Posts Tagged ‘pest control’

happy-valentine-day-ballantyne

So it’s Valentine’s Day! Yeah!! ..or Nay? For those that suffer through Valentine’s day, I understand. I feel the sentiment behind a friend’s words in saying, “it should be renamed ‘Singles Awareness Day’.”

But hey, being so closely named to this day, I have decided to embrace it and all the cheesiness that comes with it.

And as a pest control guy, this mean double “Love Bug” trouble.

bug-treat-recipeYes… that’s my crafty work.  I spent some time making these cute little love bugs. You can get your Love Bug Recipe here: http://www.bulwarkpestcontrol.com/bug-treats

And beyond that, I played the romance killer in this short feature:

So there you have it…

Hope you have a Wonderful Happy Valentine’s Day!

oh.. and if you want to win a free year of pest control service in this year’s Valentine Video Contest, then might want to check out this link:

http://www.bulwarkpestcontrol.com/contest-rules

 

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Scorpions and spiders at the top of the list isn’t much of a shock but…

Cats are a pest?

Frankly I am a little surprised that “CAT” was ranked so high. Is there really that much of a love hate relationship with cats? So let’s poll the audience:

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Simple metrics can put you and your company on the road to continuous improvement. Bulwark Exterminating’s Adam Seever shares how.

Business Sign X

Business Sign X (Photo credits: http://www.roadtrafficsigns.com)

Big firms save millions by reducing errors and waste through Six Sigma, Kaizen and Lean Management. But for small and mid-size companies, these principles can be hard to apply. It’s easy to get lost in the jargon, said Adam Seever, CEO of Bulwark Exterminating in Mesa, Ariz.
His suggestion? Keep it simple: Focus on measurement.

Commit to the power of metrics.

First, your organization must embrace three key values:

Hamilton path in graph. Arrow: edge of graph, ...

Hamilton path in graph. Arrow: edge of graph, Blue dot: vertex of graph, red arrows show Hamilton Path. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

  1. Measurement is good.
  2. If it is measured, it will improve.
  3. If it is not measured, quality will not exist.

“You have to accept that measurement is necessary for improvement,” said Seever. “You may have great employees, but if the systems they work in aren’t measured, they can’t see how they’re doing compared with each other and you can’t see how the systems relate to the overall money-making capacity of the business.”

Take a reality check.

Get managers together and discuss what employees should be doing but aren’t. Write these “shoulds” down. “That’s a success in and of itself,” said Seever.

This process is all about discovering reality, which is “whatever your average employee is doing when no one is looking,” he said.

Here’s an example: You want your technicians to start the day’s first service in the first 20 minutes of the 8 to11 a.m. time block. Your average technician, however, isn’t showing up until after 10 a.m. Technically he’s not late, but delaying this first service can throw his entire day behind schedule.

Should you fire this employee? Give him more training? Neither, said Seever. “You just can’t throw the axe every time the average person isn’t doing what you want them to do,” he said. And lecturing is useless, especially when the employee is protected by the work habits of the majority. “They will not change. You will not find increased productivity,” he said.

According to Seever, “They’re not the inadequate one. You are.” When you have the mean of individuals in your system acting contrary to what the management team thinks should happen, that’s the fault of management not employees. The goals you’ve developed and the systems you built are insufficient.

Prioritize and measure.

rel-author-tagIdentify one or two of the “shoulds” and brainstorm how to measure them. Start with something you easily
can get your arms around.

“It’s a learning process for everyone in the company.” If you’ve collected people who like to ride the gravy train, there’s going to be friction. Bulwark Exterminating put GPS devices in service trucks to monitor when technicians arrived at their first call. A simple spreadsheet — check yes or no — recorded whether employees showed up in the first 20 minutes of the time block.

Do the math.

Calculate the economic impact if the majority of employees changed their behavior. This can be a little involved, but it doesn’t have to be overly complicated, said Seever.
What would happen if the average technician showed up 95 percent of the time in the first 20 minutes to his first appointment? How much more money per day would he generate if he could service more accounts by 5 p.m.? Would you have new capacity to handle emergency calls? Would customers be more satisfied?

Pay for it.

