Considering buying a pest control franchise?

There has never been a better time to take a look into buying a pest control franchise; estimates suggest that 15% of local authorities nationwide have already discontinued their pest control services and, with more budget-cuts thought to be on the way, this figure could increase.

As a result, private pest control companies are reaping the rewards with long term contracts; coupled with an increase in one-off pest control assignments, the benefits – both financial and in term of work/life balance – are high.

Key facts and figures

Pest control services is something that we cannot live without. The modern day household is no longer prepared to put up with perceived pest ‘infestations’, hence calls to pest control firms are remaining steady; some industry pundits suggest that calls could actually increase now that local authorities with pest control departments are either defunct or are now charging for services that were previously free.

But what else is there about pest control that makes this a lucrative business to be in?

  • Rats – pest control treatments for these pesky rodents account for 38% of all treatments last year, across the UK. More common in built up and urban areas, the West Midlands holds the dubious accolade of having the highest number of rat related calls with a total of 48,555.
  • Mice – incontinent as well as laying 80 droppings a day, dealing with mice is essential. Of the 166,688 treatments nationwide, Greater London came out on top with 30,081 calls relating to mice.
  • Wasps – never high in the popularity stakes, treatments for wasps has increased by around 7% each year, with the south east of England topping the wasp treatment charts with 24,123 cases.
  • Bedbugs – the increase in international travel and our own ignorance of bedbugs are thought to be the two main contributory factors in the increase of these tiny bugs. London tops the bedbug chart with 7,398 cases.
  • Cockroaches – these nocturnal insects are a nuisance that also spread disease and bacteria; of the 13,582 cases nationwide, 13,037 were in England, with London being the cockroach hot spot with just shy of 9,000 treatments.
  • Ants – this time, Scotland tops the pest chart with 4,525 treatments for ants; notoriously difficult to treat, a line of ants can travel miles from the nest in search of food.
  • Birds – most bird species are protected by law and so licensed pest controllers are essential in helping to curb the damage they can do to buildings; calls regarding nuisance birds to pest control firms increased by a reported 8% from 2013.

An attractive industry, but is a franchise the right move?

With pest control industry figures looking healthy and prosperous, taking up a franchise could be a shrewd financial move.

There are some distinct advantages to buying a franchise and still being self-employed:

  • An established name and brand – one aspect where many fledgling businesses fail is creating the right brand or ambience to their product or service. In effect, buying into a franchise means you are essentially buying this brand; providing you run the franchise along the right lines, you will instantly benefit from the brand power and its success
  • Ongoing help and support – any company offering franchise opportunities will, without doubt, want it to survive and thrive; after all, they will gain from successful businesses too. As part of the package, you will receive help and support that may not be available so readily or freely should you set up in business on your own. But, the level of support and help will vary from franchise to franchise, so check out exactly what is on offer.
  • Defined location – one reason why many people opt for a franchise, according to the British Franchise Association (BFA) is that franchisees have defined locations or geographical areas. In other words, you are not in competition with other people running the same brand, but you will of course, have other non-brand competitors. This also means that a franchise benefits from a prime trading location.
  • Finance – costs of franchises vary from industry to industry, and business to business and, with the recent recession only just lessening its grip on the economy, gaining finance from banks and lenders is not easy. With a franchise, backed by support and help, some banks will look more favourably on this as a business that has increased chances of success.
  • Training – some franchises also include initial and ongoing training, important in industries such as pest control where treatments and methods are continually updated and evolving to meet the demands of customers (and pests!) head on.

But, there are always two sides to a coin…

Although rules and standards are part of the attraction of franchises, some franchisees find these too confining and restrictive, e.g. there are things you MUST do. Check the small print before you sign the contract!

Reputation is also key in making your franchise business a success and so making sure that the brand is robust is important.

Which brand?

There are, as you would expect, several companies offering franchise opportunities. They vary significantly in price, as well as in the deal being offered. On one hand, you might want the reputation of an industry leader but, they come at a price – some well-known brands have packages that start at £75,000 and have 5 year contracts and an undisclosed “buy out fee” to leave the organisation! Other have a smaller purchase price and far less regulations and terms and offer more flexibility to running your business.

Some also charge ongoing fees that cover the cost of additional materials etc., as well as the ability to carry on using their ‘name’ and reputation; again, these costs vary from pest control franchise to another.

However, there is a compromise on the horizon; tapping into a franchise that has the reputation for being effective in terms of pest control and management, but offered at rates and fees that are friendly and fair. SOS Pest Control has the growing reputation and is fast becoming seen as an industry trailblazer, in the footsteps of which many other will follow.

In summary,

The pest control industry is growing; the statistics all point to it being a business that is needed and welcomed by many across the UK, from both domestic customers and business customers too.

There is also growing evidence that, as a self-employment option, it offers a certain degree of stability with more and more contract work being sought by both commercial customers, and local authorities too.

Customers are demanding more; they no longer want to wait days or weeks to have a rat problem sorted. And customers do not have patience either! If they have a pest control problem, they want it sorting effectively and quickly.

Brand and reputation is key, hence opting for a pest control franchise builds all the benefits of a big name or brand into the benefits of being self-employed.


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