Professional Pest Controller Magazine Issue 100

04 August 2020

How to start a pest management business - Get ready and plan

BUSINESS | PPC100 August 2020

Kevin Higgins looks at what you should think about before leaving the day job and what you need to launch a successful pest management business. 

Long-suffering BPCA Membership Manager, Kevin Higgins, owned his own pest control company and built it into a national account before selling it on. He now works full-time supporting BPCA members with their businesses and recruiting new members.

How to start a pest management business Get ready and plan

Is starting a business a good idea?

Can you answer ‘hell, yes!’ to these questions?

  • Are you great at public relations and advertising yourself?
  • Do you prefer having hundreds of bosses instead of one?
  • Do you love selling?
  • Do you enjoy chasing debt?
  • Are you good at multitasking?
  • Are you an excellent organiser and love paperwork?
  • Do you mind paying everyone else before yourself and family?
  • Are you tired of holidays?
  • Do you enjoy stress?
  • Do you like insomnia?
  • Are you fed up of having a regular income?
  • Have you always wanted to gamble your home on a business idea that has a 50/50 chance of succeeding?
  • Do you enjoy having everyone knocking your door trying to sell you stuff?
  • Are you excited about collecting VAT for HM Revenue and Customs?
  • Are you ready for a special relationship with HM Inspector of Taxes?
  • Are you so dedicated that nothing will deter you from starting a business (for ‘dedicated’, read ‘marginally insane’)?

Still determined to start a business?

If you answered yes to all of the above, then you might want to read on.

Let’s get some hard facts in place. Remarkably, 660,000 new companies are registered in the UK every year. That’s equal to 70 new businesses being formed every hour.
60% of those new businesses will go under within three years, and 20% will close their doors within just 12 months (source: Daily Telegraph).

Why do they fail?

By understanding the issues that can cause a business to fail, you are more likely to avoid the pitfalls, and this will increase the chances of your business surviving beyond its first year.

They have no plan

The best business plans aren’t long and complex. They explain only the most important information:

  • What you want to achieve
  • How you will get there
  • The things you need to do along the way.

The best way to start a business plan is to open with an executive summary about the most important points of your business plan, followed by a description of your company.

From here, you can identify your target market and customer profile, together with how you are currently reaching them.

Lack of a clear value proposition

If you aren’t clear on how you’re different or better than the competition, how can you expect your customers to be?

Broad customer base

If you rely on one or two large customers and one or both go away, then the outcome is not going to be good. A broad customer base is essential.

Ask yourself, how are you getting new business? How are you going to service your contracts once you’ve got them? How are you going to keep them satisfied?

Market research

Research isn’t only for established businesses. It’s essential to keep asking your customers what THEY want, not what you think they want.
Make sure your research covers:

  • The market place opportunities
  • The competition
  • The costs involved in starting up
  • The technical skills needed
  • How to price for new business.

Poor management

Make sure you’re focusing on using your skills effectively. Get help for the skills you don’t have and delegate to those who can.

Lack of skills and qualifications In our sector, it’s pretty well established you should have a pest management qualification to practice as a pest technician.

But often the business owner and management team are not required to undergo any specific training or have any qualifications.

Think about going on training courses to help you understand marketing, finance, recruitment and HR.

The exit plan

The most important reason for preparing a market exit strategy is that your own, successful business is one of the biggest possible assets you could have. You’ve invested time and money into its growth. You’ve been able to depend on a regular salary and perhaps a portion of the annual profits.

When the time comes to retire or to move on to something new, you’ll be in an excellent position to harvest the asset, which is your business. It’s simply an essential plan to have in place.
Specifically, in pest control, your contracts will form a significant part of the business asset.

Acquisitions by other pest control companies are a fairly standard way of selling your business. In house management buyouts are not uncommon, and for either prospect, you’ll need to have your business fit and ready to sell.

Watch out for the second part of Kevin's article in PPC101.

Training and support

Want to learn more? Kevin runs a Starting and Managing Your Own Pest Management Business course.

More info

For more information or to book onto a course, contact our training team.

training@bpca.org.uk
01332 225 113

Source: PPC100