06 Nov How to Start a Pest Control Business in Australia
Thinking about getting into pest control? We’re here to help!
Before You Begin
We’re pest control professionals, and we’d love for you to join our team as a franchise partner instead of starting from scratch. But we understand that’s not everyone’s cup of tea. Some just want to learn the ropes on their own, create their website, do their own marketing, and build their brand. We respect that. Others just don’t have the time or inclination for these tasks. Whichever path you choose, it’s okay! This post is all about helping you succeed, no matter how you decide to start.
A Bit About Us
We’ve been part of the pest control scene for 8+ years, serving a wide range of clients. From local small businesses to skilled tradespeople, we’ve handled large government contracts. Our services stretch across Australia. For most of this time, we’ve been hands-on in the field, doing the actual pest control work. Now, we’re expanding our Pest Control Franchise internationally. We can confidently say we’ve experienced almost everything in the pest control world. We’re deeply passionate about pest control and genuinely enjoy what we do. In this article we hope to give you the tools so that you can start your own pest control business & enjoy what is a fantastic & very rewarding industry to be a part of.
Step 1. Creating a Plan
A Pest Control business can be very profitable as generally chemicals are quite inexpensive compared to what you can charge. However, it is still a very good idea to have a detailed business plan first. So you can account for your fixed costs as well as your running costs.
For some help with this step, here’s a basic template: https://business.gov.au/planning/business-plans/develop-your-business-plan
Some of the key benefits of becoming a Pest Control Business owner are:
- Flexible Work Hours
- No Weekend Work
- Repeat Business
- High Profit Margins
- Low Overheads
Step 2. Learning
Before delving into pest control, proper training is essential. Obtaining a government-approved licence is a must, typically requiring 4-8 weeks of comprehensive training, covering theory and practical aspects.
The General Pest Management Course, priced at $3,600, teaches you how to deal with all sorts of common pests. You’ll learn how to tackle bugs like ants, roaches, and bedbugs, as well as deal with rodents like mice and rats. It covers all those annoying critters you find in homes and businesses. This course helps you identify pests, shows you how to manage them, and teaches safe ways to get rid of them.
Completing this course enables you to apply for a licence in the majority of Australian regions. However, those wishing to obtain a Pest Management licence in Western Australia require a Certificate III of Urban Pest Management (CPP30119) to be completed.
Further training, such as The Termite & Timber Pest Management Course, is roughly $2100. You’ll get to know the ins and outs of timber pests like termites, borers, and wood decay fungi. Plus, you’ll learn how to inspect and report on timber pests and figure out different ways to manage them. It even covers setting up termite programs and handling termite issues in new buildings. And they’ve got your back on conflict resolution too. It’s a valuable course for anyone looking to master termite and timber pest management.
The training for pest control services is a comprehensive process. Initially, you’ll undergo classroom training, led by a reputable training organisation, to gain essential knowledge about the chemicals, tools, and job requirements. After that, practical training is conducted to ensure you have the necessary skills for pest control services. If you become a franchise partner with The Local Guys, you’ll then spend a week in the field with our Franchise Divisional for more in-depth training.
Correspondence vs In Class
The training can be carried out through correspondence or in-class.
- Interactive Learning: In-class training offers real-time interaction with instructors and fellow students, promoting active engagement.
- Immediate Clarification: You can ask questions and seek clarification on the spot, ensuring a better understanding of the concepts.
- Hands-On Experience: Practical demonstrations and hands-on activities are often part of in-class sessions, enhancing your skills.
- Structured Environment: In-class training provides a structured and disciplined learning environment, which can improve focus.
- Physical Presence: Requires you to be present at a specific location, which may involve travel and time commitments.
- Flexibility: Correspondence training allows for flexibility in scheduling and location, accommodating those with busy schedules.
- Self-Paced Learning: You can study at your own pace, making it suitable for individuals who prefer self-guided learning.
- Reduced Travel: Eliminates the need for travel to a specific location.
- Limited Interaction: Correspondence training lacks real-time interaction with instructors and peers, potentially making it harder to grasp complex concepts.
