Pest Control The Secrets Revealed
The Difference Between a ~
Professional and an Amateur.
Before I start this series of articles, I want to make one thing quite clear, this is not aimed at any single person/individual or group of people or any companies, this is I suppose my attempt at clearing up some myths, some grey areas and helping you my fellow Countrymen and Women to stay on the right side of the law, thus also imparting a life time of knowledge from my time spent in the field learning from the old masters both as an Amateur and a Professional, in this series I am hoping not only to advise you and guide you but also help you become the best you can be it matters not weather you are an Amateur or a Professional, also to work at the best practices and using the codes of good working practice and excepting nothing less from your fellow enthusiasts or fellow colleagues, you never know we might teach each other a thing or two as we go along, as none of us knows everything, We will skip over a few subjects in brief as we go along, probably coming back to look at things in more detail as time and tide rolls on through the series etc.
A few weeks back on our face book page I caused a bit of a storm, I had a bit of a rant over a job I was called in to price up then lost the contract, what happened was I was called in to do a professional pest control site survey on a food storage warehouse, this was a very time consuming and in depth job indeed, just the visit alone took me 4 hours and the writing of the survey and accompanying photographs of each section in explicit detail another 4 or so hours, a full day of my valuable time and labour as well as considerable expense due to the location and sheer size of this place, I also had to pull one of my lads in to help as he had to hold ladders climb up on roofs etc, so his days wage etc was also added.
I had arranged a second visit to go back and meet up with the Managing Director of the company, I had in hand the full comprehensive site survey for the entire site inside and out with all the accompanying photographs too, also all the risk assessments for each job in turn as well as method statements our health and safety policy and much more documentation that is a legal requirement, as you can see this was a costly 2 day affair before I had even started the contract let alone earned any money.
We had a wonderful meeting all was going swimmingly until I gave him the estimate for the contract and my invoice for the 2 days spent building the professional survey for myself and my staff etc, his first words were I didn’t know pest control was so expensive I was told professional pest control was FREE.
*a verbal and visual survey is free not a an in depth written one*
I laughed until I realized he was being serious, I set about explaining how can professional pest control be FREE, how about you don’t pay your professional fork lift driver for doing his job, then see if he will do it for no purse of gold for his time and labours, we have a chap coming in he claims he does professional pest control for free, all we have to do is pay his fuel and ammunition costs, I explained there is no such thing as a professional free pest control service, also does he have all the necessary paperwork as explained above and more, also what qualification has he got and if he uses poisons where is his license and qualifications etc, and for a start does he have the correct insurances, for if you pay him anything and he only has a normal insurance designed for field sports etc, his insurance will be void as its for leisure and hobby pest control ie recreational use only as stated in his policy.
I left leaving the MD to think over what I had said and oh so much more than I care to write here at the moment, as you can imagine I was a little hot around the collar not only spending 2 days of my time and my staff doing this site survey etc, but all the paperwork that goes with it too, then I saw on face book on a couple of farming sites several fellows advertising what looked like professional pest control services for free, after the day I had that was the straw that broke the camels back thus I had a rant, as it turns out nationally several other professional pest controllers had come across the same problem in a various of other situation this day too, the debate got quite heated between the Professionals and amateurs with well over 500 notifications and pictures being added to the post, until I saw a common ground thus that’s why I decided to grab the bull by the horns and start writing this series.
You see far be it from any man or woman to be able to do down another over their SPORT!!!, SPORT!!! being the operative word here as its not your profession its your hobby your past time, where as a Professional its his livelihood his career, a life time of learning, many of us going to college or university and continually gaining qualifications etc, also adhering to many laws sub laws and acts etc and gaining licences at personal costs, that said also as an amateur you too have to gain things like fire arms licences shot gun licences unless all you use are air rifles sub 12ft lb, other paper work like permission slips etc, or you might be a dog or ferret man but again this is your SPORT!!! unless you are a Professional rabbit catcher of course, indeed just the birds of prey and the hoops you have to jump through is another thing that I will go into greater detail further down the series as we look at things in more depth.
One thing I noticed was the insurance side of things, as a Professional our insurance is so much more expensive and in depth and comprehensive etc, we have to cover everything from the earths floor falling out to the sky falling on our heads, god forbid something happens and goes wrong and one piece of paper is not filled out correctly for each job were liable, the Amateur insurance the standard field sports insurance is for RECREATIONAL!!! use only it states this quite clearly in your paper work, look up AMATEUR!!! in the English dictionary it tells you right there what I mean, as soon as you receive any form of payment or gratuitous gift you are being paid, thus your insurance is now VOID!!!, many of these companies offer an enhanced policy for such occasions were you can have some forms of payment, but NOT!!! as your full time job or PROFESSION!!! and still only on an Amateur level, of course this costs a fair amount more each year in reflection to the increased risks taken etc, The Scottish Association For Country Sports (SACS) do just such a policy and for my recreational shooting were a farmer may give me some cartridges or other form of payment, I have paid the extra premium so I am covered, all this is on top of my professional insurance so I know I am covered for all eventualities etc.
