The Saddest Termite Job I Ever Sold & The Smile Of A Mad Man

It’s amazing how I could go from a top salesman one month and find myself scraping bottom over the next 30 day stretch. My downward spiral in sales would be unacceptable anywhere else but might have been understandable in this case since I just had the rug pulled out from under my feet by a mad man owner. You can decide for yourself if you care to by following this link. I had zero motivation and each new day was like an adventure in “one who flew over the cuckoo’s nest.” Sales can be a cruel way to make a living and the old saying about salesman is oh so true.

Sales are like shaving; do it everyday or you’re a bum


Zero Sales

The one thing that didn’t change was the whack job I worked for who was neither impressed with my rock star status nor my bottom of the barrel performance. No, he was quite filled with himself and I don’t think there was room for anyone else. I’m not a great salesman to begin with but to say my numbers were off is an understatement. I actually went almost 2 weeks without any and this had my mgr. & the owner in a tizzy. Well, I did sell about 500 feet of termite infested fence line which my mgr. said he might refuse to pay me for since it wasn’t a structure. Wow, motivation everywhere! It wasn’t that I didn’t put out some estimates. It’s just for some reason none of my daily ‘free WDO’s’ were translating into sales and believe me, no sales REALLY made it uncomfortable for me to go to work everyday.

My Month May Have Been Saved

One inspection I had during this time was a large horse farm that the bank was repossessing. The office told me there were multiple barns, out buildings and employee homes as well as a main house. “This ones gonna take you awhile” my mgr. said in an expecting tone, “any other calls today – just consider handled & find us some termites.” Wow, it sounded like they were gonna leave me alone for awhile so I was happy to wander around this 1000 acre farm by myself and for once, at peace.

As I went from barn to barn, house to house I thought to myself how could someone so rich as to have all this lose it all? I didn’t have that thought too long however as I started finding problems and knew this could be a BIG sale. Most of the pole barns had powder post beetles or evidence of drywood termites and the employee quarters which were mobile homes had sub-termites. Sprinkle in the fee for the major rat problem and this job was starting to add up and just might be the thing to save my job & I hadn’t even made it to the main home.

A Mans Castle Crumbles

Driving up the back pasture the last structure I had on my list was a fairly large and beautiful home. Not a mansion by any means but definitely the crown jewell of the farm. It was a 3 story home with an attached mother in law apartment and had all the amenities a fine home would have. Still, this was where a true family lived and there were crayon marks on the walls of the little ones bdrm. Endless pin holes in the drywall of the older kids that no doubt were marks of where dozens of teen idol posters were hung. A greasy work bench in the garage whispered the story of a Dad who loved to tinker while stenciled paintings of grape vines and leaves around window and door frames told of a mother whose heart was filled with love and care as she watched every detail of this her precious family. I wondered again as I meandered around the huge open room that was the 3rd floor. What happened I thought to myself that could cause a family to lose so much? At the bottom and under the stairs was a closet that I thought I’d better check before I go outside and it was there I got my answer.

There on the drywall written in thick marker was a note that was intended for the new owner and to this day, is one of the saddest things I’ve ever read.

To the new owner of my once proud and happy home; Please take care of these walls as they are the result of my wife – my best friend & I’s dreams, hard work and sacrifice. With just the sweat of our brow we built these walls and with the love in our hearts it became a home. Many happy years here were filled with laughter and the sound of little feet. This home was as much a part of the family as any member and we were content in knowing we would spend the rest of our lives in this, our beautiful home. But life is cruel and my best friend was taken from me. So young and beautiful she was overtaken by an insidious disease that wouldn’t let her go. In the end it took everything and left me with an empty shell which I could no longer forbear. Please, be kind to this house and kiss your family with each new day and hold them before you lay down to sleep. Life is hard, unpredictable and cruel. Love while you can.

A Mad Mans Delight In Tragedy

I’m not sure how long I stood there but I can picture that closet as plain as day even now. It saddened me to know the truth of this families demise and my excitement of this big sale had given away to depression. Besides this terribly sad note there was really no problem inside I could find & I only had the homes outside left to inspect and I would head back to the office. Almost immediately I spotted a termite tunnel on the brick veneer that went about two feet up the wall and then went nowhere. It was obviously a searcher tunnel and been abandoned with no live termites present and there was not one single other sign around the rest of the home. I felt like I was the final ‘boot that kicked this man while he was down’ and felt a little guilty as I measured it and figured up the estimate.

It was about 7pm when I made it back to the shop the mad man was waiting. He didn’t say to much and I just handed him my stack of contracts and graphs. Since this was a repo inspection the sale was all but guaranteed and what I handed him was 5 fumigations, a huge rat service and 7 subterranean termite treatments that in all totaled over $10,000.00. As I headed to my truck to finally go home he called out from the office porch smiling and said, “You just might get a plaque this month after-all.” I realize he didn’t know about the note but that cocky smile of his made me furious to think someone could be so cold. In hind sight however, maybe that wasn’t the reason he was smiling. You see I never got paid for that job as it mysteriously was never worked until AFTER I left which was only a couple weeks later. That was the rules in this mad mans company- if it’s not worked, you’re not paid. Well, just one more reason this was The Saddest Termite Job I Ever Sold.

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.
This entry was posted in Tales from the route and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.
  • Mel

    You should have sued them for nine million 🙂

  • Statue of limitations might still be good…hmmmmmm

  • You stated:  Since this was a repo inspection the sale was all but guaranteed and what I handed him was 5 fumigations, a huge rat service and 7 subterranean termite treatments that in all totaled over $10,000.00Do you still perform Fumigation? 

  • You stated:  Since this was a repo inspection the sale was all but guaranteed and what I handed him was 5 fumigations, a huge rat service and 7 subterranean termite treatments that in all totaled over $10,000.00Do you still perform Fumigation? 

  • I sell them but do not wrap homes myself. (My termite license doesn’t include fumes) Too easy to spot treat now a days.