Pest management companies are charging more for bed bug services. According to the 2019 PCT State of the Bed Bug Control Market survey sponsored by Zoëcon, 47 percent of PMPs said prices increased in their markets during the past three years.
In 2019, the average price of service was $893, which is $210 more than the average of $683 charged in 2017. In 2019, 21 percent of companies charged between $1,000 and $1,499 for a typical residential bed bug treatment.
“Just like a doctor or lawyer, you are a professional providing a professional service; don’t be afraid to charge a professional price,” said Don Grant, president of Grant Exterminating, Gastonia, N.C.
Years ago, Chris Christensen, owner of three Truly Nolen franchises in greater Lexington, Ky., followed this thinking and was surprised to win a 1,600-unit public housing account since his bid was about $75,000 higher than his closest competitor. “They recognized the effort and the intensity and the focus that we were providing in this control procedure,” he said.
And the price of some programs includes more than just controlling the pests. San Diego-based Thrasher Termite & Pest Control of So Cal provides a warranty after customers are declared bed bug free. “That’s why we don’t sell ourselves on pricing only,” said owner Garrett Thrasher.
Still, some customers aren’t willing to pay, regardless of warranty or professionalism. “When people see how much it’s going to cost, a lot of them don’t call us back. I suspect there are a lot of homeowners who are trying to manage their own infestations,” said David Brown, owner of Brown Pest Control, Winston- Salem, N.C.
In interviews, some PMPs said more companies in their markets are offering low-priced bed bug solutions.
“We’re not competing on price, but it’s definitely happening,” said Kevin Thorn, president of Thorn Pest Solutions, Pleasant Grove, Utah.
Brown says he suspects some tenants are being evicted in his market because it’s less expensive to treat an empty rental unit for the pests. He also said landlords are charging tenants for the cost of treatment by dividing the cost and adding it to their monthly rent. “There are some landlords who are very ticked off once they know there’s a case of bed bugs,” he said.
The author is a frequent contributor to PCT.