7 Coronavirus Strategy Insights For Pest Control Owners

Usually, your competition won’t tell you their trade secrets…

But Orkin & Terminix are part of publicly traded companies (Orkin is part of Rollins, Inc. and Terminix is part of ServiceMaster).

So they are required to inform investors about their plans 4 times a year.

I’ve dug through their reports and found 7 ways they’re dealing with the Coronavirus that will help you as a Pest Control Owner.

#1 – Contact Free Service

No Touch Coronavirus

Promote the steps you take to minimize Coronavirus risks.

Exterior Only Treatments

Moving to exterior only treatments (when possible) improves safety for your customers and technicians. This can also save time and costs.

PCT Online has a good article on how to put in place exterior only treatments. You need to educate customers why you’re transitioning and how it will still be effective for them. This will help customers appreciate the change rather than resent it.

We’ve also changed our frontline and back office protocols to reduce face-to-face contact between our employees and our customers as much as we can…

Source: ServiceMaster First Quarter 2020 Earnings Call.

Naren Gursahaney 

ServiceMaster Interim CEO

Terminix Logo

Free Inspections Through Zoom

You can also offer free pest inspections for customers through Zoom, Facetime, or Skype.

This can be a way to stand out compared to your competition and attract customers that have a higher risk of health issues from Coronavirus.

Higher Risk Groups

  • Older adults
  • People with underlying medical conditions

#2 – Disinfection Services

Disinfection Services in Demand

Disinfection Services

Orkin & Terminix are both rolling out disinfection services for commercial clients.

VitalClean is Orkin’s new disinfectant service for commercial clients; Disinfectix is Terminx Commercial’s service.

VitalClean [experienced] early wins around the globe in industries such as food, housing, hospitality, fitness, and transit…

Source: Rollins First Quarter 2020 Earnings Call.

Eddie Northern

Rollins CFO

Orkin Logo

Orkin logo from Wikipedia.

Orkin VitalClean Advertisement

Orkin VitalClean Advertising Video

According to Fortune, there is a big cleaning boom coming.

Advanced Pest Control Solutions turned the fogging equipment normally used for animal infestations against the Coronavirus.

I piloted through my existing customer base, and everyone was really appreciative of it.

Source: Fortune.

Jim Sinkuc

Advanced Pest Control Solutions

Since coronaviruses can live for days on surfaces, routine cleaning of high touch surfaces is a safety necessity.

High touch surfaces include

  • Tables
  • Doorknobs
  • Light switches
  • Countertops
  • Handles
  • Phones
  • Toilets
  • Faucets

Want to offer dissinfectant services? Here are the steps the CDC recommends do peform disinfect services for COVID-19.

#3 – High Unemployment

The highest unempleyment rate this century is creating an opportunity to hire quality talent.

As of June 2020, US unemployment is at 11.1%, down from the April high of 14.7%.

47 million unemployment claims since the Coronavirus outbreak has already surpassed the 37 million claimes during the Great Depression!

Unemployment Rate

Unemployment hit the highest levels since the Great Depression in April 2020.

As Coronavirus cases climb and states begin to shut down, this number could bounce up and down.

Furloughed retail, leisure, and hospitality service employees will be looking for quality, consistent work (especially after federally boosted unemployment runs out in August).

You likely had a had a hard time hiring when unemployment was hovering around 3%…  but now you can take advantage of this newly unemployed labor force to help grow your staff.

Leisure & hospitality lost almost 8 million jobs ~ 50% of total positions.

These are people trained in customer service and could be great additions to your team.

#4 – Show You Care

Communicate With Customers

Customers worry about getting Coronavirus and appreciate your precautions…. if they know about them.

Exterior Only Treatments

Inform customers if you’re offering exterior only treatments

Personal Protective Equipment

Let customers know about the PPE your team will use

Safety First

Inform customers about protocols you’re implementing to keep them safe if a technician needs to enter the home

Pre-service Communications

Let them know these things over email, phone calls, or snail mail before their treatment

#5 – Commercial Sector Impact

Restaurants, hospitality, and retail industries have been some of the hardest hit commercial sectors by the shutdowns.

OpenTable State of the Restaurant Industry

Source: OpenTable State of the Restaurant Industry, US Data

So what should you do if you have customers in these industries?

  • Reach out and have conversations about their plans for continued operation
  • Offer them adjusted service plans to keep their locations pest free even if they aren’t in use
  • Discuss disinfectant needs – they may need the service to keep employees and customers safe

COVID-19 Increase Rodent Pressure

Rodents rely on the food and waste generated by these establishments… Some jurisdictions have reported an increase in rodent activity as rodents search for new sources of food…

Source: CDC Coronavirus Disease 2019. 

Centers for Disease Control & Prevention

Center for Disease Control

Reach out to any commercial clients to discuss if they’ve been impacted by increased rodents.

This will show them that you’re an industry expert and that you are making sure you’re providing top notch service.

#6 – Lower Home Sales Impact Termite Business

House for Sale

Home sales volume expected to be down in 2020.

Termite jobs from home inspectors and realtors will be down this year.

To help offset this… offer free termite inspections during regular pest treatments to boost your termite work.

Seasonally Adjusted Existing Home Sales Data

National Association of Home Builders Data.

Discussing Termites With Existing Pest Customers

Home Risk

Notify them that they aren’t currently getting termite prevention services


Discuss how most insurance policies don’t protect against termite damage

Termite Signs

Let them know what to look out for to catch termites early


Tell customers how quickly termites can cause damage if left unchecked

#7 – Restricted Marketing

Door to door sales, homeowner expos, and any other in person marketing channels are not something you can hang your hat on to generate new sales this year.

No Door to Door Sales

No Door to Door Sales

We made the decision to suspend our door-to-door summer sales program to further ensure the safety of our customers and our partners.

Source: ServiceMaster First Quarter 2020 Earnings Call.

Naren Gursahaney

ServiceMaster Interim CEO

Terminix Logo

Pest Control Marketing Online

Orkin and Terminix are both advertising pest control services online.

Pest control cost per click for search ads haven’t gone down very much due to the Coronavirus…

But, there has been a pullback on advertising spend for social media by industries hardest hit by the pandemic.

Orkin Pest Control Facebook Advertisement

One of Orkin’s Facebook Ads

Terminix Pest Control Advertisement

One of Terminix’s Facebook Ads

US Digital Ad Spend 2019

Digital Ad Spending in the US, by Industry. Source: eMarketer.

If you are looking to make up lost revenues from commercial clients or termite business, advertising on Facebook is a good way to generate new residential customers.

Check out my guide to getting pest control customers from Facebook to see how other Pest Control Owners are using Facebook to build their business.

Guide to Pest Control Customers From Facebook

Learn How to Get Pest Customers from Facebook

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