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Steven Vantassel here Wildlife control consultant bringing another episode of Living the Wildlife Aid today, I wanted to talk about scalability.
What is scalability.
Well, scalability is the ability or the power to expand your business in a manner that you can earn more money without costing you a great deal more time and effort and expense to harvest that extra income. Yep. Kind of a rough definition there, but that’s the concept of scalability. How scalable is your business? And so let me explain how that would work.
If you’re an author, for example, you put in all of these all this effort to produce a book once the book is completed, you as an author do not have to continue pouring energy into that book to sell more of it.
I mean, you have some marketing things and stuff like that, but you’re not going to be the one printing it. You simply can now have that book published and submitted to a variety of wholesalers or bookstores or even have it sold online. And it’s not costing you time to have that book sold. You can even have people process the payments, collect the money, package the print, the book, package the books, ship the book and then send you a check that allows you to be scalable. The other words you eat, the more the more books you sell, you’re making more money, but it’s not costing you more time. Here’s the problem with wildlife control and pest control in general, we really only have three ways to increase our revenue stream way.
Number one, charge more money. Way number two, reduce your expenses. Way number three. A combination of both.
The factor that’s killing this industry, among other things, is that we don’t have the ability to create more time in the day. In other words, you can one of the ways you can earn more money is just simply work more hours. That’s not scalability. That’s just you burning the candle for a longer portion of that day. And that’s all well and good when you’re young and maybe you only have a girlfriend and but you don’t have kids or you’re becoming a workaholic. So there’s a lot you’re paying a price early on. Now, some people are willing to suck that up in the hopes that they’re going to get to a place where they can get stable. But for many people, that doesn’t happen until the divorce and loss of kids and that sort of thing. So this is something that’s serious. How do you or how do we as an industry find scalability?
Scaling Up Your Wildlife Control Business
How are we able to scale up our business in a manner that we can increase revenue, stream our revenue stream our income, our wealth without breaking the bank in terms of the time and investment and equipment needed to sometimes achieve those skill abilities. So I don’t I’m not coming to you today with like a list of answers. And you know, me walking down from Mt. Sinai, handing you the answer to all of our business problems.
That’s not my point today. But what I’m asking, wanting to do is stimulate your thought about how to sit back and evaluate your business.
What are you doing? Is it working? And so let’s evaluate. Can we squeeze out more revenue for yourself?
Because here’s something that I think a lot of wildlife control operators and I would suspect pest control operators forget.
And that is we like to be busy. We like to be servicing clients, but sometimes we’re servicing clients. And it’s actually costing us more money than it’s worth.
There’s a principle called I think it’s called the parade o principle. But don’t quote me on that. But it’s the 80/20 principle. It basically it says 20 percent of your jobs or 20 percent of anything brings you 80 percent of the return in volunteer organizations. It basically says that 20 percent of the membership do 80 percent of the work.
Now, Obviously, that’s a very rough rule of thumb, but I suspect you experienced this all along and that is probably a very small portion of your overall business generates the highest profits, you may say, well, yeah, I may get a lot of profit off of 20 percent of the work, but that means I’ll be sitting around the office all day not bringing any revenue.
Is What You Are Working On Scalable?
Now, here’s the thing. This is something you have to think about. Is it worth your time?
Is it better for you to be sitting at home, maybe reading, developing a new skill, maybe developing your Web site rather than just be driving around, doing low end jobs that you could be sending off to your competition?
Now, for those of you who use lost leaders and I think sometimes people in the wild in the pest control world get into wildlife control, not because they want to do wildlife control per say, but they’re hoping to use the opportunity of doing the wildlife job to get into pest control so they can get that quarterly account. The lord be a loss leader. They’ll take the hit on the wildlife control so that they can get the longer term revenue stream from doing regular pest control.
But for those of you who are just sort of full time while I’ve control operators, is it better for you to be sitting at home doing something else, maybe picking up a part time job and making money that way? So, again, that’s not scalability. I understand that that’s not scalability, but it does mean that we’re thinking about how are we really using our time. And this is something I hope else while I’ve control operators think about. And that is the goal is not to see how many animals you capture.
