Check Out Dave's Illustration in this December 2016 Article

PMPs ante up: 2017 State of the Industry Survey highlights

It’s the best of times, according to Luke Rambo, owner of Rambo Total Pest Control in Puyallup, Wash. The company is raking in the revenue, and Rambo hasn’t even anted up yet for one of the fastest-building pest pots.

“We’ve increased revenue 25 percent or more, versus 2015, every month this year,” Rambo says. “We’re projecting more of the same — at least 25 percent revenue growth — in 2017, thanks in part to our plans to begin providing bed bug management services.”

Rambo attributes the firm’s growth to his talented teammates’ unwavering commitment to customer service excellence. Also driving sales is a strong local economy, drawing upstart and expanding businesses as well as new homeowners.

The company employs 10 people: Rambo, three customer service representatives and six pest management professionals (PMPs).

“We added two technicians this year and we’ll add another two early next year,” Rambo says. “Half of our techs will have been hired from 2016 through 2017.”

Rambo is one of 153 industry players who completed Pest Management Professional’s (PMP’s) comprehensive 2017 State of the Industry Survey.

Fellow survey respondent Michelle LeDune, owner of Mike’s Swat Team Termite & Pest Control in Phoenix, also is winning big. She projects double-digit revenue growth this year and next. Unlike Rambo, half of her company’s sales stem from bed bug work.

A property manager for more than 20 years, LeDune was moonlighting for her husband Mike’s company, handling human resources and marketing functions, when Mike passed away in February 2013.

“Never did I think, three-and-a-half years ago, that I’d be running Mike’s pest management company,” LeDune says. “But when life deals you a bad hand — your spouse dies — and you have a 14-year-old son, you have no choice but to keep your head in the game.”

LeDune’s property management experience has served as a wonderful wild card.

“We’ve done quite well, all things considered,” LeDune says. “We’ve steadily grown to 20 employees, including 17 techs. Today, multi-family housing accounts for 90 percent of our revenue.”

Nine Need-to-Knows

  1. Most pros project continued good times for the industry, and overall economy, in 2017.
  2. Nearly 90 percent project sales growth in 2017.
  3. One-third is budgeting a revenue increase of 25 percent or more.
  4. Two-thirds expect to add employees in 2017.
  5. Two-thirds have customer-retention rates of 90 percent or better.
  6. More than 90 percent manage ants, cockroaches and rodents.
  7. More than 80 percent control bed bugs, fleas and ticks, spiders, and stinging insects.
  8. More than 70 percent control flies, occasional invaders, stored product pests and termites.
  9. More than 60 percent manage mosquitoes.

Most PMPs are going all-in in 2017. They say odds are, this year’s portly pest pots and scores of winning hands will continue throughout 2017. To check out the action, please read the rest of our PMP 2017 State of the Industry supplement, sponsored by Bell Labs. This report is chock full of PMP-exclusive data, infographics and analyses, detailing key industry trends and projections.

David B. McMacken