodents, termites, bed bugs, cockroaches, ants, flies, ticks, fleas, wasps and spiders. Businesses in the pest control industry also provide fumigation and containment services for birds such as pigeons, woodpeckers and European starlings et al. If you are conversant with the industry, you will observe that well-structured pest control companies also offer services such as building maintenance services, landscaping care, lawn and garden services.
No doubt the rise of bed bugs across the United States has left home and business owners frustrated, but has been a blessing for businesses in the Pest Control industry. The increased occurrence of bed bugs has led to substantial demand for exterminators and rising service prices. It was projected that within the next five years, there will be an increase in business and consumer spending which of course will drive the demand for regular control of pests.
The Pest Control Services industry of is indeed a large industry and pretty much thriving in all the parts of the world (both in developed and developing nations). Rollins Inc. and Services Masters are the pest control services companies with leading market shares in the industry.
Statistics has it that in the United States of America alone, there are about 23,984 licensed and registered pest control businesses responsible for employing about 107,209 employees and the industry rakes in a whooping sum of $16bn annually with an annual growth rate projected at 4.9 percent.
The pest control services industry will continue to blossom because people and organizations will not relent in eliminating mosquitoes, rodents, termites, bed bugs, cockroaches, ants, flies, ticks, bag worms, fleas, wasps and spiders from their homes, properties, farms and environment. Despite the fact that the industry seems saturated, there is still room big enough to accommodate aspiring entrepreneurs who intend opening their own pest control services companies.
Over and above, pest control services businesses all over the world are still enjoying good patronage particularly if they are well positioned and if they know how to network with stakeholders and reach out to their target market.
Starting a Pest Control Business – Market Research and Feasibility Studies
- Demographics and Psychographics
The demographic and psychographic composition of those who need the services of pest control companies cut across businesses and households hence the demographic composition of a pest control services company is all encompassing. The truth is that when it comes to pest control, there is indeed a wide range of available customers.
So, if you are thinking of starting a pest control services company then you should make your target demographics all encompassing. It should include government ministries, agencies and parastatals, organized private sector, households, commercial farmers, green house farmers, facility managers, boarding houses/campuses, playground/parks, estates and communities, farm settlements, camp grounds and corporate organizations within the location where your company is located.
List of Niche ideas Within the Pest Control Business That You Can Specialize in
Most pest control services companies tend to carry out services that have to do with eliminating pest, and also operate general business activities carried out by a standard pest control services company. That is why it seem that there are no niche areas in the industry.
But on the other hand, some pest control services companies may decide to major in some key areas such as;
- Exterminating services
- Fumigating services
- Mosquito eradication services
- Pest control (except agricultural and forestry) services
- Termite control services
- Bird proofing services
- Rodent extermination and control
- Insect control, including bed bugs, cockroaches and ants
- Lawn care services
- Building maintenance services
- Pest control consultancy and advisory services
The Level of Competition in the Pest Control Services Industry
The competition that exists in the pest control services industry goes beyond competition amongst pest control services companies. It also involves lawn care and landscaping services companies who also provide pest control services in your city or country. So, it will be right to say the competition in the pest control services industry is tough.
The truth is that, no matter the level of competition in an industry, if you brand and promote your products or business properly, you will always make headway in the industry. Just ensure that you pay attention to details when carrying out your job, make use of effective chemicals and processes, and know how to attract and reach out to your target market.
List of Well – Known Brands in the Pest Control Business
In every industry, there are always brands who perform better or are better regarded by customers and the general public than others. Some of these brands are those that have been in the industry for a long time, while others are best known for how they conduct their businesses and the results they have achieved over the years.
These are some of the leading pest control services companies in the United States of America and in the globe;
- Advanced Integrated Pest Management
- American Pest Control Co
- Payne Pest Management
- American Pest Control Inc.
- Team Pest USA
- Your Way Fumigation
- Frontline Exterminating
- Northwest Exterminating
- Critter Control
- ABC Home & Commercial Services
- Earth Wise Pest Management
- Keith’s Pest Control
- The Bug Doctor
- HomePro Pest Control
- Hitman Pest Control
- GGA Pest Management Services
- Bugs Are Gone Exterminating and Wildlife Control
- ACES Pest Solutions
- Sunflower Pest Solutions, Inc.
- Cadenhead Services Pest Control
The pest control services business has been in existence from time immemorial and it is indeed a competitive business; as a matter of fact, you will come across several pest control services companies when you go out there sourcing for their services. For you to map out your economic analysis, you must carry out thorough market survey of the cost required to run the business, buy chemicals and also handle logistics.
