Sixty-five percent of those who responded to PCT’s recent poll question said the biggest barrier preventing them from offering lawn care services is that it “doesn’t fit their business model.”
CLEVELAND – For some pest control companies, lawn care has been a great fit. Both are service-based offerings that require service professionals who have standout customer service skills and are comfortable working with pesticides/lawn care chemicals. But it’s not a service offering for every pest control company.
Sixty-five percent of those who responded to PCT’s recent poll question said the biggest barrier preventing them from offering lawn care services is that it “doesn’t fit their business model,” while 13 percent cited the “cost of equipment/products,” 15 percent said “finding qualified workers” and another 7 percent said “area competitors” prevent them from offering law services.
It is a combination of all of the above, said veteran lawn care manager Edward Chesiak. “I live in the Tallahassee (Fla.) area and there aren’t any good companies that take care of lawns. Expenses of equipment, product, are key factors; however, if a company really wanted to make a name for themselves…with the right person in charge they could kill it in this market.”
Another PMP who cited expenses is Vern Morris, manager of Termite Lawn & Pest Control, Winter Park, Fla. “Profit margins. There are more chemical costs in lawn than any pest control service, so there is a lot less profit margin for you,” Morris said.
Eddie Alvarez, owner of 5 Star Exterminators, Miami, Fla., said some PCOs don’t like lawn care because of spraying concerns (e.g., worries about dogs on recently sprayed lawns). Alvarez started his career working for Bugs Burger Bug Killers, and he has followed a similar business model, only offering general household pest (GHP) and not services like lawn. “We never got the licenses. I’m older now and getting closer to retirement,” he said. “Besides, we have a lot of GHP work. We stick with what we do best.”
Kemp Anderson of Kemp Anderson Consulting, said that in his experience there are four reasons PCOs steer clear of the lawn segment: (1) lawn care typically has lower retention than pest control; (2) if a customer has company XYZ for both pest and lawn, and they get upset with the lawn service will they cancel both the lawn and pest service? (3) expenses, such as lawn rigs ($80,000 or more) and chemicals; and (4) in some cases, PCOs don’t like the uncontrollable variables such as droughts or heavy rain, or a lawn tech lowering a mower blade too much and burning out a lawn.