by, June Van Klaveren, Compelling Communications

Pest control companies have long discovered that one of the secrets to business growth involves add-on services. Add-on services in the pest control industry are services that can be sold by pest control companies in addition to their regular pest control services. Several pest control companies have taken advantage of insulation installation as an appropriate and profitable add-on service. But until recently, insulation installation was a service separate from pest control.

With the advent of TAP Insulation, pest management professionals can now provide a combined insulation/pest control service at one time.

WHAT IS TAP? TAP stands for Thermal Acoustical Pest Control and is the result of a merger of two well-respected technologies — natural cellulose insulation and natural borate insecticide — creating TAP Insulation. Essentially, the product is an EPA-registered cellulose-based insulation treated with boric acid brought to the pest control market by Pest Control Insulation Systems Inc. The insulation material contains 85 percent defiberized, recycled newsprint treated with a fire retardant and 11.1 percent boric acid. “It makes a very inhospitable harborage for insects and it’s very slow acting,” said TAP Insulation’s John Elliot. “There’s no mixing required and it’s a very low-dust product.”

TAP can be used to cap existing insulation in attics or can be installed in attics, walls and crawlspaces of new construction. The company says it pays for itself quickly in reduced energy costs (up to 38 percent) and then continues to save customers money for the life of the structure.

The company says the boric acid in the insulation is effective in preventing infestations of drywood and subterranean termites, cockroaches, ants, centipedes, crickets, silverfish and booklice. The boric acid kills termites that come in contact with it, however, according to Dr. Brian Forschler, University of Georgia, who performed testing on TAP, termites can tunnel through insulation and may be unaffected by the boric acid. The company says that this product is not a stand-alone termiticide. It only works on contact and they recommend that other treatments be made for termite control. “This does not replace anything PMPs are already doing,” Elliot says. “It is, however, a great opportunity for an add-on service.”

Because cellulose insulation tends to bind closely with rafters, etc., in an attic, it becomes a more effective insulator than standard fiberglass, TAP Insulation officials say. It can be applied directly over existing attic insulation of any type to upgrade the thermal performance of the whole building. “Sprayed-in cellulose fits like a warm blanket around voids and gaps, offering up to 45 percent more “R-Value” than blown fiberglass and preventing nearly 40 percent more energy loss than fiberglass batting,” says Billy Turk of Pest Control Insulation Systems. Customers who have purchased the pest control insulation claim lower heating and cooling bills as well as a noticeable soundproofing after installation, he added. With the stabilized cellulose, the insulation doesn’t settle so the R-Values remain consistent indefinitely.

In addition, TAP contains a fire-retardant chemical that actually makes homes safer in case of fire. Ordinary fiberglass insulation can melt but TAP, with its fire retardant characteristics, forms a charred surface barrier that limits the spread of fire.

Orkin Senior Technical Manager Paul Hardy says that Orkin has been selling the insulation as an add-on service for several years. “We get calls from customers on a regular basis saying how pleased they are with the fact that they’ve cut their heating and cooling bills as a result of the insulation. We rarely hear any kind of comments from our termite customers after a regular termite job. This add-on is something we can do and feel good about it.”

Orkin has more than 70 offices that offer insulation services including branches in Columbus, Ohio; Charleston, W.Va.; and Lansing, Mich.

TAP BENEFITS. Many times add-on services serve two purposes — increased company growth and provide an opportunity for employment for technicians and sales people in the off season. This is the case with the TAP Insulation System. When seasons change and traditional pest control business starts to slow down, weather begins to cool, making the demand for insulation high.

TAP was developed with pest management professionals in mind as a way to keep technicians busy in the off-season when insects are not as active and employee lay-offs threaten. Attic capping is easy to learn, start-up cost is low, profit margin is high, employee retention is improved and virtually 100 percent of pest control customers are prospects, the manufacturer says.

The company provides training manuals, forms, and support for pest management professionals starting an insulation division. The training manual is available on CD to qualified pest management professionals. It is a comprehensive support tool that lays out the fine points of being a TAP installer. It includes detailed product information, applicable specifications, sales aids, equipment and supplies description/support, sample checklists and forms, and a step-by-step installation guide. Training and marketing videos are also available ,as well as yard signs and presentation materials. Training includes on-site classroom training on sales and installation and hands-on field training.

“We meet with the sales inspectors and with the installation people for a half-day each. Then we’ll go with them on a sales blitz,” Elliot says. “We know that we need to do more than just sell the equipment so we put a lot into training and support.”

The investment to start an insulation division is modest with the first five to 10 jobs paying for the equipment, TAP reports. To begin installing TAP in attics, a pest management professional purchases or leases an installation package that includes the insulation blowing machine, hose clamps and connectors, two wheel package for loading and unloading, electrical set-up, hose, baffles, polyvents, attic rules, recessed lighting protection, netting, hammer stapler and a TAP demonstration unit.

Before starting with TAP Insulation, Phil Clegg, president of Clegg’s Termite & Pest Control in Durham, N.C., decided to test the product out for himself. “We insulated my mother’s house and my own house and saw noticeable differences in the comfort level of the house and we saw a big difference in the sound proofing aspects as well. Plus the utility bills were reduced immediately,” he said. Clegg now sells the TAP service to his existing and new customers. “We were pleased that the company trained our sales people and installers once we received the material and machine.”

Clegg says that his technicians check attics on inspections and measure insulation, and then recommend the service to clients.

Crawlspaces also can be insulated using TAP Insulation producing fewer ventilation problems, warmer floors, protection of pipes and ducts, as well as a barrier to pests. Specifications and equipment for crawlspace insulation is virtually the same as for attic insulation equipment with the addition of a specially configured pump apparatus. The crawlspace program is a good way to keep a crew busy in the hottest months of the year when attics aren’t feasible because of heat, TAP officials say.

Pest management professionals involved with TAP Insulation can also sell to contractors and builders for new construction insulation.

View full article at PCT Magazine online.

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