#‎readytotaketheplunge -Starting Your Own Pest Control Business

mantisshirt http://pestcemetery.com/The following article is a series of comments taken from a very lively pest control group discussion. The question was asked;

“ How much money did you have in your pocket on day 1 when you started your own business?”

and the answers and insight seemed to me to be quite telling.

So if you are considering starting your own pest control business or have already taken the plunge and perhaps things aren’t quite what you thought they’d be.  Take heart. Many have blazed the trail before you and I am hopeful that this quick glimpse into the minds of those have or are going through what you’re experiencing, will give you a some hope, some light at the otherwise long dark tunnels end.

For maximum effect, read this as it was, a live active discussion. Names have been taken out and some comments were rearranged for continuity. Remember the topic question was;

How much money did you have in your pocket on day 1 when you started your own business?

$350. Enough to pay for insurance deductible lol

In my pocket? 100.00

128,000.00 in the bank then we went through a series of set backs and went through most of it. Worth every moment

On my second day of business I had a grand total of 86.15 in the bank

15k. It didn’t last lol.


My first month in business (1993) I did a whopping $273.00…… It was one of those oh sh&%$ moments when we said….what did we get ourselves in to?

In 2007 was working for a pest company in Arlington Tx, the owner allowed me to continue working while starting my own company in my off days. My mother in law got me a cash advance on her credit card. I bought a 3,000 ford f150 a used $300 rig. I already had a b&g and bought some new home owner leads. Started that night and sold 2 generals and a free inspection. Still have the free inspection customer to this day. Made $10,000 working on off days the 1st 2 years. Went on my own all the way in 2009, and haven’t looked back. Debating on a technician but can’t seem to let myself do it yet.


I didn’t have any money. I had to work another full time job when I first started out. I was a newlywed and six months after that we got pregnant with twins and my wife had to stop working. So there I was providing for a family of four on a single minimum wage job (I made $300 in profit the first year of business). It is difficult to build a business when you have a wife and two infants and working a full time minimum wage job 50 hours a week. When I decided I was going to do this I made a vow to myself to never take out a loan. I wasn’t willing to risk my family and our future for this venture. And I don’t believe in going in debt to start a business and then filing bankruptcy when it don’t work out. To this day I continue to put my family’s security and happiness before this business. They are my life and my dream. Not this business. I run this business, it does not run me. It has been nearly 8 years in the making and my wife never had to return to work and today I consider myself to be a successful business man. And at the age of 28 I have everything I have ever truly wanted. We have a nice home with a big yard for the boys, we have four nice cars, my wife is able to remain at home and homeschool our boys, and we don’t have a shred of debt. Praise the Lord.

We left the Big O as well. Had a little from a small inheritance. Maybe $16,000.00. Now I was still working at a law firm (legal secretary), so I was the anchor position…. LOL I got laid off 5 months after we started ********. But that was 2010 and I have never had to go back to work for attorneys again. I’d rather kill bugs!! LOL Grateful for this business!! Grateful to God. Oh, and I can’t forget, our canines. They have been a huge asset to this business, the last 4 years. Thank you Daisey & Dolley and maybe a new beagle soon.

$1900 plus all the bills were paid up

I left the big O and had 7 credit cards that total over 50,000 in credit limits and no cash. I bought a service area from a franchise for $10,000.00 with a credit card.Went to a ford dealer and bought a New 1995 Ford Ranger Truck with a credit card for $11000.00. Went to Forshaw in Charlotte NC and bought a spray rig, B&G and they ordered me a Tool Tainer and I bought all the chemicals I would need to do services with a credit card. Paid for my general liability insurance with a credit card. Went to Lowes and bought flashlights and other tools I would need with a credit card. Got my truck decals on a credit card. Paid for uniforms with a credit card, Started running ads in the Charlotte Observer with a credit card. When all was said and done I had maxed out all my credit cards. My wife was freaking out! I know this business and told her that all the bills would get paid. With in the first six months of business I was able to pay off all my credit cards and make a living.

And I never took one customer from the big O when I left ,even thought they had their lawyers send me threatening letters for non compete.

I had about $1,200 on a paycheck and $3k cashed out from my 401k. Used every penny to buy cheap equipment, insurance, licensing, product/materials and living expenses for about 8 weeks. Started on a shoestring and made $9k between June and Dec 31st.

I had my service master 401K of about 3500.00 and a guardian angel of a mother in law who saw great potential in my wifes and mine business plan. She would cover our bills for the first six months. First month (Feb 1994) we had 1500.00 in business. By six months we were brining in 2500.00/ month in maint accounts. Around the sixth month period my wife ended up have medical issues requiring 50% of our time at Dr’s offices. God Bleesed us with a steady stream of business and 0% interest credit card offers with crazy limits. Enough to cover the medical bills insurance would not cover. In two years time we accumilated over 100 grand in medical cost. YIKES! Two years after that, we were able to pay it off. This industry is a great one to be a one man/women operation and still live a good middle income life.

