Top 10 Pest Control Equipment Productivity Tips

Most people will agree that while its the skills of the NASCAR driver that wins the race, that if we take away that well oiled racing machine and replace it with a pest control truck it doesn’t matter who is behind the wheel, he/Danica Patrick would have no chance at winning. No matter how great of a technician you hire, crappy abused and broken equipment will cause your pest control company to fail. So let’s show a little more love for our pest control trucks and equipment.

 

Top 10 Pest Control Equipment Productivity Tips

By Andrew Greess

#10 – Good Filtration

Design good filtration to prevent debris from getting into your system.  Debris will clog or damage pump, plumbing, fittings, hose and spray guns.  It will cost you money and productivity by bringing your system to its knees and causing expensive repair bills.  Design your filtration based on your water source, type of application, sensitivity of your pump, technician skill.  For example, bad water in new housing developments may require more than one strainer.  Place filtration so it is easily accessible for technicians to check and clean.

#9 – Clean your filter

The biggest secret in spray equipment is “check your filter”.  There is nothing you can do with your spray equipment that will save you more money than this simple activity.  We repair and replace more pest control spray equipment (and weed control spray equipment) because of clogged filters than for any other reason.

#8 – Release the pressure

Take the pressure off.  When you are done spraying, release the pressure.  Squeeze the handle of your spray equipment so that the system is not under pressure.  If you don’t want to waste the material, spray it back into the tank.   Your equipment will have fewer breakdowns and will last longer if you remove the stress of constant pressure from the spray components.    Never store equipment overnight under pressure.
RUN

#7 – Don’t run it too fast

Don’t push your equipment to its limits.  Our experience is that techs run power spray rigs at high speeds to get done quickly, and tend to overpressurize B&Gs and backpacks.  All of these actions will reduce sprayer life.  Your power spray rig can run at extremes for short periods but it is not designed to be run full out all the time.  Running “in the red” for extended periods will shorten engine and pump life.  Make sure your techs know proper operating ranges.

#6 – Clean it out

Rinse your system with clean water periodically to remove old chemical buildup, debris, etc.   Chemical buildup & debris can clog your filter, starve your pump, damage spray tips, and play havoc with other components as well.  All of these items fall into the category of “not good”.  When in doubt, rinse it out.  Be sure to follow all labels and laws when cleaning out spray tanks.

#5 – Don’t wait for failure – do your Preventative Maintenance (PM)

PM will save you time, money, equipment breakdowns, unhappy customers, etc.   You are running your equipment hard and pumping strong chemicals through it.  It will need service.  This service will be much cheaper and less painful if you do it before you need it.  Read manufacturer’s recommendations then customize for your use and application.  A good preventative maintenance program is your best friend for reducing equipment down time and improving productivity.

#4 – Train Employees to Report Problems

Clipart Illustration of a Red Pencil Marking Of Items On A Check List On A Clipboard
We are constantly amazed at the equipment problems employees will tolerate.  They will continue to use leaking pumps, hose, backpacks, etc.  Ignoring these problems inevitably leads to higher repair expenses and increased down time.  Encourage your employees to report problems so that you can take the appropriate action.

#3 – Emergency repair kit

Many simple repairs can be performed in the field. Field repairs can allow the technician to finish their work before heading to the service site for more thorough repairs. You’ll want to assess technicians’ skill and training to determine which parts you are comfortable with technicians changing in the field. A little tracking can go a long way toward understanding the causes of your breakdowns. Track equipment failures by part to determine which items you should consider stocking on your trucks. Also track equipment failures for each technician to identify training opportunities, and track failures by truck to set time frames for preventative maintenance and replacement.

