Are single operator companies worth PCT’s & PMP’s & the Guru’s time. (an open letter)

One bug a boo of mine is that none of the ‘how to grow’ books, magazine articles or guru’s at speaking conferences really ever reach out to help the small company–the single operator. Now they say they do and their ad’s claim great strategies for small business growth and I believe 100% that they deliver EXACTLY what they say. It’s just that I think their definition of a small business might be a little different than mine and perhaps yours too.

You see I really don’t care right now about the cancelation rate of customers with bad office personnel- I don’t have a secretary!– Web presence and a company blog? Where can I find time or money to do that and get out and market belly to belly, raise my family and work this 2nd job I have till things get rolling? PR department, profits and loss, employee management, strategies for purchases and the percentage formula for everything from emotional buying decisions to tax strategies?. HEY BOOK WRITING GURU- I KNOW YOU’RE TRYING TO HELP BUT I CANNOT RELATE TO YOU!

Can somebody please do some research on helping me and the tens of thousands of others who are just trying to get off the ground and not the guy’s with 5 to 10 trucks who basically dominates my town anyway?

I mean, I’ve read the stat where 1 in 5 businesses fold up in the first 5 years but to be honest that’s about the only research out there for start up pest operations. I guess the stat boy’s figure it’s not worth their time to help super small entrepreneurs in the bug world to get up off the ground and get going. Maybe they figure if you weather the storm and make it through the traps, pitfalls and outlast the rejections of the world then perhaps this advice might have meaning but until such time it is in my mind, wasted ink.

Now do I think the guru principles are flawed? Not at all, I respect their work and research. It is however not practical to think “Tim The Termite Guy” in small town U.S.A. is going to be able to purchase a hand held software program that’ll wow all 30 of his customers. What Tim needs is a way to get 330 clients and then 3330. Single operators need strategies too just like the small companies, mid sized, large and Mega corporations. I have no illusions that they don’t. It’s just that I have yet to see anyone take the time to really nail down this much needed help in a practical way.

Perhaps it’s in the definitions. To our esteemed elected officials, a small biz is one with less than 500 employees. WHAT!?!? Man if I had anywhere near 500 techs – well lets just say I wouldn’t be writing articles or crawling under a home every day. Now I don’t know what industry numbers are in determining size. By industry, I mean publications and/or associations. I DO KNOW that almost everyone agrees that the Mom & Pop or single operators dominate the numbers in terms of companies in America. (maybe the world) But if this is true- where is the help? Where is the step by step guide full of ideas and strategies suited for this group?

To be fair, there are tons of articles with great sounding titles and even bits of tid that can and do help this small little guppy like me. There are a couple of books too. But, I submit-you’d have a better chance of having a perfect college basketball tournament bracket than finding an article that speaks to the single operator exclusively, in a way that solely benefits them. It’s as if the start up has to get some info here, a piece of advice there and perhaps a snippet or two of good direction from a $20 book that otherwise leaves him/her lost in “how to achieve” what it claims it will help you do.

I really don’t know where they go wrong and PLEASE. I am trying so hard not to be condescending or mean. I’m also not saying that these small operators are not smart enough to understand. But I can just see these guys and gals eyes glaze over when you get to the part about HR depts. and fleet mgt. It just isn’t realistic. They don’t have the money or the time. They have bills, pressures, fears and doubts. They need real solutions.

It’s a sad thing indeed to witness the death of a start up pest control firm. In my area alone, I’d say 5 or 6 companies meet this demise every year. What begins with great promise and zeal can quickly spiral down into a dust cloud of disaster. This is sad because I know so many who have turned to your pages, your publications for help. And why not? Where better to get this lifeline than from those who know the industry best?

Isn’t it time that our publication behemoths in the industry, look to the advancement of those of us who need it most? I would hope so.

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.

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  • stuto1

    I totally agree. I get the magazines(for free) and I’ve bought a few books from “gurus” who never started anything themselves. Your about the only small biz source that is out there for us small pest control companies!

  • Thank you — It’s sad though because they have such great resources.

  • That’s a great “A-HA” moment to have…. I joined your group as well & I hope it’s a great success.

    If interested I also have a group that’s been around a few years with much the same theme….

    Strength in numbers! 😉