Do you remember when Termidor first came out? What an awesome product — but back then I hardly ran into anyone who knew exactly how it worked, what it did to the bug. Sure it killed em but in what way? When we asked, the answer we got more often than not was “The Transfer Effect.” Up to this point all we knew was cholinesterase inhibition, and firing synapses and the like. And we sounded real smart didn’t we? People shrilled with excitement when they heard how our products affected the nerves of a bug. Remember? Boy we were practically geniuses back then.
Still, this new thing called Termidor was solving our worst nightmares and although we began singing its praises from the roof tops, the best we could say as to ‘how’ it worked was…The Transfer Effect.
Today, most everyone in the industry is now well versed with the mode of action of Termidor. So much so, I rarely hear the words, “The Transfer Effect.” But did you know there’s another Transfer Effect in our trade? One that’s been around since the beginning but has still kept us guessing as to what the answer is? Yep, although most times it’s just an innocent byproduct of what we do. If not handled right, it can be very insidious as it lays claim to disgruntled, cancelled customers or worse yet, lost revenues.
This is the Transfer Effect that has nothing to do with Termidor.
There’s something about pest control that you don’t find in other professions. Take your car to the mechanic for a pinging noise, he fixes it and you drive away without the ping. House is hot, A/C tech comes and you’re cooling down by the time he’s heading down the drive. In pest control however it isn’t always so clean cut. Our service needs time to work, cooperation to succeed and perhaps several visits to ‘fix the problem.’
In my experience, our relationship with the customer starts off much like those of the mechanics or HVAC techs etc. The client greets us at the door, shows us the problem, nods their head incessantly as we explain our program and we get the job and do the service. They’ve agreed with what we’ve explained, they say they understand when they’re told about expectations, they even thank us as we say goodbye. But sometime later, how long varies but it’s coming. The Transfer Effect kicks in and suddenly their problem is now your problem and “You need do do something about it right now!”
Early Warning Signs Of The Transfer Effect
In some cases you might notice (usually in the initial visit) that the clients head nods with what you say but answers your every sentence with, “I just want them gone!!!” This is an early sign of the Transfer Effect. What they’re really saying is “I have the problem, I hired you-now it’s your problem.” Or, You say something like “this took time to build up like this-it’ll take time to eradicate.” They’re thinking, “once this guy’s done I’m not gonna see any more of these nasty bugs.” Or maybe (and this happens a lot) The client will have a baggie full of bugs and hand it to you and say “HERE, THESE ARE YOURS…DO SOMETHING!” See how slick that is? There are many little clues that the Transfer Effect is coming your way.
The Transfer Effect Knows No Contractual Bounds
Like I said, this Effect is very cunning, it is not restricted to just what you were called out for. Sign someone up for a roach job who suddenly gets a mouse–that’s your mouse now. Noises in the attic? “After you’re done baiting the cabinets can you check that out?” Or “My well quit last week and the guy said there were ants on the relay switch- I think his service call should come off your bill, don’t you?” The list can go on and on.
What Is The Transfer Effect?
The Transfer Effect is simply the conveyance of responsibility for unwanted pests from the client to you. Except this effect makes the transfer with NO exchange of money and puts all the onus on you. Now you might say-”well duh, I’m there to exterminate and or prevent pests.” Fair enough, but when you drive away from the mechanics and a mile down the road you get a flat, do you call him saying he’d better get it it fixed? Perhaps the A/C man tells you you’re unit is constantly stressed because your insulation is very thin in the attic…will he haul up a few rolls and lay them down?
People have the idea that their pest problems are YOUR problems & I’m here to say this is not entirely true. I didn’t choose how they live, I wasn’t the one who hasn’t cleaned the gutters to the point the eaves have rotted with the standing water so now earwigs & carpenter ants are having a hay day. I’m sorry my flea job didn’t work, can you please get that litter of kittens out from under the bed now? Oh I don’t mind crawling the attic to find your scratching noise, maybe it’s the pharaoh ants I’m here for doing it, anythings possible right?–I have tons of time on this warm sunny day 😉
What To Do About The Transfer Effect
Besides all the wagging of someones head in agreement-expectations are best set out in writing. I haven’t seen a pest contract in a long time that doesn’t exclude bed bugs, have you? Or a termite contract that specifically states formosan termites excluded! That’s smart business. Why do we stop there? Most general pest agreements mean just that, general. Isn’t a mouse general? I’d say so-so now break out a few glue traps, a tamper resistant station or two, maybe a few place pacs, YOUR EXTRA TIME!!!!!–goodbye 10 or 12 bucks, nice knowing ya! $$$$
Now I realize most of us sign new clients up with just a handshake & I get that. The fear of asking someone to commit to a years contract. But you have a receipt don’t ya? Maybe a small brochure? Put some ink to it and maybe even scribble the words… $25 dollar surcharge for rodent work when needed….or attic fogging extra…. I had a pool man out recently and on his bill was 6 extra bucks for 2 feet 8 inches of pvc. I didn’t get mad, I wasn’t shocked. (although he did use a tape measure so he could be exact, that was a little strange) I was told the pump would be such and such and installation was this much…but, in doing the work we saw another problem I had that wasn’t part of the estimate & so bada bing, a little extra pipe and I was all good.
It isn’t a deal breaker in most cases. People understand, & having it in writing makes it so much easier for you to deal with the situation and stop getting nickeled and dimed for every little thing. So, isn’t it time to transfer the Transfer Effect right back where it belongs? Or are we just gonna continue letting this thing get on our nerves?