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Do you have some great ideas for a pest control business that you want to get off the ground? Have you wondered how to start? It can definitely seem daunting at first. But it doesn’t have to be.  

Outlining the most necessary steps is the best way to begin. Create a simple roadmap to follow, and you’ll be on your way to success. This article will help you get started.  

You’ll learn about writing a business plan and setting up a formal business structure. And you’ll get expert advice about marketing and steps you can take now to make your business dreams a reality. 

But first, let’s examine why you might want to start a pest control business in the first place. 

Why Start a Pest Control Business? 

At their most basic, pest control businesses help property owners and businesses get rid of unwanted pests like bugs and rodents. Pests never disappear completely, but pest control businesses help people keep them away. 

A pest control business can have a positive impact on individuals and the community as a whole. 

Neither homeowners nor business owners want to find themselves with a pest infestation. Some pests represent health concerns because they carry and spread disease. Others can damage building structures.  

Landlords want to avoid pest problems because they make attracting and retaining tenants difficult. 

People with farms, livestock, or gardens want to eliminate pests that can harm crops, feed, and flowers.  

Sometimes, sports facilities, like golf courses, hire pest control companies, too. They need to control bugs or digging animals that damage turf. 

A pest control business is a stable financial investment as well.  

Pest control is a solid industry at present. A compound annual growth rate of over 6% is expected between 2019 and 2027, from $19.73 billion to nearly $32 billion. 

This growth is due to multiple reasons, such as: 

  • More people living in tight-packed urban environments 
  • Increased awareness of cleanliness and germ transmission 
  • Availability of less toxic chemicals for treatment 
  • Availability of less toxic chemicals for treatment 
  • Improved technology related to business operation 

A growing industry affords greater job security. It also means you have the opportunity to increase revenue over time.  

Owning a pest control business has multiple other benefits, including: 

  • Repeat services versus one-and-done jobs, which gives you better income stability 
  • Working for yourself allows you to set up your business as you like and work the hours and days you want 
  • Low barriers to entry, such as legal requirements and capital purchases, compared to many other home service businesses 
  • Ability to specialize in areas of pest control that interest you, like green solutions or wild animal removal 

FROM ONE OF OUR PARTNERS: How to Grow a Pest Control Business 

What Are the Initial Steps To Start a Pest Control Business? 

It may seem overwhelming at first to start up a pest control business. There are many things to be done before you can accept your first job. But if you break it into smaller steps, it’s much easier. 

Perform Market Research and Identify Your Target Customer. 

First, you want to explore the market for pest control services in your specific location. You must be sure you’re filling a need and not trying to compete in an oversaturated market. 

The need for pest control services is largely determined by: 

  • General climate 
  • Weather events 
  • Seasonal changes 
  • Topography and plant life 
  • Population density 
  • Area agriculture and industry 
  • Resident demographics 

These factors influence the species of insects and animals in your area. And they affect how often customers contract pest control professionals. 

For example, if you operate in a large college town, there are probably many rental properties and dormitories. These need control for pests like bed bugs, cockroaches, termites, and house mice. The need for retreatment may be frequent. 

On the other hand, if you have a business in a rural area, you may be helping horse stables stay free of rats and venomous spiders. Or you might assist property owners in the desert with getting rid of fire ants and snakes. Retreatments might be on a more seasonal basis. 

The market opportunities (i.e., need) mixed with your special knowledge lets you create a customer persona. This is a profile representing your ideal client. You can assign a name, age, financial demographic, pest control need, and other factors to identify your audience.  

That’s who you will be selling to, whether you spray for insects or remove raccoons from chimneys. 

Decide on a Pricing Structure. 

What do you plan to charge for your pest control services? Will you charge a flat rate based on the type of service? Will some tasks be priced by the hour? Could you offer regular service contracts by the month, quarter, or season? 

Remember, you need to charge enough to cover your overhead and labor while still making a profit. Overhead includes things like gas, supplies, and insurance. 

You also need to consider what people are willing to pay in your area.  

Your pricing should be competitive enough to bring in customers. But you don’t want to undercut your profits. Know that you can also charge a little more if you’re the regional expert. 

FROM ONE OF OUR PARTNERS: 5 Strategic Insights for Pest Control Companies 

Create a Business Plan. 

A well-developed business plan solidifies your ideas and shows your business is highly likely to succeed. You will no doubt be asked for a business plan if you: 

  • Apply for loan funding to start your business 
  • Finance the purchase or lease of vehicles 
  • Open a commercial bank account 
  • Set up a business line of credit 
  • Compete for some larger municipal jobs 

Your goal is to demonstrate that your startup won’t be one of the more than half a million American small businesses that fail each year. 

This type of plan also serves as a roadmap as your pest control company grows. 

The business plan should include the following sections: 

  • Executive summary: Offer an overview of the business, who it will serve, and what makes it unique. 
  • Company description: Include its structure (see below) and number of employees. 
  • Market analysis: Explain how you will fulfill a customer need in your area. 
  • Marketing strategy: Demonstrate how you plan to promote your pest control company (see more below). 
  • Management and organization: Include backgrounds and certifications for you and your employees. 
  • Services and pricing: Outline what you intend to offer clients and how much you will charge. 
  • Financial projections: Predict operating expenses, expected income, growth, and what you need to break even. 

A certified public accountant (CPA) can help you with the last section, as you should also include a profit and loss statement. 

Obtain Required Permits and Licenses. 

Your state, county, or town will determine the licensing required for a pest control business. You and your technicians may need certain training or safety certifications. And your business may need a permit to operate. 

The town hall or city government can assist you with this. Another good resource is your state Department of Labor and Industry. Operating without these requirements could result in citations, fees, or even being closed down. 