Over and above, if you are considering starting a pest control services company, then your concern should not be limited to the cost of registering the business and purchasing the needed chemicals, but also on branding and on how to build a robust clientele base. The truth is that if you are able to build a robust clientele base and have a good business network, then you are going to maximize profit in the business.
Starting Your Pest Control Services Company from the Scratch versus Buying a Franchise
If you are looking towards starting a pest control services company, you would have to start from the very scratch because you can hardly get a franchise of a pest control services company to buy. It is a business that is open to all and sundry.
Besides, starting a pest control Services Company from the scratch is less stressful when compared to other small scale businesses which usually require detailed groundwork before launching the business. With a pest control Services Company, you should just try as much as possible to get the right and effective chemicals and pest control equipment, build business relationship with key stakeholders and then leverage on every marketing tool within your disposal to market your services.
Please note that most of the big and successful pest control services companies around started from the scratch and they were able to build a solid business brand.
Possible Threats and Challenges You Will Face When Starting a Pest Control Services Company
If you decide to start your own pest control services company today, one of the major challenges you are likely to face is the presence of well-established pest control, landscaping and lawn care services companies that offer same services as you do. The only way to avoid this challenge is to create your own market.
Some other challenges and threats that you are likely to face are economic downturn and unfavorable government policies. There is nothing you can do as regard these threats and challenges other than to stay positive that things will work well for you.
Starting a Pest Control Business – Legal Matters
- Best legal entity to use for this type of business
When considering starting a pest control Services Company, the legal entity you choose will go a long way to determine how big the business can grow.
Generally, you have the option of either choosing a general partnership, limited liability Company which is commonly called an LLC, or a sole proprietorship for a business such as pest control services company. Ordinarily, sole proprietorship should have been the ideal business structure for a small scale pest control Services Company especially if you are just starting out with a moderate startup capital and covering just a city.
But people prefer limited liability Company for obvious reasons. As a matter of fact, if your intention is to grow the business and offer your services to customers all across your state and throughout the United States of America, then choosing sole proprietorship is not an option for you. Limited Liability Company, LLC or even general partnership will cut it for you.
Setting up an LLC protects you from personal liability. If anything goes wrong in the business, it is only the money that you invested into the limited liability company that will be at risk. This is not so for sole proprietorships and general partnerships. Limited liability companies are simpler and more flexible to operate and you don’t need a board of directors, shareholders meetings and other managerial formalities.
These are some of the factors you should consider before choosing a legal entity for your pest control services company; limitation of personal liability, ease of transferability, admission of new owners, investors’ expectation and of course taxes. You can start this type of business as limited liability company (LLC) and in future convert it to a ‘C’ corporation or an ‘S’ corporation especially when you have the plans of going public.
Catchy Business Name Ideas Suitable for a Pest Control Services Company
If you are considering starting your own pest control services company, here are some catchy names that you can choose from;
- Uncle Joe Pest Control Services Company
- Wide Spread Pest Control Company, LLC
- Polly Pally Pest Control Company, Inc.
- Pest Enemies Pest Control Company
- Ariel Pest Control Company, Inc.
- Rambo Pest Control Services Company, Inc.
- Clean Job Pest Control Services, Inc.
- Carson Dennis Pest Control Company, LLC
- Ian Bennie & Sons Pest Control Company, Inc.
- Maxwell Travis Pest Control Company, Inc.
In the United States and in most countries of the world, you can’t operate a business without having some of the basic insurance policy covers that are required by the industry you want to operate from. So, it is important to create a budget for insurance and perhaps consult an insurance broker to guide you in choosing the best and most appropriate insurance policies for your pest control services company.
Here is some of the basic insurance covers that you should consider purchasing if you want to start your own pest control services company in the United States of America;
- General insurance
- Health insurance
- Liability insurance
- Risk insurance
- Motor vehicle insurance (comprehensive insurance)
- Workers compensation
- Overhead expense disability insurance
- Business owner’s policy group insurance
- Payment protection insurance
Intellectual Property Protection/Trademark
You may not have any need to file for intellectual property protection/trademark when starting your own pest control services company. This is so because the nature of the business makes it possible for you to successfully run the business without having any cause to challenge anybody in court for illegally making use of your company’s intellectual properties.
Is Professional Certification Needed to Run a Pest Control Business?
