In the past 20+ years that I’ve been in the lawn and landscape industry, I’ve noticed a growing trend in which many lawn care companies and even some landscapers are adding pest control services to their offerings.
After all, if you are already maintaining your customer’s property as a trusted partner, why not offer them more ways you can help them while growing your lawn care or landscape business with a highly-profitable new service line?
Personally, I worked at a full-service firm that added, inside-out pest control services. It was so successful that it grew to about $1.2 million in annual revenue in just about seven years. It was also one of our most profitable departments with the lowest cancellation rates.
Here at Landscape Leadership, I’ve also worked with a handful of lawn care and landscaping companies that have added pest control services.
If this is something you’d like to do at your company, I’ve rounded up some tips for you.
1. Determine What Kind of Pest Control You Will Offer
There are two main routes I see companies going:
- Exterior treatments only (perimeter pest control, mosquito control, flea and tick control)
- Full-blown pest control (inside-out treatments, rodents, termites, bed bugs, and all of the exterior services I’ve mentioned above).
In my opinion, I am an advocate for the full-blown method. It could be my biased experience, but I think you will be less apt to lose a quote to a “real” pest control company that can service other needs.
Even if you decide to get into some more advanced pest control services like bed bugs, termites, or bird control later, there’s a lot of core services you could miss out on if only addressing exteriors.
I understand that this option carries additional licenses, insurance, and other ramifications. But if you’re contemplating adding pest control services, this is my recommendation to run with the big dogs.
2. Hire a Pest Control Expert
Although you may have some familiarity with product active ingredients, servicing customer properties, and equipment, the value a seasoned pest technician can bring to the table is invaluable.
(Joshua Tree wrote a blog article about their new pest control expert and emailed it to their customers)
You’ll soon figure out that, just like lawn care, there is more than meets the eye. It’s not simply applying products. There will be situations, solutions, and approaches that someone in the pest control industry will already know. This can save you a lot of time, money, and aggravation.
I’d recommend hiring someone to start servicing the new accounts and handling the division’s operations. As the customer base grows, they can hire and train new technicians and eventually get out of the field as they find replacements that work out well.
3. Consider Your Brand Identity
Whether you decide to create a brand extension or spin-off a separate brand, there are going to be challenges. Read the article in the link above to learn the pros and cons of each along with some recommendations.
To prospective customers and search engines, not having the words “pest control” in your company’s name may create some difficulty and confusion. I’m not saying it’s impossible to grow without changing this, but you’re going to have to be very clear in most of your company marketing assets to concisely communicate what you do. Keep that in mind.
As you can see, Natural Green Systems Lawn & Pest includes this in their company name and logo. Since this is primarily the two services the company provides, it’s pretty clear.
4. Address Google My Business
I would also add the new service offering to your list of categories in Google My Business.
GMB allows you to select more than one category. Just keep in mind that one of these is a primary category and you will need to determine which one best defines your business. That should also reflect the same focus as your company name.
5. Create Attractive Pest Control Programs & Pricing
Consider how you want to sell your programs and how they are priced. Consumers like things that are easy to understand and buy. I recommend developing 3-4 program options. While you may sell a few services, such as termite control, as a single treatment, try to position your services as packages that automatically renew.
Look at how your competitors are bundling and pricing their services. Don’t duplicate what they have, but create a unique competitive advantage if you can.
Be sure to provide pricing so prospective customers know exactly what they’re looking at. You may even want to create some add-ons. You may be surprised at how freaked out people are at pests and how willing they are to pay more for more protection!
(Natural Green Systems Lawn & Pest offers add-ons when customers purchase their foundational, Quarterly Pest Control service).
6. Add Pest Control Information on Your Website
From your website’s homepage to the individual services pages, pricing pages, quote request pages, etc., you will need to assess if you are clearly showing that you perform pest control services. If you are a lawn care company adding this service, you will want to give this fairly equal treatment to the other services you provide.
