Sales Tips For The Pest Control Technician

It’s amazing to me that pest technicians don’t sell more than 100k a year. Even more amazing? Most techs barely sell over 10k, and that’s in an entire year!!!

Think of it. Sales people as wonderful as they are don’t see near as many people as the tech does. Sales folks may be quick to make friends but really can’t compare with the relationship a tech will forge over the course of the contract. Month after month, service upon service, the tech is the one to learn all the kids names, get the scoop on family history, work places and even hobbies or special interests.

The relationship a tech can share most always is built on trust and reliability so if something like an add on service or a referral comes up, who’s in a better position to #1 hear about it and #2 get the sale?  The tech of course.  Still, we just don’t seem to rack up a bunch of numbers as techs and that’s a shame. For the company, for the client and for the tech and his or her commission check. So here are a few tips I’ve written down and hopefully one or two will be helpful and translate into some actual good things for all involved. Continue reading

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3 Hall Of Fame Disappointments In My Career – A Broken Branch

I’ve been in the pest control industry 30 plus years and to say the least,  it’s been a roller coaster ride. Not just in finances however, there has also been– and I guess will always continue to be, huge ups and down emotionally.  There are days, sometimes several days where it seems I can do no wrong. That I can sell any account, solve any problem or satisfy every client that comes my way.

Then there are those moments, yes moments, – and these “moments” turn in to hours, days, weeks, (even years I suppose since what I’m writing is still so fresh in my mind yet each example happened long ago) where I get so low, so depressed and have an overwhelming feeling that I have no place offering my service. That I am not worth the room I take up and that no one, not one single person looks at me and what I do with any shred of respect or admiration.

The following are 3 articles of such low times and even now as I write them down I can feel the emotions of betrayal, lack of self worth and the total crushing of my confidence come crashing in like a cold ocean wave of uncertainty doubt and fear. As I stand  with my feet planted in the unstable sand of the business world all I can do is turn my back, brace for impact and hope I don’t get knocked off my feet like I did so many years ago. Continue reading

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The Pest Control Industry & The Media

The old saying “any publicity is good publicity” may work for some but I don’t think that’s ever worked for the pest control industry. Not at a national level anyways. Recently the national head line news has been the horrific case of a family succumbing to pesticide poisoning while they were suppose to be enjoying a tropical vacation. It’s the lead story (as of this writing) of every outlet and I can’t tell how many of my clients have asked me if I heard of it. Just a few years back there was the Utah family who also suffered unspeakable losses also due to errant pesticide applications. So tragic, no amount of words can do these situations any justice.

Some may argue that these occurrences are rare and that these types of tragedies should not reflect on the industry as a whole. Much like flying an airplane is statistically far safer than taking your car to the corner store this is true…. but even in my little town where we have car accidents everyday you’d hardly ever know it unless it were a multi car pile up and fatalities were involved. However, let one tiny airplane go skidding off the runway and it’s on the 3, 6, and 10 o’clock news as the lead story. It’s much the same for our industry.

The media has a phrase, (whether they made it up or it’s just attributed to them-I don’t know)  “If it bleeds it leads” and this quest for unique and sensational stories has them zeroed in on a few targets- the pest control industry is in that zone. Continue reading

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The Top 18 Pest Control Companies In America

18Here at Pest Cemetery we have a group in which we educate and communicate with to enrich the greatest of knowledge among the pest control industry. These guys are weekly, if not daily, learning from each other on a regular basis. To stay on top of the latest laws and practices in their field is the agenda behind it all. They have worked hard in our country to provide you the greatest of service, and that’s why we are posting them here as the greatest pest control companies in America. They are quite resourceful in the field, so you should contact them if you ever need them. Among these are the finest of entomologist as well. So feel free to contact them if you’re in the area. Continue reading

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When Are You To Old To Do Pest Control?

Roberts Dad doing pest control in the retirement capital of the world I have the distinct honor to serve many members of our society who have dedicated multiple decades to their careers. Retired postal workers, military, executives, home makers, (do you ever really retire from that?) professionals of all stripes and my list goes on and on. 30 years seems to be the norm when I ask how long they were at it but it can and does go higher. What I rarely hear from these folks, “ I wish I could go back or I loved what I did.” Instead, most are happy to have hit the finish line, are done with work and now want to spend their days on the golf course or playing cards at the club house. For them, it’s as if it were a sentence of some sort that they had to serve and they just now are seeing the light of day.

