7 Strategic Tips for Starting a Pest Control Business


Written by

Patrick Carter

Experienced owner with a demonstrated history of working in the consumer services industry. Skilled in negotiation, budgeting and customer service. Strong business development professional with a Bachelor of Business Administration from Kennesaw State University - Michael J. Coles School of Business.

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Table of Contents

Federal Certification Requirements to Start a Pest Control Business

As a pest control company, dealing with potent chemicals is part of the job. And because of this, there is some red tape at the federal and state level. 

As per the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), federal law requires any person who uses or supervises the use of restricted-use pesticides (RUPs) to be certified in accordance with EPA regulations, state, and tribal territorial laws.

State Pest Control Certification Requirements

While every state requires certification to use or supervise the use of RUPs, some states also require all commercial pesticide applicators to be certified, regardless of the use of RUPs. 

Additionally, each state has its own laws and regulations regarding which certifications are required and the requirements that must be filled to obtain these certifications. 

For example, in Georgia, anyone who uses or supervises the use of RUPs must have a commercial pesticide applicator license, which must be renewed every five years.

To own a pest control business, you must obtain this license and have at least one year of experience as a commercial applicator and proof of financial responsibility in the form of insurance.

You can find state-specific information on certifications and requirements for your state by checking with the Association of American Pesticide Control Officials. Click here to view the designated contacts for each state.

3 Things to Do Before Starting a Pest Control Business

#1: Gain Experience and Knowledge in the Pest Control Industry

Have you ever heard the phrase “steal like an artist”? The same concept applies to starting a pest control business.

Before you jump into starting your own pest control company, take the opportunity to learn the trade from other successful pest control businesses. 

Most pest control business owners gain experience in the industry by working for other pest control companies. They learn the ins and outs of running a successful pest control company and then use their experience as a template for starting their own company. 

The more knowledge and experience you possess, the greater your chance of running a successful pest control company.

Before starting a pest control business, it’s a good idea to get your feet wet first. Take time to work for other pest control companies and learn the ins and outs of the business.

#2: Create a Pest Control-Specific Business Plan

Having a clear plan of action is key to starting a successful pest control business.

The U.S Small Business Administration provides a great business plan template that you can leverage.

Your business plan should be detail-oriented and contain critical components like:

  • Market analyses
  • Marketing plans
  • Funding requests
  • Financial projections

Establish Your Brand and Identify Your Ideal Customer

Some of the most important details you will want to flesh out are establishing your brand and identifying your ideal customer. 

What makes your pest control business unique? What core values is your company built on?

Who is your target audience? In a perfect world, what does the ideal lead or client look like?

These are questions that you will want to ask yourself.

#3: Build a Nest Egg

When starting a new business, it takes time to turn a profit. Forbes states that most small businesses take 18-24 months to climb out of the red. Many pest control business owners say that it took them two to three years before they began seeing profits.

This is why it is so important to build a nest egg. Make sure that you account for business expenses in your business plan — as well as mistakes. 

Chances are, you may make some investments as a new business owner that don’t pay off. Maybe you invested in a billboard and didn’t recoup your cost. Or you invested in an SEO company that didn’t deliver on its promises. Having a nest egg can help ensure that these mistakes don’t cost you your business.

4 Additional Steps to Take When You’re Ready to Start a Pest Control Business

#1: Take Care of Logistics

Put your business plan into action! When starting a pest control business, there is a lot of initial work required to ensure your business is set up properly and set up for success.

Here is a list of logistics you’ll need to take care of to launch your business:

  • Obtaining a business license
  • Obtaining proper permits
  • Establishing your business as a legal entity
  • Setting up banking accounts, finance, and insurance
  • Securing a location and company vehicles with signage
  • Setting up a business website, phone number, and business cards
  • Hiring employees

#2: Build Relationships With Other Industries That Can Help You Find Leads

Did you know that customers acquired through referrals have a 37% higher retention rate than other avenues of acquisition? This is one reason referrals are so important, especially for new businesses.

As a new pest control company, take the time to build relationships with other industries that may lead to referrals. Here are some industries you’ll want to form connections with:

  • Real estate agencies. Real estate agents are the #1 industry connection to make as a new pest control company. They frequently need services like termite inspections or pest control for foreclosed homes that have sat vacant for long periods of time. 
  • Wildlife control companies. Wildlife control companies are a great industry connection where both parties mutually benefit. As a pest control company, you can refer customers looking for wildlife control services. Wildlife control companies also come across customers in need of pest control services.

#3: Forge Strong Relationships With Your Chemical Suppliers

Don’t blindly pay sticker price for your chemicals. Take the time to forge strong relationships with your chemical suppliers and you’ll learn that pricing is oftentimes negotiable in exchange for your customer loyalty.

#4: Invest in a Pest Management Software Platform

Investing in a high-quality pest management software platform is a great way to handle every aspect of your business all in one place with seamless, efficient managing tools and automation.

Never have to rely on Excel Sheets and manual processes again with Cedar Pest Software.

Our all-in-one management software boasts every feature you need to run your business, including:

What Do People Get Wrong When Starting a Pest Control Business?

The best way to learn how to be successful is to avoid the mistakes of others. Let’s go over some of the common mistakes that new pest control companies make.

Selling Too Cheaply

The pest control industry has always been highly competitive. Many new pest control businesses mistakenly believe that if they offer the cheapest prices for services, they will get the most customers. 

While this may be true, slashing your profit margins can be counter-productive. You want to make sure that the jobs you are acquiring are actually worthwhile and generating profit for your business.

Instead, Cultivate Your Value Proposition

Instead of offering the lowest prices around, focus on cultivating your value proposition.

What is the core reason customers should choose your business over other pest control companies? Ask yourself these questions:

  • How does your business solve the customer’s problem?
  • What benefits can customers expect from your business?
  • What do you do differently than competitors that makes your business the superior choice for customers?

Spreading Out Too Far

A common mistake new pest control companies make is having a service area that is too large. Remember, gas and time spent driving to and from a service location can eat into your profits. 

Instead of focusing on increasing the radius of your service area and potential customer base, focus on successfully targeting and advertising to a concentrated area.

Cedar Pest Software: Solutions to Help Your Pest Control Business Succeed

If you’re starting a pest control business, you need processes that work. The old-school way of spending hours on excel sheets and tracking down paper trails is dead.

Set your business up for success with management software designed specifically for pest control companies. Our best-in-class management solution has everything you need to seamlessly handle every aspect of your business, from scheduling service routes to processing payments.

Contact us today to request a demo and see for yourself the value our management software can bring to your business.

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