According to PCT Online, the United States structural pest control industry is comprised of nearly 20,000 pest control firms. The professional pest control industry generated an estimated $8.971 billion in total service revenue in 2018, a 4.4 percent increase from the $8.597 billion measured in 2017, according to the latest report A Strategic Analysis of the U.S. Structural Pest Control Industry from Specialty Consultants.
The pest control industry like other home services had experienced a continuous growth curve leading to 2020. However, the pandemic in 2020 changed everything. The whole industry was forced to adapt to a new reality, where social distancing is the norm and where digital customer acquisition and engagement is the only way to survive.
In addition, the pandemic accelerated some of the impending changes specific to the industry. For example, attracting operator talent has always been a challenge and will continue to be in the future. Attracting and retaining new talent in the era of reduced physical presence requires innovative solutions. A technology that allows an experienced entomologist or technician to support various field operators through remote or virtual monitoring could help alleviate some of the pressure. Perhaps the biggest change comes from the new homeowner's demographics: Millennials. These new homeowners expect a mobile experience, instant service, and direct communication with their service providers. The industry as a whole is still dominated by call centers, in-person visits, and analog scheduling.
Services like pest control are diverse (rodents vs bedbugs), fragmented and personal. At the core of an effective service is the correct identification of the pest, f0llowed by a thorough remediation plan as well as identification of the source problem. Technology can help solve many of the issues facing the industry. The question is, who will come out a winner in this new race to satisfy these new types of consumers and thrive in this new reality?