Where There’s a Will, There’s a Way

Where there’s a will, there’s a way

According to industry researcher Gary Curl, in 2007 the structural pest management industry generated an estimated $6.628 billion in total service revenues, down 1.5 percent from the previous year. Yet the PCT Top 100 companies, which represent the industry’s 100 largest firms, grew by more than $182 million last year. Why did these companies grow, but on average the industry didn’t? Perhaps it’s because when the going got tough, the tough started thinking innovatively about how to maintain (and even grow?) their revenues.
I know what you’re saying if you’re not one of the industry’s 100 largest firms – “We’re just as innovative as those larger firms. We’re more nimble and can make decisions much faster.” And to that , I say you’re absolutely correct. GIE Media, the parent company of PCT magazine, is relatively small compared to many publishing firms. But does that stop us from coming up with new ideas, implementing them quickly and adjusting to market conditions as soon as we learn about them? Of course not.
I understand why some smaller companies may not pay as much attention to this month’s cover story as some of the larger ones do. But in this economy, can any firm – regardless of size – afford to pass over some great business ideas? I don’t think so. There are things that any company – large or small – can learn from other companies. And what PCT has tried to do in the articles that accompany this list is share with all of our readers some successes that we hope can be transferred from firm to firm.
One of the key messages from the companies profiled is that service diversification is key. If your termite revenues are down (which is the case for many firms), in order to grow, something else needs to make up for that lost revenue. Here is what some of what this year’s Top 100 firms had to say about generating new revenue via diversification of services, cross selling and customer retention. About service diversification:

Arrow Exterminators, Atlanta, recently added wildlife management, handyman services and the installation of insulation to its add-on services.
Jacksonville, Fla. – based B&B Exterminating’s green pest management service drew in new customers and many existing customers upgraded to the program.
Many companies, including Gregory Pest Solutions, Greenville, S.C., and Viking Termite & Pest Control, Bound Brook, J.J., concentrated their efforts on growing their commercial services.

Cross selling was also a frequently mentioned theme:

Vulcan Termite & Pest Control, Pelham, Ala., focused on selling pest control to its existing termite customers and increased pest control revenue 25 percent.
Critter Control expanded its preventive services with installations of chimney caps, insulation and gutter guards.
Rodent exclusion was “an incredible source of new revenue” for Austin, Texas-based ABC Pest & Lawn Services last year.

Customer retention is key. So how do you keep customers from canceling service?

Service is pre-scheduled for customers of Spencer Pest Control, Roswell, Ga., and if a technician is more than 30 minutes late for a timed service without having notified the customer, that service is free.
Moxie Pest Control, Corona, Calif., had success because of its ability to customize services for its customers/

Regardless of your firm’s size, you’ll only get out what you put in. When PCT asked Haskell Termite and Pest Control President/Owner Brad Haskell his growth strategies, he said, “ hard work and diversification.” I think that’s sound advise for everyone.

The author is editor of PCT magazine (Jodie Dorsch)
Taken from the May 2008 issue of PCT Top 100

Growth In A Down Market

Where There’s a Will, There’s a Way

The Facts About Bed Bugs

Mosquito-Borne Illnesses and Public Health Safety

The Big Bite Of Termites: $5 Billion A Year In Damages