When Charmaine Pritchard is about to spend a lot of money on property maintenance, she likes to do some research first. It’s the first step in a process that gives her confidence she’ll choose the right products and the right people to solve the problem and finish up with a great result.
Charmaine and her partner are on the body corporate committee that manages 80 strata-titled units in Caboolture. Following an unconvincing presentation by the pest controller who was managing the property’s termite protection with bait boxes, the committee decided to investigate chemical treatment as an alternative. Charmaine volunteered to do the initial research and report back.
“It came to our attention that a chemical treatment would be more cost-effective than the bait boxes,” she explains. “So I said I’d look into that. I like to do my research.”
Tens of thousands of dollars were at stake, but the reason Charmaine put so much effort into exploring all the options was simply that she prefers to be well informed from the start.
“I read all about it on the internet. I went into a lot of articles and even researched which sort of soil strata is best for each treatment. I’m very particular. We’ve had quite a lot of experience in property maintenance and like to vet all the tradespeople we use. I ask lots of questions. You need to ask questions to be confident about the process, and the research helps me make sure they know what they’re talking about.”
Although she looked at a lot more than just one website, it was the Termidor consumer site that provided the key information which Charmaine relied on to make her final decision.
“The Termidor site was great. I read that Termidor HE was a new superior treatment compared to the original Termidor and that it's good in clay soil.” Months later Charmaine could still quote the increased spacings between drill holes from memory and explain that the formulation’s superior spreading within the soil makes them possible.
Her investigation also made Charmaine question the value of monitoring termite bait boxes as a method of control. “They just had the timber in there and had to check if it had been eaten before starting treatment,” she says. “And they weren’t even doing all the maintenance properly. Some of the bait boxes were covered over.” Not a great situation considering that there was a history of termite damage to some of the units.
After doing all her preliminary homework, Charmaine spoke to two different pest control companies with Termidor accreditation and asked them to quote on the job. “They were both very good,” she says, “and gave me all the right answers I was looking for.”
Charmaine was able to report back to the committee that they could switch to the best available treatment, improve the property’s protection and still save a lot of money: “Over seven or eight years we’ll nearly halve our costs by using Termidor HE instead of the baits. So that was a big plus.”
The committee agreed and backed Charmaine’s recommendation, but not before she had shared some more of her findings. “One fellow on the committee took a lot of interest, but thought we could save some money by doing the treatment ourselves,” Charmaine recalls. She explained that the job had to be done by professionals using pressurised equipment and directed him to some of the websites she’d looked at. “Once he read all about it and saw how much was involved, he realised we needed experts.”
That’s another example of the value of Charmaine’s research: it helped her set the bar high and manage objections. “Some people always just want to look at the price,” she says, which makes it quite an achievement to have won the committee’s approval for using the top solution on the market. It helped that it is much more cost-effective than the previous approach, of course, but also that Charmaine had assessed the alternatives to save the rest of the committee the trouble.
The Termidor HE installation is now complete, and Charmaine says the work went well. She was impressed by both the pest controllers she spoke to and happy with the team the committee chose. As usual, she took more trouble than other customers might by being on-site throughout the process to make sure everything went smoothly. There were no unwelcome surprises, and of course that’s one more benefit of being well prepared and making good choices based on reliable information. As Charmaine says, summarising her whole approach: “If you do your own research, you get comfortable.”