You want everyone to quickly assume you’ve always done this service, just like the others. (This also helps these pages to rank better in search results for pest control-related queries.)
For instance, you can see how these companies do so on their website’s homepage. In the case of Joshua Tree, for instance, you can see this right away, visually.
In the case of Kingstowne Lawn & Landscape, you can see this addressed in simple menu navigation choices, and then it also appears lower in the page in a visual manner.
In the case of RainMaster Lawn Systems, who is primarily an irrigation and lawn care company, this service line is one they are still growing, so it’s communicated visually below on their homepage, but very easy to see in the menu navigation.
Just in case someone misses these features, every form on the website has this added as well. This helps reinforce what you do. Instead of giving a laundry list of the things you do, make it easy to mentally digest them a second or two. You can handle the rest of the conversation in the sales process.
7. Wrap a Pest Control Vehicle & Update Existing Vehicles
Your new pest control technician may need his own new rig. Make sure to represent what you do on their vehicle. If needed, you may want to address your existing fleet’s messaging as well. Just make sure this is done in a tasteful manner.
(Kingstowne Pest Defense completely wrapped this van. This will surely get the attention of neighbors!)
8. Create Written & Visual Pest Control Marketing Assets
In order to start ranking in search results for pest control, it’s a good idea to start adding pest control topics to your blog’s editorial calendar.
If you’ve done a good job over the past few years of writing a lot of lawn care or landscaping content, you can pull back off of this and put about 75% of your content marketing efforts into pest control articles. Start anywhere from comparing local companies and their solutions, explaining how pest control prices are structured, to discussing specific pests and remedies for getting rid of them.
Likewise, you’re going to need images and possibly videos to support your image as a reputable pest control company. Some of the images I’d suggest are:
- Pest technicians with their pest control vehicles in the background
- Various treatment and inspection pictures as your technicians perform services
- Stock photos of pests (it’s really hard to get good pics of tiny, elusive critters)
- Images of pest problems as your technicians encounter them (vole trails, termite damage, spider webs or wasp nests on structures, etc.)
After you capture the necessary pest control images, you may consider creating some video assets.
9. Promote Pest Control Services to Existing Customer Base
You’ve worked hard to create great relationships with your existing customers. They will be the easiest people to sell pest control services to since you have that relationship capital.
There are a variety of ways you can promote pest control to them:
- Email Marketing: Send 5-10 emails throughout the year, with a specific focus on pest control. You may want to make a formal announcement, introduce them to your new pest control expert (who has lot of experience), send them exclusive existing customer discounts, and offer up occasional tips on specific pests.
- Direct Mail/Print Media: You may choose to reinforce your email marketing with something physical you can leave after a lawn care visit or send directly in the mail. Since only 30-60% of people will open your emails, this is a good way to get the point across.
- Internal Lead Contests: It’s all hands on deck when it comes to growing your new pest control division. Since your lawn technicians are on 20-30 properties each day, create an incentive or contest for them to point out pest-related issues to their customers. Homeowners often become friendly with these team members who continuously visit their property. If they leave a note/handout about a wasp nest or vole trails, it may be a really easy sale.
10. Use Digital Advertising to Target New Pest Control Customers
Google Ads are a great way to get your message in front of people who are actively searching online for pest control services.
However, keep in mind that this is one of the primary ways your pest control competition will advertise. With more competitors, your cost-per-click is going to most likely be much higher than you may be accustomed to paying for promoting other services.
Make sure you enlist the help of a digital marketing agency that knows what they are doing to get you the most bang for your buck.
For more information on how to maximize your Google Ads campaigns, check out this video series.
Stick With It!
It is going to take some time to grow your new pest control division. You may make tweaks and changes as you go but don’t be naive and think you can just do these 10 things and set-it-and-forget-it. As you know, customers often say, “Oh I didn’t realize you did that…”
Keep pointing out ways you can help them and tactfully remind them you’re also in the pest control business.
A mindful approach and diligent efforts will pay off. Stick with it and watch your book of pest control business grow!