The goal is can you earn enough money to make a living? And are you making the most because time is the one thing none of us are giving more of. We can’t multiply our time once that time is gone. So when we’re in a wage situation, we’re actually selling our life for money. We’re selling our time for money. That’s all we’re doing our expertise. So we’re either doing that well or we’re doing it not.
So let’s talk a little bit more about scalability.
What are some ways that you can generate perhaps more income without necessarily creating a lot of extra work for you?
Here are some ideas that I had, you know, do with them what you will. And one of them was offer a trap, a rental or a trap sales service. For those types of jobs that are really the low value jobs in your market, it may be worth your while to offer the public and say, look, you know, I can do this for you and give them a price. You could even inflate the price if you wish, because maybe it’s something you just don’t be doing a lot of favors, a job you hate and you can say you could do it for this or I can sell you a trap, even deliver it. Show you how to use it and let you do your thing. And even maybe offer euthanasia services for the client at a lower at a lower cost for that client. You can wrentham a trap. You can sell them a trap. You can sell them instruction. I’ve heard of wildlife control operators who rather than doing a lot of mole work, grown more work. They will simply go out to the clients and they will teach the client how to trap moles and sell the traps. They may say, well, that’s cutting off your nose to spite your face.
Perhaps. But it depends again. This is all ideas for your market and what your business goals are. If you can’t make enough money off of a mole job to make it worth your while that it’s not worth it, you might as well make something and collect money off that person doing that type of work. And so you can actually create a little booklet or a video and then sell. That’s less than option number two.
That is, create training materials that you can sell up with. That would be a way to multiply your business and make it more scalable. Now, is it all of your business? No, absolutely not. But sometimes people are afraid. I mean, I’m a writer, as many of you know. I’ve published many books and I look to work for peace, work with people that want to develop their own books.
But what I find is a lot of wildlife control operators, at least the ones perhaps I’ve spoken to, they’re afraid to do that. I was just talking with a guy awhile, a little while ago, and he had a very interesting trap set. And I says, well, would you want to write that up? Well, I don’t want to educate my competition.
Well, the guy was me, no offense, but he was already in his 70s. And I’m thinking to myself, you know, I’m trying to be gentle here, but, you know, it’s like, you know, you’re not going to live forever.
Right? I mean, so sometimes of people it’s an ego thing. They think it’s they think somehow they’re going to live forever. It’s as well. I said, well, we can publish this after you stop working because I didn’t want to say die because I thought that would’ve been rude. And that still wasn’t enough for him. But yet you said his kids were not going to be interested in getting involved in the business. And I says I would be willing to hold off on we could hold off on publishing until you stop working. And he wasn’t willing to do it. So it’s it’s interesting to see how people are not really willing.
There’s emotional issues involved as to why they’re not willing to train something. They think part of that is competition. Part of that is that I think they realize that. They’re not going to that if they give out this information, they’ve somehow lost part of themselves. And I think that’s really silly. Let me talk about the competition issue. How many times do you look at how you go into a bookstore?
If you go into one and ask yourself how many self help repair books are out there? You know how to build this, how to build that. You can go on YouTube, get all kinds of stuff to build things, but yet we still have a shortage of contractors. Why is that? How did those why didn’t know that carpentry work and all of that construction work and all that repair work? Why is it that when you try to find a repair person, you can’t find one?
Well, did these books really diminish and devalue what the expertise so that repair person rooms? And it turns out that what it did is it really got rid of the little stuff.
Now, when you call a repairman, you have to it’s something often big. The same thing can happen in our industry as well. That is, sometimes we do. Do you really want to be doing ground trapping all the time when the real money is in bad work or the real money is of bird work or things that require ladders in some expertise and metal bending? I mean, that’s the question that you have to ask yourself.
How do you increase the revenue stream?
So again, I’m not here to tell you how to run your business. I’m trying. Trying to give you options to think about how do you increase the revenue stream of your business without requiring you to multiply yourself.
So we talked about two particular options, one, narrowing the scope of what you’re working on the. Go work on the high value stuff.
Option number two is to add additional services such as renting a Traps or selling of Traps, selling of training. Just be sure if you’re doing the ladder that you’re thinking. Make sure you bring your insurance company and on board on this. Gotta get a new rental contract. You think about sterilizing those traps. If you’re going to be renting them out. I’ve done some writing in this area and renting. Make sure your code consulting with your insurance company and make sure you have a rock solid contract and then making sure that person understands the importance of being safe and whether translocations allowed in your state and that sort of thing.
