Whatever you need in the field or office, there’s probably an app for that. Need to show a customer what a black widow looks like — and instill some peace of mind that the spider they’re seeing is not that? Pest field apps with detailed photos are an instant visual aid.

Need to dodge traffic so you can stay en route on time? Tap into map apps and travel tools that allow users to report issues from the road. Want to go paperless? Apps that fully integrate with customer relationship management (CRM) systems give you true mobility to handle business from check-in to invoicing from your phone.

More than anything, apps take the paper bulk out of fact-finding in the field and office.

“You used to have to carry a big, ‘ole book and now you can have the information in your phone, which makes it that much easier to access,” says Roger C. Meitler, president, World Pest Control, Sylvan Grover, Kan. “You’re much more ‘app’ (pun intended) to use the mobile resources than to go running back to your truck to get the information.”

Here’s a roundup of 12 apps pest control industry professionals are using to improve the way they run their businesses.

Bayer Pest Portal



How It Works: Bayer’s smartphone app allows pest management professionals (PMPs) to find products, calculate use rates, browse Bayer product resources and promotions, and see local weather.

Find It: iTunes or Google Play

Field Tip: “This gives our new techs insight so they can address the customer better,” says Shawn Dickenson, president, A Plus Pest Control, Edmond, Okla.

ColorNote

How It Works: Think of this as a stack of virtual Post-it notes that can be synched with other programs (your business software, for example). The notepad editing app allows you to create memos, emails, messages, lists and notes-to-self — whatever comes to mind in the field can be captured easily on your mobile device so the thought doesn’t get lost in the shuffle of running a business.

Find It: Google Play or iTunes

Field Tip: “It’s like sticky notes, and you can make notes and keep them on your phone screen,” describes Aaron J. Veal, owner, Phoenix Pest Control in Phoenix, Tenn. “I keep business to-do lists and type in quick notes, from ‘get milk’ to ‘order chemicals’ to ‘Mrs. Jones has a new dog and its name is Joe.’”

Veal likes to copy and paste these notes into his GorillaDesk program later.

Google Maps

How It Works: You can monitor real-time traffic, plug in the day’s route, view a destination before arriving and more.

Find It: iTunes or Google Play

Field Tip: “Google maps is integrated with the PestRoutes system we use, so it directs us from our current location to our next stop and it can map out the entire day,” Dickenson says. “If you get lost, it shows you how to get to your destination.”

GorillaDesk


How It Works: If going paperless is your goal, GorillaDesk is one program designed to get you there. The app gives PMPs the tools to do everything from schedule, route, track chemical use, invoice, facilitate customer online payment, save notes, send team notifications and create reports. It integrates with your CRM system, so the idea is that you can literally get a handle on your business from your phone and work more productively, while providing conveniences like easy pay that modern customers appreciate.

Find It: iTunes or Google Play

Field Tip: “It’s all the information I need at my fingertips, whenever I need it,” says Phoenix Pest Control’s Veal.

He describes how the system works during a typical day: He plugs in the route, and once he arrives at the customer location he “clocks in” at the top. He inputs chemical information and notes. After clocking out, he produces an invoice and can send that bill via email. The job is complete. “It’s simple and easy,” he says.

Veal dedicated time to inputting all existing customer information into the system. But once complete, the software and accompanying app have been plug-and-play.

iPest1, iPest2 & iPest3


How It Works: The University of Florida’s app series is a robust pest ID tool with information about pest habitat, biology, behavior and distribution throughout the U.S. Search pests, save favorites for fast reference, and view high-quality photos that mark identifying characteristics and a silhouette of the actual pest size.

iPest 1 includes cockroaches, filth breeding flies, occasional invaders, and urban pest and wildlife droppings. iPest 2 covers pest ants, stored food beetles, common termites structures and wood-destroying insects. iPest 3 covers biting, stinging and bloodsucking arthropods.

Find It: iTunes

Field Tip: “This has been a great tool of us to keep in our pockets when we have those situations come up where we need an extra resource to identify a pest,” says Roger C. Meitler, president, World Pest Control, Sylvan Grover, Kan.

NPMA Field Guide



How It Works: The National Pest Management Association’s app provides information about more than 200 structural pests, including high-resolution photos and charts so you can identify pests with confidence. Information includes biology and control methods. Plus, PMPs can send an email about a certain pest and directly contact an NPMA expert. Users also can create individual notes, take photos, reference the glossary or browse saved files.

