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Acronyms make life simple, don’t they? Instead of saying, “I laughed out loud” or “I’m going self-contained underwater breathing apparatus diving,” we just shorten it to “LOL” or “I’m going scuba diving.”
So, why does the acronym for do-it-yourself, DIY, strike fear in the hearts of many pest management professionals (PMPs)? (There I go again.) Is it because we feel we should be the only people performing pest control activities? Are we fearful of losing revenue? Or in the bigger picture, do we worry about the harm the untrained are doing to themselves, the environment and the industry?
And what should be our response? Do we just ignore them, or do we do our best to try to give DIYers a better way — converting them from DIY to hiring a pro?
Those are a lot of questions and to be honest, the answers are not that glamorous.
I do a lot of DIY around my home, and I bet you do, too. I fix some plumbing, change my own oil, and the list goes on. However, when the task is too big for my skill set or requires tools I don’t have, I never hesitate to call a pro. In the long run, the job gets done. Even though I’m out the money, choosing a pro frees up my time so I can do whatever I wish, instead of toiling over something in which I’m not so well-versed. Time is extremely valuable to me, almost as much as saving money and just doing it myself. I suspect the same is true for the DIY crowd.
DIY pest control has been around a very long time, and I believe that’s not ever going to change. With YouTube, Google and endless online home improvement forums, DIY has never been more attractive. That said, pests have been around a lot longer, and the DIY onslaught really doesn’t seem to affect them. It has neither affected us nor those determined to do it themselves, in my humble opinion (IMHO), though your mileage may vary (YMMV). The cycle will continue.
So, why even try to convert those who will rarely ever benefit us anyway? Because for the thousands too stubborn to ever call, perhaps a few might decide to give professional service a chance? That seems like pretty steep odds for the effort and, for those converted, most revert back to their DIY mentality soon after the problem has been solved. That’s a lot of work for so little return. Now whose time has been wasted?
Time is your most precious gift and your worst enemy. With it, great strides are made. Once squandered, you can never get it back. Don’t waste it; the return on investment, or ROI, seldom justifies the time it takes to just change one mind.
Aaron Veal, ACE
In other words, IMHO, it seems like a waste of time. But YMMV.
Tips from the Pest Cemetery crew
“If DIYers ask, I’ll quote them and give them all the info I have. I won’t tell them how to DIY, though. I’ll inform them why their methods won’t work, and encourage them to try anyway. When they fail and come back, they are great customers because they see the value. However, if I identify them as one who will never call no matter what, I don’t waste my time. They are focused on chemical… I am focused on knowledge.”
— Aaron Veal, ACE, Owner, Phoenix Pest Control, Maryville, Tenn.
“Time is perhaps the most ignored factor in the decision to DIY. When we work, we look forward to our ‘free’ time. What does that really mean? How is it we call the most precious of time, free? Our time off easily is worth double our work time: We usually spend way more than double our wages on vacations. When we get older, we regret not having more time with our children, spouses and friends.”
— Brent Towle, Owner and Certified Master Technician, Spectrum Pest Control Eco-Tech, Kenosha, Wis.
*Headline translation: Here’s some good information about do-it-yourselfers, know what I mean?
SCHAPPERT is owner of The Bug Doctor, Ocala, Fla., and administrator for Facebook industry discussion group Pest Cemetery. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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