Professional Pest Controller Magazine Issue 98

27 February 2020

Ask the members March 2020

Your association | PPC98 March 2020

Technical and Compliance Officer, Natalie Bungay spent 2019 travelling all over the country talking to BPCA members.

As well as answering hundreds of technical questions, she decided to turn the table and ask members what they thought about the sector.

She summarises the common answers here.


Why did you join BPCA?

Membership of an association seems to be a high priority of many pest professionals.

One member said, “Because that’s what a professional company should do to stay up-to-date, get support and be seen by our customers to be professional and trustworthy.”

I think this statement captures the general overview of what everyone said. Membership of a professional association should not be seen as simply a logo to pass pre-qualification tenders.

Speaking for BPCA, we offer so many different benefits from technical support (email, phone and onsite) to free CHAS accreditation.

We guide you and help you to achieve CPD, which is an absolute necessity when it comes to being professional. If we want to be called ‘professional’ then why on earth would we not want to be expected to do CPD?

Just remember to use all of the membership benefits you have!

What challenges do you face as a small or medium-sized company?

There was no quick answer to this question, as you can imagine.

For some CPD was a worry. If a company had employees, then that employer struggles to ensure they were all staying up-to-date.

Another challenge mentioned a lot was from sole traders who were looking to employ their first staff member.

One member said, “Expanding in terms of staff is not only a challenge but also a worry. It keeps me awake at night.

"It’s profitable when I am on my own, but I can’t take on any more work, and I want to – employing zaps my bottom line, and then I am paddling against the tide again, almost like I am at the very beginning again!

"But I accept that that is part of business owners regardless of trade and it is a challenge every business has when starting up and intending to grow!”

Expanding in terms of staff is not only a challenge but also a worry. It keeps me awake at night.

Other everyday worries and challenges were:

  • Little time to unwind with the family
  • A lack of holidays
  • Finding the right staff
  • Keeping up-to-date with legislation
  • Customer satisfaction.

What are your thoughts on where the industry is today?

Many felt that, in the last ten years, the industry has gone from seeing very little change to being bombarded with legislation change, professional standards increasing, products being withdrawn and practises being redefined.

This has caused some anxiety amongst the longer serving pest professionals, but the final opinion seemed always to be positive.

I heard statements like, “These changes do help to draw a clearer line between the professionals and the cowboys.”

It seems that, with the pros of getting onboard with qualifications and CPD, customers finally have higher expectations of us.

These things help to widen the gap. Cowboys shouldn’t cut it in the 21st century.

One member said, “it is sad to see deceitful and bad pest control as customers suffer, which is hard to see and you feel empathy for them. This bad practice also gives us all a bad name.”

Some other common thoughts were:

  • Licensing would be the next big step towards a better, more professional industry
  • Guidance for different pest management practices can be contradictory
  • Would we be ready as a sector if we potentially lost rodenticides?

Final thoughts

It’s the start of a new decade, and we can all expect to see changes in products, legislation and generally, how we function as a professional in the 21st century.

Being prepared, prioritising your learning and networking can help you deal with any changes in the way you do pest management.

My advice is: ask, seek and find answers to your questions. Get involved and keep giving your customers the best you can give!

What do you think the next decade will look like? Let us know.

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