Also by claiming to be a Professional you are leaving yourself wide open for prosecution etc, say you have convinced a farmer or land owner whatever that you are a Professional not an Amateur, weather you take payment or not is by the by, how are you going to fill out his paper work for Professional Pest Control etc, for say the little red tractor, or many other things like working with the Environment Agency or even Defra that’s the Department For The Environment Food And Rural Affairs, its a minefield again I am only going to touch on this subject in this first article we will look more in depth in further parts in this series.
Now all this said I am not having a go at anyone or trying to put another down and deny them their rightful place in field sports or indeed prevent a fellow from enjoying their sport or gaining permission, I wrote a series called Permission To Approach on The Countryman’s Diary Magazine go look for yourself, its some of my best work and knowledge on this subject and will help you the Amateur or Professional gain more Sport or indeed more Work, actually there is a fine line between an experienced Amateur and a Professional, like I said at the start I learnt from the old school masters, then I went to college and university and got qualified not only in pest control but also game keeping and habitat management as well as fire arms qualifications and a coaching degree and much more, all my certificates does not mean I know better than a man who has spent a life time in the field trapping or shooting etc, but what it does mean is that I am qualified in the eyes of the law to carry out my job professionally in all sectors.
I actually work with many old time game keepers land managers etc that don’t have a scrap of paper or qualifications to their name, men who have forgotten more about mother nature and its management than I will ever know, my Grandfather and Father being two of them, like I say its a fine line but there is a line and in this modern world you have to cross the tees and dot the eyes to stay on the right side of the law, I would also hate to see a fellow Sportsman weather Amateur or Professional get in trouble for something simple like wording something wrong, also remember the insurance companies and police and other such agencies check social media, so when you say your PROFESSIONAL!!! you leave yourself wide open, again I must stress just because you are an Amateur does not mean you cant work to a professional level but you cant call yourself a Professional.
With all the new legislation coming in this year re Rodenticides and more its sheer madness for those of you trying to use it without proper qualifications, I am qualified, but hate using any form of poison what so ever, I only ever use it in very extreme and rare circumstances, I truly stand behind my motto at The Really Wild Pest Control Company ( www.reallywildadventures.co.uk ) and that is Professional Poison Free Pest Control At Its Finest, this really is our mantra and we do very well by it, we have some huge contracts on the books, weather Agricultural Commercial or Domestic people are starting to realize the huge negative environmental impacts poisons and chemicals have, now that’s not saying that a lot of the companies rely on using poison etc as this is the most cost effective solution, if used correctly by a qualified and trained Professional Pest Technician, it is very a safe and effective control measure when used in the right correct situations.
Where as environmentally friendly Poison Free using traditional methods is a more expensive and time consuming solution, a minimum of 2 visits per day per trap are required in any 24 hour period, also in live traps like Larsen traps for instance the call bird etc must have shelter food and water and changed daily, so as you can see the whole affair is a mine field, also I recommend you not only read and under stand all necessary legislation but also do the same for the general license and carry a copy of it with you at all times.
Trapping snaring and shooting all have many different pieces of legislation to go over, this will take time and thought of how to write it in the layman’s terms for you without getting too legal beagle over it, I will take that up further in this series of articles, One thing that is important is understanding your quarry and gaining good field craft, I have written about this many times, reconnaissance is the key and building up a picture of your quarries movements, after all we are all creatures of habit no matter how erratic something seems, there is a rhythm a common denominator no matter how subtle you just have to find it.
A lot of folk rush out buy traps read the box and expect to catch things immediately, there are a multitude of reasons why you don’t catch, like rats and mice for instance they are Neophobic they don’t like new things in their environment or if things are moved etc, thus why it takes a while to start catching.
Also its been said that for baited traps the rats will send in a taster rat, if he stays unharmed the others will eat it, so often I try baits that are just testers, let them gain confidence in my traps and not arm the traps so they get used to going in and out without harm, rats are intelligent animals and learn quickly, so you have to be smart to out whit them, you will only get one chance so don’t educate them or your job will become a 1000 times harder.
I trap, snare and shoot all sorts of things, I use the old world teachings with the modern day technologies and consider the environment always, I also teach that all Field Sports , Conservation and indeed Pest Control walk hand in hand, I will pick up further on this in the next episode of the series, all the vast environmental Pest Control methods I use and much more, but for now I will say stay legal stay safe and consider how you approach people or indeed customers, always consider the environmental impact you will have weather an Amateur or Professional, I would love to hear from you your stories or experience’s or your opinions, contact me through www.countrymans-diary.co.uk before the next instalment in this series, you never know we might teach each other a thing or two.
By The Ole Hedge Creeper