So there’s some things you think about there and it could be a way for you to deliver. I don’t have a shop for people who show up, offer the delivery service. You’re driving around anyways. Probably you can work this out. Just be sure if you’re renting. I want to tell you, you need to. You want to be flaming your traps for the next person grabs it. That’s. That’s me.
You do what you want. But that that would be me. I’d want you to be flaming traps. All right. So that’s two options. Third option for scalability is are you thinking about. How do you think about your competition? Are you looking at your competition as someone that you can work with as a collaborator? Not just always a competitor. Why do I say that? Because labor is the biggest challenge and wildlife control work. I suspect that’s a big problem in pest control work as well. How do you find employees willing to stick with you and get the training and become long term production guys? Then when you get these big jobs, do you have enough labor to do it? Chances are you don’t.
So one of the ways is that you if you have a respectful competition with your with your with your competitors, you can often join together for limited periods of time, not talking about a partnership and finally, a collaboration where you can say, you know what, we’re gonna work together and regroup. We’re going to work in that Big Bird job or we’re gonna do that big beavered job or we’re gonna do something else. Whatever the case may be, things that you wouldn’t be able to do on your own you’re now able to do because you have another company working together. Again, other legal issues involved there. Absolutely. Other liability and issues involved there. Absolutely. But that’s what lawyers are for. And that’s where people of goodwill who are willing to sit down and work together, it can be done. It’s a simple way of both of you benefiting off of being able to collaborate and get those big jobs. We don’t always have to turf them off to the big boys. And that would be a way it’s again. Is it true? Is it an actual fulfillment of the definition of scalability? No, it’s not. But it is a way for you to increase your margins because you’re able to do those bigger jobs and where maybe you’re able to get a bigger, bigger cash stream and that sort of thing. So way to move forward.
I hope that gives you something to think about, because one of the things I I believe that many business owners and I’m assuming most of you are listening this are business owners or perhaps you want to be is that we often are so involved in the day to day activities of running the business. We’ve if we neglect to sit back and reflect and say, is what I’m doing actually working here by actually making progress.
One of the things I’ve been pleased to see, because I’m an old timer in this industry now, is when I’ve when we were in the in the early growth phases of the industry, the people were said, ask him, are you busy? Oh, yeah. I’m working seven days a week, 24/7, 365. And they were probably not telling. They were probably not lying. And so over the years, I began to start asking a second question. They tell me, are you busy? All busy. They told me how much work they’re doing. And I’d look at him and I’d ask them this question. I said, Great. Are you making any money?
And they would pause for a minute. And I would look at them and they would they would say. Then they would say, well, yeah, I think so. And I said, you’re not sure? Look, the point my point was to try to jog their memory a little bit and to shake them a little bit so that being busy doesn’t mean you’re making money. If the goal is being busy, then that’s your goal. It’s easy to be busy, but it’s a different thing to be making money. The goal by friends is not to just be busy. The goal is to be making money so that you actually can have a life. If you’re working seven days a week all the time and your family is paying a price for that. And sometimes people want that. Because things maybe aren’t that great at home.
But what came first, the chicken or the egg? Right. Did the things get bad at home because you were working seven days a week or are you working seven days a week because things got bad at home?
That’s something you have to work through. And that’s not the topic of today’s session. My point is think about scalability. Are you making money? How can you maximize your time for the greatest amount of profit? That’s what I hope you take away today from our discussion. I don’t have all the answers. I’m not sieging suggesting that I do.
This is not easy, but it doesn’t get any easier if we don’t think about it.
And I hope you’re going to do that today because we have one life on this earth. We want to maximize that for our family to do what it’s going to be appropriate. I’m not afraid of hard work. I think that’s important. But we don’t want to be workaholics.
Because that’s that’s not good.
Hope this has been helpful for you again. Stephen Vantassel, wildlife control consultant.
Stephen M. Vantassel, CWCP, ACE
Lewistown, MT 59457
402-489-1042 Mtn Time
Helping people responsibly and effectively resolve wildlife conflicts by teaching, writing, research & consultation