Find It: iTunes or Google Play

Field Tip: “Photos are very important, and that app has lots of photos so we can look up insects,” Dickenson says. “We use this app equally for technicians to provide them with knowledge, and for customers to show them pictures.”

Pest Control Technology (PCT)


How It Works: Read monthly issues and search for articles in back issues of PCT magazine. Get the latest news and market analyses, watch videos, see photos/slide shows, and listen to podcasts.

Find It: Google Play or iTunes

Field Tip: Martin doesn’t keep magazine back issues on hand. But he loves when he can search his PCT app and find an article to show a customers or technician. If he doesn’t know the answer to a question but he can find it in this resource, that builds his credibility, he says. Plus, the app is helpful for training. “We can pull up a short article to review during a meeting,” he says.

PestPac Mobile


How It Works: Equipping technicians with the PestPac Mobile application helps increase efficiency both in the field and in the office with increased data accuracy, less administrative time and costs, reduced use of paper and more time for technicians to perform pest control services, the company says.

Find It: Google Play or iTunes

Field Tip: PestPac offers a variety of mobile workforce solutions for pest control companies that can increase efficiency, reduce operating costs and improve customer satisfaction, including its mobile app.

The PestPac Mobile app has the following features: View appointment list and calendar of jobs Time in/time out of jobs Access and update service and account information Create new locations Create new orders Add materials to service orders Attach files to orders and accounts Draw and attach diagrams to accounts Timesheets Print inspection reports

PestRoutes

How It Works: Another paperless player is PestRoutes. The app allows you to take this software “on the road,” so technicians can view, edit and complete appointments from the field. It’s real time, so changes are reflected immediately and stops can be added (or removed) from routes. Technicians enter chemical information and other notes, and the system syncs back to the office and shares pertinent details with customers. Service notes and invoices are completed right from the app. The software is customizable so you can tailor it to your business needs.

Find It: www.pestroutes.com

Field Tip: “We are trying to stay ahead of the curve and make sure that our management resources are up-to-date, and that’s why we decided to switch over to paperless,” Dickenson says, relating that the app saves time filling out paperwork in the truck or back at the office.

For Dickenson, going paperless was just a matter of choosing a program. Implementing it has been seamless for technicians in their 20s and 50s. “The software available these days is so user-friendly that it doesn’t require you to be a very tech-savvy person to use.”

PestWeb by Univar


How It Works: PestWeb includes product labels, SDS and other production information on the go. You can get advice from “Ask Mr. Pest Control” and read current industry news and alerts. There’s a rich pest and weed ID section with images. You can even read and post classifieds.

Find It: http://pestweb.com/mobileapp

Field Tip: “I think customers trust the information when they can see it,” says Steve Martin, president, Arrow Pest, Phoenix, Ariz. “If we get a client who moves in from out of state, we can use the pest ID part of this app to teach them about different insects we have here.”

ServSuite Mobile



How It Works: ServSuite’s Mobile App keeps work orders and customer accounts “in sync” with events at the office. It creates a paperless environment with work orders and proposals. You can synchronize technician schedules, reschedule services, take payments, add events and more. The ServSuite Mobile App is fully integrated with the company’s ServSign feature.

Find It: Google Play or iTunes

Field Tip: Commercial Barcoding is featured on the ServSuite Mobile App, with the purpose of taking the load off of your company’s employees: They don’t need to carry as much when they are out in the field and it simultaneously saves them time. The greatest thing about it is that it places you in a paperless environment.

Commercial barcoding allows field technicians to scan barcodes and update information through their mobile devices. Barcodes can be scanned either through the camera function on a smartphone or through a Bluetooth scanner used by itself or connected to a mobile device. The information from the scanned barcodes can then be organized into different categories such as: Inspection Point Status, Target Pest Species Identified, Observations and Materials Used.

Waze


How It Works: Open up the Waze app while you’re driving, and you’ll automatically contribute real-time traffic information. You can report accidents, speed traps and other road hazards. Also, you can sign up for road alerts and find out where to buy cheap gas. The app includes live routing, real-time traffic and road information. The app is centered on user participation.

Find It: Google Play or iTunes

“It’s a free app, and it’s self-reporting, so if you see a traffic jam you can record it, and others record issues they find on the road and those show up on a map,” Meitler describes.