Our first $1 million + year….An Honest Journey…Are YOU READY?

Its official, just got the news a bit ago, we thought we were going to end up short by about $40k for 2016, but we actually went over the million mark by the same amount!

Can you imagine what these words would mean to you? After YEARS of work, sweat and toil, to reach this ultimate benchmark that eludes so many??? Man, that would be so great and for so many they would have reached a life’s long dream. It would be the pinnacle of a great and long career and something you’d only have expected after 10- 15 – 20 or more years. After all, an achievement of such magnitude doesn’t come quickly, right? Not so fast…or maybe…hey hang on and fasten your seatbelt!!

The following contribution to the pestcemetery blog is from Jason Gibbons owner of Men in Black Pest control Services. Follow the link or find them on Facebook. Jason posted his story in the group page of pestcemetery Facebook group but not for what you might think are the normal reasons. Sure he’s proud of what he’s accomplished and has every right to gleam with pride. However, Jason’s motivation for writing this was to show YOU, the owner still not at this level-for whatever reason- THAT IT IS POSSIBLE!!!! That no matter where you are, you can achieve more and reach goals and benchmarks that others only dream of… the aspect that most struck me and that will no doubt have an impact on you I’m sure is…HONESTY! When you read the “no holds barred” account of the rise of this company, well, you’ll be amazed, inspired and in no uncertain terms be challenged. Challenged to up your game.

If you’re tired of the fluff articles that tell you how to make a million and all you see in the words written are blah blah blah… that won’t be in this writing. That won’t be what you’ll feel in the words and emotions expressed… This is real world stuff, this is no holds barred and,,, it is in my opinion, a glimpse into what it really takes to reach that pinnacle and hit that benchmark that seems to be the industry standard. No matter your advantages-nor your disadvantages. I can add nothing more.

So, rather than writing anymore about this in my words, Jason has agreed to share this story, his story, in his own words, enjoy.

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A synopsis of my career; The death (not forever) of my pest control route

I loved the commercial route, I truly did. It wasn’t long ago, (maybe 3 or 4 years?) that I saw an ad in my pest control associations magazine for a commercial tech to work for one of the fastest growing grocery stores on the east coast. All they wanted was a certified applicator, I was that and an ACE- I’m pretty sure I could’ve been a shoe in.

I did several such places way back in the day and those were some of my favorite accounts. Always a challenge and the rewards of whacking the snot out of a potentially devastating infestation before during or after it was discovered was something I relished.  I thought long and hard about answering that ad and giving up this owner thing for the stability, prestige and recompense that I had experienced so long ago. It was 50k a year, benefits, and included perhaps 1/2 of my state (Florida). Travel and over night stays would be a bummer but gone would be the constant whiney customers, no more endless calling to schedule, I could sell my business and have a real sweet nest egg. Truck breaks down and needs $800.00 in repairs?,?, not my bill!!! Equipment repairs, chemical bills and worrying about techs showing up or just quitting out of the blue? HA!! That’s on YOU! No more 941 forms, matching social security, insurances, etc.etc.etc….. but again, I’m getting ahead of myself. Much like Michael J.Fox in Back to the Future I guess I’ve clued you in to where my path is going. But let’s stick to the 80’s for now. In the end, I couldn’t give up what I had and working for “the man,” well, it just wasn’t is the cards for me at that point.

Plus, the thought of a massive food account brought to my mind the nightmare that I experienced as a commercial tech. The one that broke my back. The account that had me reeling for answers and I was left all to my own trying to figure out just what to do. It was like the movie Ground Hog Day where every Tuesday I’d get up (if I wasn’t up already) and begrudgingly trek the 24.7 miles to downtown Baltimore and park my little truck in front of this behemoth account (how do I remember the miles? read on)….only to wonder…what the hell am I doing here? Only to have the same exact experience AGAIN and AGAIN.  It was that account that put me on a new path, one that sent me to the lowest lows and one I truly thought, was my end as a successful pest control technician.

