Offering end-of-lease treatments is relatively easy business, with the addition of a few extra services making it highly worthwhile.
End-of-lease treatments are often a low value, highly competitive service. Here we review some of the issues and considerations in providing end-of-lease treatments and explore potential upselling opportunities.
An end-of-lease pest treatment – typically a flea treatment – is the responsibility of the tenant. The requirement for such a treatment is normally written into the rental agreement and is a must for pet owners, but can sometimes be required by the departing tenant whether they are a pet owner or not. The end-of-lease treatment is a standard clause in rental agreements in Queensland, and the requirement is becoming increasingly widespread in other states too. Without an invoice or treatment notification from a professional pest manager, the tenant will typically have their bond withheld.
Pest managers need to understand the exact requirements of the particular rental contract before carrying out the treatment. Although mostly the requirement is for a flea treatment, sometimes a general pest treatment is also needed. Furthermore, sometimes the contract will specify the nature of the flea treatment – whether or not both an internal and external treatment required. Checking the wording in the agreement, rather than taking the tenant at their word, not only ensures the correct treatment first time, but ensures the pest manager applies no more product than is actually required. Why treat inside and outside the home for fleas, if no fleas are present and the agreement does not specify an indoor and outdoor treatment?
Generally there is no need to offer a service-free period for end-of-lease treatments. The pest manager need only carry out the treatment and ensure the property is flea free at the time of vacation. As any incoming tenant could introduce pests on their arrival, the offer of a service-free period may be a bit risky.
The one significant benefit in carrying out an end-of- lease treatment is that it can be, and indeed should be, applied once the house is empty. This should make for a quick and thorough treatment. Of course it’s important to ensure that any cleaning occurs before the pest treatment, so the treatment isn’t removed by any cleaning activity. This gives the treatment time to work and maximises any residual benefit, which is particularly important if a warranty is being provided.
With end-of-lease treatments generally being a low value service, options to upsell should be considered. Although upselling in these situations isn’t easy, termite inspections and meth testing are two considerations.
Carrying out a termite inspection at the end of the lease when the house is empty allows for a more comprehensive and quicker inspection than normal. It is perhaps less of an opportunity for landlords who already get regular termite inspections, but for new landlords or those not currently having inspections on their investment property, the end-of-lease window represents an ideal time to make the pitch. Obviously you need the support of the real estate agent, but with the property being empty, a reduced-priced termite inspection may be just the incentive to pick up a new customer.
Moving beyond pest control, meth testing is an emerging opportunity. Meth binds strongly to hard surfaces, carpets, curtains and other furnishings. There is concern that these meth residues can transfer to anyone contacting the furnishings, which becomes more of a concern when potential tenants have small children. With the question of liability yet to be tested in court, real estate agents are becoming increasingly aware of the bene t of carrying out meth testing when a tenant leaves a property and before new tenants move in. Whilst offering meth clean-up services is an altogether more involved activity, getting trained to provide meth testing is relatively straightforward and allows pest managers to offer property managers a complete end-of-lease package.