- Isolation: It can be isolating, as you study on your own without the support of classmates.
- Potential for Procrastination: Some individuals may struggle with self-discipline and procrastination when studying remotely.
- Recommendation: In-Class Training
While correspondence training offers flexibility, we generally recommend in-class training. It provides a more interactive and structured learning environment, allowing for immediate clarification of doubts and hands-on experience.
In-class training can be a valuable investment in your education and skills development. Even if it requires travel, the benefits of in-person learning often outweigh the convenience of correspondence training.
Step 3. Licensing
You’re trained! Well done! But you’re not ready to hit the ground running just yet! You now need to apply for your licences. You will now need to get a pest management technician licence.
We suggest starting with your general pest licence first. Then later after 6-12 months looking to get your timber licence. This will give you 6-12 months to get good at these services & get comfortable with those services.
Once you have completed 6-12 months, we strongly recommend getting your timber pest (termite) licence as you can charge between $2,000-$6,000 for a termite system. So you can make great money. But it does take about another 1 week of training in class & more practical’s. All of which we can assist you with, if you join the local guys.
Step 4. Insurances
First up, there’s public liability insurance, which covers you if something goes wrong and someone gets hurt or their property gets damaged because of your pest control work.
Next, there’s professional indemnity insurance which covers your back on advice given. For both these services costs can vary, but expect to pay around $150 – $250 per month.
For legal compliance, it’s required by law to maintain records of all chemical usage, documenting each job, the chemicals used, and any client interactions. These records are essential for insurance claims and issue resolution.
But remember, it’s best to chat with your insurance provider for the nitty-gritty details, as they might have their specific rules and requirements.
Step 5. Acquiring Tools, Equipment, and Materials
Identify the necessary tools, equipment, and materials required for pest control services.
Start with these essentials:
- Pest Control Chemicals: The cost of chemicals can vary widely based on the type and quantity you need. Budget around $500 to $1,000.
- Application Equipment (Sprayers, Dusters, Fogging Machines): This gear can range from $100 to $500 each, depending on the quality and type.
- Personal Protective Equipment (PPE): Plan to spend around $400 to $600 for PPE, including gloves, masks, and coveralls.
- Ladders and Climbing Equipment: Ladders can range from $100 to $300, and climbing gear like harnesses may cost around $200.
- Inspection Tools (Flashlights, Magnifying Glasses, etc.): Basic inspection tools might set you back around $50 to $100 each item.
- Traps and Bait Stations: These can vary a lot, but allocate around $200 to $500 for a good selection.
- Wildlife Control Equipment (if applicable): Costs vary depending on the type of wildlife you’re dealing with, but budget at least $100 to $300.
- Uniform and Identification: Uniform costs can vary widely, but estimate $200 to $500 for a basic uniform.
- Invoicing and Record-Keeping Software: There are plenty of options, but basic software might start at $50 to $100 per month.
- Business Cards and Marketing Materials: Design and printing costs can vary, but $100 to $300 should cover the basics.
Remember, these are ballpark figures, and actual costs can vary based on factors like the quality of equipment and the scale of your pest control business. It’s a good idea to shop around and get quotes to get a more accurate picture of your expenses.
Step 6. Choosing the Right Vehicle
Choosing the appropriate vehicle for your pest control business is a crucial decision that impacts the efficiency and effectiveness of your daily tasks. There are three primary options to consider:
- Van with Separate Cabin
Opting for a van with a separate cabin from the back provides distinct advantages in terms of cargo space and organisation. It offers a secure and enclosed area to transport your pest control equipment and supplies, protecting them from external elements. This setup allows for neat storage and easy access to tools and materials, making it a practical choice for larger pest control jobs and when you need to transport a variety of equipment.
- Dual Cab Ute with Canopy
A dual cab ute with a canopy combines the flexibility of a utility vehicle with the added benefit of a secure and weatherproof storage space. This configuration allows you to transport your team while also carrying pest control equipment in a protected area. It’s an excellent choice when you need both transportation and ample storage capacity, especially for smaller to medium-sized pest control projects.
