Chapter 2; A synopsis of my pest control career

Well I titled this article “A  synopsis to my pest control career” indicating it would be short… but then something went wrong. (my wife says I’m a talker-I guess that bleeds over into my writing) Ha!, well I guess it’s not so brief after all but if you’re still interested please read on and I’ll try to shrink things down a bit. To go back to the first part and catch up if you need to, click this link and then find you’re way (link supplied) back to this part, my next installment of my career put into words. (lots of words) 😉

As it turns out…my career path like so many others was a twisted surly conglomeration of different forks in the roads and the decisions I made, sometimes at break neck speed, sometimes, I considered too long and missed the opportunity it presented altogether. However, at this point, it was obvious that I made the correct choice and my budding career was showing true promise. I was truly enamored by this vocation and couldn’t believe all the fascinating things out there that I’d have never known about except for this job. What started out as a dipping of my toes in the water learning such fascinating things from books and videos, had suddenly turned into a full emersion on the deep side of the pool and although the future wasn’t entirely clear, there was no turning back.

Route#9 Baptism by fire

I loved route #9, it was a thing of beauty and it was like a well oiled machine, I ran that thing to perfection. Except for rare occasions, I was always in the same grid of the map all day. This was way better than it was before and rather than getting gas every two days as my predecessor did, I made that trip maybe once per week, my manager loved that. The grid system was my invention and my boss was super impressed with it. Well, I’m not sure if I was totally the inventor since we had a huge wall map up in the techs lounge that actually was divided up using magic marker so each could see their routes full territory. What I did was break that down further by drawing straight lines like an expanded tic tac toe grid on my route map and began the process of changing everyones days to be on the same day that I was in that grid that they lived in. It was a huge route so some grids had 2 days, some 3. I’d split them up to 1st and 4th weeks which made it easier to put complaints or assign new clients in those areas no matter when they came on board during the month. For those that needed the drastic change of being switched say from beginning to the end of the month because I was only in that area once, I’d assign them to the closest grid to them but in the direction of the desired days grid and slowly weasel them over until they were set. (am I explaining that right?)  Since everybody was monthly I couldn’t just switch someone from 4th week to 1st because I’d be there 2 weeks in a row, ok if it was a complaint but no one wanted 2 PAID services back to back like that. So, it took a couple months but soon it was all done. Just as pleasing was that the constant complaint calls of route #9 were down to a whisper and I didn’t have to chase little yellow tickets (complaint tickets) all over town till the sun went down. My managers loved what I had done and it was held up as the model for the branch at our service meetings. One day I came in to find my boss with a magic marker and a yard stick marking in permanent grids for all the routes on our huge wall map. Interestingly not all the techs liked the system. The secretary definitely hated the next 30 days or so having to type in G-3 or K-19 or A-7 and so on so the Darth Vader wanna be computer could then spit this information out with the hundreds of tickets that came out of its mouth everyday. Although not everybody was a fan, I was getting noticed.

In all this time I was still amassing knowledge in my new found world that I loved. At one region meeting our entomologist, Phil Cobb, (loved that guy-he was great) was asking questions on the biology and such of bugs to the crowd and no one was saying a thing, so I piped up.

“How many viable eggs does a female flea produce in its lifetime?” he asked to a silent crowd- “160 to 180” I said  loudly surprising myself. “what direction do carpenter bees chew their tunnels and how far can they go?” again crickets, so I blurt out “both-11 inches.” I was getting a little embarrassed and several more questions were asked and yet not one other person had an reply. He sort of chided the audience for not knowing these simple things or even trying but turned and gave me a wink. After the meeting he shook my hand and told me to look at becoming a service mgr., that’d it would be a good fit for me.

Around this time I guess, (It’s hard for me to fathom when I look back because my career there was actually pretty short.) the company offered everyone a 401k plan and man was that magic to my ears. In my mind I was gonna be a lifer at this company and my future looked brighter than ever. Route #9 was a smooth success and although I wasn’t making super great money, it was enough and the experiences of the route was very fulfilling. All good things come to end I suppose and when the branch mgr. that hired me got promoted, in came a new one. He was one of the salesman that was career minded and eager to climb the ladder. Very numbers oriented and wanted in no uncertain terms to have the best branch in the region. Soon my beloved #9 was taken from me and given to someone else. I was tasked with a new route that had similar but not so drastic problems. Begrudgingly I started in to make that route over as I had done with the first. However, fate had different plans. To be continued…

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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