Public health officials attribute our modern quality of life to three things: better vaccines, better sanitation and better pest control. When Americans’ fear of bugs ranks third after public speaking and heights, and when 93% of Americans worry about the bugs in their home, there’s no question that the massive market you serve really wants you.
They also need you. Our understanding of the health impact of pests continues to expand – recent studies, for example, show that nearly half of inner city children afflicted with asthma are allergic to cockroaches, indicating that yet another health epidemic may be attributed to pests. As practices advance to become less toxic and more targeted, pests that were once controlled as a byproduct of non-specific spraying now erupt as new types of infestations – a phenomenon clearly exemplified by the recent surge in bedbugs. Pests also evolve. Mice in some food processing facilities now recognize traps and either dash around them or climb over them.
When most owners contemplate these things their ideas naturally move to business development so they can contribute more. Business development requires people, and while it’s difficult to train the professionals needed to handle an ever-expanding array of modern equipment and methods, offering on-the-job training may be one of the smartest development tactics you can pursue. Employers offering strong training opportunities tailored to their business and reflecting their philosophy and values enjoy a retention rate more than two-thirds higher than those with lackluster training opportunities.
You want to help your customer and your best employees do too, but there are business hazards hidden within that benevolence. As a collections company we can wholeheartedly affirm the advice so often given to pest control entrepreneurs that if they advertise that they’re the cheapest service in town they may end up attracting clients who can’t or won’t pay. We encourage our clients to let their customers know up front that they provide a great value that must be paid for.
So, as you can imagine, it really bothers us to read how an entrepreneur’s benevolence can get him into financial trouble. One long-time pest control professional describes how difficult it is to leave an obvious need untreated, writing that “It’s difficult to sleep at night knowing we’ve let these people down, so we try our best to treat them right. Sometimes this might lead to not getting paid, but that’s part of doing business…”
We beg to differ, even while respecting the fact that this particular professional ran his business for thirty years. We understand that we live in an era of the “mindful consumer” and that you want people to think of your business as a valuable member of the community. It is certainly true that consumers deciding among competitors now take into consideration the impact their choice has on the rest of the world. But the proper way to position your business to win that decision is to support local groups whose values and actions you respect.
While it may seem like letting payment slide now and then may enhance your stature in the community, we suggest you keep a few things in mind: First, when someone hires you they expect to pay. Even if they are short of funds when an emergency need arises, they still want to pay you. Generally speaking the easiest and most effective way to make sure they do is to bill on time, and to send regular late notices. You have a 1 in 3 chance of getting paid on a bill ninety days overdue.
Unless you have a third party step in and help you – and when you choose this third party, think of them as an employee. You’re not going to train a staff person to take on this work, mostly because it is heavily regulated and a single misstep can incur significant costs and legal trouble, but you can expect your collections partner to become an extension of your business.
Does the company care about your clients the way you do? Does it share your core values? Will it contribute to your stature in the community? How, exactly, does it go about complying with all those regulations? And most importantly, does it get results?
You provide a service critical to the health and wellbeing of your community, so make sure you’re collecting all the revenue due to you. Learn how: