We’ve been talking about growing opportunities in rodent control work for several years now, as PMPs across the country share success stories of how they’ve capitalized on growing populations. In 2020, the number of companies offering these services has edged up yet again, with 97 percent of respondents to the 2020 PCT State of the Rodent Market Report survey saying they offer rodent control services. That’s up 7 percent over four years ago.

And while more than half (52 percent) say that fall and winter are their busiest seasons, 26 percent see no seasonal difference; many others report anecdotally that rodent work is increasingly becoming a year-round opportunity. Seattle’s mild climate, for example, assures steady rodent business for Wesley and Chris Parker of Parker Eco Pest Control, and John Kelly of Kelly Pest Control says that Richmond, Calif., has steady roof and Norway rat activity due to its proximity to the region’s deepwater ports.

Where populations are increasing, a variety of factors may be at play. Sean Stevens of Connecticut Wildlife Control attributes heightened activity in his market to large acorn crops in addition to recent mild winters. “The natural food supply supports the rodents, and the mild winters enable them to focus less on survival and more on reproduction,” he explains.

Rodent Revenues Keep Climbing. How significant is rodent control to companies’ overall revenues? Sixty-three percent say rodent control has become a more significant portion of their business over the past five years, compared with 58 percent saying the same in 2019. Only 1 percent say it is less significant. Rodent control represents, on average, 17.7 percent of service revenues, up from 16 percent last year.

And as 2020 comes to a close, the vast majority of PMPs that offer rodent control services — 97 percent — expect to see that percentage of revenue increase (63 percent) or remain steady (34 percent) over 2019 revenues. Only 2 percent look for a decrease.

New Geographic Opportunities. Enterprising business leaders continue to identify new revenue streams. The Parkers, for example, seized on a new opportunity that has given them a strong point of differentiation in their market.

“In 2017, Seattle put a rat abatement requirement into place for developers doing demolitions,” says Wesley Parker. “When a developer called to ask us if we could provide this service for them — they had called five other companies who all said ‘no’ — we decided to figure it out. We developed a plan and did the abatement for one location, then another and another, streamlining the process as we went. Now these programs are part of our regular services.”

Adds Chris Parker, “It’s different from other rodent work in that it requires a lot of office time and last-minute flexibility (paperwork must be delivered within one day of demolition). But it’s a great source of revenue once you have a system in place.”