The Key To Successful Termite Management by Chris Mills, Territory Business Development Manager, Bayer

Regardless of the product you use, setting and managing your customers’ expectations will be the make or break of your termite management treatments. Many times, in the field I will see pest control operators (PCOs) carrying out re-treatments or follow up treatments that are necessary to achieve control but are usually doing these retreatments at their own cost.

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I will also see homeowners pressuring PCOs to “speed up” the treatment process or be disgruntled in how long the process is taking (usually associated with termite baiting).  Some PCOs will pander to the homeowner’s requests or demands and try to ‘short cut” the treatment often leading to further problems down the track, such as re-infestations.

When assisting PCOs through this process, the conversation usually starts with something along the lines of “ I was only trying to help out the customer…” or “ I was doing them a favour by doing it cheaper or quicker..’ and in most cases it ends up coming back to bite the PCO.

Once we work through the treatment and consult with the homeowner, it is the case each time that with clear treatment recommendation options, associated timelines, realistic outcomes and pricing each instance could result in a successful treatment and an informed and satisfied customer.

The AEPMA industry code of best practice for termite management is an excellent reference tool to help incorporate such structures into your termite management plan for your business if you do not already have them implemented.

A critical factor in this process is knowing how long and how much each treatment option will take and the cost. This along with the comprehensive termite management plan may seem like a lot of time and effort to add on top of what you may consider a pretty straight forward process to what you may have in place at the moment, but the more you do it and the more accurate you are with your costing, the easier and quicker the process will be to explain to your customer.

In a perfect world, your customer will take the top option you provide with all the associated recommendations, but we all know this doesn’t happen on every job and your customers will often take the lower, cheaper option that has a lower chance of long-term success. It is these options where it is critical that the likelihood of success of a lower, cheaper option is made clear to the customer along with any associated risks of reinfestation and potential for retreatment. Again, this may seem like a lot of work to do when you have just finished crawling through a roof void and are covered in sweat and insulation, but the more you can refine this process and know your costs, the quicker and easier it will be for your company and also for the home owner to make an informed decision based on all factors involved including building construction, degree of risk, associated time frames, likelihood of treatment success and of course cost.

If you can set and manage your customers’ expectations early on in the process, it will show the home owner you are a professional operator worthy of their business and you will also have the potential for more customers taking your preferred option of treatment and are likely to recommend your business to family and friends, meaning more business for you!