Q&A with Greg Pettis, Dominion Pest Control, Lancaster, Pennsylvania

Greg Pettis has been in the pest control industry for more than 25 years. He founded Lancaster, Penn.-based Dominion Pest Control in 2006 and today has 18 employees. Over a year ago, he purchased the BurrowRx for mole remediation accounts and was surprised to see how quickly the device paid for itself. In addition, thanks to the device, his business now enjoys a significant competitive advantage when bidding on rodent work that involves burrows. Here, he answers a few questions about his experience with the BurrowRx.

Q: How did you first hear about BurrowRx?

A: I first saw it when Patrick Ryan (of Pesticide Distribution & Marketing LLC) was showcasing it at one of his events a couple years ago. I know Patrick well enough to know he’s not going to showcase something that’s not necessary in the industry. So, when I saw him with it, it made me make a mental note. Then I saw something about it online. That’s when I actually watched a video to learn more.

Q: How long have you been using it?

A: We’ve had it for about a year-and-a-half and today we use it at least twice a month. At first, we were simply treating moles. One of the things I like about it is that I can kill a whole bunch of moles at one time instead of having to repeatedly go back to the site. Once I saw how effective it was, I started telling everyone that this machine is like pressing the “reset” button, because it’s an immediate game-over. When I say ‘press the reset button,’ I mean any burrowing moles that are there now will be pretty much gone. Then we talk about prevention going forward with our customers, after we use BurrowRx on the initial.

Q: Have you found it effective for other burrowing rodents?

A: Yes. We had an immediate need for ground hog clients. There was a large commercial property with a lot of ground hogs, actually there were 24 holes. We had to take care of the initial in one night and set up traps for ones coming in from a neighboring property. It took us about five hours because they were spread out over many areas. The ground hogs were so bad they were actually fighting in broad daylight. So, we killed the ones down in the burrow, filled the holes in, and set traps on the perimeter. Our customer immediately noticed the significant reduction in ground hogs. But as you know, they can move in from a neighboring property. So, we’re working on that continuously with the client. I haven’t used it on burrowing rats yet, but we probably will in those agriculture settings where you don’t want them around livestock.

Q: When did the BurrowRx pay for itself, and how else has it helped your business?

A: We fully recouped our cost in the first month. The average price of a mole job for the initial is $200 for us. We only use the BurrowRx on the initials. It’s so effective with what I said, ‘pressing that reset button.’ It’s really powerful because you know they’re all going to die today. I really like knowing that.

We made $1,000 in the first month on that commercial client account I mentioned earlier, and that was because we are able to sell the job in the first place. The company we were up against in the bid didn’t know what the BurrowRx was. We knew we were coming in high with the bid, then when the competitor didn’t even know what we had as a tool, we were pretty much immediately awarded the contract shortly after that.

So, it’s a way for us to get in the door with customers. They like to hear that every burrowing rodent is going to die today. Especially when it comes to digging rodents and you’re paying for your lawn to be green and manicured and you have this animal destroying it. So, money usually is not an issue for folks who really want to take care of it. For us, having BurrowRx makes for a very easy sell.

Q: How do you price a job?

A: My average price is $200 for an initial on a mole job. We will use Yard Gard to repel them afterwards. For that ground hog job, we charged $500 for that first day just to treat the 24 holes, knowing we’ll get the regular contract as part of ongoing service for trapping. Again, we got the job because we had the BurrowRx, because we said we had a machine that would kill the burrowing ground hogs in the business park that day. That was intriguing to them. We wouldn’t have gotten all that without the BurrowRx. It has also drummed up some word of mouth. People will tell their neighbors and friends that we have a machine that will kill all burrowing rodents today.

Q: Would you recommend the BurrowRx to other PMPs? Why?

A: Absolutely. If you’re serious about getting rid of burrowing rodents, it’s a must. I can’t stress how much I preach to our technicians and when I’m talking to customers that we are going to make it as if this animal were not ever here. That’s the selling point because competitors make other recommendations and can’t say if they’re going to get them or not.

We don’t advertise that we use the BurrowRx, but once we explain it to a customer, I’ve seen that we have a higher percentage of people that go with our services as a result of it. It has helped our bottom line.

I also like the smoke oil, especially with ground hogs, where half the time you can’t find the bolt hole. You’ll see the smoke coming out like 30 feet away, sometimes. Those holes are much smaller and not very evident and usually in places you wouldn’t think to look.

I also see the smoke as a safety feature. The way it works, there’s never any question where the CO is going. That lets me know if it’s going somewhere it shouldn’t. I had a situation where it came out in the middle of a covered walkway. We suspected the burrow might be under a grate under the walkway, so we were prepared, and the smoke confirmed it. To me, that’s another selling point. The smoke oil is really a vital part of the machine. Oh, and one other thing. I don’t like confrontations with animals. With BurrowRx, there’s no removal required, no visible dead body, no mess. That’s a big one, for me. You don’t have to deal with dead rodent removal.

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