Starting a pest control business can be a great home business, however, it may not be as simple as starting other home service businesses. The pest control industry is heavily regulated by federal and state laws and requires training, certification, licensing and insurance including CEU Continuing Education Credits in most states.
The Pest Control Business Industry
According to industry reports, the pest control industry is a 9 Billion Dollar a year industry.
Pest Control professionals play a vital role in protecting people from pests and the diseases and destruction they cause.
Termites are estimated to cost homeowners over 5 billion dollars a year, with the average termite damage repair costing over $2500.
What Do Pest Control Technicians Do?
Pest control technicians inspect homes and businesses for signs of pests.
Pest control technicians control unwanted pests, such as ants, bedbugs, roaches, rats, mosquitoes, fleas, ticks, and termites that infest structures, lawns, and gardens.
Responsibilities of Pest control technicians typically are:
Inspect homes, business, and landscapes for signs of pests or infestation
Identify the pest problem
Determine the appropriateness of treatment needed to control the pest problem
Measure the areas needing treatment
Prepare quotes for services
Use baits and traps to remove, control, or prevent pests
Apply products in and around structures and other areas
Design and perform integrated pest management plans
Drive trucks equipped with specialized equipment and products
Perform barrier treatments to prevent pests from entering a structure
Pests that enter buildings and surrounding areas can pose serious health risks to people and pets. Pest control technicians control, manage and remove those creatures from homes, apartments, offices, and other buildings and to protect people and to maintain the structural integrity of buildings.
To design integrated pest management programs, pest control technicians must take training to identify and know the pest biology of a wide variety of pests. They must also know the best products and procedures to control and remove unwanted pests.
Even Though ants, roaches, bedbugs, rats, ants, ticks, and termites are the most common pests that infest structures. Some pest control technicians also exclude and remove birds, squirrels, and other wildlife from homes and businesses such as hotels, restaurants, and food processing facilities.
Pest control technicians’ position titles and job duties will often vary by State.
Pest control technicians must be able to identify potential and actual pest problems, conduct thorough inspections, and construct control strategies. They are able to work directly with customers and, as entry-level technicians, use only a limited range of products.
Pest Control Applicators use many products such as insecticides in baits, liquids, and granules. They may specialize in an area of pest control such as Termites or Food processing plants. Termite control technicians may use pesticides or baiting and modify buildings to eliminate termites and prevent future infestations. Some also perform the repair for structural damage caused by termites and build barriers to isolated pests from their food source.
Fumigators use gases like Vikane gas, called fumigants, to treat specific kinds of pests in food storage. Fumigators seal infested buildings with tents before using cylinders of product, fans, and hoses to fill the structure with fumigants. They will have to post warning signs to keep people from going into fumigated buildings and monitor and carefully to detect and stop leaks.
The Work Environment of a Pest Control Technician
Pest control technicians must work in all types of weather and drive to a customer’s home or business. Technicians must be able to kneel, bend, and crawl into tight spaces to inspect sites. Because there are health risks associated with the products used. Technicians retrained in pesticide safety, material safety data sheets, SDS, and product labels. To comply with Federal and State Laws, if required by the product label, the wearing of PPE Personal Protection Equipment. Which may include long-sleeved shirts, shoes with socks, long pants, respirators, gloves, and goggles.
Working most evenings and weekends are typical in the pest control industry
How to Become a Pest Control Technician
Every State governs how pest control technicians or applicators are trained and licensed. Most technicians will need a high school diploma and receive on-the-job pest control training. Some states may require an apprenticeship or employment from one to three years of experience before you can apply for a license. States can require technicians to become certified or licensed in order to be able to work for a pest control company.
For example, Florida does not certify applicators but you must be an ID card holder with 3 years of verifiable experience before you can qualify for the examination.
Pest Control Training and Education
States also work with state university entomology departments and the County Cooperative Extension Service to provide training and certification, including Continuing Education Credits CEU’s.
