Robert's Rants
Robert's Rants
A personal blog on the Canadian pesticide industry and other pet peeves and interests

Changing Your Customers’ Expectations…there is no “Silver Bullet”

I had a new customer in last week, a start up company actually, that was facing a tough problem with a roach cleanout.  Huge populations.

The property manager wanted them gone…now (the roaches, not the PCO’s).   A simple matter of coming in and spraying and killing everything! Sure…


So here’s the situation:

Apartment building with about 20 units, major problem in the garbage room of course.  Germans, no Orientals (c’mon I’m talking roaches, not being culturally ignorant).

Years of grease and gunk.  Walls cracked.  Multiple vents, pipes and utilities providing openings in and out,  and blind entry points to who knows where.

Old dumpsters, bad service.

Bags torn and stacked, or just thrown in the corner.

Luckily no garbage chutes to throw in the mix.

This customer, for whatever reasons, still believed that pest control is a matter of spraying, dusting, fogging with some miracle cure (As Seen on TV) that will alleviate the immediate problem.

But also keep it from occurring again…forever.

But we all know differently…there is no simple, single solution.  We just don’t have those types of products (and seriously really never did)  that act as a one-time do-all fix.

So the obvious…and most of you reading know this…

The problem here boiled down to the same problem I’ve dealt with on 90% of my recommendations…and on just about every insect pest going.


Shelter (habitat)

Water (moisture) – most, not all

That should be the first thing you point out to your customer, and drill it into their insect infested brains, that unless they change those 3 factors, they can forget about their expectations of being insect free.  And to change those factors takes time or money or both.

Holds true for Pharoah Ants, Carpenter Ants, cockroaches….BED BUGS!

Even holds true for Mother-in-Laws, adult children returning home, wayward cousins and your daughter’s newest boyfriend.

If your gonna feed them steak frites, install a 65” flat screen TV and a beer fridge, then provide for all their creature comforts, why would they ever leave?

And in this case, the new PCO nailed it right on the head…

There was no way they could alleviate the problem, up to the customer’s expectation level, without either changing that expectation…

Or providing a more involved…and costly….solution.

The solution?

Get rid of all the loose garbage.

Get new dumpsters or clean the old ones.

Steam off the grease and grime.

Dust or fog (aerosols in some areas, Actisol in others), then seal all crack and crevices.

Fix the leaky pipes, and door seals.

And in this case they re-painted all surfaces after sealing.

Then an application of Demand CS or Dragnet, which will be followed up in 3 weeks with a baiting program.

End result…better control.  Still not perfect, but close.

So the simple lesson here…the customer expected more than could be delivered, but at the price they were willing to pay.

Wasn’t going to happen.  No way, nada, zippo…

Here’s the real Expectation:

If you don’t eliminate Food, Water and Shelter…you can EXPECT the problem never be solved.


But you need to be up front with your customers, find out what they expect, and then let them know what it will take to meet those customer needs.  Either more time or money or both.

Now getting your customers to pay for the extra service….that’s your problem!