Develop a bonus system to reward employees who change behavior. Bulwark Exterminating found it could save $200 per month per technician if employees showed up to the first service call within the first 20 minutes. Technicians who do this 95 percent of the time get a $100 monthly bonus. The bonus helped employees accept the GPS monitoring.
Some business owners have a problem with splitting the difference with employees, said Seever. They figure, why should I pay them more to do something they’re already supposed to be doing?
“You are paying exactly for what your average employee is doing right now,” he explained. Say you have 100 employees and 70 are not doing something to your expectation. You can’t expect one of those 70 people to change when 69 of them are protected by the norm.The employees who do meet your expectation are getting robbed. “It’s all about putting your money where your mouth is,” he said.

This approach can make annual pay reviews obsolete, as salary and hourly wage increases are based on increased productivity. Without real measurement, annual reviews are subjective and vague, and metrics almost always prove managers play favorites, said Seever. The human element is important — Do customers compliment him, is he personable, does he smile? — but without real
measurements, how do you really know?

Watch culture change.

English: Bulwark Exterminating

English: Bulwark Exterminating (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Eventually, employees will embrace the expected behavior. Almost all of Bulwark Exterminating’s technicians now show up to their first call as expected and receive the $100 bonus each month.
If you get the average to comply, it’s easy to isolate a minority 20 percent not meeting expectations and train or terminate them, Seever said.
This approach cannot be accomplished by one person, he cautioned. At Bulwark Exterminating, a team of believers makes metric-based management happen.

And don’t expect results if you merely have the “warm and fuzzy” need to make your financial statements look better. “That type of engagement in any program, especially in regards to metrics, won’t work,” he said.

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Facebook-Birthday-Sponsor-spot

I am not going to lie, it’s pretty freaking ingenious. Especially if Starbucks is paying on a per click base. I’m guessing that this little ad is worth it’s weight for both facebook and Starbucks. If only pest control were as cool as coffee. Unless… maybe… do you think customers would buy pest control for their friends??? Uh… Nevermind. Snap out of it. Wake up and smell the coffee!

Facebook Birthday Targeting

Apparently at one point they had birthday targeting. Then it seems they relinquished it. Perhaps now it has a 2nd life in this new ad layout.  Facebook birthday ads are back. Perhaps this time to stay since they may actually be targeting the birthday present buyers rather than the birthday present receivers??

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You will find the following “Consumer Alert” on yelp:

We caught someone red-handed trying to buy reviews for this business. We weren’t fooled, but wanted you to know because buying reviews not only hurts consumers, but also honest businesses who play by the rules. Check out the evidence here. ( http://s3-media3.ak.yelpcdn.com/saphoto/RU7bd3h2f6pBlf8BfAyxGQ/o.jpg )

Clicking the link provided will take you to an image caption of the correspondence between the yelp sting operative and the company. This jeweler was offering $200 for a review, per the craigslist post they had created. And apparently they are not the only ones using this technique… per google search for “Craigslist.org Yelp review”:

Does this Yelp Penalty Affect Ranking?

Levi Jewelers still ranks #1 in the yelp search “Jeweler” from a desktop, as of today. It still shows the 5 stars and 91 reviews. ( Interesting to note that they do have 366 filtered reviews. )

When you travel to their page the consumer alert is below the fold:

The mobile version does not currently show the consumer alert whatsoever. And the yelp deal with Levi, one that pays yelp, is still active.

What is the verdict?

Honestly, I think yelp could show some more teeth here. But for the sake of making a public example of this company, I believe they are opting to keep them up. This is also a recent update and I am sure that the future versions of Yelp penalties will be modified. The email correspondence occurred beginning Oct. 11th through Oct. 13th. It appears that it was leaked to the press very quickly and thus the public relations team is getting their message out.

However, from a previous yelp broken filter blunder in which Yelp quickly reacted to remove the reviews, I feel yelp still fails to make a solid stance. Their previous blunder only called for a quick cover up, it did not remove the members who violated the guidelines. Will yelp protect the other members that the Jeweler paid off to get good reviews? Will there be a point when businesses get an advocate to combat yelpers gone wild?

