As a pest control company, you provide tremendous value to the people, communities and businesses you serve. Understanding and being able to express the value of what you do, our industry and the services you provide is key to growing a successful business and becoming a respected member of the community.

The pest control firms featured in this issue are examples of companies who are doing it right. Congratulations to all! The majority of these PCT Top 100 companies started as small, family businesses and have grown into trusted pillars of their communities. If you’ve made the decision that you want to grow, these folks are exemplars of what to do to achieve your goals.

REPOSITIONING THE INDUSTRY. At times, consumers can be quick to assume that pest problems are easily controlled with do-it-yourself measures or that they could do the job just as well if they only had the wherewithal to handle the pests themselves. Unfortunately, this mindset may skew their opinions of the pest control industry, specifically their need for professional help or advice regarding an infestation. The truth is that pest professionals have extensive training and knowledge with regard to pest biology, behaviors and can provide the most effective methods of control.

While this knowledge is vital, consumers have varied tolerance levels for pest problems. Some homeowners will call in a professional at the first sight of an ant, while others wait until an infestation has become more severe. Because of this, your audience has a range of views on the need for hiring a professional, and it is important to continually educate them through positive interactions and messaging that speaks to their concerns. Promote messages that show the value of the services you provide.

The biggest value message is the role you play in protecting public health and property. The industry has made significant advancements to reduce pest threats. In fact, public health officials attribute the quality of life we have today to three things: better pharmaceuticals and vaccines, better sanitation, and better pest control. Historically, pests are known to carry and transmit many dangerous diseases, as well as destroy food meant for human consumption. To combat this, we now provide more targeted and innovative solutions in both consumer and commercial applications. At the forefront is the adaptation of IPM, developing customized plans to eliminate sources of food, water and shelter to remove breeding grounds and areas of attraction and the judicious use of EPA-approved products to solve problems.

Communicating messages that showcase the widespread knowledge and continuous advancement of the industry is essential to the consumer education component of your company’s success. This is something that every company faces and needs to tackle. But, don’t feel alone. While you have a voice in your community, you are joined by companies around the country, as well as the Professional Pest Management Alliance (PPMA), which for 19 years has served as a unified voice for the industry.

SHOW YOUR WORTH. While performing the day-to-day activities associated with pest problems, pest professionals often forget they have an incredible story to tell and may miss the chance to showcase the value they provide customers. Don’t squander this opportunity!

Understanding your importance can help you feel empowered and encouraged to use your voice to share messages of industry value — how we protect public health, food and property from the diseases and dangers of pests. Working to build a community of trust is often a top priority. This will take your company closer to reaching your goals of growth and success.

There are three overarching messages that speak to the value we provide:

  • Pest control is a contributing factor to the quality of life we have today.
  • Pests can be dangerous if not managed correctly.
  • Pest professionals are protectors of public health, food and property.

Sharing these messages often means connecting with customers on multiple levels. The more you can interact with consumers, the more likely they are to understand the importance of working with you. Consumer education can be addressed in multiple ways. Some say that company branding, face-to-face interactions and word of mouth marketing are the most successful tactics. However, it’s also important to have a strong online and social media presence — whether it’s a blog, website or company Facebook account, and that your sales collateral reflects these value messages as well.

Now is the time for the industry as a whole to embrace consumer education. For the past 19 years, PPMA has been leading the charge for pest control companies to express their value and worth, and the more companies communicate these core messages to their communities, the louder and clearer our collective voice becomes.

Whether you’re a part of the Top 100 or are aspiring to grow your business, you have a strong, meaningful voice in the industry and it is essential that you share messages of positivity, credibility and value. And, knowing that you have a partner in PPMA — and other companies who are sharing the same messaging — you can feel empowered to share your story.

Mannes is executive director of the Professional Pest Management Alliance/vice president of public affairs for NPMA. Visit www.npmapestworld.org/ppma.