Tuesday morning 2 am. I don’t want to go in. I’m all alone and not even the janitors will take the time to talk with me. No branch mgr., no entomologist to back me up and no HUGE team as in the first night of “shock and awe” to bring this wild account to a manageable level. Nope–just me and our huge initial service didn’t even put a dent in what was the worst account I ever had.  The absolute worst part was that after this enormous account was sold and all the accolades given to the salesman, I was left standing all alone…standing there every Tuesday morning unaided having to run the equivalent to a marathon at a sprint’s pace just to get it all in in 3 short hours…(fyi-I never got it all done) this place was huge. What was even worse that that— a month or so into the service–I was approached and asked by an early morning vendor- “why wasn’t I coming across the alley to service his stall?”  OMG– on the initial I was stuck inside the main hall and didn’t even know there was more to the place–turns out–there was 20 or more outside vendors included in the contract…arrrrgh

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Whisitling past the cemetery; episode 6

 

12/26/16

To close out the year, the guys cover two posts from the Pest Cemetery Facebook Group.

The first originated from Bob Keith. To fully understand his post you must know that our industry is of a friendly culture. We speak to our competitors. We wave to fellow PCOs in passing; however, Bob mentioned how technicians employed by larger companies often fail to return the friendly gesture.  Both Bryan and Jerry have had similar encounters.

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Chapter 3- A synopsis of my career & my commercial chronicles

There was one route in the branch that just EVERYBODY envied, coveted and would give their eye teeth to have…the commercial route. First off the truck was the coolest set up in our little fleet. Truck bed length fiberglass tool box with all the latest gadgets of the trade tucked away inside.

(no ladder though, hmmmm) They did bird control, prisons, hospitals, factories and all the cool jobs. Plus, he always seemed to get done around noon or 1 but made more money or so was the rumor so hey, what’s not to like?!! On top of all this, the commercial tech didn’t have to make any scheduling calls. That in itself was worth $1000 dollars!

Well, it just so happened that this diamond of a route was becoming available and of course, every tech put in his request. Now I was the lowest or next to lowest man on the totem pole so I didn’t even bother- actually I didn’t even have to. Much to my new branch managers chagrin, I was called in his office and our corporate commercial director was sitting there along with Mr. Cobb. The route was mine if I wanted to take it. My branch boss tried gingerly to talk me out of it telling me I was still only half done with my new routes repair and that he planned for me to do that same thing with every other route as well… oh my… great incentive there! He of course planned on compensating me for my efforts but that was the first I ever heard of it. It was a weak attempt because both of the higher ups were steadfast and made the special trip to our branch just to make this happen. They all agreed (except my mgr.) that I was perfect for the job. That friday, after one week of training from the out going tech, I handed the keys to my old ride to a new tech and I drove home in my new chariot of fiberglass.

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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.

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A synopsis of my pest control career

There seems to have been a lot of interest lately in how I got started in pest control, how I started my business and all the things along the way that have gotten me to the point I’m at today.

I’ll admit it’s not the most dramatic story you’ll ever read compared to some out there but it has certainly been a wild ride. In this article I won’t go into great depth of each situation but the links I’ll provide can and will easily give you all the background and details you might like to peruse for the complete picture.

The reason for this article is not to vaunt myself up as some unique operator who surpassed all odds or scored a victory with everything he touched. As you’ll see, I failed miserably at times, and at some moments, I hit pretty close to rock bottom. It is however, I hope, for those looking to start their own pest control business, an honest look at 33 plus years of a road well traveled. This road was most certainly blazed by many before me-(I didn’t carve it out) and yet while on this path I have been passed up by ROCK STARS who soared to great heights and I watched enviously as their taillights got further and further ahead. But I’ve also moved down this road fairly well and gotten pretty far, had some great moments of my own.I too have passed many on this road, many wrecks, broken down businesses and those who are running on fumes. This article is for them as well. My aim is to hopefully provide perhaps a bit of aid, a little gas in the tank if you will. As I look around the industry I see so very little help for those folks and that is to our shame. Should it inspire just one to move ahead despite the odds and the road blocks ahead… it will have hit its mark.

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Whistling past the cemetery; episode 5

Happy Holidays From Pest Cemetery!

For this special episode of Whistling Past the Cemetery, Jerry shares insight on how Pest Cemetery grew into one of the most active pest control communities on the internet.

Acting on advice from his son, Jerry purchased the pestcemetery.com domain on 07/07/07 for a whopping $6. He wrote articles at a feverish pace, peaking at three posts per night!

His big break came with a Billy the Exterminator article that landed the Pest Cemetery blog at Google’s top ranking for “Billy the Exterminator” searches – even above the network and TV personality’s websites.

