What is the cost of sales?

There are sectors of the Pest Control industry, as with many walks of life, which are heavily sales focused. I know this from first hand experience, I was a Surveyor and then a Sales Manager for a large national operator. Just lately though, I’ve been wondering what place Salesmen (and women for the PC brigade) have in our industry.

Don’t get me wrong, there is always a need to drive business forward, and for that I guess any right-minded businessperson sells, but is having salespeople the way to do it?

I so often experience that the businesses which have sales teams will undercut and promise the world to get another client on the books and to make that month’s target and I also see with these businesses that subsequent service is often substandard because they’ve lowered their price so much to make the sale that it doesn’t pay to do the job.

Make sense? I didn’t think so. Then you’re actually paying money for a service you aren’t getting.

Ultimately what then happens is that the customer realises they aren’t getting what they need, and look elsewhere for someone who will price honestly and do what they say they’re going to. That’s often when they call us.

Sure, we tell the world that we think we’re good at what we do (and we have large numbers of references from delighted customers to back our beliefs up), but we don’t arm-twist, promise jam tomorrow and lead people into never, never land. We’re honest and because of that people trust us. Maybe sometimes we’re even too honest and take less money out of a deal than we could have (but with long term benefits)

Quality of service has always been our number one priority. In fact at the moment we’re just surveying our customers to see what they think of us! Honesty is a two way street.

I have lots of friends whose businesses wouldn’t be what they are today without sales teams but I for one don’t think that is how Pest Control should work. We aren’t selling cars, we’re a service, and a service that can’t afford to cut corners at that. We can’t get a bulk deal on a load of Technicians and sell them on at a discount. The cost is what it is. Ultimately it’s important in your restaurant or factory that your records are up to date when the big bad Council or industry/customer auditor comes round.

I guess you could say that the modern way of promotion is our perfect way of doing business. Gone are the days where we had to walk into a business and promise to be cheaper than the next guy just so someone had heard of us.

Martin Harvey

Follow Martin on Twitter – @HarveyEnviroMD

Quality isn’t an act, it’s a habit.

I spend a lot of time thinking about quality. Quality wines, quality rugby, quality attitudes but mainly quality service, and I love it when I’m proved right. That’s happened a bit recently. We’ve had three major account wins in recent weeks, and every one of them was on quality and reputation. One came back after a brief sojourn with a far cheaper competitor, who didn’t live up to expectations or assurances. I pride myself on living up to expectations throughout life.

From experience, there are two main reasons why customers choose a company in our sector over a competitor. These two things are price and quality.

Price can so often be the leading factor, but a short-term gain can lead to a long-term pain. I have never pretended that Harvey Environmental are the cheapest, but time and time again we’ve been called in to sort out the long-term pain of cost cutting.

My team aren’t target driven in terms of client wins like some competitors, so we won’t win a contract at any cost. We’ll charge what it costs to deliver it.

This is something our former client who jumped but is now back aboard the big ship Harvey found out. The quality of service they were receiving just wasn’t up to scratch. They thought what we offered was industry standard, but found out that quality of service is what we really pride ourselves on. The competitors had cancelled visits, the work wasn’t effective and they were sluggish to respond, but the invoices still came on time.

Here’s why the quality of service isn’t available at rock bottom price: Quality costs. Delivering a long-term service to high standards costs. Employing the best staff costs. That’s why we’ve built up a fantastic reputation over the years for delivering a consistently high quality service delivered by high quality people.

The real cost you risk by going for cheap is reputation. For so many, Pest Control and Washrooms have the ability to shatter that reputation. There’s no place for half a job when it’s your reputation at stake.

Quality, from the first time you speak to us all the way through your journey with us. Quality defines us. Quality is what we do. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.



Follow Martin on twitter at @HarveyEnviroMD

What’s the problem with rats?

There are rats out there, and they aren’t going anywhere soon, but it’s important to make sure they aren’t in your business for a number of reasons.

Probably the most obvious reason is disease, which can be spread to humans usually through urine. There are number of diseases they can spread, including Weil’s disease, Salmonella, Listeria, Toxoplasma gondii and Hantavirus.

Rats can cause structural damage too. They have been known to cause fires by gnawing through insulation around electrical cables, floods by chewing pipes and even death where gas pipes are concerned. Some even estimate that 25% of all electrical fires in buildings are caused by rats.

As a business, probably the number one concern would be to your businesses reputation. Your clients and customers are likely to have serious reservations about you.

There’s another side to rats that is often overlooked though, and that is the Law. Property owners, under the Prevention of Damage by Pests Act 1949, have a legal obligation to keep premises rodent-free.

Staying alive

Rats need food, water and shelter to stay alive, and these three things are pretty easy to come by for them. They’ll eat almost anything, and because of this, they tend not to wander far from their nest if food is plentiful.

They can breed pretty well too. A Norway rat can breed ten young ten times a year if the conditions are right. In a city like London, that’s 3,600 newborn an hour.

They are wary of new things, which include Pest Control, so it is vital for us to understand how they work to be able to effectively control them.

Do you have a problem?

Droppings are a major sign, and if it’s a big infestation you might be able to smell the urine too. You might spot shredded paper or materials they’ve used to make a nest, or see signs of gnawing. Sometimes you might also spot rat runs on routes they use regularly.

Of course you don’t want to wait until you spot that you have a problem, given the risk to health, reputation, structures and your legal obligation. If you’d like to take a proactive and preventative approach, or if you think you might have a problem, give us a call.


Harvey Environmental continues to grow

Colne based Harvey Environmental, which covers the North West and the UK, is celebrating a rebrand, new client wins and taking on new staff to serve their Pest Control and Washroom divisions.

Harvey Environmental have picked up six new large clients from the hospitality, retail, food manufacturing and distribution sectors in the past month, including national chains, and every one of them have been won on quality of service.

Managing Director Martin Harvey, who is also President of the British Pest Control Association commented saying “Some of these clients have come from recognisable national chains who simply weren’t delivering, and one is a returning client who’d been tempted by cheaper prices from a national competitor who completely failed”.

“Quality of service is our number one driver, and it is behind the growth of our business”.

The business, which has been established for 13 years, and has also undergone a rebrand to focus their image, and drive the company forward, and are about to partner with a facilities management company.

To service their growing portfolio they’ve also recruited additional Service Technicians. Martin added “We pride ourselves on our staff too. We train them to a highly skilled standard, so that do the very best for our customers”.