Cleanup crew: COVID-19 prompts PMPs to offer disinfecting services

RK Environmental Services (RKE) Regional Operations Manager Chris Lazo, left, fills out a report as RKE Virucidal Program Service Specialist Johnny Echeverria begins to disinfect commercial mixing equipment at an account. PHOTO: FRED MILLER PHOTOGRAPHY

RK Environmental Assistance( RKE) Regional Activity Manager Chris Lazo, left, loads out each of these reports as RKE Virucidal Program Service Specialist Johnny Echeverria begins to disinfect commercial mixing equipment at an report. PHOTO: FRED MILLER PHOTOGRAPHY

Four million dollars.

That’s what RK Environmental Business( RKE ) rendered with its Virucidal Program Service( VPS) last year.

“It was our state of grace in 2020, ” says Hank Hirsch, BCE, founder and CEO of the Westwood, N.J.-based firm. “We were sure the pest restrain revenue thumped we made when COVID-1 9 hitting would affect our head count, but exactly the opposite happened: We brought on 12 new employees and laid off zero. It was our best year, in spite of it being an horrendous time otherwise.”

The coronavirus pandemic spurred more pest command companies to offer disinfecting and cleaning business. To facilitate readers do their homework, Pest Management Professional( PMP) interviewed the segment’s longtime governors, such as RKE, as well as outsiders, to gather intel on obstructions, opportunities, trends and tips. The bottom line? Disinfecting and sanitizing assistances fit hand-in-glove with pest control, and will be in demand even after COVID-1 9 disappearances into history.

Confusion STRIKES

RKE provides integrated pest management( IPM) services for food, biotechnology and pharmaceutical reports throughout the eastern and central U.S. and California. Hirsch clearly recalls the Friday the 13 th( March 13, 2020) when a group of his employees demo up in his office “in full panic mode” over the pandemic attain steam.

Hank Hirsch, BCE, President, RK Environmental Services PHOTO: FRED MILLER PHOTOGRAPHY


“We can’t work effectively, we don’t think it’s safe and we’re not going in there, ” they told him. “Clients won’t even make us come in.”

Hirsch went home with a heavy heart, deep in thought. “I knew I had to work my highway back from the worst-case scenario, ” he remembers. “On Saturday, I was sitting there, drafting different sorts of scenarios, with cable report on in the background.”

Then inspiration thumped, courtesy of his TV screen: “I was watching airline laborers sanitize airplanes between flights. They had little misters, shadowing with disinfectant. I reckoned,’ Maybe we can do something with this. We have shadowing rig for space medications already in inventory.’”

Hirsch began researching the possibilities, knowing many of his industrial plant consumers once had hygiene organizations for exercises such as scavenging and scrutinizing conveyor belts.

He guessed RKE might be able to perform cares more rapidly, and include the entire plant. After more research and a phone call to his insurance broker, who was able to framed a program in place with a carrier that specializes in handling environmental companionships, Hirsch figured out a supply order and an overall strategy, and VPS was born.

“On the morning of Tuesday, March 17, we propelled VPS, ” he supplements. “Our phones were echoing off the hook by that afternoon. Our marketings team couldn’t get regular joins in the field, so they transitioned to inside sales for VPS.”

Not exclusively did RKE salvage the last two weeks of March 2020, but April of last year was its best marketings month ever. Once the pest management industry was officially deemed vital on March 19, 2020, business boomed.

“We turned around 95 percent of the clients who initially said don’t come, once we interpreted we were essential workers, ” he says. While RKE’s food-processing purchasers that gratified to restaurants, schools and airlines made a hitting, retail and healthcare were buoyant, thanks to the VPS program.

In April, Western Pest Services, a Rollins company, donated its Western PurClean service to the First Presbyterian Church of Rutherford, N.J., so the congregation could again meet in person. Disinfection donations like this have become the norm for Western, which has also worked with local firehouses and Boy Scout troops. PHOTO: WESTERN PEST SERVICES

In April, Western Pest Service, a Rollins company, gifted its Western PurClean service to the First Presbyterian Church of Rutherford, N.J ., so the parish could again fill in person. Disinfection subscriptions like this have become the norm for Western, which has also worked with regional firehouses and Boy Scout units. PHOTO: WESTERN PEST SERVICE ONE YEAR OF EXPERIENCE

In 2020, Versacor Enterprises was among various firms PMP reported as starting up a disinfection busines. Based in Southlake, Texas, the company has powers throughout Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Arkansas, Missouri and Kansas. When we checked in with President Jason Eicher this spring, he justified the foundation of the furnish was the same 12 months later, thanks to a lot of homework being done before launch.