Pest Control Guy Penalized on Yelp for Reviews

Rumor has it that there is a pest control guy that was caught red handed buying reviews on yelp as well. I have not been able to find this bugger. I am shocked however that a Phoenix pest control competitor of mine openly offers a credit for a yelp review on his website. It seems that this should certainly be a red flag for yelp.

“Love Us? YELP! Post a positive comment on YELP and receive $5.00 off any service. Let us know through our Contact Us page”

Apparently a yelp review is only worth $5 for pest control companies. That is a bit shy of the $200 the jeweler is offering and the $100 a restaurant in Sedona is offering.

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__________________________________________________________
SEP 04, 2012 | 02:33PM PDT
Hi Thomas,We’re writing to let you know that we’ve removed your headline “Pest Control Guy… taking care of the little things.”Our Support team has determined that it violates our Content Guidelines (http://www.yelp.com/guidelines), specifically as it relates to business owner reviews. Please note that you shouldn’t be using your user account for promotional purposes.That said, we think it’s important for businesses to be part of the conversation, and have created a suite of free tools to help business owners get the most out of Yelp. By unlocking your listing and creating a Business Owners Account, you can:
– Communicate with your customers via private message or public comment
– Track the User Views on your business page
– Add photos and a detailed description of your business
– Convert Yelp users into customers by posting a Yelp Deal to your listingTo join the conversation, click here: http://www.yelp.com/business/unlockingRegards,
Holly
Yelp User Support
San Francisco, California

____________________________________________________________________
Dear Yelp,
Thanks for the laugh. This pest control control guy could use it on occasion. I have decided to not fight the system and am willing to change my title to “<TITLE VIOLATION> Guy… Taking Care of the little things.
…If I could just figure out how to login…

Really… Your captcha is “Conformity”? No. Really.

:)

Oh and thanks Greg for the “Pest Control Guy” in your Yelp Compliment. THAT WAS AWESOME. And to be completely clear, I am not asking my friends to add compliments with the title “pest control guy” in their comments.

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Google
by Thomas B.
I was approached about setting up a booth for a Home and Garden Show in San Antonio, Texas. Pest control should do well in a marketing effort targeting homeowners, right? The promotional material sent to me included the following quote:

“Dollar for dollar, consumer shows continue to offer the
most significant return on investment and are the most
effective use of the marketing dollar.”

- The Wall Street Journal, Feb. 2007

Intrigued, I searched this article out online. …It was no where to be found.

Reviewing the Quote

Beyond the fact that I could not find this quote anywhere online, I see some flaws here. The quote is 5 years old. A ton has changed in 5 years. Internet marketing is still in it’s infancy. Frankly, I find it hard to believe that internet marketing can be beat on ROI. But that’s only speaking from my experience as a pest control guy. As it were, the fully report cannot be located online, therefore I cannot even determine if internet marketing was considered in the study. The quote alone a reveals nothing as to the business or businesses that they used to determine that Home Shows were the best ROI for marketing dollars. Sorry, but this quote does nothing for me. I need real data please.

Marketing Dollar for Marketing Dollar best ROI

market 1

market 1 (Photo credit: tim caynes)

Where would you put your money for the best marketing ROI? Well… that really depends on who YOU are. If you expect to get the exact same results as everyone else in a specific marketing avenue regardless of your business, of you location, or of your target audience then you don’t understand marketing. “Consumer Shows” probably work extremely well for the wedding industry. It’s a very niche audience, the attendees are looking to buy your service. But for the vast audience of “Homeowners”, not all of them will need new flooring, new windows, or new appliances. And many of them will not show up at a Home Show with the sole intention of finding a pest control company. Therefore, it becomes a harder sale. An exterminator’s ROI is not going to be the same. And the San Antonio Home and Garden show isn’t cheap, well not by my standards. How many pest control services would one have to perform to recoup the money and time investment?

Weighing Marketing ROI

Don’t buy into the “Branding” concept. Don’t just assume that you have to brand your business and that the ROI can not be determined for every marketing endeavor. The best way to determine ROI is with hard numbers. Find a measuring stick and use it. And work it backwards. How many widgets do I have to sell to break even on a given marketing campaign? Does that number seem feasible with the size and demographics of the audience? When it comes to numbers, my accountant has taught me to error on the side of caution. Be realistic. Look at the worst case scenario. Once you determine how you will measure the success and considered the value at the worst case scenario, then you can proceed and report on the success or failure.

but hey… i am just a pest control guy.

