How to Balance Growth in a Pest Labor Shortage

Last week PCT hosted a webinar sponsored by Slingshot with industry growth experts Andrew Barrows, Chief Strategy Officer at Greenix and Scott Steckel, Director of Strategic Development at Plunkett’s Pest Control along with Chris Brasher, Chief Revenue Officer and Chief Marketing Officer at Slingshot, spoke to strategies to balance sales and service during the current labor crisis including:

  • Hard truths about the industry trends in the pest labor market
  • Growth plans that help balance increasing sales and quality service – ie., when to turn down work, how to keep current customers happy
  • Retention practices that are being used to keep talent
  • Other places where you could be optimizing labor efficiency

The webinar began with a poll question asking attendees if they had experienced a loss of sales due to the labor shortage to which 71% responded that they had. Nationally, 80% of companies have experienced a loss of sales as a result of the labor shortage.

Both Andrew and Scott spoke to the challenge of competing with unemployment benefits and how that resulted in many open positions or candidates not completing the interview process. However, now that economies are reopening and governments benefits have ceased, both employers are seeing improvements in job applicants and retention.

Chris noted that the increase in people voluntarily leaving their jobs in industries that compete with home services rose from 164K to 942K in June of this year. Scott also mentioned that with travel and healthcare costs decreasing during covid because of restrictions and now coming back into play, the effect on profit and loss will be significant.

The group discussed the impact of the following on pest control employers:

  • The 26% increase in the reservation wage (what would incentivize a worker to re-enter the labor force)
  • The regional and political effects on reopening and hiring
  • Rising healthcare costs
  • Continued effect of the Covid pandemic including health concerns, child care needs, etc.

Solutions to combating the effects of the labor shortage were also examined including:

  • Investing in technology
  • Creating a more diverse workforce
  • Revamping recruiting techniques
  • Incentive and retention bonuses

For more insights on the labor shortage solutions, watch the full webinar in the recording above.

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