How to Start a Pest Control Business

Insects and rodents can cause serious property damage. That’s why many homeowners are willing to pay top dollar to keep their homes free and clear of pests. 

In fact, the pest control market was valued at 11.6 Billion in 2020 and is projected to reach USD 17.5 Billion by 2028. 

If you’re looking to perhaps migrate from being a technician to a business owner and start a meaningful and profitable business, you already know the pest control industry offers consistency and opportunity for growth.  

In this article, we’ll walk you through how to start a pest control business as well as discuss some best practices to get you started. 

Briostack- How to Start a Pest Control Business- Busines Plan blog imgBusiness Planning 

The first step to creating a successful business is planning. Making sure that you have everything in order upfront will help you get a head start.  

By putting careful consideration into your business plan, you’ll set yourself up for success and set yourself ahead of competitors.  

How Much Does It Cost to Start a Pest Control Business? 

The average pest control business can cost around $2,000 to $12,272 to launch. This cost can include everything from business licenses, insurance, supplies, and marketing.  

Initially, only the base startup costs are necessary. As your business expands, you can always invest more in things like marketing and development. This may keep things a little more affordable in the beginning.  

There are also  small business loan options available to get you started. Talk to a financial advisor about the best financing options for you and your business goals.   

What is the Average Profit Margin for a Pest Control Company? 

An efficient pest control company has the potential to bring in a large profit each year. With expenses averaging about 45-50 percent, the gross profit margin should average 50-55 percent. That is a huge return on investment, regardless of the size of your business. 

Is Pest Control a Good Business? 

Owning and operating a pest control business can be very lucrative. An average salary is about $69,267 per year. This is the estimated pay for an efficient business, but there is a lot of room to earn additional pay.  

 Profitability could grow by expanding your business from residential to commercial markets.  

Pest control is a stable industry, which can make income more reliable. Pest Control has been around for as long as public health has been a concern. Homes and businesses will always need maintenance and care, and your business will be there to provide those services.  

How to Price Your Pest Control Services 

Depending on your region and the needs of your community, you can charge based on service type. An initial pest control visit can cost anywhere between $250-$600 

If a visit requires one-time services or additional ongoing care, the price will vary. Follow-up visits average around $100 per visit 

Here are some examples of various service costs: 

  • The average termite control visit will cost around $575. 
  • The average cockroach control visit will cost around $250. (Fumigation and house tenting can run up to $7500). 
  • Mosquito control services can cost anywhere from $100 to $500. 

Be sure to base your pricing on your services with overhead, labor and materials factored in.  


RELATED ARTICLE:
How to Improve Your Pest Control Invoice Process 

Branding  

Branding is one of the more crucial parts of operating your own business. This is the first impression that customers will get of your company. Think of it as an introduction.  

It’s important to make sure the message comes across the way you intend it to. Don’t be scared to run this by friends and family to get some opinions.  

Branding can promote professionalism, efficient services, or even your mission statement. If you brand your company right, your customer base could multiply.  

Pest Control Business Cards & Basics 

When branding your business, you want to think about simplicity and efficiency. Design a logo that is attention-grabbing and represents the name of your company.  

Your logo and branding will be used on business cards, your website, your company vehicles, and your social media.  

Here is some of the basic company branding elements you’ll need to get started: 

  • A business card that is clean and concise. You'll want to include your company name, logo, contact information, and hours of operation.  
  • An easy-to-navigate website with more than just your contact information. It should answer questions and give information regarding various pests and services. A well-organized, straightforward website can help build your clientele from your online traffic.  
  • Develop a social media presence. Social media can reach new audiences and allow you to build community. You could provide fun facts about pest control, informative details, or even comical moments of running your business. This is where you get to be creative and curate a story for your company.  

What's a Good Name for a Pest Control Company? 

Deciding on your company name is a big decision. Almost 77% of people make purchases based on a brand’s name. So, you want something people will remember. 

Choose something short, relevant, and likely to stick in people’s minds. If you don’t already have an idea in mind, think of things that represent your business. Brainstorm ideas and bounce them off a trusted friend until you find the right one! 

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Legal & Accounting Stuff 

The legal side of the business can seem a little intimidating, especially if you’re just getting started. Fortunately, there are a lot of wonderful resources available to help cover some of this.  

Once you’ve got the basics down, the legal of running your business will come easier. So, let’s get break it down. 

What Business Type Should I Choose? 

