For the consumer, a skilled and attentive technician keeps their families safe from dangerous pests like stinging scorpions, poisonous Black Widow spiders, and disease carrying cockroaches. This VALUE is immeasurable but in terms of a monetary COST; it’s about $50 a month, depending on the size of a home, location, and treatment methods.
For the pest control operator, a reliable and experienced technician creates immense value for the company. A high-quality technician retains customers through their expertise and superior customer service. This value and monetary cost is a little more challenging to calculate, but really got me thinking: How much does it cost to replace an excellent pest control technician?
What It Costs To Replace A Pest Control Technician
Determining what it costs to replace a pest control technician is a difficult task, especially since there are so many different variables. These direct cost calculations are a very rough estimate. The dollar figures used come from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which estimates the average pest control tech makes $14.59 hour; and pest control manager makes about $50K a year. These are the numbers I went by.
Please note that these figures are direct costs only. There are many more indirect costs like: loss of productivity while other techs run partial routes, lost manager and supervisor productivity, and a drop of customer satisfaction due to a temporary loss of customer service or even losing their once favorite tech. These indirect costs are nearly impossible to calculate.
Want Ads. In order to replace an old technician, you need to find a new one. An online pest control technician want ad runs about $40.00.
Interview Process. Management must spend time going through applicant resumes and conducting 30 minute interviews. I estimate this to be about a half day’s work/ salary ($50K yr/ 260 work days yr/ 2 for half day = about $100). Multiply this by two, because two managers are usually present for interviews. $200.00.
HR Administrative Time. After hiring an employee, a company must get them ready for the work force. This includes, collecting records, on auto insurance, gas cards, company phone, etc. I figure this is about a half days work ($50K yr/ 260 work days yr/ 2 for half day). About $100.00.
Background Checks. Make sure your new hire is safe to send into your customer’s homes. $36.00.
Driving Records. Make sure your new hire is safe on the roads. $15.00.
Licensing. Each new technician needs to be licensed. This is about $50.00.
Uniforms. Five shirts ($30 each), uniform hat ($40), uniform jacket ($60), protective boots ($100) and individual technician manual/treatment guide ($100). This equates to $330.00. Note: some PCO’s require new technicians to purchase these.
Training. A new technician requires 2-3 weeks of paid training. This training includes working on-site while a manager or supervisor is present. Calculating the paid training ($14.59/hr for 3 weeks @ 40 hrs a week = $1750.00), plus three weeks of a manager’s or supervisor’s time/salary (Approx $1000 a week for 3 weeks = $3,000), equates to $4750.00.
Technician Overtime. Overtime that goes to technicians who are covering the vacant route also need to be factored in. If the vacant tech was working 40 hrs a week, then I figure about 40 hours of overtime for all other staffed technicians, per week ($14.59 an hr @ time and a half multiplied by 40 = $875.00). If it takes a month to hire and train a new technician, you’re looking at $3500.00 in overtime paid to other techs covering the vacant route.
Want Ads– $40.00
Interview Process– $200.00
HR Administrative Time– $100.00
Background Checks– $36.00
Driving Records– $15.00
Technician Overtime- $3500.00
WOW! When factoring in direct costs alone, it costs $9021 to replace a pest control technician. That’s a significant hit! If the average technician makes $30,340 per year, the financial hit is about 109 days of a technician’s pay. This doesn’t even take in to account any indirect costs of losing a technician.
For customers of pest control services, your home is your castle. It’s also your biggest investment. A good pest control technician protects this investment from destructive pests like termites and Carpenter ants.
A first-class technician will do all of this, all while being punctual. You are busy and need a technician to be on time. An excellent technician is somebody you can trust; somebody you feel comfortable letting inside your home and around your family. They make you feel safe, and not just from the bugs. On top of it all, a good technician is somebody you have rapport with; somebody you can talk to about your day.
There is immense value in having a good pest control technician.
We already determined the cost of replacing a good technician. It’s just over $9000. The VALUE of a good technician is something completely different.
Pest control technicians are the face and image of your company. They are face-to-face with your customer daily; customers who rely heavily on first impressions. Good pest control technicians create value. They are the first ones you send to service troubled accounts. They get excellent online reviews. They have high customer retention rates. They are reliable, dependable, punctual, and keep your customers satisfied.
Not only do good pest control technicians add value to your business, they are the backbone!
What It Costs Keeping A Bad Tech Too Long
We determined that good pest control technicians are extremely valuable to both consumers and pest control operators alike. It’s also a big financial hit to replace a technician ($9021); But bad technicians are equally bad for business.
We’ve all seen it before in the business world… An employee who is unproductive, burnt out, and ready for a change. For PCO’s these employees have both direct and indirect costs associated with them as well. Low productivity, bad company morale or culture, and lost customers are some of the costs that come to mind. Sometimes pest control operators hold on to bad employees too long, because they don’t want to have to hire a new tech (with accompanying costs). As for a direct monetary number associated with these bad pest control technicians; that’s another blog post for another day. I’m guessing it’s comparable to the costs associated to losing a good technician.
What It All Means
Pest control technicians are very valuable to both the pest control operator, and to the consumer.
For pest control operators, technicians are the backbone of your business. Maximum effort must be utilized to not only hire these good technicians, but to retain them. The old saying goes, hire tough, manage easy. Do this, and retain your technicians through compensation and motivation, and you’ll be one step closer to succeeding in business.
For pest control consumers, let your technician know how much they are valued. Give them a good review on Yelp or Angie’s List. There isn’t a lot of glory in keeping you free from dangerous pest, but these excellent pest control technicians show up everyday and work hard, so you can live pest free.