Winning the Rat Race in the Era of Remote Monitoring
The pest control industry continues to grow – and with it, the level of competition. Electronic remote monitoring (ERM) will elevate your pest control and help you stay ahead of your competitors.
The business of pest control is as competitive as any large industry. While our industry is friendly as a whole, PCOs still have to compete for every piece of business. Those that win the new business will grow; those that don’t will tread water or, worse, lose ground.
In this period of industry consolidation, achieving growth is more important than ever. If you’re goal is to stay independent, profitable growth gives you the ability to sustain the ups and downs of our business cycles.
If you’re looking to acquire other firms, having a growing book of business and higher margins will help you finance acquisitions. If you’re looking to sell your business to another company, the larger your top and bottom lines are, the higher a multiple you’ll command.
How, then, to achieve a competitive edge as a PCO? Isn’t this a business where pretty much everyone uses the same types of equipment, the same general business models, and performs similar services? Aren’t the keys to competition having a better reputation, more engaging employees, and better salespeople?
Electronic Remote Monitoring – The Game Changer
But none of these things are truly transformative to your business.
That’s where electronic remote monitoring (ERM) comes in. The ability of today’s technology to know where and when animals are entering your traps is changing the face of pest control.
ERM has been around for some years now, but until recently, most PCOs just saw ERM as an additional cost. If you’re not willing to change how you run your business, that’s what it is.
But savvy PCOs are changing how they run their business. They’re building new service models based around ERM, achieving faster growth and bringing more to the bottom. And they’re winning this business from those of you that don’t have an ERM offering.
Stay Up with the Big Boys
Anticimex has made electronic remote monitoring a linchpin of its growth strategy. Every Anticimex office uses their Anticimex SMART technology, which is featured in almost every proposal they make for both residential and commercial jobs. Anticimex companies are winning market share and the group is enjoying some of the fastest growth rates in the industry.
Rentokil offers its customers remote monitoring through its PestConnect technology. Ecolab promotes its customers with Intelligent Rodent Monitoring System. These big companies wouldn’t offer ERM services if they didn’t better financial results.
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How can you make the investment in electronic remote monitoring pay off for your business? And how do you need to rethink your service model to stay competitive using ERM technology?
Making ERM Pay
What’s the financial payoff for investing in ERM? How does having real-time data about what traps have animals in them help your bottom line? Based on reports from the early adopters of ERM, these are some of the benefits you could see from using remote monitoring:
|You’ll win more business||The fact that you’re using advanced pest control technology is a key selling point for many prospects. Promote your use of ERM, and the benefits they’ll receive, and your chances of getting them to buy increases. And customers will pay a little more for better service.|
|You’ll reduce the time you need to spend on site||Checking empty traps is a time and money waster – a study by Bell suggested that using ERM can save 78% of your time by eliminating empty trap checks.
You can use these time savings for other clients, or use the time for faster inspection and exclusion. This, in turn, saves you time down the road, and makes for happier clients.
|You’ll be able to eliminate unnecessary visits||Some of your customers want regular visits, but others don’t like to be interrupted unnecessarily. With ERM, you’ll be able to skip trips – and the costs associated with them – when there’s nothing to be done.|
|You’ll be able to create new upsell packages||Some PCOs provide ERM as an integral part of their service package as a way to win more business. Others offer ERM as an upsell and are able to increase their monthly fees as a result.
ERM creates other opportunities for upsells, like a rapid response option, for those that want dead rodents removed faster than the standard service window.
|You’ll reduce employee churn||A “hidden benefit” of ERM is the improvement in working conditions for your technicians, which reduces employee churn. Given our industry’s work force shortages, keeping your employees is a huge money saver.
ERM makes the job easier and more satisfying for your team. Checking hundreds of empty traps is tough on the body, as is crawling into a home’s crawl space to check just one or two. And focusing on pest control strategy, inspection and mitigation instead of trap checking makes the job more satisfying as well.
|Your customers will be happier||By using ERM, you’ll be able to get more done more quickly, which makes for repeat and referral business. You’ll have an option for clients that want to stay away from rodenticide at their homes and businesses.
And some customers appreciate the additional face time from technicians that can focus on customer service instead of empty trap service.
How to select the remote monitoring system that’s right for your business
Does the ERM system work with my existing traps, or require me to buy new traps?
Does the ERM system offer true remote monitoring – checking trap status from anywhere – or does it require you to be present on the site?
Does the ERM system require wall power, or does it run on batteries?
Are the batteries in the sensors replaceable?
Is the ERM software easy to use?
Does the ERM system offer different types of trap sensing for different types of traps?
How accurate are the alerts I get?
How good is the vendor’s customer support?
Is the vendor committed to the ERM business?
Who offers the lowest cost of ownership?
This is the big question! Many factors go into this calculation. Here’s what you should look at – in total.
- What’s the purchase cost (or lease cost) of the hardware?
- What’s the cost of the subscription?
- Do I need to buy new stations and traps, or can I use my existing inventory?
- When would I need to buy a new device (e.g., if the batteries aren’t replaceable)
- Does the system save me from unnecessary visits?
It is important to consider all these factors, and not any one in isolation. For example, if an ERM system has no subscription costs, but requires you to replace all your existing hardware, it may not offer the lowest lifetime cost. Other vendors require you to lease their systems, making the hardware cost much higher.
The good news is – you have different ERM choices to look at, and no matter which you choose, you’ll be able to compete with a profound advantage over your slower competitors.
About Skyhawk Trapmate
Skyhawk Trapmate is a full line of electronic remote monitoring hardware and software solutions for both pest control and wildlife control. All Trapmate devices are powered for years on off-the-shelf batteries, which can be easily replaced, ensuring easy installation and the lowest cost of ownership of any ERM system. Combining long-range RF connectivity to sensors, and a cellular uplink, each battery powered Trapmate gateway can be placed anywhere at a job site, and can connect to hundreds of sensors as much as thousands of feet away.
Trapmate’s DualSense sensors combine a reed switch and an accelerometer into a single device, for the most accurate alerts in the industry, and the Trapmate passive infrared sensor is an ideal alternative for multi-catch traps.
Skyhawk is the leader in battery-powered remote monitoring, and is exclusively focused on designing, developing and manufacturing the best ERM solutions for pest control and other industries. The company, founded in 2017, is based in Derry, NH.