In what areas of pest management are our readers most active? The latest Pest Pulse survey finds out.  

There are various ways to segment the pest control market. Many will analyse the market by pest, dividing work into general pest and termites and by customer type, typically residential and commercial. The latest Pest Pulse gives us a snapshot of the type of pest control being carried out.

The topline result shows the vast majority of pest control companies, some 85%, do at least some commercial pest control work. And it would appear that those involved in commercial pest control have varied clients (Figure 1).

Figure 1: Which areas of commercial pest control do you work in?

Not surprisingly, over 90% of companies involved in commercial pest control have clients in the food industry (77% of companies overall), but the majority of pest managers are also carrying out work for office, hotels and industrial clients. Only around 20% of pest companies do work with farming/rural customers, although this is most likely influenced by the location of the pest control business. A number of respondents also mentioned they carried out work in schools, childcare facilities, resorts and retirement villages.

Not surprisingly, only a third of commercial work is termite related, whilst those focusing on residential customers gained just over 50% of their business from termites.

In terms of capturing new commercial clients, word of mouth is the dominant form of referral, with over 80% of pest managers mentioning word of mouth as one of their advertising tools (Figure 2). In addition, online advertising with Google and social media is utilised by around a third of pest managers, although only a few used LinkedIn, which is often considered a good business-to-business advertising tool.

Figure 2: What advertising is used to gain commercial customers?

However, surprisingly, only around 15% of pest companies use direct marketing as an advertising tool. Targeting commercial customers can be a challenge, so although approaching them directly is more labour intensive, it allows you to better demonstrate your professionalism and ability to tailor services to their needs – attributes very much appreciated by commercial clients.

Of those businesses ignoring the commercial pest opportunity, nearly two thirds indicated the reason being was that they preferred they like to focus on residential pest control and have plenty of business. A few mentioned they did not like the hours or extra paperwork often required for commercial work and some had not considered the opportunity.

However, for businesses looking to grow or wanting to increase income during the cooler months, an increased focus on commercial pest control can deliver great benefits. Gaining new commercial clients and managing their ongoing requirements takes more effort, but the rewards gained offset this. Not only can they generate significantly more revenue than residential clients, but the fact they often require more regular servicing, often quarterly or monthly, helps to provide regular income throughout the year.

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