While knowledge is the key to being successful at just about any aspect of the pest control business, it’s absolutely essential for PMPs working in the closed crawlspace market. Unlike controlling ants or finding a rodent infestation, closing crawlspaces involves knowing everything possible about moisture, temperature, construction techniques and more.

According to Phillip Lautsch of Smyrna, Ga.-based Northwest Exterminating, any PMP who wants to add crawlspaces to their list of services needs to start by learning the basics first.

“I would start with the knowledge. You have to have the knowledge for gas lines and foundations and air quality. When you’re going into a house and controlling everything, your core has to be knowledge,” Lautsch says. “There are a lot of ways to get it, but you need to have it to start.”

Billy Tesh, president of Crawlspace Depot, agrees that education is the foundation — pun intended — to learning the business of closed crawlspaces.

“I suggest to all PMPs interested to look at our videos online as well as support themselves with additional training through Zoom as much as possible,” Tesh says. “These services can vary in the degree of complexity so the training is very important.”

A crawlspace before being closed (left) and after (right). Insulating the crawlspace and encapsulating it is an ideal way to keep moisture outside where it belongs.

Tesh understands the value of industry knowledge because when he first decided to close crawlspaces as part of his pest management company, he basically was self-taught. Today, Crawlspace Depot —which distributes product but also has an arm focused on developing new technologies and providing education — is a leading educator of PMPs wanting to learn that market.

“We do online training and we’ve done training in my offices,” Tesh said. “I suggest that PMPs call us to have a conversation about what they’re trying to do and how big they want to make this as part of their business. Then we’ll map out a plan that has them doing closed crawlspaces.”

Lautsch says he did everything possible to learn about crawlspaces. “The fundamental cornerstone is the knowledge, so I did everything I could. I took a lot of classes, I got any information I possibly could, I sought out any certifications that related to foundations and crawlspaces. It’s all important.”

Greg Parker’s Indiana-based company InterTec Termite and Pest Control performs a lot of crawlspace work, and he fully supports PMPs getting as much education as possible.

“I think they need to do their homework and research, and (take) any continuing education classes they can find,” says Parker. “Definitely moisture content and mold, mildew, fungus any kind of classes they can take like that.”

Dozens of websites offer training, techniques and best practices to learn about closed crawlspaces. Crawlspace Depot developed a niche for this market that previously didn’t exist. Even research-based organizations like Home Innovation Research Labs (formerly the National Association of Home Builders [NAHB] Research Center) have been publishing to the building industry about the benefits of closed crawlspaces for seven years.

Only four years ago, Home Innovation Research Labs published an article about “alternative construction methods” and closed crawlspaces was included as one of the five. So, for PMPs thinking they are missing the boat in this market, it’s still wide open and full of opportunity.