Welcome to a topic that may make your skin crawl, but it's a crucial one: pest control in property management. For property managers, providing a pest-free environment is more than just a courtesy; it's a responsibility.
Why is pest control so important? It all comes back to the resident experience! Pests are not only a nuisance; they can contaminate food, ruin residents' belongings, spread diseases, and make your property unlivable.
In this article, we’ll delve deep into the world of pests, discussing their impact on your property and the lives of your residents. We'll explore practical strategies to control these unwelcome visitors and delve into the benefits of a preventive approach to pest management.
We’re doing it with the help of a pest control expert, Landon Cooley, the Co-Founder and CEO at Pest Share.
By the end of our conversation, you'll see that effective pest control is less of a bugbear (get it, “bug”?) and more of a necessity in providing a safe, comfortable home for your residents.
Let's get started, shall we?
Meet the Expert: Landon Cooley, Co-Founder & CEO at Pest Share
Cooley is a fourth-generation pest-control business owner and owns and operates a pest-control business in Idaho. In 2018, he started Pest Share with co-founders and business partners Justin and Tom Clements. Pest Share is a unique service targeted for single-family property management companies that streamlines pest control and takes the day-to-day work off PMCs plates.
“Our focus is providing excellent resident experiences and minimizing cost and effort for our clients, the property managers,” Cooley says. We gathered Cooley’s insights and expertise to contribute to this article. To learn more, check out Jordan Muela’s podcast episode featuring Cooley, “Creating a Vision with Landon Cooley.”
Pest Share is a part of Second Nature’s fully managed Resident Benefits Package (RBP).
Why Pest Control is Important
When we talk about property management, pest control isn't just an afterthought—it's a crucial component of providing a safe and comfortable living environment. Dealing with these “visitors” is important beyond just the ick factor.
“The pest control industry only serves 15% of US residents, and yet 86% of US residents have an experience of pest infestations every year,” Cooley says. “So there’s a big gap.”
Let's delve into some of the key reasons why pest control is so important.
Pests Contaminate Food
Many pests, such as cockroaches, ants, and rodents, are notorious for finding their way into food supplies. They can carry harmful bacteria and other pathogens, contaminating food and cooking surfaces. Mouse droppings, for example, can spread disease, in addition to just being…gross?
This can potentially lead to foodborne illnesses amongst residents, causing unnecessary discomfort and potential health issues.
Pests Destroy Property
Pests like termites and carpenter ants can cause costly damage to the property structure, eating away at wood and compromising the integrity of the building. Other pests may gnaw through electrical wiring or insulation, leading to costly repairs.
By maintaining consistent pest control measures, you can prevent such destruction and safeguard your property, making it a more secure and stable environment for your residents.
Pests Destroy Resident’s Belongings
Some common pests, like carpet beetles or silverfish, may seem small and harmless, but they can wreak havoc on a resident's personal belongings. These pests can destroy everything from clothing and books to upholstered furniture, causing financial stress and discomfort to your residents.
Pests Spread Diseases
Pests are known carriers of a variety of diseases and can be a public health risk. Rodents can spread hantavirus and salmonella, mosquitoes transmit West Nile virus and Zika virus, ticks carry Lyme disease, and fleas are known to carry several diseases or allergic reactions, to name a few. Roaches carry any number of bacteria and diseases.
Keeping these pests at bay is critical to maintaining the health and well-being of your residents.
Pests Make it Difficult to Live
Beyond physical health risks, pests can create an uncomfortable, even distressing, living environment. The presence of pests can lead to anxiety and sleep disturbances, negatively affecting residents' quality of life.
Pests like fleas and bedbugs cause physical discomfort if not outright health problems, and many pests like mites spread or trigger allergens.
In short, effective pest control is essential to maintain the integrity of your investors’ property assets, the health of your residents, and your reputation as a caring and responsible property manager.
How to Control Pests on Your Property
Of course, understanding the problem only gets us halfway (if even!) to solving it.
As property managers, the responsibility of dealing with pests falls squarely on your team’s shoulders. Great property management companies employ a strategic approach to integrated pest management, minimizing the possibility of pests – and dealing with them immediately when there is an issue.
Here are some of the top property management pest control trips we’ve culled from the industry.
Regularly inspecting your property or hiring a pest control company to monitor them can help identify potential pest issues early on. This proactive approach allows you to treat minor problems before they escalate into major pest infestations, saving time, money, and stress in the long run.
Taking immediate action at the first sign of a pest problem is crucial. Delays can allow the pest population to grow, making the issue more difficult and costly to handle.