Jason Eicher, President, Versacor Enterprises

Jason Eicher

“We didn’t need to hire added staff solely for this service, but we did qualify adopt men in each sprig to play it on a regular basis, ” Eicher supplements , noting it really taken away from in the second quarter of 2020. The assistance then increased fairly rapidly for the rest of the year, and accounted for about half of the commercial-grade pest mixtures firm’s brand-new marketings receipt in 2020.

Chris Snyder, chairman of Hellertown, Pa.-based Quest Termite& Pest Management, has been the volunteer Fire Chief in Lower Saucon Township, Pa ., for more than 25 years — and was able to use that know-how to his advantage when launching a disinfection service.

“Our learn with respirators and infectious disease came into play, ” Snyder clarifies. “Emergency responders understand the risk associated with infection, and are prepared to take the necessary steps to protect themselves and anyone else they come in contact with. I am fortunate to have a close team in the fire service industry who wished to make a difference.”

In addition to select members of Quest’s pest control gang, various of Snyder’s firefighter peers stepped up for training for the company’s disinfection offering. Training corresponded is not simply of product use and technique application, but also customer service.

Chris Snyder, President, Quest Termite & Pest Services

Chris Snyder

“We educated them on the protocols we use that we consider’ above and beyond’ really spraying surfaces and telling them cool naturally, and how to communicate that to purchasers, ” Snyder says. “Anyone who was not already on our payroll was added as a part-time employee of Quest, and we continue to utilize their skills in the disinfecting life a year later.”

With a mainly suburban clientele, Quest’s pest, termite and wildlife authority units were “busier than ever” in 2020, Snyder says. While focused on exterior services only for much of the pandemic, “overtime and even double-time was offered when handiwork was available.”

Rentokil, which is based in Camberley, England, and has North American headquarters in Reading, Pa ., proceeded on corporation hygiene knowledge worldwide to roll out its disinfection service.

“Early last year, Rentokil offered manual surface disinfection to those crucial industries during the course of its pandemic, expanding to help professions reopen and welcome customers back safely, ” reports Chuck Stanec, the firm’s director of commodity and innovation. “From there, we leveraged our existing hum service capabilities, initially used for aerial vector scattering, to perform drone disinfection for large equipment, such as sports arenas and recreation venues.”

Rentokil was able to get a jumpstart on the purpose of applying hums for fumigating, Stanec says, because various of its North American transactions employ licensed captains for mosquito control exercising aerial employments. “We were able to harness their experience for drone disinfection, ” he adds.

Marlins Park, home of the Major League Baseball team the Miami Marlins, made headlines this spring when Rentokil used drones to disinfect the stadium. Florida Pest Control, a Rentokil company, is the Marlins’ official pest control provider. PHOTO: RENTOKIL

Marlins Park, residence of the Major League Baseball team the Miami Marlins, obligated headlines the following spring when Rentokil squandered monotones to sanitize the field. Florida Pest Control, a Rentokil company, is the Marlins’ official pest control provider. PHOTO: RENTOKIL


RKE’s Hirsch notes that sourcing personal protective equipment( PPE) was a challenge at first, but his 10 regional overseers soon turned it into working group effort.

“I didn’t even ask them to do this, but the chaps went to hardware accumulations in their regional business and bought whatever they could get — gauntlets, face shields, masks, Tyvek suits. They shared the property among all of our agencies and we didn’t skip a thump, ” he says.

Chuck Stanec, Director of Product and Innovation, Rentokil

Chuck Stanec

Rentokil’s Stanec points out that when the National Pest Management Association( NPMA ) made a Disinfection Work Task Force in early 2020, it was a game-changer because it pooled manufacture information.

“The task force developed resources for member companies that arrayed from licensing, and commodity and equipment selection, to guarantee and PPE, ” he says, adding that much of the information is available at PestControlCoronavirus.com/ disinfection-services.

Western Pest Assistance, a Rollins company, launched its marked Western PurClean service in May 2020. Shannon Sked, BCE, superintendent of fumigation for the Parsippany, N.J.-based firm , memoranda one of the biggest impediments when flattening out the service was taking the time to do it precisely, right from the start.

