According to the PCT-NPMA 2016 Business Outlook survey, more than half (52 percent) of PMPs plan to increase head counts at their companies this year. Ravi Sachdeva, CEO of American Pest Management, who hopes to hire two to three new employees, also is investing in education for staff and himself.

Other PMPs are doing the same: improving training and professional development so “we have the best educated team members” and not just industry knowledge, said Dale Bauerkemper, vice president at Wil-Kil Pest Control and Holder’s Pest Solutions. PMPs cited sales, customer service and management training as areas of focus.

Of course, “the byproduct of growing is that if you hire more people as far as technicians you need more vehicles,” said Bill Horgan, president of Debug Pest Control in Chepachet, R.I.

Nearly half (49 percent) of survey respondents plan to increase their fleet investment in 2017. The majority plan to maintain their current number of locations (82 percent) and service offerings (57 percent).

Horgan will spend more on marketing his services in 2017. Braman Termite & Pest Elimination General Manager Rob Guyette is rolling out “some new, fresh and different marketing strategies involving SEO, social media and direct marketing” to capture a greater share of the residential market and build recurring revenue by getting customers to add on termite and mosquito control services. On the commercial side, the company’s new marketing and sales team will focus on third-party audit markets in Boston and southern Connecticut.

PMPs said they plan to continue to invest in technology, such as electronic data collection for commercial accounts. But sometimes this can cause problems “because we’re so far ahead; some of our clients haven’t kept up,” said Bauerkemper.

Nearly half (49 percent) of PMPs expect spending for capital improvements in 2017 to remain the same while 34 percent said it will increase, found the survey.