Every once in a blue moon I get the distinct pleasure to actually service a retired pest control technicians home. While it’s more common to run into one who’s only had a brief stint in the industry and then moved on to other endeavors. There are some who sit there, watch me work and then nonchalantly tell me they owned or worked for a company for 30, 40 or more years. These people are always the best and it’s fascinating to hear their stories. With each of these encounters, I almost always ask, what made you retire and how old were you? The answers are telling & one theme always comes through…you may be surprised. Continue reading

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The Find

the find cover3bucket list

noun informal

a number of experiences or achievements that a person hopes to have or accomplish during their lifetime: making this trip is the first thing on my bucket list.

A bit morbid to think about but let’s face it, we all have a bucket list. Some great thing we want to accomplish or place that we want to go. An experience that will somehow add to our legacy which, again, let’s face it–is the only thing we get to leave behind.

So far I still need to cross off getting a black belt in karate (got close once) and I’ve yet to drive a stock car at 180 mph but all in all, I ain’t doing to bad.

I’ve found the love of my life, raised two great kids and have been fortunate enough to be a part of an industry that I absolutely LOVE. I really don’t have a job in that regard, No, I have a passion.

There is one thing on my list however that I just accomplished and I’m so excited to share it with you. As you may know, (if not here it is) one of my passions is to write about all my experiences, my thoughts and even some of my opinionated views in my blog What I didn’t realize is that this would lead to my writing of books. Perhaps you’ve read my collection of stories in my first book Tales of the Route. Tales of the route cover collection of true tales are assembled in my first foray at a published work. As happy as I was with that–I always had a story brewing in the back of my mind (for over 10 years now) that I wanted to put out, that I wanted to express, that somehow I needed to tell. Well, at the insistent urging of loved ones and the constant nagging in my brain that could only be quelled by putting ink to paper— I give you– The Find – Where what you discover is only half the story.

The following is an excerpt of the novel that has been fermenting inside me for close to a decade. A very fast paced, action packed story about a ‘bug guy’ in an adventure he never really bargained for. It’s one that any pest control professional is never really far away from and one I’m sure, all pest pro’s have thought about at least as a possibility of happening to them.


Three blocks from the house, a police cruiser met Daryl at a four-way stop. They faced each other. A new round of sweat popped out on Daryl’s forehead and palms. He held his breath and waited for the officer to take his turn at the intersection.
The cop eyed him and waved him on; Daryl had been first at the stop sign. Daryl jabbed his hand in the air as a quick, “Thank you” and started to drive forward. “Don’t screw this up. Just act normal,” Daryl mumbled to himself. His foot felt like a brick made of pure lead.

He knew he was pressing on the gas, but the truck seemed to hesitate. It felt like he was driving through a large pool of tar. Don’t look, don’t look, Daryl thought as he drove across the intersection, attempting to look normal, simultaneously trying not to make eye contact with the police officer but also making every effort not to look weird or suspicious.

Daryl knew that the shortest route home was still an 8- mile drive. He had to make it without getting into an accident or getting pulled over. As nervous as he was, Daryl felt that either one of those things could happen at any moment.
At the next intersection, a black sedan with dark tinted windows made it to the stop sign at the same moment Daryl did. Unable to see the driver, Daryl hoped that he or she was going straight across, but you never knew drivers these days as the practice of using a turn signal was becoming a lost art. Just to be safe, Daryl waved the driver forward in hopes that they would drive on and forget they ever saw him in this neighborhood. It was hard to go unnoticed in a pest control truck with huge, vinyl insects and your company name and number plastered all over the sides.

The black sedan sat there and wouldn’t budge. Daryl waved again.
The driver of the black sedan hit the gas and peeled away from the stop sign toward Daryl. With a sigh of relief, Daryl pressed his own gas pedal and slowly made his way through the intersection.

A loud ring suddenly filled the cab of the truck. Daryl jumped so hard that he almost went off the road and into a culvert. It was Tisha. If he answered the phone, she would hear it in his voice and immediately know that something was wrong. If he didn’t answer the phone, she might assume that he was still underneath a house. This seemed to be the safest option for him, so he let the call go to his voicemail.

To order your copy; search Jerry Schappert on Amazon or click the book icon on the right of this page. For your copy of Tales of the Route also look or click link.

