Starting Out In Pest Control

How I Got Started In Pest Control

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Getting started in pest control

At 14 years of age, I was collecting stag beetles with a friend near my school in Colchester when a local resident came over to ask what we were up to. He explained that he knew of a man who also collected them and he might be prepared to pay for them.

We were stunned, but walked a few minutes down the road and knocked at the door of an unassuming bungalow. An elderly lady greeted us and directed us to the garage where I was introduced to Jon Young, local entomologist and moth expert.

Walking into the garage was like walking into an Aladdin's cave of bugs. I was in awe at what was before me. Moths, breeding cages and set insects of all kinds.

Up until that point, I had never considered that anyone could make a living from bugs.

Over the coming months I spent lots of time with Jon, and he even took me out with him to an army training ground called Friday woods. We would get there about 10pm and set up the moth trap (a piece of wood with a huge bulb on the top) attach it to the choke and generator and place it large white cotton sheets. Within minutes it would be raining moths and all manner of other insects. It was incredible.

A year later and Jon moved to the coast far away from where I was living. He did, however, help my parents get hold of my very own moth trap. It was like Christmas, coming down each morning to see what was hidden inside the trap.

After leaving school early, (15 years old ) to pursue a career in retail, I took my first set stag beetle specimens to an entomological fair in Edmonton, North London. I made £60.00. Not bad for a haul of beetles, and I spent it on lots of new kit - oh, and a Tarantula, called Percy! My mum was not impressed.

Even at 15 I was pretty sharp with my identification skills. I watched a TV show about rogue traders. They were looking at pest controllers and had a beetle for the dodgy operators to identify. None of them knew what it was - neither did the expert! I knew exactly what it was and screamed at the TV "he's wrong, he's wrong!" That was a good feeling.

It wasn't  until I was 20 That my path crossed with a local pest control contractor sorting out a wasp nest for a friend. This was my first introduction to pest control, and it didn't exactly set off any fireworks. 

Later in life I trained as a teacher and lectured at a local college teaching environmental health and safety related subjects. When the government pulled funding on the courses I was teaching, My wife and I decided it was time to do something we both enjoyed. So I decided to study pest control and she trained as a florist.

I went into the industry with masses of knowledge and a passion for the subject. I had absolutely no experience though. With a young family to support I couldn't afford to work for a company so decided to get qualified, buy my own kit and just get out there and do it. Yes, I made some spectacular mistakes but nothing I couldn't resolve.

The first five years were very hard. With no business experience, it was a steep learning curve. I tried linking up with other pest controllers and found myself in an industry that was not pleased to see me!

I wasted 15k on useless advertising which made me question myself and motivated me to go back to school on "myself".

It was lonely, and at times soul destroying, but I persevered and started studying digital marketing. Digital Marketing transformed my fortunes. Social media gave me a voice and opened up a vast community of pest control professionals happy to help with advice and share what works.

The future of pest control is in divergence. Traditional pest control businesses need to branch out into new areas such as construction and hygiene to survive. Market leaders are already doing just that.

So is pest control a good career choice? Well yes, but you need to be prepared to think and learn outside the sphere of pest control.

Good Luck!

Bristol Pest Control