Starting any business can be a daunting task, but for those wanting to run their own company and be their own boss, starting up a pest control business can be a great opportunity. With the right knowledge and a dash of confidence, running a pest control service can be a rewarding challenge and with pests becoming a more frequent issue, it can prove to be a meaningful and sustainable business opportunity. From whether it’s a good business for you, to how to get started, here is our guide to starting up your pest control business.
Is Pest Control a Good Business To Start?
Here in the UK, pest infestations are a common issue that businesses and residential properties face often on an annual basis when left unchecked. With the industry expected to reach £714.7 million by the end of 2022, seeing an annual growth rate of 5.9%, there’s no doubting that this is a market worth a dive into. However, while the market is certainly there for pest control, it’s worth being aware that it’s an industry already saturated with large chains such as Rentokil and Pestforce – running your own business will require plenty of planning, preparation and market research in order to establish a strong position in the industry. So, where do you start?
How Do I Get Started?
Getting started with your pest control business is all about preparation and understanding the steps you need to take to legally and efficiently start up. From putting together a business plan with realistic costs to registering with the government, to getting the right insurance policy, here’s what you need to do:
First things first, you need to put together a comprehensive business plan so you can hit the ground running with a clear path to follow. A business plan can include anything from the logistics of where you’re based and the services that you’ll offer, to the employees you’ll need to hire, the type of company you want to be and the funding you’re planning to use. Some things you should include in your initial business plans include:
- Services – What services will you provide? Will you focus on a few different types of pests, or do you want to offer a wide range of options?
- Company Type – Will your company be a limited company? How about a sole trader or partnership? There are a number of options, and you should consider each as to which will work best for you.
- Name – The name of your business is often the first thing your clients will ever see or learn, so it’s important to pick a good one. It will also be the name you register with Companies House if you create a limited company.
- Goals – Having initial goals will give you something to work towards in your first months or years. You could opt for financial goals, customer goals, training goals or even learning goals – whatever you choose, you can use this as a measurement of success in the first years, providing you are realistic with the goals that you set.
- Finances and Funding – How is your business going to be funded? Do you have sufficient start-up funds or will you need to find loans and other funding options?
- Marketing – What marketing are you planning to run? You need to get your name out there for customers to find you, but budget can often dictate the amount or type of marketing you can do. If you can’t afford to make thousands of leaflets, social media and word of mouth are free options that can be incredibly effective if done correctly.
Insurance is important for any business, new or established and your pest control business will be no exception. When working with pests and various creatures within commercial or residential properties, there are a number of risks that you’ll need to assess and manage but even with plenty of preparation, accidents still happen. As a business owner, you’ll need to make sure you have Employer’s Liability Insurance for any employees that you have, and it’s highly advised that you have a public liability policy in place. Public Liability Insurance for Pest Control businesses covers you in the case of claims made against your business for public injury or illness as a result of your works. This could include something as simple as tripping over your equipment, to hefty vet bills if household pets get into your chemicals. This policy will keep you protected financially against compensation claims and legal fees.
There is technically no licence needed to start your own pest control business, however, you may need to consider permits from Natural England or the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DAFRA) if you hope to work with protected species in the UK. If you’re only planning to remove standard pests like rats, bugs and roaches, you likely won’t need these permits, however certain species do require specific permits and training. These could include:
- General Licence – This is needed for work with protected species that is considered low risk for their conservation or welfare.
- Class Licence – This is needed for situations where more specific skills or experience are needed to avoid risk to protected species. You can see a full list of activities under this licence on the UK Government website.
- Individual Licence – This licence is required for activities that aren’t covered by the above two when working with protected species. This includes disturbing, trapping or handling species or their habitats. Included species with individual licences include badgers, bats, deer, dormice, non-native species, otters, reptiles, certain plants, wild birds and more.
- Organisational Licence – If you conduct routine activity that may affect one or more protected species, an organisational licence may mean you aren’t required to apply for individual licences for each species or each time you carry out the activity.
You can see more about these licences and their requirements on the UK Government website.
To start a pest control business, you’re going to need some equipment. While your training will likely give you a better understanding of the tools required to do the job, having a checklist so you can keep on top of stock in your first months is undoubtedly a great way to stay organised. Common equipment you’ll need to budget for include:
- PPE such as long trousers and shirts, chemical-resistant gloves, sturdy footwear, respirators and aprons
- Chemicals and repellents, including pesticides and ultrasonic pest repellents. The exact type needed will depend on the pests you are dealing with.
- Chemical Sprayers – the exact type will depend on the pests you’re dealing with
- Various tools for pest removal, including baits, traps, cages and sealers for any holes left by pests.
- Good quality ladders
- Endoscopes for hard-to-see/reach areas
- A work vehicle that can be securely locked to protect equipment and chemicals
- Any other miscellaneous tools, including torches, lamps, screwdrivers, drills and more.
Whether you’re already well trained in pest control or you need to embark on training schemes in order to get yourself up to speed with the latest in pest control techniques and technology, having regular training in place will ensure you and your employees are always ahead of the game. It’s also worth noting that the pest control industry is highly regulated, so having a knowledge of pest control, as well as the licences and regulations surrounding this in the UK is a must. The BPCA (British Pest Control Association) suggests and runs the following as good training courses to complete:
- General Pest Control (GPC) – Level 2 Pest Management
- Foundation Certificate in Pest Management
- Practical Vertebrate Trapping
- Using Rodenticides Safely
- Starting and Managing Your Own Pest Management Business
- Sales Skills
If you’re thinking of starting up your own pest control business and are in need of insurance, Ashburnham Insurance are on hand to help. Simply get in touch for more information or apply for your bespoke quote on freephone 0800 1696137.