To order an autographed copy of both or either. Please join our closed group on Facebook,

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Let’s Throw Professional Exterminators Under The Bus With A Pest Pro Driving

thrown under the bus throw (someone) under the bus is an idiomatic phrase in American English meaning to sacrifice a friend or ally for selfish reasons. It is typically used to describe a self-defensive disavowal and severance of a previously-friendly relationship when the relation becomes controversial or unpopular.

It’s funny to me (in a sad way) that this phrase is all to true in the pest control industry. So many who make their living eradicating pests seem to want to equally obliterate the industry that has been so good to them. Another applicable phrase might be “killing the goose that laid the golden egg.”

I in no way wish to impugn honest people who are simply working their tails off to provide for their families and make a living. That said, how can I stand by and have my chosen profession demeaned, denigrated and disparaged by those who are just in it for a fast buck and know not of what they speak? (or maybe they do)

Roots Go Deep

It most likely started long before, but 1962 seems to me to be the tipping point in which your average person started to turn on the average pest control technician. Rachael Carson’s work, Silent Spring laid much of the ground work for the negative shadows cast on the pest control industry. For this article- I have no interest in debunking her research. That’s been done and this, by many scientists and those in the “know”.  Still, her work is still successfully throwing your professional exterminator under the bus some  50 plus years later.

My Problem

Now- Ms. Carson was never a pest control professional, God forbid. Btw, she wasn’t a scientist either, but the real shame to me is that there are many, too many so called pest professionals who too easily discount the industry that serves them so well. On one hand they earn their living dispensing advice and or service but on the other, they trash the very occupation they are employed in.  This to me is the definition of a pest control driver throwing the pest control industry–under the bus.

If you want examples there are many but how bout I just cite two.

Recently a new website was launched.  Professionally done, real pros who wrote it up and a sales funnel to rival all the best. I’m sure just the right key words were employed and $1000’s of dollars were spent to make this thing a huge splash. The problem, at least for me was that this person, only known as Calvin, threw the industry he claims to be a ‘expert technician’ in, under the bus.  Oh and the funny part–when you go to Calvins product pages you’lll see so many things that are FOR SALE ONLY to those who have licenses to perform pest control. Does that seem odd to you?

Calvin of DIY Pest Control Power said, “We are not like traditional exterminators ready to blast everything in their way with antiquated pesticides and chemicals..

Really???? Is that “traditional pest control?”  Since when has this become such a tradition? I wonder if Calvin reads the latest trade magazines? Peruses the advertisements or a articles? To me, it’s obvious he does not. Or at least he discounts the great technological advancements as something below his level of thinking. To bad, I’m sure when he needs CEU’s he avoids those industry experts who tout less product more knowledge and do so with 50 plus years of experience. How’s that for a tradition?

Example #2

And what about that rogue voice in the wilderness- one who’s not so afraid to post only his first name. RICHARD FAGERLUND:  Here are a few of his quotes

I guess my mission in life is to help eliminate pesticides from our society.

The pesticide industry defends the use of pesticides because pests in the United States kill 100 – 300 people annually. They claim people need to be protected from these hideous pests. There are over 325,000 certified commercial pest control applicators in the United States using pesticides. It is the National Academy of Science’s estimate that pesticide poisoning causes over 10,000 cancer deaths every year and creates over 20,000 cancer cases. These figures don’t include neurological damage, heart disease, lung damage, birth defects, miscarriages and other chronic exposure deaths.

The first company I worked for was King Pest Control in Hollywood, Fla. I went to work for them in 1969. We did monthly pest control by spraying baseboards in people’s homes. There were no rules or regulations dealing with applying pesticides in those days.

Finally, in 1995, I gave up working for pest control companies and went to work for UNM as its pest control specialist. I worked for UNM for 11 years before I finally retired and it was interesting to say the least. I started using least-toxic products and the campus community loved it.

Well GREAT. Thanks Mr. Fagerlund– No links supplied, no supporting data but hey–Just say it and that’s all we need. How bout this for a link…a study… definitive  proof?  I’d say so. Yeah, it’s my link but oh well. It’s legit.– I can’t seem to follow yours. Well- it’s not hard to find your book– I guess that’s good anyway.

My Point

There are TOO MANY “pest control professionals” who have jumped ship and forgotten their roots. Sure, they’ve been around awhile but that only makes it that much more unbelievable. Are these folks so short sighted that they haven’t seen the great progress in the industry? Have they not witnessed what the rest of us have? New innovation, new leaders and new voices that have everybody else has seen? Including the public!

