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Home Based Business Ideas: Pest Control Services

What It Takes to Start a Pest Control Service Home Business

By Ron Dicker

(LifeWire) - Overview of this Business

A pest control services home based business has the potential to provide a healthy income: Many independent exterminators can far surpass the median hourly rate of $13.41 for franchise employees, making this one of those home based business ideas that warrants attention. However, going the freelance route in your own home based business takes commitment and marketing know-how, and the competition is keen.

Just 8% of exterminators are self-employed, and many of those who run their own business got their start working for a local or national pest control services company that could train them.

Startup expenses for a pest control services business are sizable. It will cost you between $10,000 to $50,000 to outfit a truck or van with equipment and chemicals, according to Entrepreneur.com. Buying into a pest control services franchise gives you immediate name recognition and resources not otherwise at your disposal, but the cost can be prohibitive. Orkin, for instance, charges a $30,000 franchise fee and 6% of royalties, as well as requiring franchisees to have $100,000 minimum in capital. Additionally, pest control services independents may not necessarily agree with the franchising company's methods or practices.

Pest control services work is not for the squeamish. Practitioners eliminate mice, rats, roaches, termites and other pests, protecting homes and businesses from further infestation. Exterminators set traps, poison or natural baits, seal off entry ways and may need to fumigate homes and businesses, while educating clients on how they can better control pests.

Homes with children and curious pets demand special consideration because of toxic materials sometimes used. Organic sprays are becoming popular with many customers and other eco-friendly products and methods are growing in popularity.

Pest control is regulated, so you should contact your state pest control board for certification information before you start a home based business. For instance, California's industry is governed by the Structural Pest Control Board, which has its own licensing unit. It is also worthwhile to visit the National Pest Management Association's website for certification classes, tips and employment advice. Websites of some of the larger exterminating outfits may also have how-to advice and may also offer trainee positions to those with no experience. Community colleges and vocational schools offer classes.

Pest control services home based businesses often have a seasonal nature. For example, in the Northeast, there may be a strong demand for controlling yellow jackets, flies and carpenter ants in the warmer months while rodents like mice and rats are often a problem in the cooler months when they seek warm shelter and nesting places indoors.

Pros of a Pest Control Services Home Business

  • Many pest control services calls are minor infestations or followups that can be handled simply.
  • Pest control services profits can exceed $75,000 a year, according to Entrepreneur.com.
  • As an independent, you can find the best suppliers with the best prices; as a franchisee, you may be required to use certain vendors and products.
  • Repeat business is common in the pest control services business, if your customers feel you've helped them out. Monthly quarterly and annual pest control agreements can also help you generate a steady income stream with this home based business.

Cons of a Pest Control Services Home Based Business

  • Working conditions are not for the squeamish and you run the risk of bringing pests home with you.
  • You may be exposed to harmful chemicals, as well as less than ideal working conditions, such as in an attic on a very hot day.
  • You need safe storage for chemicals and supplies and you need to know what the state and local restrictions or requirements are for their storage, as well as any requirements for transporting them on the highway or in tunnels.
  • Pest control services is one home based business that has relatively high startup costs and overhead demands.
  • You can expose yourself to liability for the misapplication of chemicals that results in injury or property damage.
  • You should have a strong knowledge and skill level before attempting to operate a pest control services home based business.
  • Competing against large franchises (with large advertising budgets) is a given, so it will be important that you understand the unique value proposition your pest control services home based business has to offer and convey that effectively to your customers and prospects.

What You Need to Get Started in a Pest Control Services Home Based Business

  • Pest control knowledge and some experience.
  • A reliable vehicle that will allow you to transport equipment and supplies safely.
  • Insurance and pest control services certification.
  • A website, vehicle signage, business cards as well as print and online advertising materials (marketing collateral) to promote your business.
  • Strong networking skills to develop relations with suppliers and business and residential clients.

Pest Control Services Home Based Business: Real-Life Example

Laid off by a pest control company, David O'Hare started his own Mount Arlington, N.J., business five years ago. His first few clients were from his old job, and 96% of his business is generated by referrals, he told The Daily Record of Morris County, N.J. His company generates an estimated $29,000 in annual sales, according to Dun and Bradstreet.

LifeWire, a part of The New York Times Company, provides original and syndicated online lifestyle content. Ron Dicker is a New York-based freelance writer who covered sports for the New York Times from 1996 to 2005.
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