Super tips for pest control in super markets (let’s start servicing them)

One of the best accounts you can get on your pest control route is a super market. Don’t get me wrong, the job is challenging and the complexity is enormous but there are very few jobs in the commercial pest control route that you will find such trained personnel and get really good cooperation. The staff of todays supermarket stores know more about specific pest control signs and symptoms than almost any other industry I can think of. They also have a chain of command and a reporting system (pest sighting logs & key employees) that in most cases all work to your favor. These attributes also make you more expendable, take proactive steps now to not only guard this valuable account but help you land new ones as well.

The next time you’re in a grocery store, take a look around and think about what you are seeing. If it’s a quality controlled store (which most are today because the public demands it) you’ll find orderly shelves, clean floors and and over all pleasant presentation of the foods their trying to sell you. This is not accidental, food sales are now scientifically figured out down to the placements of certain products, lighting, pictures of the staff on the walls and so much more all to give you the customer a feeling of buying their products in the most comfortable, clean, fresh and safest environment possible. Now, where on earth can a roach on the shelf or Indian meal moths fit into this picture? The people who’ve designed these selling machines have over the years come to realize that no pest control professional, no matter how good he or she is can come in, whack down a layer of pesticide and throw some bait blox around the dock area all in about an hour and be totally pest free. They have and smartly so began teaching their staff (especially managers) how to recognize signs of pest infestations and what to do about them even when the bug guy isn’t due for another week. Some chains have even gone so far as to hire full time certified pest control professionals who travel from store to store and specialize in the specific woes that hit them all. If you want to get or keep a super market account YOU are going to have to be super.

Here Are Some Tips

GRAPHS

Whether you have a supermarket account now or are bidding on one, make a graph! I know that these pain in the $&@ drawings are just for termite work so you can avoid damage claims, (yeah right) but if you want to stand out in any commercial bid or current work MAKE A GRAPH. Shoot, the modern stores may already have one and expect you to use it–beat them to the punch. Just so you know, making a graph enhances your ability in keeping an account greatly and is the #1 thing besides price that catches the decision makers eye when bidding. If it’s your account already I say make a graph even more. This will show you’re interest in keeping the account and that won’t go unnoticed. I’ll even bet you that you’ll find some area or something that may have been over looked for quite sometime that you can quietly correct and look like the hero. A graph also assures consistency of service should a new tech come in and clear and concise action or sanitation notes can’t be refuted should problems arise but you have them all noted. It just helps you keep the ball in their court and puts you in another stratosphere and proves your competition isn’t even in your league.

Lures

Today’s markets are all about finding the pests BEFORE they become a pest. Figure out the cost. time and labor and include it in your bid. Already a customer? Eat the extra cost and put out some lures. You can raise the price next year but for now get some proactive, preventative and specialized traps out there. I realize this is easy to say since I’m just typing away on a computer 1000 miles away from you and your account but you might as well be 10,000 miles away when it comes to this if you don’t incorporate it even in your existing jobs, you will lose it once the stored product pests come out in droves or the new ‘suitor’ comes a calling and sees you don’t have any in place. Sticky traps with pheromones are not always cheap but what’s the cost of replacing this gold mined account?

Rodents

Have a strong rodent program and don’t skimp. In facilities like this you can’t get away with a 0.30 cent plastic station or a glue board that’s been left in the store room with the same potato on it for the 3rd week in a row. Professional stations make all the difference and there are even lures for rats and mice so you don’t have to worry about bating restrictions around food. Exterior stations are key and need to be in place. If it’s an existing account and you don’t have any then just add one with each service so you don’t have to ‘bite the bullet all at once. Ketch-all’s, wind up’s, tamper resistant and even exclusion, do the necessary things to keep rats and mice out and you will have an account for life.

Take advantage of this approach

Look, the store itself has invented this thing called subliminal advertising, that’s why certain pickles are in the cooler and others are on a shelf with the toothpicks. You need to use this as well and take advantage of these pieces of advice I’ve given you, why not? You have an audience of some 30 -50 employees per shift who’ll walk by you’re pheromone trap 15 times a day. They’ll also see your rodent station every time the trash gets taken out and they will see everything that the consumer does not including the lack of roaches, rats, mice and stored product pests and who will they think of? YOU. The reason is simple, it’s because while the store may not want you to advertise in the break room of your services (they might though) they cannot stop you from advertising on all these little calling cards you have placed around the store. Hey, it’s standard to put a sticker on a rodent station and it’s even the law in almost all cases. The same approach needs to be taken on all those little pheromone traps and stickies and graphs. It’s like an advertising campaign to an audience that has to look at you and pay attention. What could be better? Put you’re calling card on all these professional devices you’ve put around and just watch the calls come in or the taps on the shoulder wanting service for their home when you are there treating.

Well there you go. my subliminal time is up but I’d love to hear from you as to whether you think this article was worth your while and you’d like to hear more? There is so much to getting commercial work but there is even more to learn about keeping it. Please let me know if you want more tips and strategies on the commercial accounts in the survey below.



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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  • POX

    Great article.

  • POX

    You mentioned moth traps. Would it be fair to say you would only put those in the conducive areas of the market isle or back floor? Such as flour, rice, bean isle. I’d like to hear more stories on the placement….would you normally find moths each service call? Is that the norm?

  • Nobody likes to buy food or packaged goods with moths flitting about or stuck in traps. Hiding them is not always easy-The pheromone will attract them from quite a distance. It acts as a lure to a trap them (glue) but also by putting one or two out you will confuse the adult male and he won’t find the female which means they won’t mate. So depending on the situation you can employ both strategies and keep the traps out of site from the customers. Usually closer is better in almost any control efforts but this is a good example as to the few times you might need to go a different route.

    Great question.

  • Thank you