Applying for a Pest Control job – what you need to know
I occasionally look on job posting boards for pest control just to see what’s out there. In a recent search, I found more than 3900 pest control job listings nationwide. These companies have varying degrees of positions available: Technician, Pest Pro, Quality, Technical Director, Sales, Office Staff, and various types of Managers. The list goes on. If you are interested in something pest control-related, I can bet that there is a career for you. Choosing which company, and the position, you would like to go after is the next step.
The listings contain the basic information for each job, and those vary from company to company. National companies have different criteria and benefits compared to your local independent hometown pest professionals. What is it worth for you to have weekends off? Or would a Tuesday afternoon fit you better? Would you like to participate in a 401k plan, or get discounts at local restaurants? Are a company vehicle and phone better than getting paid a phone and mileage reimbursement? Decisions…decisions.
A REAL SCENARIO
In my tenure as a pest control professional, I have witnessed conducive conditions that would make even those with steel stomachs walkout. While servicing homes, I have seen trash and dirty dishes piled sky high in a kitchen, while cockroaches are daring me to evict them. Three litter boxes, and 18 cats in varying degrees of health, confined to an apartment made me want to call animal control. Wet, moldy grain in an elevator basement that horridly smells like ammonia, hit me hard. Glue boards in an insect light trap that have attracted dermestid beetles for a tasty meal gave a bitter smell. A gooey dead animal in a bait station made me lose my breakfast.
Pest control professionals are called upon to handle life, health, food, and sanitation-related pest issues. We get asked to identify insects, remove wildlife, kill ants, save the bees, or repair pest entry points. One client asked me to “evict the brown recluse spiders from my basement.” She didn’t want them dead; she just didn’t want to live with them. I was inclined to tell her that I would call a moving truck because the density of them would have filled up said truck. I chose to save my comedy for a better situation.
Job Descriptions Should Be Bluntly Truthful
Reading some of those 3900 job postings made me realize they are only half true at best. Nothing in them got to the nitty-gritty of what a pest pro really does. So…. Here’s what those descriptions DON’T say…
Terms & Conditions
-You will get up early and work until your day is complete. Weekends, too.
-A Miss America smile is required. Fake it if you must.
-Drive the company vehicle like you own it, not as if you stole it. We are monitoring this.
-You must maintain a current driver’s license, violation-free. See the previous statement.
-Write the pest service tickets so they can be read. You are not a practicing doctor, although it may feel like it at times.
-Treat clients friendly and fairly. They are your bread and butter and will call the office to complain.
-Wear the company uniform provided. Our customers need to know who you work for, and they don’t want a bigger slob than themselves entering their homes.
-The company will pay for safety equipment. Wear it. We care about your well-being.
-Taxes will be held out of your paycheck. (We include this statement due to some not understanding the IRS is a real entity)
-Paychecks will be issued on a regular schedule. The company doesn’t give advances. We don’t want to owe money if you quit.
-Starting salary is determined by current experience and reference checks and won’t be less than (fill in the blank). We encourage negotiations. Salary increases will be based on 6- month reviews, pertaining to customer service, and assigned or individual training that has been completed.
-Customers are part of our family, but if they offer you food, politely
decline. You might have upset them, and they didn’t say so. Take no chances.
-Don’t trash your new job, or your old one, on social media. We are looking at this.
*Get down and dirty in the muck of a food processing plant.
*Trek through the hoarder’s paradise of magazines and knick-knacks.
*Become a furniture mover when inspecting for bed bugs and cockroaches.
*Climb ladders and stairs. Get a fitness tracker for individual assessment.
*Test your maintenance skills as you repair pest control devices and your spray rig.
*Use your imagination when looking for conducive conditions and insect harborages.
*Become humble when asking for directions because your phone’s mapping app fails.
*Answer questions about your duties when the client’s children follow you around.
* Learn to ignore the household pet when it alerts the client you’ve just rung the doorbell. Belly rubs for the pet are allowed with the owner’s permission.
*Be awestruck at the priceless classic vehicle in the garage. Do not ask to sit in or touch it.
*Listen to client needs for pest issues. Communicate the remedial process in layman’s terms. Don’t be a smart aleck.
*Be exposed to the weather. Dress accordingly.
*Have somewhat flexible hours, but continued training is mandatory.
*Apply pesticides when necessary. Read and understand Labels/SDS. We offer training for this.
*Pre-trip check your service vehicle every day. The company is slammed with clients, and we won’t have time to help you change a flat tire.
*We need you to finish high school or get a GED. Education is important to us.
*Work according to a set schedule. Time is a valuable resource, and we can never get it back.
*Make friends with the office staff. They are more understanding than the manager.
*Be able to belly crawl. Some areas are tight, and none of us are as skinny as we used to be. Military friends can teach you.
*Must be able to work independently and turn in all daily invoices.
*Keep your company vehicle washed and clean. We will reimburse you for the cost.
*A drug screen is required periodically.
*We will help you get certified. It makes you, and us, more credible.
THE HIRING MANAGER WILL SEE YOU NOW
I couldn’t help but laugh as I was writing this. This is information I wish I had known before becoming a pest control professional. Would I have taken the job? Maybe. Maybe not. I do know that I wouldn’t trade a single minute of the experience. Like some of you, I have been to the point of burnout, but have never given up. I have used that Miss America smile more times than I can count. Maybe you have, too.
I would like to invite those who are considering a career in pest management to give it a try. Sometimes, a one-day ride-a-long is part of the interview. Take advantage of it. The company and the potential new hire need to figure out if they can be a good fit for each other. There are 3900+ company hiring managers waiting for your application.
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