#2 – Pre-flight Checklist

Every pilot has a checklist and goes through a pre-flight routine BEFORE taking his or her plane into the air.   Spray techs should do the same thing.  Before getting into the truck and heading to the first stop, a few minutes spent checking equipment can save time and money, as well as preventing downtime that hinders your ability to provide timely service to Clients.  Here’s the key point.  If you are going to have an equipment problem, you are probably better off knowing about it at your office than in the field, when it will most likely take longer and cost more to fix.  Technicians should report any problems or exceptions to their supervisor.

#1 – Don’t Over-pressurize Manual Sprayers

If your backpack isn’t spraying, don’t pump it up more.  You will break it.  It is easy to turn a $3.00 o-ring replacement into a $50 repair.  I like the following analogy for this situation.  I went to France.  The waiter didn’t understand English, so I yelled louder.  Don’t overpressure your manual sprayers!

Andrew Greess is the President of Quality Equipment & Spray, which designs, builds and sells pest control equipment.  Follow Greess on Facebook & Twitter. For more information or to share comments, check out www.SprayEquipmentBlog.com

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Mosquito Control in St. Louis

Today’s interview is between Thomas, Bulwark Exterminating, and Thomas, Pioneer Pest Management… So we will make it Thos003, Bulwark, and Tom, St. Louis Extraordinaire. So let’s chat about…

Mosquito Control in St. Louis

Mosquito Control
Pioneer Specializes in Mosquito Control

Thos003: Mosquito control is a challenge many pest control companies are not willing to face, so how long have you been working to target mosquitoes?

Tom:We have been specifically focused on mosquitoes for about three years.  This market was under served from a mosquito control standpoint, so we have helped boost awareness that there are effective solutions available. We started using a backpack mist and that led to getting into system installation.

Thos003: How long have you been using a misting system?

Tom: We did our first installation of the misting system about 3 years ago shortly after we began with the backpack fogging.  Our first installation was more of an experiment to see how it would work.  After visiting other operators in other markets and hearing some of the feedback from their customers, we were really convinced that this was a great offering. We have been installing more and more through our existing customers spreading the word, so we’re happy.

Thos003: Is this the same misting system with the tubes set up around the perimeter of the house that shoots out bursts every few minutes? How often do you have to mist?

Tom: Yes, we are a certified re-seller and installer of MistAway Mosquito Misting systems.  These systems include tubing installed around the perimeter of the affected area with misting nozzles every 8-10 feet.  The systems have a timing mechanism built in to mist at the intervals the user specifies.  Most often, the systems are set to mist at dusk and dawn, when mosquito activity peaks.  However, some customers prefer to have a third or fourth session in the middle of the afternoon or later in the evening if conditions dictate.

Thos003: About Pioneer Pest Management & Mosquito Misting, you are a family based company, privately owned, how many years in business?

Tom: We are a family business.  Our family members have a diverse background in business. We have been in this community a long time, which has really been helpful with word of mouth growth and that has been awesome.  We started in 2007.

Thos003: I noticed you like foursquare? Sorry, but being a nerdy internet guy I’ve got to ask about it. I mean it’s totally geek to the max cool <snort LOL snort>… What benefits do you get from it?

 

Tom: Funny you should ask. At this point, we have not seen any benefits.  However, we think it makes sense to be transparent.  If a customer comes to our site and sees we have been in their neighborhood recently, it might make them more comfortable to contact us. After all, how interesting can a pest control website really be to someone? Since there is no cost to using some of these available social media tools, it’s really just kind of interesting to try different things and see how they work. We can move away from it if we discover a downside.

Thos003: Sounds logical. You are a local service so why not show your local support. You know I visited St. Louis once, went up in the arch, fun experience.  Funny thing about AZ is that a lot of natives have never visited the Grand Canyon. So have been up in the arch?

Tom: Great question. I have, but most people you ask around town have not.  If you are ever in St. Louis again, you have to check out the City Museum.  It is a very cool, unique attraction.   And I have to ask, what local restaurant is a must visit, just in case I decide to drop in on you sometime.
You can find us at Llywellyn’s, it’s a great Celtic style pub. For Italian, Massa’s in Kirkwood. St. Louis has a ton of great spots though. Come visit us!