There are four basic business structures, each with its own benefits:   

 Sole proprietorships – Run by one owner with all the decision-making power and liability   

Limited Liability Companies (LLCs) – More complex than a sole proprietorship but less so than a corporation, offering the owner more protection without too many complications   

S Corporation – S corporations pass the net income of the business onto the stockholders of the business in order for them to be taxed on their personal tax returns. Essentially, there’s only one tier of federal income tax to pay and it is a helpful business structure if there will be multiple partners in the business.  

C Corporation – Stockholders, officers, and the board of directors have total authority over the corporation. However, it is possible for an individual to fulfill all three roles. In other words, it’s possible to start a corporation and be in complete charge of every aspect of the business.  

These structures and more exist to provide flexibility to the business owner, who should select the model best suited for the level of complexity they are willing to handle in exchange for liability protection and resilience.  

What License Do You Need to Start a Pest Control Company? 

The licensure requirements for most pest control businesses are very similar. This is because pesticides are highly controlled. Each employee will likely need their own license. This type of license is called a commercial applicator license.  

To start your business, you’ll need both state and federal licensure. You can find information on your individual state licensing requirements here.  

Pest Control Insurance 

To begin operating, your business will need to have appropriate business insurance in place. This will be for an on-site business provider, with a few important components:  

General Liability Insurance 

This insurance will protect you from property damage claims and bodily injuries that happen on the job.  

Worker’s Compensation 

Workers comp insurance is required for businesses in the US. It covers lost wages for an employee if they are injured on the job.  

Commercial Auto Insurance 

Another type of insurance to consider is commercial auto insurance. This insurance covers company vehicles. That means any vehicle (or vehicles) that is being used to transport supplies and employees to job sites. 

Managing Your Accounts 

Running a business has many facets, but fortunately, you don’t need to know how to do everything. There are many options for support and outsourcing, particularly for accounting 

Until your business expands, you probably won’t need a full-time employee for the job. A contractor or accounting firm can help keep track of the money end of things. Sites like UpWork provide great options for freelance accountants and bookkeepers.  

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Equipment 

Now that your business is registered and ready to go, it’s time to determine what equipment you’ll need. From various chemicals to special tools and business software, it can add up quickly.  

The chemicals that you need will vary based on several factors, including: 

  • Your company’s area of expertise  
  • The type of services you offer  
  • If you operate a “green” business 
  • Your location—different States have different requirements  

The specific tools and equipment you’ll need will depend on the type of services you offer. In addition to the pesticides and equipment, you have various overhead costs such as:  

  • software, internet, phones, computers, etc.  
  • vehicles or work trucks  
  • uniforms and PPE  
  • equipment for spraying pesticides and physical removal of pests  

Rent vs Buy 

When you’re just starting, you might not need to invest in your own equipment. A lot of the gear that you need could be rented instead. You can rent sprayers, ladders, and traps initially until your business begins to grow. 

However, owning your PPE and pesticides is important. These supplies are required and essential for your business.  

Software 

The right pest control software can make your business run so much smoother. Don’t waste time trying to navigate the back end of your business. Find a software solution that helps with scheduling, billing services, task management, and even marketing. 

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Invoicing & Accounting Software 

Invoicing and accounting can be huge stressors to keep track of in your business. Automating these processes can help you to stay on top of your finances.  

Invoicing software systems don't let anything slip through the cracks. Via intuitive features, they can help you stay on top of number crunching and timely invoices, without the risk of human error. 

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Routing & Scheduling Software 

A software solution that assists with scheduling makes running a pest control business a lot easier. It can help to automatically generate schedules, move jobs, and transport files. It can also display different job sites and requirements as they are updated. 

Manually routing jobs can cause so many frustrations and challenges for technicians. Navigating in real-time and updating any changes as they are processed can reduce the confusion of a busy day. 

CRM 

Customer relationship management (CRM) software simplifies business transactions. It automates the system between technician and customer. Customers can book appointments, receive paperless invoices, and access information from the field. 

 

Need an all-in-one Pest Control Software solution?
Briostack has got you covered.
 

Learn more

 

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Hiring Your Crew & Office Staff 

As your business expands, you may need to consider hiring staff. You can’t be in two places at once, so you’ll need a team of people to help complete jobs as they roll in. 

Hiring & Training Your Crew 

Gathering a talented crew of technicians for the field is an important part of running a pest control business. But finding and hiring the right people can be overwhelming.  

The goal is to find workers who have experience, industry knowledge, and a willingness to learn. Hiring sites like Indeed, ZipRecruiter or LinkedIn can help you find the right people for your team. 

