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Simple Principles For The New Exterminator

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by The Bug Doctor

Principles are a foundation in life, whether you apply good and solid ones or lax and half hearted, you will build upon the cornerstone based on the principles you choose. Your career in pest control is no different. Too many times I’ve seen good people who want to learn and make pest control a career fall by the way side because they were either thrown to the wolves to quickly or had no on going support once out on their own. In my state a person is only required to have 5 days of training before they can be left alone to apply pesticide treatments. 5 DAYS! Companies here also are bound by law to give techs a few measly hours of continued education annually but can 2, 3 or even 4 hours a year possibly come close to being enough?

It’s no wonder that our industry has such a high turnover rate. Everybody wants to feel good about what they do and part of that comes from seeing positive results or fruits of our labor. With 5 days and 4 hours instruction in the first year how can we expect any new hire to feel good about what we all claim is a good job and something that they should consider being a career?

I do realize this is a fast paced “get the route done above all else” gig and having to make a payroll myself- I understand that line of thinking. But I want people to work for me because they like their jobs, they’re excited to see what the next stop brings and that they are up for the challenge because they’ve had a great start at their career and look forward to adding more knowledge and experience to their base. I also know our industry is a bit complex. Besides all the formulations and how they’re used and myriad of bugs and unique situations we find, we also have to deal with people which perhaps is the hardest aspect of all at times. To me, having a tech with a solid foundation is my best bet for ensuring the route is well taken care of.

I like to keep things simple and somewhere down the line when things start coming together for a new hire it’s a joy to see that day. When I visit an account and see the challenges my tech took on I’m always thankful I took the time to give him that solid foundation. Instead of just throwing spray or baits at a problem in any old way, he actually thought through the situation, simplified it and did his job.

Two principles I always instill in a new trainee are;

#1 Get the basics down first-perfect them as you go and let your effort replace what you don’t yet know.
No ones gonna get all the nuances or have all the facts even after a few years at this. Experience is a great teacher but you have to stick your head into where the bugs are to get that acquired knowledge-other wise it’s not experience, it’s just waisted time.

#2 You’ve got to be able to SEE what your doing so you need to use a flash light on every application.
Whether it’s a bright operating room or a dingy basement, without a flashlight you’re not a professional applicator, you’re just a wild guesser at best. Light it up!

Perhaps you have a different philosophy or view of training new hires and if so I’d love to hear them. I’ve put together a quick video which hopefully could help cement the two simplest points I know of in pest control to your new tech. I hope both of you will enjoy.


Those are my principles, and if you don’t like them… well, I have others.
Groucho Marx


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