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PEST PULSE: PEST CONTROL INDUSTRY – SOFTWARE OVERVIEW

What software packages are pest managers using to ensure their businesses run efficiently? Our Pest Pulse survey invited readers to share their opinions on this hot topic.

 

Software is integral to running a successful business. More accurately, choosing the correct software that meets the needs of a business can drive success. Getting it wrong can have quite the opposite effect. As part of an in depth look at business software over the next 12 months, Professional Pest Manager has carried out a Pest Pulse survey to get a top-line view of software use (reported here) which will be followed up with in-depth surveys on the key aspects of software functionality.

If there’s one area of business management where all companies utilise software, it’s in financial management. The user-friendly accounting software available today has allowed more small business owners to keep a closer eye on their business financials rather than relying on their account. From our survey, Xero was the most commonly used accounting software (58%) followed by MYOB (33%). However, not all business managers used their account software invoice customers. In fact, as many pest managers used a multi-purpose business software rather than their accounting software to invoice customers. Although not asked in this survey, presumably in many cases the business software in questions would have an integration with the accounting software.

Software has the potential to increase business efficient in a number of areas, as highlighted by the number of areas where pest managers use specialised business software (Figure 1). The vast majority of business owners who responded (94%) used software to manage their customer lists. As this was a survey on business software, the type of respondents may have skewed the data, but I think we can say customer cards and filing cabinets filled with customer reports are a thing of the past.

 

Figure 1: In which business areas are pest managers utilising software?

 

Perhaps not surprisingly, given the amount of time they consume, but job scheduling (88%) and report writing (85%) were the other business areas where a vast majority of respondents utilised software. On the other hand it did seem a bit surprising that just over half of respondents use software to help with the writing of proposals/quotes, only 39% used software to help with customer reminders and just 21% used software to help with their marketing activities. So perhaps there is further opportunities here for businesses to improve performance. Interestingly (as least to the author), was that just over a quarter of respondents used the vehicle tracking features of their software.

From a technical point of view, 24% of pest managers use software to help with termite bait activity monitoring and 15% use software to help with rodent bait station monitoring. Excluding account and CRM (customer relationship management) software, pest managers use a wide range of software. The most commonly used software was Formitize, named by (27% of respondents), followed by ServiceM8 (18%). Of those using a specific report writing software, Form Pigeon got the most mentions (12% of respondents).

The overall satisfaction rating was 7.6 out of 10, with 36% of respondents giving their software a score of 9 or 10 out of 10. However, with an average of 7.6 it still means a good number of pest managers aren’t happy with the software they use. Some 48% of respondents said they were definitely or maybe thinking of changing their software and 57% said they were considering utilising an additional software package in the near future. Although there were a range of different comments with regard to the areas of frustration/improvement in the software, the most comment area highlighted for improvement was around report writing, both functionality and the ability to customise.

Although there may be some ‘error’ in the data due to the relatively low respondent numbers, the general trends probably hold true.