Pest Control Q&A- Servicing Landlords

Question and AnswerPest Control Q&A

I would like to establish a pest control question and answer segment for this blog, blogpestcontrol.com. My wish is to provide professional answers to all of problems that pest control operators may encounter out there. Our pest professionals can also answer questions for the general public about pests, and our industry’s methods to eliminate them.

Have any pest control questions, let us know!

Pest Control: Servicing Do-It-Yourself Landlords

I recently wrote about landlord pest control violations ranking among the fastest growing consumers complaints, here.

According to a recently released report by the North American Consumer Protection Investigators (NACPI), and the Consumer Federation of America (CFA), bed bugs and other landlord/tenet violations now rank among the fastest growing consumer complaints in the country.

This has led to many questions about pest control pricing, and what should be done with landlords who just want bargain basement pricing to satisfy city inspectors. Here’s a common question among pest control operators dealing with landlords:

Question:

I’m constantly being bombarded by do it yourself landlords who just want an invoice to satisfy the city inspectors because they were reported by tenants. Most end up just doing the job themselves, or are just going to go with the lowest bidder. Can I have some advice PLEASE?

Answer:

My advice to you about landlords who are looking for a rubber stamp treatment is to avoid them.

I understand they may give you business in other ways, but there should be no amount of money that is worth your integrity, and the integrity of your business… Plus you need to make money. Explain to the landlord that your pest control company doesn’t operate this way, and that there just isn’t much money to be made doing so.

Stick with the business mantra, “We’re not the cheapest, we’re the best!”

The landlord will likely be able to find a pest control company that is desperate, looking to make a quick buck. The pest control company will put no real value on their service. They’ll provide ineffective service and use lower quality products. The landlord will have his or her invoice, but will likely lose a tenant when the pest problem continues to resurface.

English: Apartment Complex

Example:

Del Lawson, VP of Operations at Modern Pest Control, had a situation a few years ago with a landlord who owned a 2400 unit apartment complex. The landlord was willing to sign a contract with us, BUT they wanted a technician on site eight hours per day, five days a week, for a year. The landlord was willing to pay $26,000 for the year’s worth of onsite work.

Now let’s think about this for a second. If I agree to what the landlord wanted, what would I be able to pay my technician? Even if I pay him $10 / hr, that’s still $20,000 per year before one cent has gone to insurance, taxes, a truck, vehicle maintenance, office costs etc.

The worst part is that the landlord was able to find a pest control company that was willing to meet the criteria… For even less!

Don’t ask me how the operator made any money…

Feedback

What has been your experience in dealing with landlords and treating their properties for pests? What advice can you offer to pest control operators who are considering taking a job from a landlord?

Pest Control Q&A

Do you have any other pest control related questions? Our pest professionals can also answer questions for the general public about pests, and our industry’s methods to eliminate them. Post a question below, and I will respond by comment or feature your question in my next blog post.

Landlord Pest Control Violations Now Rank Among Fastest Growing Consumer Complaints

Rental Agreement

What do free trial offers, auto repossessions, and do not call violations have in common with BED BUGS?

According to a recently released report by the North American Consumer Protection Investigators (NACPI), and the Consumer Federation of America (CFA), bed bugs and other landlord/tenet violations now rank among the fastest growing consumer complaints in the country.

Some pest control operators report being bombarded by do-it-yourself landlords who just want an invoice to satisfy city inspectors when they are reported by tenants. They don’t seem to care much about solving the pest problems; they just want bargain basement pricing.

Adult bed bug, Cimex lectularius

Bed Bug Violations

It’s not just hotels that are having problems with bed bugs. Tenants are increasingly complaining that their homes and apartments are infested by these blood-sucking parasites. According to the report, the agencies received numerous complaints against landlords who failed to respond quickly and adequately, or at all, to bed bug problems.

Not only are bed bug violations cited as one of the fastest growing consumer complaints, they also rank highly in “The Worst” category. “The Worst” category is designated only to violations that cost the most money to resolve, have the biggest impact on a susceptible consumer, that have a high frequency of complaints, and are overall ridiculous in nature.

Consumer Complaint Survey Report

The joint agency report, released July 31, 2012, provides a national snapshot of complaints consumers make. It’s based on information from 38 different state, county, and city agencies from January-December 2011. The 38 agencies received 289,732 complaints last year, and were able to recover $146,714,069 through informal complaint resolution and legal action.

You can Read the NACPI/CFA report in its entirety here.

What it Means for Pest Control Companies

Customer Service

Bed bug complaints are still continuing to rise, and consumers are frequently left feeling vulnerable and taken advantage of by their landlords. As pest control operators, we need to instill confidence in our consumers during this vulnerable time by providing excellent customer service, and offer a surety that the infestation can be correctly resolved.

Marketing

Bed bug marketing efforts need to be geared to both landlords and tenants. Both need to be properly educated on the appropriate professional measures that need to be taken when an infestation is discovered. One contract with a landlord or property management company can offer big opportunities for a pest control operator. If one apartment has a bed bug infestation, it is likely that multiple apartments in the complex do as well. K-9 inspections can quickly identify exactly which apartments in a complex are infested.

Leasing Clauses

Some landlords have started to include clauses in their leases requiring tenants to pay a portion of the extermination costs. While this is legal in most states as long as it is part of the rental contract, consumers’ rights in this regard may vary from state to state.

As bed bug infestations and tenant/landlord violations rise, it’s important that pest control companies understand consumer’s rights in their state so they know where to best gear their marketing and customer service efforts.

What have been your experiences with tenant/landlord bed bug conflicts?