By Joe Gargiulo
July 23, 2013

Pest Control: Bugging Out Over Debt Collection

pest-control-debt-collectionWarning: The following blog post may result in slight feelings of something creepy crawling on you, but we promise, it’s quite fun and well worth it!

The Disney/Pixar movie “A Bug’s Life” made the point clear, but cutely: There are way, way more bugs in the world than people (according to the Bug Squad, the ratio of insects to people is 200 million to 1!). Until humans decide they think the scuttling creatures are as adoptable as dogs and cats, that’s very good news for your pest control business. But when you’re unable to collect on the money you’ve earned for ridding customers’ homes of tiny invaders, you may start to feel like squashing those people along with your quarry. Don’t bug out yet. There’s help, and you don’t require wings, antenna, or a hundred eyes to find it.

Ants: The Hardest Working Picnickers

They often may be found attending your al fresco picnics – without an invitation. Ants. So many different kinds, they’re distinguished by the nodes on their bodies. They march, they swarm, they carry off food particles 50 times their size. They even have strange names, such as Pharoah Ant, Big-headed Ant, Crazy Ant, and Odorous House Ant. When they swarm, they make a big impact. Collections companies don’t have antennae or multi-noded bodies, but they do offer many different features that can also make a big impact. When you interview debt recovery agencies, ask them about written demands, collection calls and letters, and PPMS certification.

Bee: It’s All About the Honey, but Not for Long

Quick test. What’s the first thing you think of when you think of bees? Saving the world, one yellow stripe at a time, or OUCH OUCH OUCH? It’s probably #2, but bees are one of the unsung heroes of the bug community. Some of your favorite foods would disappear without bee pollination, such as cherries, pumpkins, cucumbers, and watermelon. Bee proponents are working hard to change the reputation of these stinging saviors, and in a way, collections professionals suffer from the same misconstrued stereotypes. They get a lot of bad press, and their stereotypes precede them. They may even scare you off, worried you too will get stung. Instead, look a little deeper inside that honeycomb and find a collection agency awarded with quality designations for high-rated professionalism and service. Instead of a sting, it can be sweet.

Cockroach Warhols: Beauty is Where You Find It

In ordinary life, if your customers were to ever suffer a cockroach crawling on them, they’d probably have a hissy fit worthy of a Giant Madagascar Hissing Cockroach. Strangely, people are choosing these creatures for their bling-a-bility as couture jewelry, even though cockroaches are one of the most popular reasons to call pest control in the first place. How can you take a lesson from these creatures? Well, cockroaches are rumored to be the one thing able to withstand an apocalypse. Losing profit to bad debt isn’t apocalyptic – until you consider that an apocalypse is a giant, fiery end. If you have to shutter your pest control business because you can’t get customers to pay, that sounds like a very bad end to us. Let a collections company be the “jewel” in your toolbox.

Cicadas: Making You Wait

If you had to wait 17 years for some action on your debt recovery, your business wouldn’t make it too long, would it? Well, if you were a cicada, that 17-year wait would be business as usual. They only emerge from the ground that infrequently. If you don’t like the idea of holding off nearly two decades to be on the scene, consider beefing up that exoskeleton with a profit recovery company. These professionals have plans in place to go over debt that’s been outstanding just a few weeks all the way up to people who have been avoiding you for years. And the right collections company is like your own little flash mob of cicadas. When the cicadas come out, they make themselves KNOWN. After all, they’ve been waiting 17 years. In some places, they blanket the streets so thickly cars can’t even drive and drown out all the sounds around them. Get the benefits of a collections company in your corner without those creaky-creaky cicada chants.

Silverfish: All That Glitters is Not Silver

Here’s a masked marauder. The silverfish isn’t a fish, and sometimes it’s not even silver. (The non-silver silverfish are actually firebrats, a cousin of the silverfish.) The scales on this critter’s exoskeleton may make it extra fun to crunch between your fingers (possibly inside a tissue), but that’s if you can catch it. Silverfish are slippery as fish, aided by the fact that you’ll usually find them in moist, dark places. They can even stain your carpets and eat your food! Chasing silverfish isn’t fun, but chasing down lost profit isn’t fun either. Unfortunately, if you find a late payee, you can’t crunch him to get him to pay up. That’s why it’s best to leave it to the professionals. You know your business through and through, so it makes sense that you’ll turn to debt collection experts to go after those who bug YOU.

Centipede: Legs On the Run

Have legs, will travel. If you’ve ever leaned down to the pavement to see a long, fuzzy, wiggly thing busting its many legs to get from point A to point B, you may have marveled at its ability to coordinate so many appendages at one time. (Your customers are probably not taking the time to marvel when they find one in their homes, though.) Unlike centipedes, customers only need two legs to avoid you. (If we’re splitting hairs, centipedes, with their more-than-6-legs, are actually considered invertebrates, not insects, but your customers probably don’t care.) Yet they can be just as efficient on two than 100. While centipedes do their damage with paralyzing poison that shoots out from claws behind their heads, non-payers do their damage by paralyzing your company. If you aren’t able to recoup money, you can’t pay your bills, your people, your equipment . . . or yourself!

As the Caterpillar Turns: Into a Butterfly

Forget Cinderella. There’s a much bigger transformation story and no prince, glass slipper, or evil stepsisters are required. And it happens every day. Where else but the insect community can a slimy caterpillar turn into something as beautiful as a butterfly? Muhammad Ali didn’t say, “Float like a Disney cartoon character, sting like a bee,” did he? The word “pupa,” the caterpillar’s original state, doesn’t exactly bring to mind beauty. But even children know what happens at the end, and butterfly museums around the world celebrate the final-stage winged creatures. What does this mean for you and your business? Just the word “transformation.” That’s what collections companies do every day. They transform bad situations into good. We’ve helped people who’ve written off astounding amounts of debt, thinking they’ll never see those profits again. We’ve tracked down non-payers who’ve moved states, changed names, and gone under the radar. It can happen, and it does every day. It may take time (after all, the caterpillar doesn’t emerge from its cocoon in 24 hours), but it can work for you, too.

Which creatures (of the insect varietal) are the most prevalent in your corner of the world? Share your techniques for eliminating them below, as well as any stories you have about odd customer requests. While you’re here, please accept our gift, below, and download our free invoice template, with best practice suggestions on how to word your requests for payment.


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