How to Start a Pest Control Business

June 28, 2018 286 views

Image of a Pesticide Sign on a front lawn

A Quick Overview of The Pest Control Business

Pests bring diseases and destroy property.

That is why commercial establishments use pest control services to keep infestations away.

Starting requires a medium-level investment and a lot of thought, not just to handle the business itself, but also to purchase the equipment and create a strong marketing presence.

Clients include both residential and commercial. From cockroaches to rats to ants to Hornets, your service must take care of virtually all pests and makes a home or company safe and comfortable.

However, your service can specialize in one skill (prevention or elimination) or in a specific pest (ants, spiders, etc). Alternately, it can serve various clients with all of their pest control needs.

Skill Set:
  • A strong stomach: A you need to deal with bugs and other vermin. Know what you are in for, before you get started.
  • Thoroughness: People want to know that you will take care of their pest problem completely. If you aren’t thorough, you won’t get a lot of repeat customers.
  • A good knowledge base: You will need to know a bit about each type of pest and the methods required to eliminate them and prevent future infestations.
  • Eradicate a specific type or many types of pests and rodents using chemicals and other means.
  • Vast knowledge pesticides you use
  • List of Common Business Skills
Employee and Job Consideration During The Start-Up Phase or In The Future:
Equipment, Supplies, & Services During Start-up OR In The Future:
  • Dusters
  • Sprayers
  • Granular Spreaders
  • Fogging Equipment
  • Bait Guns
  • Bee Suits
  • Foamers
  • UV Flashlights
  • Respirators
  • Coveralls
  • Chemical Gloves
  • Spill Kits
  • Vacuums
  • Termite Baiting Tools
  • Aerosol Dispensers
  • Professional Rodenticides
  • Professional Insecticides
  • Essential Office Equipment
Monthly Expenses and Operating Costs To Consider:

See our list of common business expenses


Licenses that may be required by the state regulator, in addition to the usual licenses required for all businesses. Pest control involves the use of chemicals, as well as the cleanup and disposal of rodents, cockroaches, terminates, and other animals and insects, so heavy regulation are imposed on providers of such services.

Training is necessary and you will need to pass an exam in order to become licensed as a pest control technician. You may also be required to get liability insurance, particularly for the risk involved in handling chemicals, before you will be allowed to operate. The storage of chemicals needed for the cleanup might have to conform to some standards. Visit www.businesslicenses.com for resources on pest control licenses.

See Our Page on Licenses and Permits

Approximate Daily Hours Needed:

General Hours of Operation – Hours can be very flexible or very busy, depending on whether you want to operate your business part-time or full-time. You can operate 9-5 but may be required to make adjustments because some people don’t get home till after 5. Also, some establishments may want you to come in after they close.

Before and After Hours – Keep chemicals safely stored, load vehicles, organize paperwork. All the preparation should take you less than an hour.

Approximate Minimum Startup Cost:

The average startup cost varies between $10,000 and $50,000.

Special Requirements and Considerations:
  • Find out all you can about the trends in the industry. Know your competition: in particular, their strengths and weaknesses. This will help you identify your competitive advantage. In other words, this will help you figure out what you can give your customers that they’re not getting from the others in the industry. Keep from emulating the competition’s strategy. Instead, make the most of your own advantages.
  • You can operate a startup pest control service or you can get a franchise. You could specialize in exterminating or preventing a specific type of pest infestation or solve every type of pest control problem.
  • There are also various methods now being used to control pests, such as chemical-based and organic-based sprays.
  • Special qualifications are required. Unless you already have a permit to buy and use restricted pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides, you will have to attend and pass a state course to qualify as an applicator. Check with your county extension office to find out how to apply and when they are offered.
Pros and Cons:

The Pros:

  • Can be very lucrative
  • You can run this by yourself
  • You can create flexible hours for yourself
  • You can hire people to do the dirty work

The Cons:

  • Can be seasonal, therefore income can fluctuate
  • Can be very competitive
  • Requires many hours of training and licensing
Type of Customers You Need to Attract:

Your customers will vary from residential homeowners to business owners. Basically, if there is a structure, it is prone to pest infestation.


See Valuation Resources for current statistics.


Overall, a pest control service can be a very profitable venture depending on your clientele and marketing efforts you may be and can easily generate profits in excess of $75,000 per year.