- Tray Top Ute with Lockable Storage Containers
For those who prefer the versatility of a Ute, a tray top Ute with lockable storage containers can be an ideal solution. The open tray offers flexibility in accommodating various types of pest control equipment, and lockable storage containers ensure the safety of your valuable tools. This option is practical for businesses that require a balance between mobility and security. Ultimately, the choice between these vehicle options will depend on the specific needs of your pest control business. Consider the size of your business, the volume and types of equipment you need to transport, and the nature of your pest control projects to determine the most suitable vehicle for your operations. Think about car wrapping to promote your business. It typically costs about $2000, but with The Local Guys, it’s included in the package, making it a convenient part of your branding strategy.
Step 7. Marketing and Advertising Strategies
With your licence and equipment in hand, you’re ready to generate income. However, the challenge lies in finding work in the pest control industry. Here are several effective methods to kickstart your pest control business:
- Referrals: Spread the word among friends, family, and anyone who will listen. Referrals often lead to valuable connections.
- Social Media: Establish a Facebook page to promote your services and reach a broader audience.
- Website: Boost your professionalism with a dedicated website. Platforms like Wix and squarespace offer free website creation tools for beginners!
- Sales Calls: Contact local businesses in your area and inquire about sending a service quote. Direct outreach can yield fruitful results. Think real estate businesses!
- Door Knocking: Venture into industrial areas, engage with business owners, and leave your business card. Face-to-face interaction can leave a lasting impression.
- Google Adwords: Effective but potentially costly, Google Adwords requires a sufficient budget. Be prepared to manage your expenses wisely.
- SEO (Search Engine Optimisation): Effective but also expensive, SEO can boost your online presence. Similar to Google Adwords, a well-optimised website can bring in clients, but it requires an investment and can also take years before you start ranking on Google’s first page.
Step 8. Providing Exceptional Customer Service
Prioritise customer satisfaction to gain referrals and repeat business. Maintain a strong reputation in the industry.
Assuming you’ve successfully acquired customers through the mentioned marketing methods above, it’s vital to maintain their satisfaction as pest control often involves repeat work. We still serve clients who’ve been with us for over a decade.
Here are key factors to ensure exceptional customer service:
- Uniform and Presentation: Maintain a professional appearance with a clean and proper business uniform to inspire confidence.
- Punctuality: Always arrive on time for appointments to show respect for your clients’ schedules.
- Interact with Care: Be amiable with the client’s staff but avoid disrupting their work environment.
- Thorough Reporting: Before leaving the site, inform the contact person about any issues with pest control, their locations, and the expected reporting and invoice delivery timeline.
- Swift Reporting and Invoicing: Send out reports and invoices promptly to demonstrate efficiency and professionalism.
- Book Future Appointments: Keep track of when the next pest control session is due and proactively book it with the client, ensuring continuity in your service.
Step 9. Finances
Regularly monitor cash flow and expenses. Establish a reliable payment system such as Stripe, consider a separate business bank account, and obtain an Australian Business Number (ABN). Also registering for GST if to intend on earning over $75,000 p/a.
Once you’ve completed your pest control services, it’s time to ensure prompt and hassle-free payment. Getting paid faster is essential, and here are effective strategies to make it happen:
- Send Your Invoice Promptly: The sooner you dispatch your invoice, the quicker you can follow up on payments.
- Short Due Date: Opt for a brief payment period. Waiting for 30 days may relegate you to the bottom of the pile. For better cash flow, consider starting with a 7-day payment window and, as your business matures, extend it to 14 days.
- Gather Accounts Person Details: When onboarding clients, request the contact details of their accounts person. This enables direct communication when it’s time to chase payments.
We hope the above has given you a good understanding of how to start your own Pest Control business. If you would like to discuss joining The Local Guys and being part of our team. Please contact us below.
Starting a pest control business can be a rewarding venture with dedication and the right approach. Follow these steps to establish a successful business while providing exceptional service. Continuously enhance your industry knowledge and skills for long-term success. Best of luck with your new business!