Did you already have the basic equipment and a dedicated vehicle?

Had enough money to buy all equipment and to pay the bills for one year. Worked 70-80 hours per week first year for no paycheck. Failure was no option haha

I had license, b&g, and a former employer gave me enough product to last for awhile. Some rodent traps, some concentrates etc. I was fortunate my truck was paid off. Stuck a magnet on the side.

A car and a B&G is all you need at first and of course the other things like insurance, license, and chemical.

I had all my licenses already. I had $20,000 stuffed away and had to purchase all my equipment and chemical including a used truck. That 20k lasted me for about 6 months until my business started making some money.

I had just left 15 year employment. Had my first scent detection canine. Certified operator and an A.C.E. purchased temp air and brought my own encasements out. Firing on 200 cylinders all the time. Second service truck and second canine with The Heat injector system PAID CASH!

I started with $700 in supplies and made that back quickly.

Some Commentary

I cant imagine starting a business up and not having a customer much less enough to get by.

Wow that took balls lol

Being in the negative was my motivation. I don’t quit and I refuse to fail any of my clients!

You’ve done very well and are a true inspiration to many in the group. (Me included)

******, you’ve been in business since I was 3 years old…

This is so timely- I’m just starting out myself.

21 years on my own, almost 30 total industry. One man has always been the plan! Darn that plan!

Thank you all for the advice. Now Im itchin’ to do some killin’!

Braveheart! Freedom!

Awesome question

very interesting.we have negative $ all the way up to 100k and you are all STILL killing bugs….. interesting. Sounds like some on both ends of the spectrum made mistakes we can all learn from.

******, we all do the same thing, no one has a special formula or technique. The difference between the winners and loser is the owner, treat the customer right and build that relationship and let your customers be your sales department

Where are they now?

3 years gross $423,756.87

Thats about where we were after 3 years also

Started with a truck given to me by my past employer to sign a non compete for the company he was selling out to. Had $400 in the bank, a teenager, and a mother in law that bought me a termite rig. No customers on March 3, 1998. Now have 10 employees, three different companies, and bought two other pest control companies,

Total revenue? Well in 8 hours its -$1700.

First year 38,000 last year 223,000 projected 4th year 320,000

Next month will be one year on my own. Projected to bring in a whopping $20,000. That’s part time

20 years on my own and 25 in the business.

Another Reality You Must Be Aware Of

12 bucks. By my fifth year I was grossing a few hundred thousand. Back to 12 bucks.

What happened?

Came to Mississippi to get help in licensing. Brother died. Lost my mind. Kept getting threats from nationals that regs were changing and I had to be licensed to continue exclusions and other rodents. Then really lost my head after being accused of being an investigator. Lost more vision. Gave it all away. One bad decision can ruin your life and cascade you to ruins. I needed three months of volunteer training under a licensed company. No one would help when I was up front and said I needed training for my own business. Sad story-gallons of tears

Thanks for sharing your story ***** I’m sure it was a hard time and things like that are not easy to share.


If you’re taking the plunge into your own pest control company it is comforting to know that you are not alone in your struggles and, that although it may seem like you can’t or won’t make, you see the proof that it can be done.

In this industry it’s easy to go unheard among the shrill of The Top 100’s and the publications who barely take the time to notice you or offer solid, sustained help. I truly believe that there’s a good percentage of failed pest control firms out there who did not make it….. for this very reason.  Having a voice and or a soundboard is crucial to your endeavor. It could be just a matter of words of encouragement so you stick it out on those cold dark days, or, even that one idea that sparks a chain of events that totally transforms your business.

Since the big wigs of the world don’t seem to want to offer this type of help let me invite you to the cemetery. 😉 Yes that’s right, pestcemetery is a closed group on Facebook where discussions like this go on everyday almost all day long. Over 1400 pest pros and mentors from all over the world, all willing to share and help out. Try finding that in the pages of your next magazine. It’s a closed group and on 24/7. Hope to see you there and ———–All the BEST as you’re #takingtheplunge.


About The Bug Doctor

Jerry Schappert is a certified pest control operator and Associate Certified Entomologist with over two and a half decades of experience from birds to termites and everything in between. He started as a route technician and worked his way up to commercial/national accounts representative. Always learning in his craft he is familiar with rural pest services and big city control techniques. Jerry has owned and operated a successful pest control company since 1993 in Ocala,Florida. While his knowledge and practical application has benefitted his community Jerry wanted to impart his wisdom on a broader scale to help many more. Pestcemetery.com was born from that idea in 2007 and has been well received. It is the goal of this site to inform you with his keen insights and safely guide you through your pest control treatment needs.
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