RELATED ARTICLE: How to Become a Pest Control Technician 

Purchase Necessary Equipment and Vehicles. 

Depending on the size and scope of your business, you may need to buy or lease equipment and vehicles. Even if you use your personal truck or van, it should be insured with a commercial policy. 

Many pest control startups purchase used vehicles at first. This helps increase profit margins by reducing or eliminating loan payments. You can customize your vehicle with a logo decal or paint job to make it instantly recognizable to potential customers. 

The equipment you’ll need depends on your services and any specialties you choose. Common items include: 

  • Safety gear and protective clothing 
  • First aid supplies 
  • Mirrors and imaging equipment 
  • Flashlights and night vision cameras 
  • Temperature sensors 
  • Tool belts and basic hand tools 
  • Ladders 
  • Spraying, fogging, and tenting equipment 
  • Insecticide and pest repellent 
  • Hole sealant 
  • Bait and animal traps 

Choosing a Business Structure for Your Pest Control Company 

Choosing a formal structure for your pest control business, like sole proprietor, LLC, or S corp, is one of the most important steps you can take. It has a huge impact on how your business moves forward. 

The business structure affects things like: 

  • Taxation (how much and when you pay) 
  • Payroll for employees and yourself 
  • Legal protection against personal liability 
  • Insurance requirements, like workers’ compensation 

For example, say you set up your business as an LLC, or limited liability company. That means it’s difficult for an unhappy customer who sues you to go after your personal assets, like your home, for damages. 

An S corp may offer similar protection, but how you pay yourself is a little more convoluted. You have to route your payroll through a separate business entity. 

A sole proprietor structure may be ideal if it’s just you providing services. However, you could be required to pay quarterly taxes instead of annual ones. 

One upside to being a sole proprietor is you won’t have to pay workers’ compensation insurance. Many states now require this if you have one or more employees. 

It’s smart to consult with an attorney or CPA if you’re unsure which structure is best for you. They each have their pros and cons based on your business size, location, and budget. 

A CPA can advise you about which structure might potentially make the most money when all is said and done. A lawyer can assist with legal obligations like contracts between you and a partner or employees. 

Don’t be surprised if you’re required to carry liability insurance. If a customer is hurt or their property is damaged, and you are at fault, this covers you. 

Other common types of service business insurance include: 

  • Commercial auto insurance for trucks or vans 
  • Cyber insurance to protect customer data 
  • Property insurance for your office and/or equipment 
  • Workers’ compensation for employees injured on the job 
  • Business umbrella insurance for more liability coverage 

Marketing a Successful Pest Control Business 

Once you have your structure nailed down, you need to let people know you exist. It’s time for a marketing strategy. 

Marketing is the process of promoting your business to bring in new customers. It also involves retaining existing customers for repeat business. You need both for stability and eventual growth. 

Let’s look at some of the most successful marketing strategies for a pest control company: 

Online Presence 

Create a website and social media accounts. This makes you look more professional. It also gives new customers more ways to find you online when they have a pest problem. 

Local SEO 

SEO, or search engine optimization means including keywords customers use when searching for a pest control specialist. Examples are “get rid of mice” or “cockroach problem.”  You want to use these keywords on main pages and in content to help you rank higher in online search results. 

To make sure you appear to local customers first, be sure to mention your location multiple times. You can do this on landing pages or organically mention it in content such as pest control tips for your area. 

Social Promotion 

You could pay for advertising online. But to save money, advertise for free on sites like Nextdoor or Facebook. Sure, they offer paid ads, but you can also promote your business by joining your local community pages. A strong social presence is its own form of marketing. 

Online Reviews 

Ask customers to give you an online review once a job is completed. Google and Yelp are two of the most popular sites for this. Email or text customers a link to make it easy for them to leave feedback. 

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

Local Networking 

Network with professionals in related fields to get referrals. For instance, property managers and real estate agents are great sources of business. You can also meet other small business owners at chamber of commerce meetings or networking events. 

Customer Satisfaction 

Marketing strategies may seem to focus almost entirely on getting the word out about your business. However, don’t underestimate the power of a satisfied customer.  

Always shoot for the highest level of customer satisfaction you can achieve. Check in after jobs to ensure clients are happy with the results.  

A happy client will spread your name for you, and word-of-mouth is highly effective.  

FROM ONE OF OUR PARTNERS: Use These Big Marketing Ideas to Attract Customers to Your Small Business 

Top Takeaway Tips to Start a Pest Control Business 

Now, do you feel ready to start setting up your pest control business? Here are some steps you can take today to get your company off the ground: 

Start Your Market Research Immediately.  

This will determine many other things, such as equipment expenses, pricing, and marketing. You shouldn’t proceed until you have your ideal customer in mind. 

Start Training for Yourself and Your Employees. 

Cover any missing skills that would enhance your revenue. Examples include spraying for certain types of insects or live trapping small wild animals. 

Put Together Your Budget for Startup Costs. 

Understanding your startup costs will help you decide if you need a loan or line of credit.  

Typical initial expenses include things like vehicles, uniforms, and equipment. There’s also licensing, insurance, business cards, a website, and service business software. As soon as you incorporate, open a business bank account. 

Start Networking. 

Find both digital and offline networking opportunities, like social media and groups like your local chamber of commerce. Even if you’re not open for business, it’s not too early to make connections that could pay off later. 

Weigh Franchise vs. Independent Contracting. 

Consider carefully whether you want to start from scratch or purchase a franchise. While the former may give you more control, you’ll get better support from the latter. A franchise may cost more upfront, but you can usually recoup it faster and start making money more quickly. 

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