With the traffic his blog created, Jerry decided to promote his blog with a Facebook Group of the same name. Membership of the group grew steadily, but it wasn’t until Jerry closed the group (to industry professionals only) that participation exploded.

Both Jerry and Co-host Bryan Baird are super excited to see where 2017 takes the Pest Cemetery Blog and Facebook Group.

Here’s a link to the podcast episode:

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Whistling past the cemetery; episode 4

screen-shot-2016-11-10-at-10-42-13-pm

Each week, Jerry Schappert and Bryan Baird recap some of the most interesting posts from the Pest Cemetery Facebook Group. This post is a recap of the episodes released in December 2016.

If you’re not a member of the Facebook Group, you can join here: PestCemetery.com

12/12/16

The first thread discussed was Shane Mantz’s post about financing your own pest control business. Jerry mentioned how start-up debt is mostly comprised of hard assets, therefore, a loan might not be difficult to acquire. That being said, he sees the downside of going into debt right off the bat.

Bryan points out how you want to avoid high interest debt. He cites his grandfather and father as saying, “The minute you stop working (for a paycheck) you start going into debt. Try not to borrow money from a bank”.

Jerry tells the story of how he and Renee started their business – He financed the company truck, but paid cash for everything else. He made reference to an article he wrote years ago: Single Operator Setbacks and Keeping the Faith.

The next thread was by Ryan Ridgley. Ryan draws attention to how the world’s largest taxi company (Uber) owns no vehicles, the world’s largest content provider (Facebook) creates no content, and the world’s largest retailer (Alibaba) has no inventory.

This is a fascinating point, but Jerry makes reference to Mike Rowe’s statement that technology won’t replace manual labor in the foreseeable future – “Somebody has to shovel the poop”.

Click here to listen to the podcast episode:

 

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The Ambiguous Pesticide Label/ Lets Make Labels Great Again

If the label on a pesticide product is the law (and there is NO DISPUTE of this fact), or so we’re told. Then deviating from it should bring consequences should it not? I mean going 55 mph through a school zone with yellow lights blinking will surely get you noticed. Robbing a bank will get you incarcerated if you get caught and you definitely should pay your taxes… slow as molasses as our Government is, they seem to break all land speed records when it comes to tax payments.

But then there are the crazy pest control laws out there like not being able to tie an alligator to a fire hydrant, or catching moths under a street light. Both illegal. Then there are the redundant, the contradictory, outdated or those that are obviously skewed for just one particular group of people or another. Try doing pest control in New York or California and you may see what I mean.

To be fair, almost all laws, rules and sets of directions now a days seem to have gone the way of CYA, or politically correct. You can’t put together a child’s toy from a box without a massive disclaimer, 1-800 hotlines or 3 different language pages all designed to protect the manufacturer and or seller. No warranties are supplied if you stray from the vague set of rules, instructions can be very confusing and it’s usually not until after you’ve done something wrong (tried to put part A together with part E) that you realize you’ve broken the rules and now you are in violation and here comes those consequences. (part F is not level resulting in only 3 wheels touching the ground at any one time;)  and calling that 1-800 number at this point seems like a worthless 30 minute hold time endeavor especially since you NOW see what you’ve done is wrong but you’re still kinda miffed that the directions weren’t clearer, that it wasn’t written in plain english. Disclaimer*(that’s “plain speak” to you multi lingual folks and not a limiting nor un inclusive choice of verbiage) 

O lord…. let’s get on with article…

So read on if you’d like, it’s a bit long I grant you. Or don’t, it’s not The Law! You don’t have to be licensed to read it, in fact it’s probably geared more to those who are not certified/licensed. Those who are newer and perhaps confused by the labels they read and want clarity. Hmmm, I guess this would be a good place for a disclaimer and a statement of use; This is my opinion only and should not be construed as legally correct nor binding unless by some chance you use this information in a legal case and then you win!  Woo hoo! Good for you… but I doubt it somehow, so no such warranty applies.  However, by not reading the entire contents of this article your comments below will become null and void and any and all expressed accuracy or assurance of information will be revoked whether implied or written.  This ad hoc article is Caveat emptor and dubia in meliorem partem interpretari debent to our manufacturer’s.

