By Pete Dame
In today’s marketplace, finding sources of additional revenue is becoming increasingly difficult. But professional cleaning and restoration companies have an existing source of new business they can to add to their service portfolio. In fact, your company may even have been contacted over the years about “getting rid of bed bugs” by some of your key customers. And some of you might have considered (and even researched) bed bug eradication.
Cleaning and restoration professionals have a unique position and advantage in getting into the bed bug eradication business. They already possess 80 percent of the equipment and infrastructure necessary to service this need. They have the trucks, fans, cordage, and staff already conducting personal services professionally to both the commercial and residential markets. Service agreements and liability clauses are already established and being honored. They also have an existing client base with a readily available referral network.
All cleaning and restoration pros lack is the proper heating equipment to conduct the necessary bed bug eradication process and the training for conducting this service properly and efficiently for their current clientele. Training in how to identify infestations, ascertain power availability, and properly apply heat is not as complex as one would assume. In fact, oftentimes properly cleaning certain carpet stains requires more knowledge and expertise.
The bed bug eradication process
Heat has been proven to be the most efficient and safest means to kill bed bugs in all stages of their development and harborages.1 By using heat as your tool and methodology to kill bed bugs, you can avoid the use of chemicals and problematic compounds that complicate the process and increase liabilities. Additionally, many strains of bed bugs are now immune to the typical chemicals, and others have grown thicker cuticles that prohibit the penetration of compounds to kill them.2, 3, 4 Heat works in a very simple, efficient, and effective manner and takes fewer visits to complete.5
Scientific studies indicate that a temperature of 119°F to 121°F (48.3°C to 49.4°C) kills bed bugs in all of its stages. Sustaining temperatures at or above that threshold for several hours assures that the heat penetrates the typical hiding places favored by the bugs; headboards, mattresses, picture frames, baseboards, nightstands and any furniture adjacent to the beds or chairs where humans spend large amounts of time.
Heated airflow is the key element in killing bugs effectively using heat. Specifically, the “convection effect,” which is like cooking a turkey in a convection oven versus a conventional oven. The heated airflow penetrates the room and its contents to effectively kill all stages of bed bug life.
Pest control companies are required to be licensed due to the application and use of chemicals. Annual re-certification is often required on certain toxic chemicals. Typically, licensing is not necessary for heat treatments, however you should check with your state to be sure (You can check HERE.)
By already having an established business, adding a bed bug eradication service is much simpler than starting from scratch. Anticipated revenue from conducting eradications can vary based on the types of facilities you want to service as well as the room size, level of infestation, and physical construction relative to heat loss.
There are several ways to bill for the service. One manner is by individual eradication based on the above elements. This pricing strategy would produce revenue in the $300-$600 range, versus $500-$1,000 for chemical applications. However, since for current clients you can adjust and customize per account based on your relationships. Another means is to add bed bug eradication services to your existing cleaning service contracts to be included in recurring monthly revenue. These services could be scaled to each client as necessary to meet their needs.
You likely have a pool of potential business that you may find receptive and interested in a discreet, efficient, and packaged approach to helping them resolve bed bug issues. Bed bugs are here to stay, and anyone and any facility can be affected. Having the additional ability to offer this service increases your value to the client while generating additional income.
Pete Dame is vice president of sales and marketing for Colorado Tri-Flo, an American manufacturer of a patented, ETL-listed line of bed bug heaters called the Eradi-Flo. Visit www.tri-flo.com for more information.