How Our Pest Control Business Software Is Different

ServiceTitan November 12th, 2020
Listen to this article

Whether they’re calling about termites, wasps, roaches, mice, or some other kind of critter, pest control customers virtually all have one thing in common — to them, their pest problem is an emergency that needs to be handled immediately.

Increasingly, though, many of the pest control business owners we talk to find that their shops don’t seem to be running as efficiently as they could be. As a result, their techs have trouble maximizing the number of home visits they’re able to make each day. And they end up losing business because of it — customers want their pest problem solved yesterday, not tomorrow — reducing their market share and ultimately their bottom line.    

Often in these situations, the trouble is the way contractors have always run their companies simply isn’t keeping pace with the pest control industry. More and more, their competitors are leaving behind pen-and-paper work orders and invoicing, spreadsheets, filing cabinets, and answering services in favor of a paperless pest control software solution that they use to streamline their job management to serve as many customers as possible. 

Without a software tool in their arsenal, it’s getting tough for contractors to compete. In this article, we’ll discuss what a pest control software is (ie. what you should expect it to do). And then we’ll explain the ways in which ServiceTitan is different from other options on the market.

What Is Pest Control Business Software?

Fundamentally, pest control business software provides a platform to make the most essential elements of a service business — dispatching, scheduling, call booking, and logging job history — faster, easier, and more cost-effective. Pest control scheduling software alone tends to offer business owners a big leg up on competitors who stick to the traditional way of doing things. 

But there’s a big range in software solutions for field service businesses like pest control, and some offer far more than the basics. By using one of the best pest control software tools, like ServiceTitan, contractors can seamlessly integrate virtually every element of their operation so that they work together as an efficient machine — rather than a collection of loosely connected parts. 

In addition to the basics we mentioned, ServiceTitan excels at:

  • Managing recurring services 

  • Keeping track of employee performance

  • Analyzing and attributing marketing effectiveness

  • Facilitating accounting and financing

Below, we’ll dig into how these features work in ServiceTitan, and how they fit together to streamline your operations.

Want to see ServiceTitan in action? Schedule a call with us to learn more about how our software can help you grow your business.    

The Key Features to Look for When Choosing Pest Control Business Software

1. Call Booking and Dispatching

For obvious reasons, call booking and dispatching are functions common to virtually every field service software platform on the market. It would be very difficult, after all, for a pest control contractor to survive without them.

But there are big differences in execution.

Simply reducing the role of pen and paper in the equation of project management can be a huge help to business owners, cutting down the incidence of lost or messy paperwork that can result in major negatives:

  • Unprofessional presentation

  • Missed appointments

  • Lagging bill collections 

  • A chaotic back office

  • Lost business and revenue

But to give them the kind of flexibility, speed, and accuracy that’s going to allow them to supercharge their efficiency — while growing their business and increasing their market share — pest control contractors need a software solution that enables real-time connectivity between techs, customer service reps, managers, and homeowners.

As such, without strong mobile capabilities, what a field service software tool can bring to the table is going to be limited. That’s why, when shopping for pest control business software, it’s essential to zero in on the options that offer the most robust mobile application capabilities.  

Of course, an iOS mobile app is only as good as the features it provides access to. And with ServiceTitan, contractors and their employees can connect with a rich menu of Call Booking and Dispatch functions, allowing service techs to get the most out of every hour of their work day. 

From the software’s Calendar view, business owners — and/or customer service reps — can use tags to color-code jobs as a function of materials required, degree of difficulty, time involved, or whatever designation provides the most utility to a given shop. 

Many ServiceTitan users find that using this highly customizable system ensures that their techs are allotted the appropriate amount of time for each call, and that they show up with the proper equipment in hand, allowing them to complete work efficiently and move on to their next assignment. (The software is also great for inventory management, helping small businesses make sure they have everything they need to service customers on hand at all times.)

Dealing with Changes on the Fly         

Naturally, things don’t always go as planned. Sometimes a job takes much more or much less time than anticipated. Or a new, urgent call comes in that requires an existing one to be postponed. (Some pest management emergencies are objectively more emergent than others — rats in the nursery, say, versus ants in the kitchen.) 

That’s why our software provides dispatchers with real-time visibility of each tech’s progress in their current job cycle. It’s a time-tracking feature that gives contractors the flexibility to fluidly assign and reassign techs over the course of a given day as variables emerge and the unexpected occurs, allowing them to keep customers satisfied while meeting business needs.

Similarly, many pest control contractors like to use ServiceTitan’s customizable Alert feature to keep customers optimally informed about the details and status of their appointments — as well as to limit the amount of time techs waste on no-show visits. 

