When it comes to management protocols, live trapping and exclusion are by far the most popular among PMPs who offer wildlife control services: 89 percent use live trapping and 87 percent exclusion. Nearly half, 45 percent, say that exclusion is their primary means of control; 39 percent say that live trapping is.
“Trapping is great, but if you can get the animals out of the house without handling them, it’s easier and safer for your technicians,” says Jerry Swoboda of Swoboda Pest & Termite Control. “We mainly use structural modification, building doors that let them leave but won’t let them back in. Then we just close them up once the house is clear of them.”
Sheri Spencer Bachman of Spencer Pest Services in Greenville, S.C., shares, “We get an even mix of squirrel and rodent calls, which make up about 30 percent of our business. We’ve developed a program that covers both with a five-step approach: (1) identify the animal based on droppings, what time of day or night the customer hears noises, etc., (2) trap and remove them, (3) place bait stations, (4) sanitize (usually the attic) and (5) inspect the bait stations (rebaiting as needed) and the home (for new holes) on a regular basis.”
Once the work is done, Spencer Pest puts a renewal on the program for whole-house coverage on any type of wildlife or rodent that gets into the house, Spencer Bachman explains. “The customer pays a portion up front and then makes monthly payments. As long as they continue making the payments, all they have to do is call if a mouse, snake, squirrel or other animal gets in. Customers like the peace of mind of knowing their entire house is covered, and the recurring revenue is great for us. It’s a very profitable model.”
Duane Scheidegger of Lockout Pest Control in Brodhead, Wis., who mostly encounters raccoons, skunks, groundhogs and squirrels, goes with a different model. “I charge a set-up fee based on the specifics of the job and then charge for each animal removed. My customers prefer this cost structure to an annual contract,” he says. “It’s working really well for me; my wildlife control work has grown over the past year, from about 10 percent to 15 percent of my business.”
In fact, this model works for more than three-fourths of PMPs, according to the PCT survey, although some of them may also opt to go the contract route, depending on the specific needs or circumstances of the customer. While 77 percent sometimes or always use no-contract, à la carte pricing, 44 percent use stand-alone or bundled annual contracts.