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Never too old for a career change..

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4 hours ago, LuckOrJudgement said:

Do you get much mole work, Staffy?

Not a lot  I charge twenty five quid an hour plus set up fee . Its a job I enjoy doing being in fresh air  and not being up to my elbows in rat crap crawling around a loft so i charge just enough to make a small profit on moles 

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On 02/12/2020 at 18:09, 3dumb said:

Not sure if this is being posted in the right place, but being as this thread covers pest control, here I am asking for advice..

Covid has meant I've been furloughed for the majority of this year and as its gone on, I've found myself back on the tools for the first time in years. The work has been fun, but its left me seriously considering where to go next, especially as I'm not entirely sure I'll have either job come next March. Ergo, its time for a change [again] and I'd like to do something where I'm actually doing what I enjoy.

That said, what advise would you pest controllers have for someone who would like to join the trade? Im not daft and wouldn't dream of just setting up myself without experience, but i can't see many blokes wanting to take on a 30yr old apprentice either. 

Any info on how you started or what you might advise would be ace. Even if its a "feck off, there's enough of us already", haha. 


Do a course at Killgerm mate it’s 2days then set up on ya own like most of them do that haven’t got a clue.Or get your bpca level2 or rsph then a company would take you on mate which will be better for you and learn properly as you go.I’m not having a go but Killgerm are taking the piss as long as they get there coin for the 2day course and then hand a certificate out to say you are competent to use poison pees me off.As then it leaves people thinking they can start up and Chuck poison down willy nilly and spray jobs that they haven’t trained for then have natural England looking for use to fine for someone’s cockup.But get your training done mate and work for a company or a council once you get your qualifications mate.Hope it goes right for you.

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32 minutes ago, Pirate 9000 said:

Lurchers some good advice there,did 4 year's with the council when I started in pest control,gives you good grounding in a wide range of treatments, it definitely show's you what shit houses people live in,and put me off take aways for life.good luck with your future Career.

I’ve done it for 20yrs and ya right with the houses some shit people live in,there’s a few up my way who has never done it in there lives and say that 2day course and think they know everything now.It pisses ya off when they don’t even know the name of the poisons they use apart from the red stuff or blue stuff.I end up walking away from them as it boils my piss as they can’t even read the statutory label to tell them how to use it.

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I did a career change at 40 being sick of continental shifts.

I completed 4 one day training courses at Killgerm at Ossett as they are local to me then applied for jobs. Turned down on the 1st interview as they wanted an experienced technician but was fortunate with the second at a Local Authority. 

15 years later and in hindsight I wish I had gone into the industry a lot earlier.

I had interests in field sports but be aware it is a vastly different to that other than if you work predominantly in rural pest control.

When questioning the manager who gave me the job later he reported they had found that employing people with no pest control experience had proved for them more successful.

I received on the job training going out with all the current Technicians learning how to do the job and possibly more important how to do it safely. How to relate information to people across a diverse spectrum of society. You must not underestimate to need to be able to communicate with all aspects of society.

The route which I have taken makes me sceptical how anyone can just transition into this job with minimum information set up on their own and work safely in all aspects of the job.

To be successful on your own you need to be aware of the need to gain commercial contract work. Most private pest controllers base their business on 60% commercial contract work and 40% reactive treatments. Without commercial contracts you will not be able to make a living. The reactive work fluctuates year on year but the commercial contract work gives you a fixed income annually.

In the current climate jumping into pest control seems madness. We have a portfolio of over 300 contracts with some that have been suspended since April possibly never to reopen and the situation is becoming worse. Until this whole terrible situation unravels life through a vaccine returns to normal what ever that may be and the furlough scheme ends no one knows what will happen with commercial contract work.

I would advice you gain employment with one of the main companies for no other reason than gaining knowledge experience training and an in depth understanding how to do the job and safely. There work will be predominantly commercial contract work if not 100% but you will gain knowledge and experience how to set them up and what expectations some customers have.

AT one point the service I work for was going to be outsourced so I looked towards setting up myself. I did some training on running a business marketing  and finance.

Make sure you do your home work and maths on running the business in your particular area. Can you make a living within the constraints of what your competitors are charging including the local authority.

Would you be better of working form some one??

If working for a company is 100% not what you want just use it for what it is for a period to gain knowledge and experience let the current situation resolve and then jump ship.

Good luck with whatever decision you make.








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  • 2 weeks later...

Lots of good advice given already.

If thinking of starting out on your own one of the most important things is to figure out how you're going to make the phone ring.

Websites are important, but useless on page 2 of Google, getting your site on the first page of natural listings is a must for local searches  You can get work with Google AdWords but outside of wasp season it can be hit or miss, and you'll be spending a lot for the top spot.

Contract work is important as 'bread and butter' income but you need to figure out how you're going to get it. Walking in cold calling, sending letters, emails - all soul destroying ventures - prepare for days and days of 'no, sorry'. Whatever you try someone else has already tried, and another enthusiastic entrepreneur will be trying the same next year to steal your contracts away from you.

It's not impossible, but it takes more than a certificate and some gear to actually make a business out this. 

When you're budgeting on the start up costs it'd be wise to assume your not going to earn more than £5-10k a year for first three years, you'll do better but let it be a happy surprise than something you're counting on to pay the mortgage. Keep ploughing everything you can back into the business, it'll pay off in long run. Hopefully after three years you can relax that you've built a self sustaining business. Take too much out and the wasps don't show up that year you'll be in trouble.

I always try and remind myself that it doesn't matter how good you are at the job or how cheap you are, if the client doesn't like you they're not having you back. Personality goes a very long way.

Edited by Suffolkpest
Revised estimate on first year earnings
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  • 9 months later...
On 12/01/2021 at 15:10, W. Katchum said:

I see rentakil or what ever they called advertising in my area for trainee’s just now ?

I've started seeing it in a lot of local trades , realised that skilled guys might not work for Lidl money and that there's a skill shortage , good to see if a decade late for a lot of industry. If any agency contacts me I tell them the rate I'd be prepared to work for , even if it's a job I'd never take, I'm currently out of work this week but back to it next week, I could've filled it but I feel by accepting less I'm just devaluing myself so if you're contacted again that's your expected rate, it's taken a few years to be confident enough to negotiate and turn down work and have the balls to do so as there's always pressure and bills to pay, but the way I see it is when I'm off I see my kids more and when I'm working I earn more, some lads will work non stop all year but they'll take 15/20% pay cut. 

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