Beware of the Fly-by-Nighter Pest Control “Companies”
It’s that time of year when the fly-by-nighter pest control “companies” come out of the woodwork to canvass neighborhoods (door-to-door)! We recently had 2 of our regular preventive maintenance clients call us and warn us.
THE FIRST OCCASION
Our client informed us that the salesperson tried to pressure her into signing up with them. They even went so far as to tell her that “LIND wasn’t going to be in business very much longer”. This, of course, was a bold faced LIE. Thanks to our dedicated client, we were tipped off to this “company”.
I immediately got on the phone to our local Pest management company Washington State Pest Management Association (WSPMA) as well as the Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA). I was informed by the WSPMA that this company was not a member of the WSPMA and that their headquarters were out of Salt Lake City Utah!! I was also informed, by the WSDA that they had other complaints about this company.
THE SECOND OCCASION
Another client was approached by the same company at their door. The “salesperson” was calling into our office and made it sound like he was a relative of our (elderly) client and was calling in to cancel his services. The “salesperson” made an attempt to pronounce our client’s last name but did not do a convincing job of it. Recognizing this as a red flag, our account representative asked for him to hold. As she was putting him on hold, he heard him say to our client “I’ve got them on hold, now you just need to find out how much your services are so I can see how much of a discount I can give you”. Again very questionable business practice to put it nicely.
When our account rep got back on the phone, she spoke with our client (the salesperson handed him his cellphone…uhhhh…Covid!) and advised him that maybe he, and his spouse, should review all of their paperwork before jumping to a rash decision. They called the next day and let us know they were staying on service with our company.
THE THIRD OCCASION
A “salesperson” knocked on our door at our personal residence. It was the same company!!! I asked him if he had any credentials stating he was with the WSPMA or a license showing that he was certified with the WSDA. Of course he didn’t. I told him who I was and the unethical sales practices we got wind of, and the fact that I had been speaking to the WSPMA and the WSDA regarding his company’s questionable ethics. He got real nervous after that and made some derogatory remarks and started to walk off (quickly).
I had one more question for him as he was leaving. I wondered why he wasn’t wearing any protective equipment (no mask, gloves, etc.) during this time of Covid-19. He had a laminated sheet that I’m sure a hundred homeowners (or more) had all touched and held. Of course he had no response to this either.
WORDS OF WISDOM
Even though canvassing, door to door, isn’t illegal it is a pretty shoddy way of trying to build a business (in my opinion). However, IF one is going to do it, they should be properly certified in their business they are representing. Pest control is serious business. We are mixing pesticides and applying them in and around your homes and businesses. We should ABSOLUTELY be licensed, certified, trained, and experienced to do this!! It is companies, such as this one, that give our entire industry a bad name. As you can see, I’m pretty worked up about this! I don’t like it when some “kid” comes around representing a company who:
- is not local
- is not licensed nor bonded
- does not belong to the local association that every other legitimate pest control belongs to
- practices pressure sales that are both unethical and deceitful (often preying upon elderly folks)
PLEASE DO YOUR RESEARCH AND ASK
- Are you licensed with the WSDA? I want to see your credentials.
- Are you a local company? Where are you based out of?
- Do you belong to the local Association? (WSPMA) Washington State Pest Management Association supports, reprimands (when necessary), oversees, etc. all of our local pest companies that belong to the association. Any company, worth their salt, belongs to this organization.
- What product(s) do you use?
- How and where are they applied?
- Will you give me a cost? (before they ask what your current cost is so they can’t undercut it. If they are cutting the cost they’re most likely going to need to cut a couple corners)
- Can I think about it and give you a call?
- Do you have a card?
- Will you leave me a written quote?
- Why are you coming to my door without proper safety precautions (a mask) during this time of pandemic? Do you not care about my health?
- Why don’t I see a work truck? (Most of these guys are either dropped off or they are in their own personal car)
Thank you for all of you that are using professional pest control services.
There is a great need for it and there is plenty of business to go around. I am on friendly terms with many folks throughout our industry. It is beneficial, for everyone, to have professional folks to keep us in check, to bounce questions off of, to discuss and problem solve the occasional head scratcher pest issue, and for general friendship and camaraderie with folks that share a common interest and passion. There is no place for companies that practice poor ethics and are downright deceitful. Unfortunately every industry has these “fly-by-nighter” folks who try to take advantage of people and take commerce away from the people in the field whom have worked for many, many years to hone their skills and provide the utmost service that people deserve.