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Just wanted to say Happy 4th of July!

LET FREEDOM RING!!!

One of the best scorpion questions and answers ever. So I am not going to have too much to add, but I did want to put Mat’s comments up here. Pretty entertaining as well, but realize Mat is not a pest control guy so some of the information isn’t exactly right:

 From: Mat Siltala
Sent: Friday, June 22, 2012 12:00 PM
To: Matt McGee
Cc: Thomas Ballantyne
Subject: Re: Northern Scorpions

I will let Thomas the actual pest control guy answer this with a more verified answer, but I can speak with a little experience since I have been stung by a bark scorpion (which are not native where you are at) and which are one of the worst – and I lived to tell about it.

Everyone reacts differently. We have friends last night that had a two year old get stung by one and had to go to the hospital and get the anti venom treatment and was in ICU all night.

The littler you are the more effect they have.

It feels like a pulsating electric shock that is constant for like 18 – 24 hours … parts of mine lasted 48 which really sucked. My Father in Law who has been stung like 5 times now says its like a mosquito bite lol

…. they cant fly they are pretty blind from what I know and they cant climb glass (they say put your baby crib in mason jars if you live where scorpions are)

I think you guys will be ok … I would recommend getting a black light from home depot or walmart tonight and just have a fun “family night in excursion … don’t scare the kids) but go blacklighting for scorpions .. they light up crazy and its kinda fun when you find one (yea i know i am sick huh?) we find several in the house a month for a long time, but over the last year are finally getting them under control thanks to Thomas .. we only find 2-3 a year and we think it was because of the house being vacant for so long.

I wouldn’t stress about it … the bark ones down here are suppose to be the worse (most deadliest anyway for those allergic) but almost everyone in my family sans the kids have been stung and have lived to tell about it … I am actually kind of glad ive been stung so im not always worried about how bad its gonna be … it sucked and i dont ever want that again but i know what its like etc…

so blacklight the house tonight … under beds, in corners, in closets … they like to feel pressure on them so under stuff is where you will find them. if you have a block wall outside you can black light that too … we call those scorpion condo here and that is where most of them hang out … better on the wall outside than in my house right?

they sting from just the tail – in fact those crazy idiots at bulwark pick them up by the tail (not recommended)

small small small kids i would take to hospital but your kids just watch them … if they seem to have respitory problems then take them but not rush to hospital … cause most likely it will just hurt and they will be ok

the ones here usually i only see in groups of one …. so not sure how normal that is.

anyway … good luck and hope this helps.

-Mat

Sorry, the email was too good not to post.

Scorpion Stings and Young Children

Mat did hit on one point, children are at great risk. The smaller you are the more effect the venom will have. It’s a simple body mass equation. Not unlike alcohol, toxins in your body are metabolized based on your body mass. The larger you are the more your body can cope with toxins. As a general rule of thumb, children are more susceptible to any type of poison. So parents have a valid concern when it comes to scorpions stinging babies and/or young children.

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It’s been very interesting watching the Africanized Honeybee spread across the US. Every summer you will find public warnings going out in Phoenix and Las Vegas about this aggressive and potentially deadly bee. The following infographic gives the details in beautiful color. Note at the bottom the distance that these bees will travel to attack. In fact, one of the signs used to determine if you have an Africanized Bee problem is to see how far they will chase you.

Africanized Honeybee Infographic

As noted these Africanized Honeybees are moving north. They began in the southern states. Are now common in Phoenix, Austin, San Antonio, and Las Vegas. They are spreading a little more rapidly through Southern California and states the climates with milder winters, but they are still moving north.

If you do experience a bee problem then contact local exterminators or a bee removal company. Bee removal is often more costly, but instead of killing of the bee population the bees will be safely removed and relocated. Bee Exterminators on the other hand may simply exterminate the bees and their colonies. Due to the way bee’s carry pollen on their bodies, dust pesticides are very effective and quickly eliminate bee problems.

Side view of the africanized honey bee

Side view of the africanized honey bee (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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