Ahead of an appointment, ServiceTitan will text each customer with a reminder, providing a narrow, accurate ETA in real time. They can even use GPS tracking to monitor their tech’s arrival. In addition to encouraging homeowners to actually be present, these alerts also limit their stress by ensuring that they haven’t grown frustrated by a long wait by the time a tech arrives for a field service call.

Customer appointment alerts also contribute to improving overall customer management in a way that can drastically enhance brand value. Many pest control contractors now include a photo of the assigned tech, along with a brief bio and some fun facts about them. That way, homeowners tend to already feel friendly toward them when they get there.

ServiceTitan’s scheduling features make keeping track of and managing services vastly easier. With all of their customers’ service plans stored in the same database as their day-to-day bookings, it’s a snap for CSRs to integrate one-off calls with long term plans for things like termite prevention and monthly or quarterly roach spraying, reducing the chances that prepaid visits go unscheduled and business gets lost.  

Call booking and dispatching are two sides of the same coin, so we designed ServiceTitan’s Dispatch features to complement and build upon the software’s scheduling capabilities. 

Using a tablet, iPhone, Android, or other smartphone, techs out in the field get access to a bounty of customer information: service history, outstanding service requests — and, in the event they exist, past complaints. 

They can even listen to homeowner’s calls with their CSRs, to become well educated about the specs of each job before they get to the front door. Once they’re inside, having that background enables them to perform at the highest standard, work as quickly as possible, and move on to the next job.

Business owners also value our call-recording function as a way of keeping tabs on exactly what’s going on in their shop. They can use it to verify that their CSRs are adhering to their internal guidelines for communication with customers, as well as arming themselves with the facts (should a dispute with a homeowner arise).     

2. Marketing

Given that many of their services are relatively low-ticket items, making sure that marketing investments are effective is an especially urgent concern for owners of pest control companies. This is especially true in light of the fact that it’s a business in which brand value is of paramount importance: customers with a pest control emergency — and, again, it’s always an emergency — want to be confident that the first company they hire to do the job is going to get it right, and fast. At the same time, contractors can give themselves a huge advantage by deploying effective, targeted marketing campaigns, often linked to seasonal pest problems.

All of which is to say that pest control contractors who don’t have a system in place to track their marketing efforts — a complex, variable, vital aspect of their operation — put themselves at a major disadvantage. Fortunately, it’s an area where mobile field service management software like ServiceTitan can provide enormous benefits.

Despite spending big on marketing, many service companies, including pest control contractors, often don’t have much of a bead on the impact of their campaigns. Truly, this is no real fault of their own. Flyers, Google, Facebook, billboards: with multiple ads running in various places at any given time, and calls coming in all the while, it’s tough to track where leads come from and which of them end up actually generating business.

Many business owners just hope for the best, meaning they don’t have a good sense of where their investments are paying off — and where they’re not.

It’s no secret that a variety of marketing tools currently on the market do a pretty good job of showing business owners which of their marketing campaigns are creating leads. But leads and business are not the same thing. It’s the latter that means the most. So at ServiceTitan, we’ve created a Marketing Scorecard, which provides users with a view of all their campaigns ranked according to the revenue they generate.

By zooming in on a given campaign, pest control contractors get even more granular detail: invaluable data about the precise kinds of jobs they’re getting for their investment. Another marketing tool, which we call our heat map, shows the geographical areas where marketing efforts are generating the most business, and how much of it. Drawing on this data, contractors can use our software to create fresh campaigns that can be assigned to customers on the basis of location, previous work, existing or past recurring service memberships, or time of year — termite treatment ads in the spring, for example, or mouse-proofing messaging as the weather turns cold.

As a whole, these features will provide pest control contractors with a rich, detailed picture of their ROI for marketing spend, showing them where it might be advisable to scale back expenditures and where to double down to elevate awareness of their brand and generate more of the kinds of work that will ultimately add the most to their bottom line.                 

3. Financing and Accounting   

Without the ability to painlessly integrate these essential components of business into their overall operations, contractors are likely to find themselves hobbled by inefficiencies and therefore working at less than optimal capacity — particularly as their business grows. In this section, we’ll review some key financing and accounting considerations.

Financing

When we talk about financing options in this context, we’re referring to the ability to link homeowners with the financing they might need (or want) to cover the cost of a service. This is one area where the differences between field service software solutions is pretty cut and dry — either they have financing features well integrated into their platform, or they don’t. (Some FSMs that claim to offer integrated financing actually feature an add-on, which tends not to work as well.)  

With ServiceTitan, contractors can enable their techs to offer financing to customers right in their homes. Using a mobile device, homeowners can apply for financing directly through the ServiceTitan app, and learn almost immediately whether they qualify — without ever having to call their bank or verify their credit lines. 