Thos003: Thanks for the invite! You will be one of the firsts to know if I do drop in. And thanks for interview.

Click here to learn more about their mosquito control service.

Pest Control worker stealing? Background Checks.

Some of today’s tragic headlines in the pest control industry are as follows:

Pest control worker stole Rays championship ring.

http://www.tampabay.com/news/publicsafety/crime/st-petersburg-police-pest-control-worker-stole-rays-championship-ring/1111162

Pest control worker arrested for allegedly stealing Rays American League Championship ring

http://www.abcactionnews.com/dpp/news/region_south_pinellas/st_petersburg/pest-control-worker-arrested-for-allegedly-stealing-rays-american-league-championship-ring

Unfortunately this looks pretty grim for the pest control industry and the company that hired this individual.

A couple of years ago an owner in the pool business related a sad story about an employee of his.  A small family owned pool service was nearly shattered by one bad hire.  The employee was a relative. It is sad to say, but just because one is family doesn’t make them trustworthy.  His advice, “DO BACKGROUND CHECKS ON EVERYONE.”

Since that time Bulwark has implemented background checks on all new hires.  It’s not just a matter of security for the company, but these individuals are walking into people’s homes.  Your customer’s safety is at risk.  Perhaps too often in pest control people only consider the “How safe is your pest control product?”, but the news of a hired pest control tech stealing isn’t a question of pesticides being safe, but of property, family, and company being safe. Pest Control Operators have the responsibility to thoroughly hire and train employees. It’s worthy the cost.

The story goes on to say that he lost his previous pest control job where he was accused of stealing. We are well aware that as a small family pest control business time is valuable.  But skimping on hire techniques and through background checks that do cost money, is worth the extra effort.

As a point of discussion we are curious how many other pest control companies are taking this one step further and doing drug tests and ongoing “random” drug tests?  Do you feel drug tests should be allowed? As a consumer would you feel better knowing your pest control guy is drug free?

Thanks for contributing.

Pest Control with Heart – Hearts Pest Control San Diego

The internet is a sea of information.  Some salty, some entertaining, some exciting, and some information is just useless.  The world of pest control has been around for some time now.  There are industry giants that have been around for close to 100 years now. The pests may evolve , but not much really changes on a daily bases. So I sometimes wonder “how can anyone add new and valuable content to the topic of pest control?” Sure there is a new love song everyday of the week. Yes, Facebook is revolutionizing the social scene.  But PEST CONTROL???

But, as with love songs, it’s the passion that keeps the flame burning.  And while pest control isn’t most people’s topic of choice, there are those that carry the torch because they love what they do.  This past week a fellow exterminator reminded me why pest control is a good business to be in. Hearts Pest Control out of San Diego, really does have heart.

San Diego Pest Control Hearts
Hearts Pest Control, San Diego Pest Control Service that Cares.
Written by Gerry Weitz and reproduced with his permission.

Published in PMP magazine
http://www.mypmp-digital.com/pmpdigital/201004#pg14

Take Back My Paycheck

It is hard to part with money, yet I enjoy personally handing out paychecks.  At my office, the employees usually take a second look at the envelope before opening to see the paycheck.  Occasionally, they’ll look at the envelope and say, “Take this back, you didn’t write a fortune cookie.”

Whether or not the paycheck is particularly good, the staff enjoys seeing genuine notes addressed from me to them personally:

“Outstanding teamwork!  Good start to a great career at Hearts!”

“Love those extra efforts at client retention!  Thanks so much.”

“Mistakes get made.  Don’t let it get you down.  We’ll get there together.”

Something special is happening when employees care first about a small, heartfelt message before their paychecks.  It not only inspires them.  It inspires me.  I’m not a fool to think the employees would be here if they didn’t get a decent paycheck.  Nevertheless, people will exit companies that don’t inspire them.  Appreciation is a powerful word.  Combining that with inspiration for a better future is that much more empowering.

