The Envy of The Invisible Pest Control Companies

Where Do All Those Invisible Pest Control Companies Hide?

Every year when the yellow pages come out I look to see whose still in business and which companies have bowed out. Not an exact science mind you but you can get a pretty good idea of who has survived, maybe grown some, (bigger ad) or those who downsized and ultimately those who have fallen off the map. Where my annual census fails however is that somehow there are little companies out there with no phone book listing at all, nothing on line and that I almost never see out on the road. Just where did this invisible company come from? Where does he go & how have I missed him for so long?

Now I get around a lot, (I cover 5 counties) & in such a small community as mine you’d figure to see almost every company big or small at least a time or two here & there. But spotting the invisible company is a rare sight indeed. I don’t even think these guys show up for our local ceu’s or if they do, it’s gotta be in an unmarked personal vehicle. Still, once in a 5 year span or so I’ll pass a non de-script home with a small company sign or service truck in the front yard & it’s obvious this is home base for them. Or I’ll come side by side with one such firm at a red light. He may or may not wave and when the light turns green, off he goes and although it’s obvious he’s been in town for years, I might never see that truck or him again. Where do these companies hide?

Just Moseying Along

Now when I say invisible I don’t necessarily mean small. Some of their trucks are sweeeeet and they might have all the latest in rigs and equipment. Mostly however, these chameleon companies blend into traffic with a small sticker on the door and a low profiled 25 gallon rig you can barely see. On the rare occasion you do bump into one at a convenience store they are usually nice to talk to and you quickly find out they’re just cruising along happy with their route(s). It seems they don’t have a care in the world and you get the sense that their routes are tightly knit with very few problems.

Like the Star Trek ship Enterprise they are content riding around with their ‘cloaking’ device fully engaged, and they don’t seem bothered in the least by every other Tom, Dick & Harry’s pest control that has flashy business cards, more than one truck and a website complete with a 1000 Facebook friends. From what I’ve seen, envy is not an issue with these folks and they just smile and say in a slow drawn out way “Goooood” when you ask “How’s business?” You want to ask them the where what whens and hows but somehow that all doesn’t seem to go too far as you both mention the hot weather and the price of gas and then say goodbye.

Thou Shalt Not Envy

Still, I wonder if they have or have ever had aspirations of growing big, adding on trucks and maybe even a full on ad campaign one day. Did the pressures of many customers make them scale back? Were they stifled somewhere along the way with a lawsuit, lack of money or realization of the higher costs of more business? Or was this their plan all along and having hit cruise control, they couldn’t be happier?

Maybe- it’s none of these things and in reality they’re some of the smartest operators around. Not having to deal with tons of complaints, mostly overlooked by the states watchful eyes, no worries about arranging oil changes for 5 different trucks, 60 hour work weeks and the secretary with a migraine who can’t come in so the phone will go unanswered for the day. For them a 3 day weekend is a way of life and their fishing pole has a permanent spot along side the rig. They never miss their kids recitals or sweat the challenge of getting all the data entered into the computer. Their routes seem more than enough to supply them their boat behind the house and the 4 wheeler in the carport. Taxes are not completely burdensome and besides a few hundred dollars in chemicals & gas, they have little to no overhead.

Hmmmm, maybe there’s more to this invisibility then meets the eye. What I wouldn’t give for an extra day off here or there- Well enough chatter, I’ll think about who is smarter later; Quarterly taxes are due and I have a tech who has called in sick and there’s that stack of bills on the counter and more coming in the mail. I need to fix my flat tire and get out to service 5 complaints so I can at least enjoy my Sunday this week. Envy? Who me?

Let others either envy or pity me; I care not, so long as I enjoy myself.

Joseph Hall

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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  • Exterminatorsrock

    what i like is going to the “FREE FOOD FRIDAY and CCUs” and seeing a couple of  new trucks in full graphic wraps with high chrome tool boxes and barley used rigs (the hoses are all red and shiny like they are made of patent leather). Their uniforms pay homage to a nascar pit crews, flashy and covered in patches.  they sit at the back, seemingly paying attention, chiming in with a question or 2. when it’s over, they take advantage of the 10% off special purchasing 3 or 4  crates full of stock.

    my questions…

    1. where did they come from?
    2.  did they just dump loads of money into a new business venture and fully outfit everything?
    3.  if they are new, (seeing how i have never heard nor seen an ad for them anywhere), how the hell do they have enough customers to justify such large purchases?
    4.  assuming they do have that many customers, how do they keep their rigs so “new like”?

    it never fails, every class i attend, (i go to all of em, hey, it’s free food!), i see yet another one of these nascar PCOs with some catchy name and overboard vehicle wraps.

    the odd part… i hardly ever see them again.

  • Stuto1

    Lately I have been seeing some old beat up trucks whose license numbers are older than mine and think the same thing. The new guys are out there too but I usually have my Cloak on. I don’t go to the CEU events, I do it all on-line, and I avoid the Department of Agriculture mostly because of its location. I want to be big, at least I think I do, but for now its just me. 

     Two former co-works of mine who started their own businesses are the exact opposite. One is flashy, wants to be BIG,  and is hiring a tech even though he only has half a route that he can barley handle and the other says he is content to operate as a one man show forever.  

  • Mel

     I’ve never given it much thought as to why some try to brand and other pest control firms simply exsist. I always assumed it was marketing inexperiance, too busy to care, or a financial reason. I’m guessing the reasons are all the above including personal preferences.
     
     

  • Mr Pest Sydney

    You have described us. Although we don’t enjoy a 3 day weekend…still only getting thee Sunday…we decided to just maintain. As a family run business with 2 young kids we get by and any bigger just doesn’t suit us and our lifestyle. We’re content and we plan to stay that way. We provide very personal service to the clients we have and our only advertising now is rewarding them for referring us. Funny thin is, since we have decided that any bigger and any more hassle just isn’t for us…we have more work than ever! All the best to you all. Mr Pest Sydney.

  • Thank you for commenting,

    It seems that being content and Thankful is a rewarding thing–in more ways than one would think 😉

  • And now I’m guessing you’re thinking about it a bit more as your new venture takes off. –It’s GREAT to hear from others who are at a place where they are happy. I know it’s always helped me, even when my goals weren’t quite the same.

  • I have a buddy like your flashy example– he’s a good guy but he kind of stunts his growth with spreading thin like that.  

    It’s so interesting that you avoid the ceu’s etc.  I just sort of guessed at that but I figured that had to be the case for the ones around here anyways. A lot of cloaking going on –lol  

    (This is actually where I think the industry/magazines/etc. miss it. We are a HUGE part of the pest control industry yet overlooked)

  • hahahaha,  that’s a perfect description!  The strangest part truly is–you almost never see them again. It’s as if some big company comes along and swallows them up or something.  

    Or maybe they spent so much on the rig and truck, they can’t afford food now 😉

  • Mel

    It sounds like the companies I worked for. They were completely about projecting an great image and sales. Nothing else mattered. Within two years they were sold off.