When Russell Leach switched careers from running a pub to running a pest control business back in 2001, he initially found it tough going. Almost twenty years later, Rusty’s Pest Control is successfully competing with seven other pest control companies in Geraldton. The town has less than 40,000 residents, so – even allowing for the fact that Russell and his team travel up to 300 kilometres out of town to look after some regular customers on stations – that’s a very competitive market.
One of the secrets of Russell’s success is using proprietary products from manufacturers he knows he can trust, and BASF is up the top of the list. “So many people have tried to turn me to generics,” he says, “but it's just not going to happen.”
Obviously, the starting point is the BASF products’ great performance, and Russell has no worries on that score. After almost eighteen years of using Termidor, his summary is simple: “It’s just a great product with great support and if you apply it as per the label and to your surroundings, you know it will do the job. It’s peace of mind.”
Russell also values the support he gets from the BASF sales team and the collateral they supply for him to share with potential customers. He’s convinced that the way to remain successful is to deliver the best treatment at a fair price and not worry if he loses out on a few potential customers along the way. “There’s other companies using generics who can supply a cheaper quote. Now I’m not saying that there’s anything wrong with generics – I would just rather use the real deal.”
Not that Russell’s principled stance costs him too much work: “Ninety per cent of people, when when you sit down with them and explain the application, produce a brochure and then direct them to the website, turn to Termidor.” And of course Russell backs up the brochure claims from his own experience: “You know the product’s going to do the job. I can’t say a bad word about it.”
While Russell’s never had a problem with Termidor, the first Termidor HE treatment he did was to rescue customers who’d seen a previous solution fail. “They’d had a reticulation system put in under the slab and around the perimeter eight years ago,” he explains. “Then it got pumped up again, but two years after that topping up the termites had come up in the carport and eaten out a cupboard. The reticulation system had failed, just literally failed.”
Russell was conscious that the homeowners had already spent a lot of money on protection that only lasted a few years, but also knew they would want to be sure this new treatment wasn’t going to let them down too. “Sitting down with them I gave them the choice of bifenthrin, Termidor Residual or Termidor HE, then explained each product and its application and supplied their labels and the SDSs. They chose Termidor HE. They were very happy with the final result, and so was I.”
Russell was equally happy with the application process. “That was our first job with Termidor HE, but what a fantastic product! The way it moves through the soil with the help of the polymer and then binds to the soil. It was a drill and inject treatment and we also had to lift some pavers.” As usual, the wider drill spacings helped the Rusty’s team achieve a very neat result as well as unbroken protection. Plus, his customers, like all Termidor-treated property owners, have an extra level of assurance.
Owner-occupiers are naturally often very stressed by the threat of termites. So, they want immediate, decisive action and are happy to pay for the top treatment. On the other hand, like most pest controllers, Russell also regularly deals with estate agents and property investors who take a more pragmatic, cost-saving approach. His canny response is to point out that Termidor treatments actually add value to a home. “Some people who find damage might say ‘I’m not worried, I’m going to sell it anyway.’ We then suggest that if they do get the treatment done, it’s a great selling point for all potential buyers and provides peace of mind for everyone. Also, it’s an extra selling point to know the house is covered by years of guaranteed protection.”
Termidor and the rest of the BASF range have had the same value-adding effect on Russell’s pest control business over many years, allowing him to keep prospering as a small operator with the highest standards.