So You Want to Own A Pest Control Business

open for business the decisions been made. It’s been an idea brewing up in the back of your head for quite some time and now you’re ready to take the plunge. You of course have thought about this, ran the numbers, calculated everything to a tee…–well, you have yourself making a million by year two but hey if everything goes right why not?? You spoke with some buddies and even a select customer or two who all say– “you’re so great at killing bugs, you should open up your own business- it’s a slam dunk.” You’ve run the idea past your wife a hundred times and she’s, well, uh, coming round–yea yea she’s on board.

Yep it’s time. Time to strike out on your own and begin making that huge profit for yourself that YOU’VE been providing for that owner for all these years. Time to reap those great rewards for those endless hours of training, hours on the phone saving accounts that don’t belong to you, the hundreds of times of crawling in the ickiest sub spaces and hottest attics, getting bitc**ed at for unrealistic expectations, the exposure to the nastiest sanitation situations etc. etc. etc… The overtime, early mornings & late days only to be stood up, lunch on the road, secretaries scheduling you in two places at one time, hustling through accounts just to get to a meeting on time where you know all you’ll hear is how you and the rest of the crew need to step it up…”Gotta hit your numbers.” Of course the boss says this with his thick gold wrist watch rapping against the table as he makes countless gestures explaining his need for more effort all the while he’s looking out the window admiring his new boat he stores in the yard next to his black company Escalade. (I know, I know, I said “etc.etc.etc.” but I couldn’t stop–sorry)

At your meeting you’re only half listening as you stare at those figures on the board. If you could just keep ONE HALF of your route you could live a nice comfortable life. If those numbers were on YOUR board–wow, how great would that be?!! You’ve lost count of how often you’ve gone above and beyond– Yea, it’s past time you stepped out. You’re overdue. This is your moment-your do or die!!!!!

That Friday you slide your resignation envelope across the bosses desk. The owner, somewhat disbelieving doesn’t even open it but just slips it the rest of the way across the fine cherry wood desk top and drops it into his desk drawer. He reaches his hand out to shake- he looks as if he wants to say so much. You brace for objections or even a counter offer but none comes. – He pauses as if he wants to say something, Alas, all he can do is clear his throat and say, “Good luck, we’re gonna miss you.” And there you have it, you’re free—you’re on you’re own & I just have one thing to say to you.


You want your first lesson in owning your own pest control business?

Nobody Cares

Well that’s not entirely true…. Your distributor is happy for you, he’d love for you to get that $600 electric reel to go along with that $3200 dollar rig you just bought. I mean you are already in for $1500 for a B&G, back pack and a few select products. They’ll fit nicely in the new (new to you) truck that came with a 7% loan and a $500 dollar monthly payment. Oh and that $300 dollar fiberglass tool box. Ha! that wrap guy–yea you got him down to $1100-what a sucker… Oh and what’s up with the phone company!?! $35.00 a month just for a land line? Gotta have one but my $120 monthly cell will suffice–the framily plan. 😉 Shirts were $200, service tickets $150, and holy^%$ – is a software program really that much? Yea–these are of the few people who are happy for you. Others that are smiling are your insurance agent, banker, your web designer, google, yellow pages, your local gas station, your THREE credit card companies!!! I could go on but I think you get my gist. Oh and what a revelation!!! The government is practically a 50/50 partner….how nice!

Now what about those you thought you could count on? You know, some of those key (perspective) clients that you served so well for years while at your former position. Several calls un returned and the few you do get through to hem and haw and politely say they’d love to sign on but don’t want to break any contract… your uncle who was all hyped up about your new venture who suddenly can’t be reached. The termite job that slips through your hands because the homeowner didn’t want to take a chance with a start up. The many MANY people who find it so easy to turn you down. Relatives, friends, acquaintances. Oh sure everybody wishes you well, everyone wants to see you succeed– but for now- in the present situation– hey, it’s all about MY MONEY and where it goes– “I’m sorry– I wish you you well.”

Your 2nd Lesson- The Dream Is Alive

Look, you may not like to hear what it takes to start, maintain and grow a business. After all-that ex boss with his big gold watch did it-why not you? I hear ya. But where are you gonna get a dose of reality? PCT, PMP or any of the hundreds of little magazines around the country? HAAA! Double HAAA! They’re pretty busy right now with next years Top 100 list. Oh sure– (as pointed out by a loyal fan in response to my “open letter”) – one magazine did a monthly running story on a start up not to long ago. I had forgotten about that one..sooo I guess they did try…but son of a gun, there wasn’t too much realistic about that story what so ever. The numbers were astronomical and if it really did keep going on the pace as reported–he’d at least have been on the bottom of their vaunted top 100 list by now…sadly, he is not.

Now I’m not here to blow smoke…starting a pest business from scratch is not easy. It’s not a bed of roses. But the mere fact that you’ve gone out on a ledge to make something happen is a true testament of your will….your determination and resolve. Have I reached that great pinnacle yet so I can reach ‘down’ to help you go where no man has gone before? …. hardly… it’s been 21 years on my own and I can’t say I’ve even hit a million yearly production yet. Am I a failure? Would you be? Well, you can judge that for yourself. But this dream, this passion and this vision for the future does not have to be in vain.

You my friend have something that has not been written about-not been measured and certainly has not been accounted for.

Your desire, your resolve to make things work and to build what the whole world says you cannot is something that can’t be quenched.

Never let ANYONE get in the way of your dream, to say negative things that’ll affect your mindset of where you want to go. REFUSE to give up and give in just because someone else does not have that same positive outlook you have. Let them drown in their fears and misery. It’s their choice- have at it… I however won’t give in, won’t give up and if the rest of the industry won’t give me a break….I’ll make my own. I’ll take charge of my own destiny Thank You and I won’t let you determine my destination.

Will I have $132 million dollars in sales? Maybe.. 1500 employees? perhaps. Will I be celebrated by the rest of the know it alls and suits with ties? — I could give a rats patooty!

I am an American Mom & Pop- Single Operator- Small Pest Control Company Owner & I am HERE TO STAY…………….

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. 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.

This entry was posted in The Business Of Pest Control and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.
  • Daniel D. Dye

    “The government is practically a 50/50 partner….how nice!”
    This made me laugh out loud, Jerry!
    I’ve had two pest control companies way back when. It was like having another wife and 15 more children.

  • I didn’t know that Daniel–your analogy is perfect though…;)

  • Brent Towle

    I would have sworn you checked with my wife on our story…..
    Brent Towle, Owner Spectrum Pest Control

  • Haha–you’ve had a few peanut butter sandwiches as well I take it…Glad to hear I’m not alone 😉

    Thanks for reading my blog and your comment.

  • Andy McGinty

    Start ups are tough especially getting insurance with no track record or loss history. Best advice is to get ready to answer specific questions about your expertise and really know the target insects you plan to service. That is key. Oh yea make sure if you get your contracts done BEFORE you service as that goes along way. Good luck. Andy-LIPCA Insurance.