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The Carson Project; A Mini Novel-Chapter One

screen-shot-2016-12-10-at-12-04-43-pmIt was suppose to occur in 2022 but things have changed and plans had to be sped up. The country has gone along for years with the scheme not questioning the science and the educated people behind it. With looming over population, extreme pestilence, pollution, poverty and the heavy hand of an oppressive government- the tired, poor and huddled masses fill the streets of what was once a promising land. Not so many years ago, science told us our indiscriminate actions would bring about an ice age and all would perish. That fish would run out of water and trash would hide the horizons. Our lives and the way we live had to be altered for the good of the many and the saving of the planet. That changed when the expected frozen tundra never materialized, our abundance was never threatened. However to the elites pleasant surprise, the frog never jumped out of the pot. Expected loud cries of foul never came and life just quietly went on and those in charge were still left to their devices unscathed. They were free to turn the heat up and again, the frog just settled in with barely a stir.  Now we’re told that, global warming or as they call it now, climate change, man made chemicals and the application of such has permanently scarred the land and irreparable  damage has been done. This with corporate greed has combined to bring our once great nation to the brink of extinction but for the poor souls who wander the barren streets, they could care less about the reasons; their only care of the day is to find a meal.

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Whistling past the cemetery: Episode 3

screen-shot-2016-11-10-at-10-42-13-pmFor the last week of November, Jerry Schappert and Bryan Baird recapped three of the most interesting posts made on the Pest Cemetery Facebook Group.

 

The first thread mentioned was Diana Dincoff Wallace’s thread about Pharaoh ants.

 

She wrote: “We have been dealing with Pharaoh ants in an apt building for several years. We have used baits non-stop and even tried some Temprid and Phantom, but they keep coming back. I have called several universities and all I get is ….bait them. We are way up north so looking outside is not an option right now. Looking for some additional tips, options or procedures. O,k you southern people what’s your secret?”

 

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PSA for pest techs; The making of a paycheck

pestcemetery facebook logo http://pestcemetery.com/The following is a posting from the closed Facebook group of pestcemetery.com. It is a stark look at the true cost of what goes into making sure the owners bank account actually has the money in it so your paycheck doesn’t bounce.

Although not complete, (there are even more hidden costs that the writer did not include-scary), nor is it the exact “numbers amount” you might see in your area. It is representative percentage wise and with a little tweaking the same daunting scenario can be played out in any region or business across the country.

Also of importance; It is not a slam on employees, techs or any supportive staff that make up any company. Just a statement of fact, a cold splash of water for that entrepreneur who wakes up every day and looks him or herself in the mirror asking that daily question, “how can I grow my company?”  You can’t grow if you don’t know- so. In the spirit of helping all pest control endeavors I present (with permission) this small peak of an owners challenges and the clear cut costs associated with employees. Also included, is a small smattering of the comments quoted in the thread so you can see what other owners thoughts are. Your comments are appreciated too. Comment below;

What? You’re not in the group? Tsk Tsk. It’s only the fastest growing, most active and diversified group of its kind on the web. I’m sure you just haven’t seen it yet in your surfing, here’s a link so you can request to join.

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Whistling past the cemetery Episode 2

screen-shot-2016-11-10-at-10-42-13-pmEach Friday, Jerry Schappert and Bryan Baird recap of some of the most interesting posts on the pestcemetery.com Facebook group.This is your opportunity to catch up on posts you might have missed, hear what the hosts have to say about a particular topic, or perhaps serve as your introduction to one of the most active pest control communities on the internet.

First off: CONGRATULATIONS TO DANIEL DYE!!!

National Geographic purchased Daniel’s photo of a Conenose Bug-Kissing Bug (Triatoma lecticularia). That’s a big time accomplishment for any photographer, let alone an A.C.E. that spends most of his time as a pest control training coordinator.

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Whistling past the cemetery

screen-shot-2016-11-10-at-10-42-13-pmWelcome to the very first edition of Whistling Past the Cemetery!

Each Friday, Jerry Schappert and Bryan Baird recap some of the most interesting posts on the Pest Cemetery Facebook Group.This podcast is your opportunity to catch up on posts you might have missed, hear what the hosts have to say about particular topics, or perhaps serve as your introduction to one of the most active pest control communities on the internet.

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Dodged a bullet

red pill blue pillThe day started out simple enough, mostly routine stops, nothing out of the ordinary… or so I thought. The office calls and says they have a customer that needs someone out soon, today if at all possible. I say, “sure, I’ll work them in.”

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