Service Story #4: The Quest for The End Begins
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ SERVICE STORY (Reviewed on Home Advisor)
“Truly, I can’t say enough about this team! They are so professional, trustworthy, and for the very first time in a long time I feel that they aren t here for 1/2 hour only to run off to the next job site! Jake (I believe the owner) told me that their company prefers to have 2 home visits per day over 10!!! I can t say enough them!!!!”
Produced for Lori T. in Beaverton, OR
Chapter 1 (August 13, 2019) – The Quest Begins
I am Wilderness Security Guide, the Environmental Control Operator in charge of rodent services for Storysold: Pest Control.
I’ve always liked the idea that customers should be less like customers and more like team members. From the first phone call, I felt like I was talking shop with a pro. She knew what she was looking for in pest control service and she had a lot of interesting things to say about the industry.
“Every time I call these guys,” Lori said over the phone, “they always want to sell me on monthly services. I don’t want monthly services, I want them to take care of my problem.”
After we talked about that a while longer, I finally mustered the courage to pitch her my slogan:
“I believe pest control is like a good story,” I hedged nervously. “It should have a beginning, middle, and an end…”
That seemed to immediately ring true for Lori. And that felt good, because I knew from experience that pest control professionals and customers alike believe strongly in the idea of “routine maintenance.” You know, like The Urban Wilderness is an engine that needs regular “PMs (preventative maintenances)” as they’re called in the military.
Years ago, I had a nice long whisky conversation with my friend Joe on the subject. He argued that homeowners and business owners didn’t want to worry about pest control, so they were OK with hiring a guy to come out every month to deal with the issue. I argued that monthly services made pest control companies lazy. They only gave their techs time to run around the customer’s home: sweep the webs, spray chemicals, and change the bait. They had no time to really hunt for activity on the property. The result was, monthly “maintenance services” became rituals—like rattling the chicken bones to ward off evil spirits—that had lost their connection to reality.
I can tell you endless stories of techs “dropping invoices” and dodging in and out of homes and business like pesticide applying sports stars.
Yet, there are millions of people who believe almost superstitiously in the guys in cartoony uniforms who run around baptizing their home in toxins every month. It’s not the customers’ fault. All post industrial revolution era pest control companies from Truly Nolan and Orkin on have embraced the “nature is an engine that needs tuning” idea wholeheartedly.
And I was so glad I’d found a fellow non-believer!
After 30 minutes of poking around their home, I found the root cause of the mouse invasion. They were nesting near the shed, partying in the firewood, and entering the home through a hole in a vent three feet from the shed that also provided them shelter from natural neighborhood predators.
After I set some traps and stuffed the entrypoints with marker, I returned home feeling inspired: I wrote and sent David and Lori my action plan for controlling their mice invasion in only 2 SERVICES!
Here’s what I sent them:
(1) I will put new screen over the main entry point >
(2) I will secure these hole around cables with metal flashing and screen >
(3) I will foam the spot the pest control guy missed last time >
(4) I will use foam and 2x4s to patch these entry points >
(5) I’ll use foam and plywood to try to secure the entry under your sink >
No doubt Lori had heard the same story from other operators. In fact, the last guy claimed her crawlspace was “rodent proof.” I wanted to see this story to its end, so I made a promise to Lori and David.
Most companies give warranties on their exclusion work. They will fix the hole if the rodent destroys it.
I promised if they gave the green light to my action plan, I would promise them a rodent free home for a year. Meaning, anytime within a year they saw a rodent in their home or crawlspace, I would return for free to trap and fix the entry point. There are many reasons why this was not a smart business decision. Yet, it was the only way I could be sure. I wanted to know if my plan worked as much as they did. My quest to nail endings to pest control services (and challenge the need for monthly rituals) had begun—
Chapter 2 (August 22, 2019): The Action
I entered the crawlspace that day with a single goal in mind. I was going to find, fix, and seal every entry point, and hang the CLOSED for business sign on my customer’s home.
My service character Wilderness Security Guide (who I’ll introduce when Storysold: Pest Control has its Grand Opening) would have been proud of my efforts to do what she calls “preventative pest control” or “wilderness security.” Like Gandalf on the bridge, I stared deep into the little eyes of the rodent population around Lori’s home, and said—
“Thou shalt not pass here!”
“Oh and by the way. You can’t come in here either.”
“I don’t care if you never used the garage. You still can’t come in here.”
“And yes, I found your highway under the siding and through that big gap…”
“Stop your squeaking. You’re supposed to be the sneaky one.”
“No, I’m not the same pest control guy who left you that hole.”
“Nor am I your buddy the cable guy.”
“Why are you giving me crap? You know how this works. I’m marking this territory so you know where you stand here.”
“I know that was your favorite. I’d say sorry, but I’m not. Your pantry-raiding mouse story has finally come to an end!”
I left the crawlspace that day feeling confident. As it goes with every good conflict, I drew a new territorial line for The Urban Wilderness in Lori and David’s neighborhood. Now we get to see if the humans win.
And winning is defined as 1 year without a mouse, rat, or squirrel entering Lori and David’s home. Stay tuned to the exciting conclusion! Will my exclusion work keep Generic Pest Control at bay for a year? Or will the rabid mice of Lake Oswego find a way back into Lori’s home? Only time will tell…
– EPOLOGUE –
TESTING THE ENDING REPORT #1 – Feb 2, 2020 and still no signs of rodent activity!
TESTING THE ENDING REPORT #2 – June 21, 2020 – Lori called and said her dishwasher repairman said he found “fresh” mouse droppings. I stopped by, inspected the crawlspace and backyard, and then (after a nice chat) I was able to give Lori detailed information that proved her repair man wrong.
AND THAT’S HOW THE QUEST FOR THE END BEGAN