Private CEU Training And Consulting, like The Pest Geek Academy, provide pest control businesses also offer training for pest control business. The Pest Geek Podcast Provides free pest control training.
Pest Control Training Resources
Classics like The Mallis Handbook of Pest Control and Truman’s Guide to Pest Management Operations as well as are required reading for any competent pest management professional
The NPMA Field Guide is available for IOS and Android Devices.
Pest control suppliers and distributors such as Univar and Target Specialty Products provide product training to PCO’s
The National Pest Management Association NPMA has Reginal Conferences and Expos.
All Chemical manufacturers provide pest control training on their products through suppliers and industry-sponsored events.
The Local State Pest Management Associations provide local meetings. Independent associations like CPCO Certified Pest Control Operators Association.
There are several industry publications for the pest control industry, such as PCT Pest Control Technologies and PMP Pest Management Professional, as well as local papers form the State Universities IFAS Pest Pro.
The Free National Pesticide Applicator Certification Core Manual is available at https://www.nasda.org/foundation/pesticide-applicator-certification-and-training
Those looking at Integrated Pest Management the EPA has information on IPM Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Principles https://www.epa.gov/safepestcontrol/integrated-pest-management-ipm-principles.
The Entomological Society provides Certification as Associate Certified Entomologists as well as Board Certified Entomologist.
All-State Universities provide Entomology and Pathology Courses as well as Perdue University That offers online Courses.
Pest Control Insurance Required
Every state will have different requirements as to the amount of coverage and types of policies required, as well as workman’s compensation insurance. Lipca The Pest / Lawn Industry Insurance Professionals
LIPCA Insurance can provide information about the coverage you will need; it was created and is operated by Pest and Lawn Management Professionals.
Software to Manage and Schedule Services
Pest Routes and Gorilla Desk are the most popular for small to midsize businesses to schedule, route, invoice, and keep track of chemicals.
QuickBooks online is the most straightforward accounting software to use.
The Job Outlook for The Pest Control Industry
Employment of pest control technicians in the U.S. is projected to grow 7% from 2018 to 2028; this is faster than the average for all trades. Career opportunities are excellent because of the limited number of people looking for work in the pest control industry and the need to replace technicians who leave this profession.
Most people choose to perform their pest control rather than pay for professional pest control services. Statistics show that 80% of homeowners have never hired a professional pest control company. Though, the growing number of invasive exotic pest species, have increased demand for pest control services.
Career Opportunities in Professional Pest Management
Job opportunities are excellent. There are a limited number of people looking to work in the pest control industry pest control and the need to replace technicians who leave this occupation should result in many job openings.
Pest Control Industry Pay and Compensation
According to the BLS https://www.bls.gov/ooh/building-and-grounds-cleaning/pest-control-workers.htm
The Medium Pay in 2018 was $35,610 per year or $17.12 per hour
The upper end of the scale is more than $57,400.
The education level required for most entry-level pest control tech jobs is a high school diploma or equivalent GED.
States with The most pest control technicians are Texas, California and Florida
The states with the highest pay for exterminators are Massachusetts $47,750, Washington $46,160) Nevada $42,880, Michigan $42,380, and California $42,100.
Types of Pest Control licenses and Certifications Available
Certified Pest Control Operators
Exotic and Imported Pest Control
Noxious and Invasive Weed Control
Community and Urban Forest Health
Mosquito Control of Public Health Certification
Natural Area Public Certification
Right-Of-Way Public Certification
Structural or Interior pest control Public Certification
Turf & Landscape around or near public buildings Public Certification (Limited Lawn & Ornamental)
Turf & Landscape at golf courses, parks & cemeteries ONLY Public Certification (Ornamental & Turf)
Wood treatment Public Certification
Agricultural farm, ranch, grove,
Forest Commercial Certification
Structural or Interior pest control Limited Structural Certification
Turf & Landscape pest control Limited Lawn & Ornamental Certification
Agriculture Row Crop
Agriculture Tree Crop
Raw Agricultural Commodity Fumigation
Soil & Greenhouse Fumigation
Aerial Pesticide License