Great companies continue to inspire staff even as they grow.  Writing a personal note to one random employee each week might start a workplace legend.  There is something wrong when employees say, “It’s all about the numbers.”  If that sounds like your company, beware!  One way to prove you are listening to staff is by responding with communications that show you care about their personal and family welfare and their careers at your company.

Communicate those little things that make your employees want to feel as happy to come back on Monday morning, as they do walking out on Friday with paycheck in hand.

-Gerry

Hearts Pest Management, Inc
6176 Agee St
San Diego, CA 92122
(800) 986-1006

www.heartspm.com

Need San Diego Pest Control? Call Gerry at Hearts Pest Control. He will work on luxury homes to downtown San Diego condos. What ever your pest control needs are in San Diego, call on Hearts.

Putting the Service back into Pest Control

I really enjoyed Gerry’s article and from what I have learned about Gerry I can tell that he runs a good operation. Service companies should understand service from the top down. Service should be a genuine action of your personal choice with the intent to help another. To be genuine, the giver will have no motives to question. An act of service is also not given out of obligation. It is about caring. While I am not an employee of Hearts, I believe Gerry cares for his employees.

-Thomas Ballantyne
“Yes, I am a pest control guy.”

 

Google Maps & Pest Control

Google’s most recent update was that of adding their map results to searches. Now if you search for Pest Control Las Vegas NV, you will get a list of 10 local pest control companies… well supposed local companies. Unfortunately these maps are very easy to manipulate. Take for instance the search for North Las Vegas Pest Control. You will find a result for Nature’s First Pest Control Affiliate. Click on their page and there is no listing of any affiliates nor address. In fact, the address used belongs to Bulwark.

It is bothersome that google is allowing this to happen.

So the big question, HOW DO YOU GET YOUR PEST CONTROL SERVICE LISTED IN THE TOP OF GOOGLE MAPS?

Well, this is still unclear, but here are a few things we have noticed.

1- Your address. If your address is Austin, TX then you are more likely to get listed for Austin TX pest control results.  In fact, this is the main reason we believe as to why Bulwark Pest Control shows up in Austin TX.  Indeed, its almost essential for your address to be within the city to be listed at the top.

2- Get listed with other directories, like yellowbook.com, or SEOpestcontrol.com.  Unfortunately these sites cost you some money and the added benefit may not be worth the cost.

3- Verifying your account with google.  This process takes sometime and has no guarantee.  Essentially you must claim your listing with google.  Once you have done this then google will remove the -Unverified listing tag, and we believe this will help your listing.  However, there are plenty of unverified listings showing up still in google’s results.

4- Linking. Find other pest control sites that are willing to help you with links.  There are a lot of ways that the smaller pest control companies can join up and help each other, and one of those is linking pest control sites.  For most small pest control services, finding PCOs that are not in your area should be easy.  Searching SEOpestcontrol.com may help you find other like minded pest control companies.

Hopefully this helps you with your Google Maps Results.  Remember still that marketing and being found on Google will do little for your pest control company if you are lacking in your service.  Advertising can never make up for poor service.

Pest Control Locations

Bulwark Exterminating – Las Vegas – 3932 Octagon, North Las Vegas, NV‎ – (702) 255-6313‎ >directions
Bulwark Exterminating – Mesa AZ1228 E Broadway Rd, Mesa, AZ‎ – (480) 497-3734‎ >directions
Bulwark Exterminating – Austin TX 209 E Ben White Blvd # 116, Austin, TX – (512) 351-7142 >directions
Bulwark Exterminating – Houston TX10900 Brittmoore Park Dr # D, Houston, TX‎ – (713) 849-8533‎ > directions
Bulwark Pest Control Tulsa2013 N Willow Ave # A, Broken Arrow, OK‎ – (918) 252-3548‎ > directions