Aside from your ability to handle chemicals and operate pest control equipment and tools, professional certification is one of the main reasons why some pest control services company stand out. If you want to make an impact in the pest control services industry, you should work towards acquiring all the needed certifications in your area of specialization. Certification validates your competency and shows that you are highly skilled, committed to your career, and up-to-date in the market.
These are some of the certifications you can work towards achieving if you want to run your own pest control services company;
- Federal Certification Standards for Pesticide Applicators – US EPA
- Degree / Diploma in Chemical Related Courses
Please note that you cannot successfully run a pest control services company in the United States and in most countries of the world without necessarily acquiring professional certifications and business license even if you have adequate experience cum background in the pest control services industry.
List of Legal Documents You Need to Run a Pest Control Services Company
The essence of having the necessary documentation in place before launching a business in the United States of America cannot be overemphasized. It is a fact that you cannot successfully run any business in the United States without the proper documentations. If you do, it won’t be too long before the long hand of the law catches up with you.
These are some of the basic legal documents that you are expected to have in place if you want to legally run your own pest control services company in the United States of America;
- Certificate of Incorporation
- Business License
- Tax Payer’s ID/Tax Identification Number
- Agricultural Pest Control Adviser License
- Pesticide Applicator’s License
- Chemical Handling License
- Business Plan
- Non – disclosure Agreement
- Employee Handbook
- Employment Agreement (offer letters)
- Operating Agreement for LLCs
- Insurance Policy
- Company Bylaws
- Memorandum of Understanding (MoU)
- Contract Document
- Franchise or Trademark License (optional)
Financing Your Pest Control Services Business
Starting a pest control services company can be cost effective especially if you choose to start on a small scale, but if you choose to start the business on a large scale with standard office facility and over a handful of full-time employees, then you would need to go source for funds to finance the business because it is expensive to start a standard large scale pest control services company.
No doubt when it comes to financing a business, one of the major factors that you should consider is to write a good business plan. If you have a good and workable business plan document in place, you may not have to labor yourself before convincing your bank, investors and your friends to invest in your business.
Here are some of the options you can explore when sourcing for startup capital for your pest control services company;
- Raising money from personal savings and sale of personal stocks and properties
- Raising money from investors and business partners
- Sell of shares to interested investors
- Applying for loan from your bank
- Pitching your business idea and applying for business grants and seed funding from donor organizations and angel investors
- Source for soft loans from your family members and your friends
Choosing a Suitable Location for your Pest Control Services Company
Even though you can afford to start a pest control services company from any part of the world, when it comes to choosing a location for your pest control Services Company, the rule of thumb is that you should be guided by access to the needed pest control chemicals and availability of clients. If you are able to start your pest control services company in the right location for such business, you won’t struggle to make headway in the business.
It cannot be overemphasized that the location you chose to start your pest control services company is key to the success of the business, hence entrepreneurs are willing to rent or lease a facility in a visible location; a location where the demography consists of people with the required purchasing power and lifestyle. If you make the mistake of starting your pest control services company in an area where you will find it difficult to access pest control chemicals, you will struggle to grow the business because you will spend more in importing pest control chemicals.
These are some of the key factors that you should consider before choosing a location for your pest control services company;
- The demography of the location
- The demand for the services of a pest control services company in the location
- The purchasing power of the residents of the location
- Accessibility of the location
- The number of pest control and related services businesses in the location
- The local laws and regulations in the community/state
- Traffic, parking and security et al
Starting a Pest Control Business – Technical & Manpower Details
On the average, the technology/equipment needed to run this type of business include, pest control and fumigation equipment and tools, inventory-management software and other relevant software applications. You will definitely need computers/laptops, internet facility, telephone, fax machine and office furniture (chairs, tables and shelves) amongst others and all these can be gotten as fairly used.
As regard leasing or outright purchase of an office facility, the choice is dependent on your financial standing, but the truth is that to be on the safe side, it is advisable to start off with a short term rent/lease while test running the business in the location.
If things work out as planned, then you can go on a long term lease or outright purchase of the property but if not, then move on and source for other ideal location for such business. Besides, you can comfortably run a small scale pest control business from your home.
When it comes to hiring employees for a standard pest control services company, you should make plans to hire a competent Chief Executive Officer/Manager (you can occupy this role), Admin and Human Resources Manager, Field Workers (Pest Exterminators) (6), Sales and Marketing Officer, Accounting Clerk and Front Desk Officer. These are some of the key employees that you can work with. On the average, you will need a minimum of 5 to 10 key staff members to run a medium scale but standard pest control services company.