Have they not noticed that this industry has been evolving LONG before they ever showed up?  Do they rail on the auto industry because years ago gas and pollution wasn’t a problem but now that it’s sensitive to that it should still be castigated because we can’t get beyond the past?

Just questions…that’s all… Folks like this are free to post, publish and SELL information and products like this but I’m sure they won’t be happy when they are challenged.

That’s ok I guess, this article will never stop them- or those on e-bay or DIY sites that abound. No, they’ll not rail on the freely available products consumers can put down by the pound, or gallon or haphazard abandon. I don’t see them on the DIY sites telling you to coat your cat in motor oil to get rid of fleas or the folks who illegally apply Termidor or other “professional only” products for their pest woes… Nope– they’ll just continue to bury goose that laid the golden egg one segment of pro’s who continue to train, learn, experience and move forward with all the latest and  greatest innovations this world has ever seen. They’ll question their motives, their resolve. All without impunity. Why? Ask them….But hey, Thanks!  Thanks for all you do and we really appreciate you throwing us under the bus!

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Treat Thy Neighbor As Thyself

In my craft, (pest control), I have absolutely no problem performing in front of anyone and quite literally,  I have. From huge business tycoons, famous people, other pest control professionals all the way to the sweet little person who lives alone and isolated deep in the National forest. It’s actually pretty easy, everybody gets treated the same. It’s part of the Golden Rule. You know that one where we all at least acknowledge as something to shoot for in life. “Do unto others as you you have them do unto you.”

There is one caveat however to this rule and perhaps I’m not alone. That is my neighbors. No other person challenges the Golden Rule more for me than those who live closest. There is really no other group that demands more for less, is less forgiving or who invades upon my sanctuary (my home), with little to no regard of my time, my peace or my schedule.

I wonder If I Am Alone. Continue reading

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The day starts like any other, the break of dawn has barely cracked the eastern sky but Robert has already risen and gently taps the button on top of the alarm clock hoping to let his wife sleep in. It doesn’t work. His bride of 30 years stirs and reaches across the ruffled blankets only to find an empty pillow. Captured by the moment he can’t help but stare and a broad smile cracks across his weathered face. He leans over, kisses her and whispers, “sleep for a while, I’ll be back before I go.”  The cold floor is a stark reminder that another day has begun and no matter what he’s accomplished, there will be no favors extended to him this day, no easy path for him to take.

The smell of fresh coffee awaits Robert as he makes his way downstairs and his cold lunch sits perched on the refrigerator shelf with a note the says, I love you, Thanks for working so hard.

He takes a sip as he gazes out the kitchen window. The morning dew blankets the ground and he can hear the song of early morning birds welcoming in the new day. Across the drive his truck shimmers in the mix of the fading moon and breaking dawn. By now his mind has caught up to the speed of which this day will demand. He tries not to think of the few accounts that he’s dreading today and almost–almost finds himself wishing he hadn’t agreed to scheduling the new start at to end his day at 4:30.

It’s 6 am on any given day, the beginning of yet another day that has been like so many over the past twenty five years. This is a day in the life of a single operator. Continue reading

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Why I Set Activity Goals In My Pest Control Business & Not Dollar Centered Goals

goal chart this article are my thoughts concerning goal setting for the single operator, the mom and pop or smaller pest control company. We all want to grow our businesses and of course by grow, I mean to add to the bottom line, ie: dollars. This is not only natural it is also imperative. No dollars at the end of to many days usually means we’re closing our doors. So we set about doing the very best we can at accumulating dollars. We make plans to achieve dollars, we have meetings on ‘how to’ create dollars, we struggle, we plot, we dream and we even set almost every goal we have centered around reaching certain dollar amounts. The dollar becomes the central drive and focus, however;

What if I told you that dollar centered goals could be in reality, a detriment to actually attaining your goal?

What? you say! How can this be? Please read on. Continue reading

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Where Do Professional Exterminators Find German Roaches?

If you were a professional exterminator where would you look to find and treat German roaches? No doubt, this question, or some reasonable facsimile of it has crossed the mind of many a pest control do it yourself person as they’re plunking down big bucks on some professional grade chemical.