Whoever you hire will need to have the proper training and licensure. This may vary based on the role they're filling. You can find information on pesticide training here and resources for various training programs here 

Hiring & Training “Office” Staff 

Your office staff should have experience with customer service, basic computer programs, and various levels of accounting. These positions can be supported by incorporating pest control software 

This software can help streamline and automate processes, creating more efficiency. Increased efficiency can reduce the workload and the need for a full-time employee.  

Depending on your needs, administrative positions can be out-sourced as well. Freelancers are a great resource for part-time work and can save your business a lot of money on taxes.  

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Sales Infrastructure 

Making sales for your business can be a little intimidating at first. Focusing specifically on developing a strong sales pitch, setting sales goals, and training your team can set you up for success.  

There are plenty of online courses, seminars, and articles that can teach you basic sales techniques. Find what works and feels authentic to your business. And remember, the customer’s need for pest control does a lot of the selling for you! 

Training 

Getting your staff trained and on the same page is a crucial component of sales. Listening to sales pitches and shadowing a skilled salesperson can help prepare your staff to go out into the field.  

There are many resources available to help hone these skills. There are podcasts, YouTube videos, and articles that are specifically geared toward sales in the pest control business.  

Here are some pest control business podcasts to check out: 

Making Sales Easy 

Utilizing software with an easy-to-use customer interface can reduce the amount of effort spent making sales. Some pest-control centric software can actually help you streamline your sales and marketing process, manage sales territories, and  incentivize employees’ sales through internal leaderboards.  

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Promotions & Growth 

Growing your business through promotion and pest control marketing is the next step in developing your business.  

Choosing the right customer base can help you narrow your audience and bring in more ideal customers. Highlight the focus of your business: 

  • Whether you’re tackling residential or commercial projects 
  • The type of services you provide. What pests, price, and speed of project that you offer 
  • The location where you provide services will improve your sales 

 Marketing to target these specific things will help drive customers to your business.  

How Do I Make My Pest Control Business Successful? 

Building a successful business doesn’t have to be daunting. Having a focused business plan and buyer persona will help the market work in your favor.  

Knowing what your market is and who your target audience is will help you to develop a consistent marketing strategy and voice for your company.  

Digital Marketing 

Digital marketing is one of the primary tools for business growth these days. There are many different avenues to help expand your business. 

- SEO development helps to drive internet traffic to your website through keywords and integrated promotion.  

- Paid marketing, through Google or other platforms, will promote ads for your business and direct clicks to your company. 

- Social media marketing promotes your company through the development of your brand. Various social media platforms attract community and networking to your company. Sites like NextDoor drive traffic in specific communities to your business. 

 - There are also specific pest control marketing software tools available that can help you implement email and text marketing. 

Traditional Marketing 

There’s still a place for traditional methods in the marketing world. Door-to-door marketing can be effective.  

However, it’s important to know your market and demographic. Provide the proper sales training to prepare your crew before sending out knocking on doors. 

Networking and creating partnerships are tried-and-true routes to building business. Promoting through an adjacent industry, such as painting or HVAC companies, is a great option. Collaborations can expose you to new audiences and open more doors.  

RELATED ARTICLE: 4 Pest Control Marketing Ideas to Attract Customers 

Creating a Great Customer Experience 

Customer service is the number one component of any successful business. One of the best ways to build your business’s reputation is by word of mouth. A happy customer will tell their network, which can lead to more happy customers.  

If your customers have a great experience, it reflects positively on your business. Improve the customer experience by providing a great user interface, rapid services, and going above and beyond for the customer. 

Focus on creating a friendly environment, that puts the customer first, and gets the job done quickly and efficiently. Great reviews attract more local businesses and impress potential customers.  


RELATED ARTICLE: 
How to Generate More Online Reviews for Pest Control  

Get Started with Your Pest Control Business 

Starting a pest control business can be a highly profitable endeavor. And with the right know-how, it can be surprisingly easy to get started.  

Here are some simple steps you can take today to start your pest control business: 

  • Do your research. The first step to starting any business is understanding the industry you're entering. What are the trends? Who are the key players? What services do they offer? This research will be instrumental in helping you create a unique selling proposition for your business. 
  • Develop a plan. Once you've done your research, it's time to start putting together a business plan. It doesn't need to be complicated.  But it should outline your business goals, how you intend to achieve them, and what resources you'll need. 
  • Choose your services. What pest problems will you be solving for your clients? Do you want to offer traditional extermination services, or focus on eco-friendly solutions? Selecting the right services is crucial to ensuring that your business is successful.