Is the customer going to get less value for money in future

Howard | 17 May 2016

I am getting increasingly concerned that the ways in which our businesses operate may be being changed by forces beyond our control leading to lower quality pest control in future.

 

The classic small business model.

Pest control business advertises for local work via print, google, twitter, facebook, online directories etc etc. Customer rings and a price is agreed. Pest control company does a job and gets paid. Advantages: 100% of profit is kept by the business.

The correct number of visits are quoted.

You are already the customers choice of supplier

 

Disadvantages: Time effort and money spent in advertising and marketting

 

The insurance model.

An insurance company offers a product to the householder. When a pest problem occurs they use a pest control company to do the work.

 

Advantages, We do not need to advertise

 

Disadvantages : Lower price for us usually

Insurance company can swap provider at short notice

Slow payment

 

 

The “Emergency” response model.

A company, typically from the double glazing or plumbing industry, offers pest control as one of its services.

 

Advantages: We do not need to spend on advertising

 

Disadvantages : The call centre charges the customer as much again on top of the pest control cost without informing them.

 

We have little or no control over pricing. Jobs are often sold as 2 treatments only which can be very difficult to keep to as there is a legal requirement to remove all baits at end of treatment.

Direct contact with customer is controlled by a call centre with untrained staff.

Customer may be given unrealistic expectations or simply lied to .We had to pull out of working for one such company when they kept claiming that our wives were ill, or that we had crashed, to explain the difference between their quoted arrival time and our availability, as they did not check availability before agreeing a time with the customer)

 

Slow or no payment

 

The comparison website model.

Advantage: no need to advertise.

 

Disadvantages : Customer may pay hidden charges imposed by website but believe they are going to us. This makes us seem more expensive than we are.

 

 

Price beats service every time as very little information for customer to make an informed choice.

 

Lower profits and high risk of small, professional, companies being squeezed out by non VAT registered “one man bands” or very large organisations.

 

 

The lead generation model.

 

A call center sets up and charges you for each enquiry it sends to you. Each enquiry is also sent to a number of your competitors so it becomes a race to ring the customer first. You pay for the enquiry regardless of whether you get the work.

 

Disadvantages : Extra charges that would inevitably lead to higher costs for the customer, who conversly believes that they are getting a better value for money service.

 

 

The major risks to our professional image

 

Enquiries are dealt with by untrained staff who are targetted on jobs won not solutions achieved.

 

Customers given the strong impression that “all pest control companies are equal”

 

Any of the above models can chose to use a different company overnight leading to a dramatic fall in income.

 

My questions are, Do we have any choice in this matter ? Can we influence these models ? Should the BPCA set up a competing model and how would this be paid for?

Will customers get a lower standard of service or just a more expensive one ?

And finally

Is it just me that is concerned ?

 

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