The PestWeb Podcast episode 5: How to grow your business with turf and ornamental services
Businesses across the country are seeing major growth by adding turf and ornamental services to their routes. In this episode of the PestWeb Podcast, Veseris industry specialist Bert Lopez breaks down the basics of this booming market.
Bert brings deep-rooted experience as a pest control adviser, Board Certified Entomologist, ISA Certified Arborist, and Qualified Applicator License holder. Listen to his tips for pivoting business, training techs, and upselling to customers by clicking the audio player below.
“Turf and ornamental” describes specialty services for managing pests that damage trees, shrubs, and turf. Ornamental pest management typically falls into five segments: landscaping, municipalities, sports, golf, and school districts.
Each segment requires different applications and materials, which typically include insecticides, herbicides, fungicides, plant growth regulators, and fertilizers.
The two services are similar in their approaches. Both require technicians to familiarize themselves with basic applications, products, pests, and pest-related damage.
In many cases, technicians have already identified areas that could benefit from turf and ornamental services, which can be provided on a similar monthly cadence. Most structural pest control businesses find that they are a natural fit for their existing offerings.
In California, where Bert is based, some landscape companies are growing 10 to 20 percent per year. Many are subcontracting additional PMPs for help keeping up with booming demand.
As more homeowners and municipalities look to PMPs to provide plant care, Bert expects the industry’s growth to only increase in the coming years.
Saul Nunez initially began ZZ Fly Pest Control as a primarily pest-control focused business before adding termite, then ornamental services.
Saul entered the market simply asking his existing customers if they would like ornamental service support. When many said yes, he introduced the services as a seasonal offering to boost business during slower months.
Noticing year-over-year growth, Saul began to expand the services across more customers and PMPs. His team saw ornamental services as an opportunity to bulk up their existing pest control routes.
Today, Saul has earned enough business to hire a dedicated turf and ornamental technician. With 30 percent of its business coming from ornamental jobs, ZZ Fly Pest Control continues to grow the service both as an add-on and stand-alone offering. Most recently, the business has begun working with municipalities to treat baseball fields.
Make sure you and your team have a passion for learning. Turf and ornamental specialists are required to pass certifications in pest management, plant pathology, and agronomy.
Start with the basics — many businesses begin with simple services such as contact and preventative weed control, systemic insect control for plants and trees, and basic fertilization of turf and shrubs.
Encourage your team members to familiarize themselves with the proper labels and equipment. Most suppliers provide training in the form of DVDs and other product information.
Be proactive – most of the basics can also be found with a quick search online. You can also directly contact manufacturer reps. And as always, PestWeb, ProTraining, and your Veseris rep are excellent sources for expert guidance in growing your business.
Upselling can also start as simply as paying attention to your existing customers’ surroundings. They may already have a landscaper — but not one who provides pest control services.
Point out issues you notice, and help your customers see what problems might arise in the future. This will help them understand the value of preventative services for issues like weeds and infestations.
One of Bert’s Veseris customers saw success by distributing an online flier for mosquito, aphid, and white fly services in January. By promoting preventative services, the technicians were able to provide additional treatments while they were already on site at customers’ residences.
You can also join local landscape or turf associations to find opportunities specific to your area.
Bert has seen California-based businesses promote their new offerings on their billing statements, trucks, and door-to-door fliers.
As always, emails and word-of-mouth recommendations go a long way — some business owners are expanding their reach by joining local social media groups.
Click here to listen to more episodes of the PestWeb Podcast.