How Much Does A Pest Control Technician Cost?

Pest Control TechnicianConsumers and pest control operators alike value their pest control technicians.

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

Financial costs reportDetermining 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.

Summary:

Want Ads–   $40.00
Interview Process–   $200.00
HR Administrative Time–  $100.00
Background Checks–   $36.00
Driving Records–   $15.00
Licensing–   $50.00
Uniforms–   $330.00
Training–   $4750.00
Technician Overtime-   $3500.00

Total:   $9021.00

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.

Pest Control home inspectionThe Value Of A Good Technician To The Consumer

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 quality pest control technician also keeps your family safe from dangerous pests like stinging scorpions, poisonous Black Widow spiders, and disease carrying cockroaches.

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.

Pest Control Technician SprayingThe Value Of A Good Technician To The Employer

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.

 

Pest Control Links Round-Up: 5 For Friday

Pest Control Links Round-Up: 5 For Friday

 

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Carpenter Ants: Preventing Them Before They Become a Problem

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Pest Of The Week: The Carpenter Ant

 

Description: This image shows a Carpenter ant ...

The Carpenter ant (Camponotus vicinus) makes it’s nest inside wood; dead trees or stumps, wood piles, rotten home structures, and old cracking furniture to be exact. It because of this, many home owners confuse the Carpenter ant for the termite.

Carpenter ants have black bodies, with a dark red thorax. Their abdomen is covered with a fine hair that forms a ring around the ant. They measure in length somewhere between ¼ of an inch to ½ of an inch. Note, Carpenter ants do not eat wood. They do eat food debris, like crumbs and sweets. It’s this food that foraging ants are looking for when they enter your home.

If you see sawdust piles around your home or property, you may have Carpenter ants. If this is the case, seek the services of a licensed ant control professional.

 

Pest Control For Carpenter Ants

Head of a Black Carpenter Ant (Camponotus penn...
Head of a Black Carpenter Ant (Camponotus pennsylvanicus) (Photo credit: Thomas Shahan)

There is much confusion out there when it comes to Carpenter ants. Carpenter ants are frequently confused with termites, because they both nest in wood. The following article is intended for pest control professionals and homeowners alike, who are in need of some answers when it comes to identifying, and treating Carpenter ants. 

Knowing a little more about these Carpenter ants can help homeowners and pest management professionals take some preventative measures to minimize damage to homes. If it’s too late, and you fear that you may have a Carpenter ant infestation, please enlist the help of a licensed ant control professional who can administer the proper insecticides. 

The 3 Most Common Types of Carpenter Ants 

Across the lower 48 states, some 14 different species of Carpenter ant can be found in all their variety. Most share similar characteristics, like nesting in wood, but there are a few slight differences in appearance, geography, and habits. Here are the three most common species that threaten US homes: 

Carpenter Ant

Description: This image shows a Carpenter ant ...

Simply called the Carpenter ant (Camponotus vicinus), it is found primarily in the Pacific Northwest; but is also found in California, Idaho, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, Montana, and Oklahoma. These ants have a black head, red thorax, and black abdomen. Like other Carpenter ants, this ant can be a serious structural pest. 

Western Carpenter Ant 

Western Carpenter Ant, Camponotus modoc

 

The Western Carpenter ant (Camponotus modoc) is a foraging ant that is commonly found in the states west of the Mississippi River. They have a dull black body with reddish legs. One easy way to distinguish the Western Carpenter ant from other ant pests is that this ant has a circular ring of gold colored hairs on its abdomen. 

Black Carpenter Ant 

Black Carpenter Ant: Camponotus pennsylvanicus...

The Black Carpenter ant (Camponotus pennsylvanicus), is the most common Carpenter ant pest in the United States. Found primarily in the Eastern United States, the ant is sometimes referred to as the Pennsylvania Carpenter ant. The Black Carpenter ant is distinguishable from other Carpenter ant species by the dull black color of the head and body; as well as white-yellow hairs on the abdomen. 

 

Pest Control For Carpenter Ants: 5 Steps 

When it comes to eliminating Carpenter ants, it’s not as easy as spraying them with a can of over-the-counter insecticide. These ants are tremendously resilient. While you may kill a few of the surface ants, a hundred thousand more may be hiding deep inside the nest. There are five basic steps that need to be taken to successfully eliminate Carpenter ants. 

carpenter ant damage under the front window sill
Carpenter ant damage under the front window sill (Photo credit: 123yvo)

Step 1: Inspection. The first step in controlling a Carpenter ant infestation is to thoroughly inspect the suspect property. It is best to determine the nest’s location as specifically as possible. Look for the signs of Carpenter ants, including sawdust piles around dead or rotting wood. The nest may be located by careful and patient observations of worker ants, especially between sunset and midnight during spring and summer months when carpenter ants are most active. You can increase your chances of following workers to their nest by setting out cat food that is attractive to carpenter ants. Place the food in areas where you find workers. Sometimes sound detection methods are equally as effective. Listen for the chewing of wood. Carpenter ants tend to be noisy within their nest, so listening devices may be needed to help pinpoint the exact location of the colony. 

Step 2: Identification. Once you have discovered the ants, and/or the nest, you can now determine what type of ant is infesting your property. Different species of ant may require different treatment techniques. Specimens may need to be taken for positive identification. If the ants are found nesting in wood, you almost certainly have a Carpenter ant problem. 

Step 3: Recommendation. After inspecting your property, and identifying the type of ant pest, you will need a plan of action. Multiple treatments may be necessary to completely control or eliminate a Carpenter ant colony. Sometimes, Carpenter ant nests are hidden in wall voids, ceilings, attics, or hollow doors. It is usually necessary for an ant control professional to drill small holes inside your home to apply insecticide into the nest area. Occasionally, the answer may be as simple as removing a nest that is found in some decaying wood around the property. Another common recommendation is to remove conditions that are supporting the Carpenter ants (i.e. unused wood, tree stumps, etc.) 

carpenter ant damage
Carpenter ant damage (Photo credit: Dave Bonta)

Step 4: Treatment. Treat Carpenter ant nests with a residual insecticide applied either as a dust or spray. You may need to drill small holes into wall voids, window and door sills, baseboards and other areas to reach the nest or major part of the colony. Pesticide dusts are particularly effective, as ant activity tends to spread the dust throughout the colony. For colonies in wall voids, inject an insecticide dust, such as Drione or Tempo, or inject voids with Premise Foam. 

When choosing an insecticide, opt for those containing active ingredients like chlorfenapyr, fipronil, or any of the pyrethroids (permethrin, cypermethrin, cyfluthrin, deltamethrin). For effective perimeter treatments, apply Temprid SC, Tempo, Suspend or DeltaGard G. 

Baits with active ingredients such as hydramethylnon, fipronil, and abamectin, are labeled for Carpenter ants. The colony can be controlled successfully if foraging ants take the bait to the queen. Place Maxforce Carpenter Ant Bait Gel on foraging trails, near suspected nest locations. 

Step 5: Evaluation. The key to long-term success in controlling and eliminating Carpenter ants is to follow up and assess the effectiveness of the measures taken. Additional treatments may be necessary to ensure the ants never come back. 

Ant Control 

As previously mentioned; if you are a property owner who is battling Carpenter ants, please seek the assistance of an ant control professional before attempting to exterminate these dangerous ants.