Our financing features allow for contracts to get signed as quickly as possible, cutting down on the lag time that can cause customers to second guess their decisions and decide against a purchase.

Submitting a loan application is a matter of a few drag-and-drops on an iPad. And the leading field service apps, like ServiceTitan, are set up for user-friendly credit card payments made via mobile device in real-time — while the tech is still on the premises. 

ServiceTitan’s financing is by no means one-size-fits-all. Users can select from a variety of plans to offer their customers, choosing only those options that make sense for their business model. By customizing their financing offerings, pest control contractors can be sure that they get paid on a workable schedule, and that they don’t get stuck having to follow the requirements of a financing agreement that they’re not wild about.

Accounting

Accounting, too, is a feature that may or may not be integrated into pest control business software. But in our view, the right approach is less clear cut than in the case of financing.

It’s true that by using an FSM that includes integrated, all-in-one accounting features, contractors might seem to give themselves one less distinct worry to address. But a software solution with integrated accounting can also lead to errors — and ultimately complications, like audits, in the future.

At ServiceTitan, we decided that for accounting expertise, our users are best left in the care of experts. With our QuickBooks integration, which is a breeze to use, if at some point a contractor wants to sell their company or has to tangle with the IRS, they’re assured that their books are immaculate. 

A major reason for this is that unlike some FSMs that handle accounting in-house, QuickBooks uses generally accepted accounting principles. That means any accountant reviewing the records of a ServiceTitan user will have no problem making sense of them, ensuring smooth sailing through most any transaction or accounting review that might come up.              

4. Tracking Employee Performance

Many pest control contractors start thinking about adding a field service software solution to their toolbelt as part of an overall growth strategy. And they’re wise to do so! But with growth comes more employees, and having more trucks on the road often means that keeping track of them becomes more challenging. 

We wrote above about how a software platform like ServiceTitan can help contractors optimize their call booking and dispatching procedures, but the same spreadsheets and whiteboards that struggle to keep up with the scheduling needs of a modern, growing business aren’t much better at helping business owners track their employees’ performance. 

So when it comes to long-term planning, robust employee performance-tracking capability is yet another important item for pest control contractors to keep in mind when they’re considering FSM options for their business. 

ServiceTitan offers a suite of tools that allows contractors to track, analyze and improve the performance of both field technicians and office employees. To take one prominent example, with our field reporting dashboard, business owners and managers get visibility into what each service tech is doing in real-time over the course of the workday, allowing them to track revenue generation, sales of recurring services, homes visited per day, and more. 

Similarly, ServiceTitan’s CSR scorecard provides contractors with the ability to listen to a recording of each and every incoming call, compare the rate at which different customer service reps convert leads, and see who’s working through incoming calls the most and least efficiently. 

Using these and other reporting tools, contractors can gain once-elusive insights about what’s going on at their shop day to day and even moment to moment, providing them with a previously unavailable depth of understanding about their business.               

Choosing the Pest Control Business Software That’s Right for You

As with any business investment, cost tends to be a major factor for pest control contractors shopping for new software. In our experience, however, cash flow considerations sometimes lead business owners to spring for a tool that might satisfy their immediate needs, but which isn’t able to keep up with their requirements as their business grows. 

The upshot is that having invested lots of energy and money purchasing and implementing a basic FSM — and investing countless hours training their team to use it — contractors often end up having to switch to a more advanced product as their company evolves. Inevitably, that means they have to start all over again, losing valuable resources in the process. Plus, in the meantime, they’ve often been devoting a portion of their budget paying employees to perform functions that they could have used a top-notch FSM to automate if they’d elected to spring for one in the first place.

We understand, of course, that it can be difficult to predict business needs of the future. So when we talk to pest control contractors who are thinking about working with us, we often suggest that they try to visit a larger competitor — a company that has established the kind of business they aspire to owning — to get a sense of what they’re going to need in order to achieve their goals.

With this kind of first-person experience under their belt, it’s often easier for pest control contractors to understand the essential functions they ought to consider in selecting a field service management tool, generally concluding that they’re much the same as those we’ve walked through in this post.

That includes the basics like scheduling, dispatching, and call booking. It also includes features such as:

  • Managing recurring services 

  • Keeping track of employee performance

  • Analyzing and attributing marketing effectiveness

  • Facilitating accounting and financing

Want to see ServiceTitan in action? Schedule a call with us to learn more about how our software can help you grow your business.

ServiceTitan is a comprehensive pest control business software solution built specifically to help companies streamline their operations, boost revenue, and achieve growth. Our award-winning, cloud-based platform is trusted by more than 100,000+ contractors across the country.

Learn More

Related post