The Services Process Involved in a Pest Control Company
When it comes to the business process as it relates to pest control services company, there are no hard and fast rule about it. Basically, it is the duty of the merchandise or marketing manager to help the organization source for good and affordable pest control chemicals and working tools/equipment.
They go out there to source for good business deals and ensure that they do not only purchase chemical supplies at the right prices that will guarantee them good profit, but ensure that they purchase effective pest control chemicals.
Before a deal is sealed, a pest control services company is expected to carry out inspection on the location and the type of pest to be controlled or exterminated. This will enable them know the type of equipment and quantity of chemicals to be deployed to the site.
Once a deal is sealed, then the pest control services company goes out there to carry out their job as agreed by both parties. Usually, if after the job is carried out and the client still finds traces of the pest that was meant to be exterminated, the pest control services company is expected to go back and do a thorough job at no extra cost to the client.
It is important to state that a pest control services company may decide to improvise or adopt any business process and structure that will guarantee them efficiency and flexibility.
Starting a Pest Control Business – The Marketing Plan
- Marketing ideas and strategies
If you choose to launch a pest control services company, then you must go all out to employ strategies that will help you attract customers or else you will likely struggle with the business because there are well-known brands determining the market direction for the pest control services industry.
Your marketing strategy should center on reliability, swiftness, safety, pricing, secured payment platform and above all excellent customer service. You should ensure that whenever your customers hire your services that they will get excellent service. The truth is that if you are able to put the above stated in place, you won’t struggle to retain your old customers and at the same time win over new customers.
Here are some of the platforms you can utilize to market your pest control services company;
- Introduce your pest control services company by sending introductory letters alongside your brochure to government ministries, agencies and parastatals, organized private sector, households, commercial farmers, green house farmers, facility managers, boarding houses/campuses, playground/parks, estates and communities, farm settlements, camp grounds and corporate organizations within the location where your company is located
- Advertise your business in relevant business magazines, newspapers, TV and radio stations
- List your business on yellow pages ads (local directories)
- Attend relevant international and local expos, seminars and business fairs et al
- Create different packages for different category of clients in order to work with their budgets and still meet their demands
- Leverage on the internet to promote your business
- Join local chambers of commerce around you with the main aim of networking and marketing your services; you are likely going to get referrals from such networks.
- Engage the services of marketing executives and business developers to carry out direct marketing
Factors That Will Help You Get the Right Product Pricing
One key factor that will help you offer your services at rock bottom prices is to purchase your products (pest control chemicals and equipment/tools) directly from the manufacturers in pretty large quantities. In business, the higher the quantity of items you purchase directly from the manufacturers, the cheaper you tend to get them.
Another strategy that will help you offer your services at the right price is to cut operational cost to the barest minimum and channel your efforts towards marketing and promoting your brand name. Asides from the fact that this strategy will help you save cost, it will also help you get the right pricing for your services.
Strategies to Boost Your Brand Awareness and Create Your Corporate Identity
If your intention of starting a pest control services company is to grow the business beyond the city where you are going to be operating from to become a national and international brand, then you must be ready to spend money on promotion and advertisement of your brand.
No matter the industry you belong to, the truth is that the market is dynamic and it requires consistent brand awareness and boosting cum promotion to continue to appeal to your target market. Your corporate identity has a lot to do when it comes to building a profitable business.
Here are the platforms you can leverage on to boost your brand awareness and a create corporate identity for your pest control services company;
- Place adverts on both print (newspapers and magazines) and electronic media platforms
- Sponsor relevant community based events/programs
- Leverage on the internet and social media platforms like; Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google + et al to promote your products
- Install your billboards in strategic locations all around your city or state
- Engage in roadshows from time to time in targeted neighborhoods to create awareness of your pest control services company
- Distribute your fliers and handbills in target areas
- Contact the public sector; government ministries, agencies and parastatals, organized private sector, households, commercial farmers, green house farmers, facility managers, boarding houses/campuses, playgrounds/parks, estates and communities, farm settlements, camp grounds and corporate organizations within the location where your company is located informing them about your business
- List your pest control services company in local directories/yellow pages
- Advertise your pest control services company in your official website and employ strategies that will help you pull traffic to the site
- Position our Flexi Banners at strategic positions where your pest control services company is located
- Ensure that all your staff members wear your branded shirts and all your vehicles and trucks/vans are well branded with your company logo.