In my line of work you’ll always have the really expensive guys, the moderate and then the dirt cheap. All 3 models must work in pest control because I see the trucks speeding across town every day on their way to another job. (presumably) The expensive guys don’t always have the biggest name recognition, they might not have the most equipment and their techs aren’t always the sharpest knives in the drawer either. On the other end of the spectrum the dirt cheap outfit may be driving a big Dually with a 300 gallon split tank, electric dusters and extension ladders and he may have passed his certification test with a 95%. Even the middle roaders might go either way and as a matter of fact I don’t think you can put any of these categories with the perceived stereotype at all. I see different combinations everyday and I try very hard to resist judging another pest company until I’ve see first hand what they’re all about. These companies prices can range from the $13 spray job to the $85 version and I’ve seen both fail miserably and both succeed. One thing almost all firms seem to have higher prices on however is bed bugs. The $13 suddenly becomes $1000 and the $85 turns into a whopping 3 grand. Why?
Well I guess I could list the intricacies of a bed bug job and the intense search and destroy mission any tech has to be ready to do with bed bugs. I could tell you that a dog trained to sniff them out costs about $10,000 (oh yea, you have to feed him too) or a heating machine is 5 large or more and God knows what a freeze gun costs. Maybe the fact that a really really bad roach job might take 1 hour in a standard house where as a bed bug job is 5 or more. I might include the intense emotional factors that most people have when they’ve discovered this bug that bites and that alone drives them to say yes no matter what the cost. How bout the media and the almost daily stories of this critter or the world wide web that is now inundated with links, tweets, articles, google ad’s and alerts. There are even app’s for your phone that tell you where bed bugs have been reported in hotels, theaters and even day care centers.
The point is, bed bugs and the information about them is spreading like wildfire and for now there is no even keel, no common line that everyone has settled on. It’s like the tech boom of our recent past where web sites, domain names and designers were selling what you’re surfing right now for huge amounts and dot com millionaires were getting rich over night basically on hype. That bubble popped when people finally looked around and saw they were paying large amounts for really nothing and when they walked away it all came crashing down. Am I saying bed bug work is no harder than a german roach job? No. Can you spend big bucks on the tools to help enhance the work? Yes. Can you do the work without that special equipment? Of course.
The reason bed bug work is so expensive for now is that supply and demand is at work nothing more nothing less. All the factors I’ve listed above have combined for a ‘perfect storm’ that has swept the country like a tsunami and while the consumer thinks the prices are to high the bug companies have no shortage of work. The law of supply and demand kicks in and thus the price is higher. What will bring the price down is just as simple. We either kill all the bed bugs and the price comes down, do it yourself and the bug companies have less work and prices will decrease, or simply shop for the lowest prices and other pest control outfits will soon follow suit. It’s the law of supply and demand.
For those of you who say this is over simplified I’d love to hear why. Do you think it’s capitalist greed and that’s it in a nutshell? I’d love to hear more. I will say I’ve seen this very thing happen almost every season for the past 27 years across the nation yet I don’t remember the big ground swell of opposition that has happened here. Prices for termite work are pretty steady 8 or 9 months out of the year albeit they still are costly in nature. That said there is a time when fees spike and suddenly a $500.00 job in December suddenly shoots up to $1,100.00 in April. The reason? Spring is the time when swarmers come out and pest control companies are swamped with calls as living room windows are filled with this flying menace. People suddenly can’t wait for service and techs can only do so much in a day. Supply and demand kicks in and you guessed it, prices reflect the change.