A quick response to reported issues shows your residents that their comfort and safety are a priority and can often prevent minor issues from escalating into serious infestations. Whether you call an exterminator or handle it in-house, a swift response is key.
Educating tenants on proper food storage and waste disposal can drastically reduce the attractiveness of your property to pests. Regular communication about cleanliness and preventative measures empowers residents to contribute to a pest-free environment.
Professional Pest Control Services
Sometimes, professional intervention becomes necessary. Pest control services can effectively deal with large infestations, employing safe and targeted solutions. They can also provide expert advice on preventing future infestations.
When hiring a pest control company, Cooley says, it’s important to understand what types of specializations they offer.
“There are several different segments of the industry, and not all companies do everything,” he says. “Some do only residential insect control, or maybe rodent control. Some are very robust and specialize in all these areas. Every company is a little different.”
Landscaping and Exterior Maintenance
Maintaining the exterior of your properties is as crucial as looking after the interior. Regularly trim overgrown plants, manage water drainage effectively, and keep outdoor trash areas clean to deter pests.
Seal Entry Points
Prevent pests from entering by regularly checking for and sealing any potential entry points. This includes filling cracks, fixing broken screens, and covering crevices. Keeping your property in good repair helps make it less accessible to pests.
Proper Waste Management
Secure and timely waste disposal is key to pest prevention. Ensure that all trash bins are properly covered and regularly emptied to avoid attracting rodents, insects, and other pests.
Each of these methods contributes to effective pest control, helping to create a comfortable, pest-free environment for your residents.
Why Preventive Pest Control is a Good Strategy
The most important part of pest control? Prevention. There are so many reasons that a good preventive pest control strategy can pay off for your company, your investor, and your residents. It sets professional property managers apart from the crowd.
Here are some of the top reasons why preventive pest control works.
Cost-Effective in the Long Run
Investing in preventive pest control can save significant costs in the future. While there is an upfront cost, it's generally far less than the expense of handling large-scale infestations or property damage caused by pests.
Prevents Major Infestations
Pests have a way of multiplying exponentially. A preventative approach can nip potential critter nightmares in the bud. By treating small issues promptly, you prevent them from developing into major infestations that are difficult and costly to eradicate.
Enhances Resident Satisfaction
Preventive pest control contributes to a comfortable and healthy living environment. By keeping pests at bay, you increase resident satisfaction, which can lead to longer tenancy periods and positive word-of-mouth referrals.
Preserves Property Value
Pests can cause significant damage to the structure and aesthetics of your property. By preventing pest problems, you protect and preserve the value of your property. Property managers are, in the most foundational way, asset managers for their property investors. This is a critical way to protect those assets.
Reduces Health Risks
Many pests carry diseases that can pose health risks to your residents. A preventive approach to pest control helps maintain a healthier living environment by reducing these risks. It also protects you and your investor from liability associated with those health concerns.
Effective pest control is a key aspect of property management, and a preventative approach helps maintain a good reputation. It shows prospective and current residents that you are proactive and dedicated to providing a safe, comfortable living environment. Again, prevention sets you apart from hobbyists and amateur property managers.
How Much Does Pest Control Cost?
The last – and sometimes biggest – hurdle when it comes to pest control? Cost.
General pest treatment can cost hundreds of dollars per service. Here’s an average breakdown:
- Cockroach/flea treatment: $350-$750 per service
- Bed bug treatment (heat): $1500+ per service
- Bed bug treatment (chemical): $1000+ per service
- Rodent trapping service: $250+ per service
- Quarterly general insect service: $40-$50 per month
How can property managers find a cost-effective solution that drives value and comfort for their residents without breaking the bank?
This is the question that Landon Cooley found was nagging the property managers he met.
“We wondered: Can we take these specific pain points – bedbugs or cockroaches or fleas – and find a solution that we can build into our Resident Benefit Program?”
Pest Control Solutions for Property Managers
The Pest Share model is a subscription model that works like a co-op: everyone pitches in, and the collected funds go to the more expensive parts of the plan without burdening any one client with too much cost.
Property managers simply select the Pest Assurance plan from four tiers of service levels. They add that plan to their RBP or OBP and pay a flat rate for it, which they can also roll into their overall RBP ancillary fees. Their residents can then go directly to Pest Share on their mobile phones to get pest services for no cost.
“What we’re offering is unique, on-demand, and very tech-forward. Pet Share gives quick access to service but allows us to offer cheaper price points for the same end result,” Cooley explains. “Our approach is, 'How can we take this off the property manager’s plate?’ We aim to create ancillary revenue for them, take an annoying task off their list, and enhance the resident experience.”
The result? Pest Share has helped their property management clients increase their Benefit Package ROI by 75%.