If you have plans to start a pest control business in the UK, here’s some good news:
The London pest control sector alone was valued at around £367 million a couple of years ago. That’s a pretty hefty slice of potential pie in just the capital. Plus, as something of a niche industry, pest control is not a market that many people choose to get into, keeping your possible competition on the lower side.
However, you can’t just slip on a pair of gloves and start exterminating. There are some important things to know before you get down to work as a pest controller.
If you’ve been wondering how to start your own pest control business, this article will tell you everything you need to know:
How much do pest control experts earn in the UK?
Not many people get into pest control for the love it, though many do like the fact that they leave a swathe of relieved people in their wake!
An average salary for a pest control technician is around £22 000, but as your own boss, the amount you make will depend on a few other factors – mainly the amount you’re able to charge. This will be affected by what your competition charges, both locally and nationally, as well as running costs such as the fuel and chemicals you need to deliver your services.
The amount of work you put in as a solo entrepreneur or franchisee will be more than if you were simply an employee of a larger pest control company. However, your earning potential will be much higher.
How much does it cost to start a pest control business?
There are a few important start-up costs involved in opening a pest control company:
1) Accreditation and training
Unless you already have experience in the industry, you are going to need to get proper training in order to deliver pest control services. Most of these have fees attached. You should consider getting qualifications or accreditations such as:
- General Pest Control (GPC) – Level 2 Pest Management is the standard qualification throughout the industry in the UK.
- The BPCA, the British Pest Control Association – offers a number of different courses which should help you get a thorough grounding in the necessary skills.
- The RSPH, the Royal Society for Public Health – also offers courses.
Many manufacturers who produce products for the industry offer their own courses to encourage you to buy from them.
Buying equipment is going to be a major consideration. You will need to take into account the cost of buying:
- A reliable vehicle
- Fuel on a regular basis
- Bait, chemicals and other equipment
- Your uniform, which needs to be both neat and tough
- Protective equipment
Marketing your new company is going to be a necessary and worthwhile investment. If you are going into business as a solo entrepreneur, you should plan for a minimum of having your own website, local flyers and cards, advertising in local newspapers, community centres, time spent on outreach to local businesses and more.
If you are opting to become a franchise, as many new business owners do these days, you should ensure that your franchisor has got your marketing properly covered.
Franchisees of Fantastic Services, for instance, know that they will get clients booked for them on a regular basis through our booking app and various other marketing efforts made on their behalf.
Do you need a license for pest control in the UK?
It is a legal requirement in the UK that anyone who uses professional pesticides has a Specified Certificate in the Use of Pesticides.
You can get one from the NPTC, the National Proficiency Tests Council, after you provide evidence of your competency.
How much is a pest control license in the UK?
You can find out everything you need to know about the cost of a pest control license in the UK and the steps you need to take to get one at City & Guilds NPTC.
A linked question is often, “how long is a pest control course in the UK?” The answer is, of course, that it depends on the provider and the purpose of the course. But several days is the bare minimum you should expect.
What do I need to do to start a pest control business?
There are some critical decisions to make and things to do before you start trading as a pest control company, among them:
1) Check your local competition
There may be both local and larger national competitors in your area. Investigate who they are, as well as their service quality and the type of services they offer.
You should also check if your local council offers pest control services. They often will – and for much more affordable rates than you will likely be able to charge. But as almost every council needs to hire companies to actually provide these services, this is a potential opportunity for you.
2) Choose your niche
All of the knowledge you gather will help you decide which specific pest control services you will offer, such as rat or cockroach removal.
There may also be areas which your local authority or local competition don’t cover. Such as future-proofing homes from pests.
3) Get insurance
In addition to the usual public liability and possible employers liability insurance, you need as a new business owner, be sure to look into specific policies suitable for pest control companies and people who handle chemicals.
Marketing your new business is going to take up a lot of your efforts early on. You will need to:
- Build a website – it will be the way large numbers of clients find you these days.
- Create social media accounts – another solid way for clients to find you online.
- Your logo on your vehicle – turn your van into a mobile signpost for your business. Be sure your vehicle always looks clean and that your contact details are easy to read.
- Flyers and business cards – print marketing is alive and well. Consider local leaflet drops to drum up business.
- Local newspapers or radio stations – are ideal locations to advertise and can be very cost-effective.
- Target businesses – while most domestic clients will only need you for a one-off emergency, many businesses need regular pest control – sometimes by law. It’s definitely worth reaching out to restaurants, catering companies, hotels, nursing homes, housing associations and the like.
- Target utility companies and landowners – sewerage companies are a prime needer of pest control services, as are landowners such as Network Rail, the Ministry of Defence and your local authorities.
The benefits of buying a pest control franchise in the UK
Starting your own pest control business comes with several vital decisions to make. Perhaps the most important is to decide whether you will go it alone or look into finding a pest control franchise for sale. The franchise option has become an increasingly popular choice in recent years because it allows you to:
1) Secure local authority contracts
In recent years, UK government cuts to local authorities have meant that they have had to outsource what pest control services they can still afford to offer.
Most local authorities now select their own preferred local partners for pest control. As a pest control franchise – part of a larger, well-known brand – you are in a much better position to secure solid relationships and contracts with local authorities.
2) Have your marketing handled for you
Pest control is already the kind of business that benefits from a well-branded vehicle as a major form of advertising. Most franchisors will have a standard they expect you to meet for this as it’s so important.
But many franchisors will also handle much more marketing on your behalf. For instance, Fantastic Services has proven online sales processes so that you are free to concentrate on delivering your services. You will know that a whole team of people is working on filling your schedule for the rest of the week.
Why else does pest control make an ideal franchise?
Get professional training (for you and your team)
Any pest control franchise in the UK should come with professional training in pest control for you and your team. Even if you have experience in the industry already, this is a good thing. Usually, the goal should be to get recognised accreditation – just what your customers are looking for when selecting the pest control company they will use.
You should also receive training in aspects like business management and expansion planning. These are not things you would get if you were going into business for yourself.
Have your growth supported
Pest control is known to be an industry with high levels of customer retention. Of course, you hope that your clients don’t suffer from constant pest infestations. Yet once someone has a pest control company they know does good work, they tend to stick with them.
This gives you the potential for growth – as long as you know how to take advantage of it. It is in your franchisor’s interests to set you up for future growth. Meaning the only thing that limits your growth can be your own desire.
Starting your own pest control franchise in the UK
Properly advertising your new company is absolutely key if you want to be successful. Of course, there is an easier solution:
While many new pest control businesses in the UK struggle to find clients, franchises of larger companies can rely on the advertising efforts and public awareness of their parent brand.
This post was written by Fantastic Services and posted on their website here. They are an exhibitor on the FranchiseShow247 Cleaning & Domestic Services floor and you can visit their FranchiseShow247 exhibition stand here.