The Deadly Speed Of A Key Account

Pest control technicians must be a trusting lot. I can’t think of any other occupation where a homeowner let’s a service person in their home while they’re not present. Not only do they ‘let’ them in, they actually give them a key! I wouldn’t say this is very common with a plumber, appliance repairman or any other job that requires the service persona spend time in the home. Yet for as long as I have done pest control I have always had an abundance of keys. There are some people I’ve serviced for years now who have given us their key and I have never met them. Not Once! I guess I just have a trusting face.

Key accounts are like gold to a pest control route. If it’s raining you don’t get the usual questions, you can make up time or switch accounts around when you’re a bit behind or you can even take a minute to fill up some water jugs and straighten your truck if you let it go a bit. Hardly a day goes bye that I don’t have a key account or two. Some we have keys for, others leave keys in hidden places and even some (more than you’d think) leave the doors unlocked altogether.

Although key accounts are a coveted prize for any route, sometimes the tech can take too much advantage of a good thing. It’s easy to shave corners in unoccupied homes and blow through them like a Tasmanian Devil but I’m here to warn you.

The deadly speed of a key account can kill you. I’ve seen too many clients cancel because they felt as if they weren’t being treated right with their service. How would they know since they’re not there? Oh they know, maybe not always right away but little things add up or the word over the fence from a neighbor and they will terminate your service and you’ll lose this very profitable, mutually beneficial account. What’s worse is they really put their trust in you and now no matter how you beg- it’s unlikely you’ll get it back.

So I put together this little video for you on a few tips in servicing a key account and re-enforcing it’s worth to the homeowner even when they’re not home. If you can add some suggestions, we’d love to hear them.

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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  • Great advise! I always service “key accounts” like someone is watching me and also make sure to write “Thank You” on the invoice.

    You mentioned something about lock boxes. Do you buy your own and let the customer know its an option?

    and OMG your servicing  the inside! I do it to on some accounts.

  • Usually the customers buy those but I was referring to the big key storage boxes we have in the office to keep everyones key safe and filed away so they’re easy to find.

    We service inside of the majority of our accounts.  Thus the reason I’m a big advocate of key accounts.

  • Exterminatorsrock

    excellent sir!

    I tell all my techs that most of the key accounts have camera inside, do they? I dont know, but I want them treated like they do.

    oh, the leave it like you found it is gold, had a tech #2 and forget to flush. we lost that account

  • I have had techs do that very thing– That is like some HUGE mental line that once crossed is hard to apologize to the customer for. Makes for one helluva awkward phone conversation–

    Great comment!

  • Pest Kil

    Hey Doc, a big factor in  giving us pest control people keys as opposed to plumbers etc. is that we are there on a regular basis, a plumber once in a blue moon. A good analogy is a maid service, they get keys a lot also, because they are a regular service.

    Happy Killing,

    Eric Kroon
    PestKil Inc.

  • I hadn’t thought of maid service- you are right, for most folks it’s easier to give the key than to be home or make arrangements on a ‘regular basis’. 

    Also, for someone to even consider giving a key they must have a trusting nature I’d say. That’s why when you start losing key accounts (even just one or two)  It’s time to do a little evaluation of what’s going on.

  • I have to say that I don’t really have any keys but I do have garage door codes!