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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey everyone, first post on the site just looking for some advice from the pros!I'm 19 with a small landscaping bussiness, Id like to stray away from landscaping and get into pest control bussiness. So my plan is to get a job at orkin or another big company, get trained and gain some experience for 2-3 years. Also some Small bussiness management clasess at night. Then ill take the leap of faith and open up my own bussiness. Id love to hear your guy's input and story's of your guys bussiness's.
Thanks!
 

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I don't know anything about the pest control business, but working for someone else for a few years and getting some education, training and experience is a sensible plan. Start saving some money right now, on general principle and on the principle that if or when you start your own business you'll need some startup capital and some funds to put food on the table while you get your business going. Good luck.
 

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They can get you the licenses you need and get you trained according to state requirements, but you won't learn just a whole heck of a lot, from them at least. You can learn plenty, but it's up to you. You have to keep your eyes and your mind open. I'd read PCT and PMP magazines monthly, for starters. That's Pest Control Technology and Pest Management Professional. Now I think the stuff in there is pretty basic, and I don't really get anything out of them anymore, but that's where you are. A lot of the time I disagree with their opinion. But if you keep reading and thinking you'll figure it out.

One of the problems with the big companies is that they have a canned approach to pest control. Use product X like this and product Y like this and that's all you need to know.

Pest control is really an art form and you have to get a feel for it and figure out all the little tricks. The best place to train would be a good local company. You might be able to pick the needle out of the haystack by going to the local pest control association meetings and talking to the people there and finding out which company you want to work for that way. Odds are if you talk to 5 people they will have worked at every company around.

Keep in mind that there is 1-2 hours of paperwork or administrative work to do every day. Most people don't realize how much backwork there can be in running a business. You'll have maybe 4 different kinds of taxes to pay and that means record keeping, not to mention equipment maintenance and repair, ordering, invoicing, scheduling, and just everything else.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I kinda know a guy in my neighborhood whos in the industry Ill go chat it up with him and who knows maybe he has an opening? Ill for sure look into PCT and PCM. I expected paper work ect. im used to that but on a smaller scale. Id rather be doing my own paper work then some other guys. Are you solo?
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
So it can be done! I'd like to stay solo, and ad on other services such as fertilizing. Maybe even some snow plowing later down the road when I get a handle on everything!
 

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You don't have a location listed but mention snow plowing so I assume you are up in yankee land somewhere. It depends on where you want to operate, but generally speaking, there are some old structures up there and lots of different construction practices you could run into. Basements, crawl space with stem wall, piers, maybe wooden supports, etc. Probably a lot of regular monolithic slabs in the newer parts. Do they run water lines through the slab for refrigerators?

Now there's a good question. They don't here, usually. But they have in certain places and certain time periods. I've seen termites come up that penetration when it was away from the outside wall and no other plumbing nearby. Just termites right there. If you didn't know that there could be a penetration there you might do something stupid like assume they came through the wall over there from somewhere else and just foam it out or do something really silly like above ground baits or probably just lose the bid as someone else would come along and know what they are talking about. But what if you got it for some reason? Now it is your responsibility to solve that problem, and if you don't, might be a real issue.

I'm saying all that to point out that termites take time to learn and you need experience dealing with them. If you are patient and pay attention you'll learn what works on general pests and find different strategies, but you can't do that with termites. You better know beforehand.

When I started out I was fresh out of college with a degree in entomology and was way ahead of most of the people at the company I was working for, but I had no experience and didn't know squat about a lot of things which took time to learn. I started at a major national company doing termite sales and inspections. I'd go on all the termite leads and do an inspection, draw a graph, and try to sell them the job. I did all the annual termite re-inpsections. I also had the benefit of getting to train under the best termite guy I've ever met who had been doing it a long time. I learned a lot from him and frequently went on jobs to help and learn how to do the treatments. If I wasn't busy doing sales or inspections I was on the termite treatments I had sold. I went on all the retreats that were done based on activity found during my re-inspections. I got to see jobs that had been done a long time ago, all sorts of construction, learn about where their termites had come up, see damage of all sorts in walls, crawls, subfloors, attics, etc. They don't always do what the book says they do. They can be sneaky and construction can be weird. I've seen them come up when someone had added on a brick veneer by pouring a new thin slab around the foundation and putting it on top of that. It can be hard to figure out when you aren't talking to the person who owned it when that happened. An added veneer isn't terribly uncommon. Tricks like tapping the foundation with a hammer to see if it sounds hollow isn't in the training manual, but you do this long enough you will probably discover a foundation where a chunk of it fell off when they pulled the form boards and they stuck some back on. Now there's a crack they can come up that can be invisible. Or someone slathered mortar mix all over the foundation to change the color. Just so many things to learn. Not to mention application rates, treating dirt filled porches, knowing the depth of the footer, stuff like that.

When I started my intention was to start at the bottom job and work my way up, so I could work every different job there is, starting with termites. That is the right way to do it. Some companies will have you be a "swing tech" and you can go on all the different kinds of work, but the big nationals break everyone into specialties, a residential pest tech, commercial pest tech, termite sales, termite treaters, etc. Maybe this is to keep training simpler, but also has the effect of when those people leave they only know a small part of the job. If you are going to run your own shop you have to know everything.

You need to be good at termite inspections, treatments, and creative thinking. You need to be good at pest inspections, treatments, and creative thinking in that regard as well. For residential and commercial. It's a lot of stuff to know. People think pest control is so easy and simple you just go spray some bug juice out and that's it, anyone can do it, but they'll just lose all their accounts. I pick up accounts all the time because everyone else has failed, and they are my best accounts now. That's how I have gotten probably half of my commercial customers. These are people who had gone through half a dozen companies and are not shy about switching to get their problem solved. You have to ask yourself am I going to be one of those that got switched from or am I going to be the guy they stick with because I can figure it out and am willing to do what it takes to solve the problem and earn the customer's loyalty. Most of the time I don't make any money on those in the beginning, but they are good customers down the road.

Don't get surprised about taxes. Learn your state taxes. I may post more about that later. Basically, once you get out of the free money bracket(due to exemptions and deductions) into the taxed bracket, federal taxes are your income tax bracket+15.3% self-employment tax. So you will have a business partner you didn't ask for who makes your life hell and takes half the profit. That's how it is.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Up in Northeast OH I dont think we run water lines through the slab, but I could be wrong. wow you really know the tricks of the trade! I hope I can get trained as well as you did. Working for a big company is not sounding all that good anymore. I hope the guy down the street needs some help...... I pay close attention to detal, think outside the box, and am a very hard worker I think this will help me in my growth as a technician. Im hoping that will change when DickHead gets out of office (but i dont know **** about politics) I guess theres no way getting around that reguadless the industry your in besides for more cash the better! How long was it before you took on your own business. Doy you run it out of your house?
Thanks for your responses there very helpfull
 
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