It’s one thing to be able to buy the products the pros use but it’s a whole other ordeal to figure out just where to put them. It’s for this reason I believe most all of the Diy attempts at pest control fail. It’s not uncommon at all for me (or other pros) to be called out on a job where the home owner has already spent $200 , $300 or more already to get rid of a problem. By this time the frustration level is very high and soured looks often accompany the realization that the pro they’ve just hired for $200, $300 or more is going to use the very same products they have just tried and failed with.

The right tools- in the right hand make all the difference… perhaps it’s time for a lesson from the pros. The following is the result of a survey conducted of almost 1000 pest control professionals from literally all around the world. They responded to one question from about where is the #1 place to find German roaches — but they couldn’t hold back and what they provided was so much more. Continue reading

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Safely & Effectively Setting Your Wooden Rat or Mouse Snap Trap

bad rodent trap placement traps have been part of a massive ongoing effort to getting rid of rats and mice since time began. Rodent control devices are big business but it seems like there are just as many if not more of home made traps. Contraptions and designs from the gruesome and border line cruel to high-tech and perhaps completely painless.  Man has been driven to these innovations because rats and mice do millions if not a billion or more in damages to food, houses, personal belongings and related health care costs every year. In some countries the rodent populations are completely out of control. Rats and mice are simply an everyday, every hour of everyday occurrence. I truly wish this wasn’t the case.

But modern traps and devices don’t have to be the driving force of rodent control- in fact- the old cliche comes to mind of “why reinvent the wheel?” Continue reading

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The Way To Kill Roaches and The Links That’ll Guarantee Results

In my many years as a hired killer I’ve seen many different formulas when it comes to killing German roaches. Some involve heavy doses of noxious home brew liquids, others are recipe’s of poisons and food. There’s even a few I’ve seen that are very specific procedures and these are usually coupled with some sort of potion or substance that works in combination with the specified steps.

The problem with these is that they seldom seem to work (if at all) and since most are touted as ‘safe for humans and pets’, the human tendency of over kill (use to much) almost always kicks in. This can be down right dangerous or at the very least, counter productive.

Recently I came across an old newspaper clipping taped to the inside of kitchen cabinet  with instructions of one such concoction- I was told it was from a New York newspaper of some 25 years ago. It reads;

Way To Kill Roaches–To The Editor  (see above pic)

This is for the Very Bugged who said they live in a low income housing project and have a serious problem with roaches. We have found the best roach killer and it is very cheap and harmless to pets and humans. Buy a box of 20 Mule Team Borax and put it in all closets and kitchen cabinets, as well as all along the floor close to the baseboard.

We also sprinkle some on door sill and any place they, the roaches, have a run. This will kill all the roaches in 2-3 weeks, as the roaches walk in the borax, they carry it to their nest on their feet and it kills the young ones.

Tsk Tsk- While in most cases I’m in favor of learning from those who’ve blazed the trail before us, in this instance this kitchen made creation is about as useless as 99% of anything else you’ll hear of and not nearly as safe as the writer suggests. Continue reading

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Giant House Spider

Giant house spider the hobo house spider, the giant house spider is a native of Europe that has found its way to the United States through human activity. It is active in the Pacific Northwest.

The spider is named as such because of its incredibly long legs. Females can have leg spans of approximately 45 millimeters in addition to its 18-millimeter body size. Males on the other hand can have longer legs of up to 75 millimeters, and body sizes of 12-15 millimeters.

The giant house spider also builds funnel-shaped webs most often in a corner or in between objects not frequented by large animals or humans. It squeezes itself into the narrow end of the funnel and waits for a victim to pass by before it pounces on it. Not many are known to escape, of course; the giant house spider previously carried the Guinness World Record for top spider speed at 9.73 feet per second until it was surpassed by sun spiders in 1987.

Continue reading

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Great & Not So Great Freebies In Pest Control

pot of gold about running a pest control route that happens to everybody, not just me. People give you stuff!

Now it doesn’t happen everyday and it’s not always a big ticket item, but there is definitely some sort of karma thing or serendipitous energy that follows your humble bug man and you just never know when its going to pop up.

Now I’m not a big believer in blind luck nor am I completely sold on the idea of Karma but I do agree you you reap what you sow and once in a great while, good things (and bad) just seem to show up whether you deserve them or not. The following is a list of some “freebies” that have come my way or that I’ve seen for others. Looking back, it’s just sort of fascinating to think about.
Continue reading

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