“There was a lot of demand for accurate information, and the public was a little confused what disinfection is, what constructs one curriculum different from another, ” Sked recollections. “Accurate information was critical, because patrons were relying on it to establish informed choice. As with everything on the internet, report is easily accessible, but that doesn’t mean all of it is true. As the experts, we wanted to be sure we were sharing accurate information. This is a’ hindsight-is-2 0/20 ’ situation, though: We took the time needed to get the correct information; we just wish we had it sooner.”

For Versacor, pricing the disinfection assistance are fears initially. “It made us a couple of months to hone our pricing policy, to better handle the various sizes of equipment we were cleaning and to stay competitive in the market, ” Eicher says.

Even so, Eicher says Versacor’s disinfection service returned good perimeters because of the low-pitched barriers to entry. “Buying the antiseptic in converge kind is relatively inexpensive, and we were able to use existing transmission material with simply a couple of modifications, ” he excuses. “By providing the service to existing patrons, we contained costs.”

Quest’s Snyder says having formal policies in place ensures employees are offering consistent, informed service and communication to patrons. “We instituted a COVID-1 9 manual and safety programme that all employees were required to read and sign. Similar conversation is sent to our purchasers for review and signature prior to service, ” he clarifies , noting that both documents were prepared( and are often updated) based on the latest specifications from both the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. As of mid-April, he includes, “We still require employees to check in at the start and end of each workday for a questionnaire and temperature check.”

Quest Termite & Pest Solutions’ Chris Snyder has taken on new clients, like this gym, thanks to the disinfection service offering. PHOTO: QUEST TERMITE & PEST SOLUTIONS

Quest Termite& Pest Solutions’ Chris Snyder has taken on brand-new patrons, like this gym, thanks tothe disinfection service offering. PHOTO: QUEST TERMITE& PEST SOLUTION SPREADING THE WORD Shannon Sked, BCE, Director of Fumigation, Western Fumigation

Shannon Sked, BCE

Snyder admits Quest had the upper hand when the pandemic hit because it was already offering pest, cleanlines and disinfection services to a funeral home owned by the neighbourhood mayor. “He, more, is customer-centric, give services with attention to detail, ” Snyder says. “I partnered with him to developed in partnership an action plan to identify the best nature for his busines to continue to offer funeral services.”

By fine-tuning Quest’s service for the funeral home, name get out that the company could provide peace of mind for a variety of details, such as construction jobsites, ambulances, manufacturing equipment, radio and Tv report vans, machine shops concluding produces for government facilities, and more.

“Many of these places, we did not primarily play pest administration for, ” Snyder says. “But we are still servicing them weekly, and in some cases several times a week.”

For RKE, existing customers told peers about the VPS program, and business mushroomed, Hirsch says. At the height of demand last year, RKE based VPS pricing on square footage of the facility, because there was no time to perform in-person assessments. That has since morphed into tier carton pricing.

“All of our services professionals talked about it at every report, but we really got business through social media, with LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter in particular, ” Hirsch says. “We haven’t expended any extra money on advertising VPS.”


Johnny Echeverry, a Virucidal Program Service specialist for Westwood, N.J.-based RK Environmental Business, sterilizes equipment limits at a commercial-grade bakery. PHOTO: FRED MILLER PHOTOGRAPHY


At press time, as the pandemic seems to be winding down in mid-2 021, Hirsch says many of his VPS techs have transitioned to IPM characters. Account ministerials are back in the field selling. VPS is still a component for RKE, but it can recede into an add-on service, instead of the primary platform stay the company afloat.

Today, he says, “VPS is not as high of a percentage of our receipt, but it’s still worth offering.”

Sked says Western Pest Work envisions disinfection service as being an integrated part of customers’ sanitation planneds for years to come, albeit “with a few small changes in the delivery of the program. Food-borne pathogens transmitted via bugs and rodents are a part of the public health and safety sides we render our clients. Our marketing will swivel based on being an integrated part of our customers’ sanitation needs.”

Rentokil’s Stanec agrees. “Many other dangerous viruses, bacteria and pathogens still can be spread via surfaces, including the influenza virus, E. coli and Staphyloccocus aureus, ” he says. “The pandemic only created more awareness around state, cleanlines and security. Purchasers and employees will expect businesses to provide safe environments that will extend beyond hand sanitizers and disinfection to overall cleanliness and wellness. The world will seek out brands that meet their promises, stipulate confidence in safe know-hows through visual cues, and take opportunities to re-earn their trust.”

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