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For many, 2022 was a chance to reengage in person with customers, with each other and within the industry, as well as an opportunity to put more traditional plans back in place with more interpersonal interactions. The year started out very strong thanks to the housing market and a high rate of home sales. Toward the end of the year, that trend slowed down as interest rates started to creep up.
“For the last few years, business was very strong,” says Wes Otani, national sales leader for Douglas Products. “Now, inflation and rising interest rates are having an impact on the real estate market. Demand for home inspections has dropped significantly. People are concerned about recession, so they are becoming conservative in their spending.”
Looking forward, the first priority in early 2023 will be launching this year’s Caretakers℠ Program so licensees, who are required to participate, can go through the training prior to swarming season. Participation in this annual training helps ensure Vikane® gas fumigant remains a viable tool for fumigation companies.
“The goal of the annual stewardship program is to help ensure fumigators are trained to conduct fumigations properly and effectively, safeguarding this important tool for the industry,” says Heather Kern, commercial leader for Douglas Products in North America. “It’s so important because there’s no alternative that can eliminate drywood termites, bed bugs, and other pests like Vikane can.”
Once companies have completed the 2023 Caretakers Program, Douglas Products plans to offer the Vikane Pro fumigation training program, which focuses on customer education about the benefits of fumigation and customer service.
“The goal is to partner with and support pest control companies to help individuals that engage with customers develop and grow their knowledge, performance, and customer service skills related to fumigation service, which will help them grow their fumigation business,” Kern says.
The training is a series of interactive classes that will teach participants how to approach, inform, and educate consumers about fumigation services with Vikane. Various topics will be covered in the Vikane Pro fumigation training program, including fumigation basics, termite inspection and recommendation, homeowner research, homeowner preparation and customer service training. In addition, a Douglas Products representative will conduct a field ride-along with the company’s team to align the sales/inspector training program with the company’s business operations.
“The sales/inspector training program will help these individuals communicate with consumers about why fumigation is such an effective tool to eliminate pests,” Otani says. “It’s also about engaging with consumers to set proper expectations. It’s a lot of work to get ready for a fumigation service, so it’s also an opportunity to educate homeowners so that they understand how to properly prepare their homes for fumigation and so the home is ready to go when the fumigation crew arrives on-site.”
Douglas Products plans to offer a similar type of sales and customer service training program focusing on bed bug fumigations in the near future.
Finally, from a regulatory perspective in 2023, Douglas Products will continue discussions with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency about the ongoing reregistration process, says Tim McPherson, director of regulatory affairs/R&D at Douglas Products.
For more information about how Douglas Products and its team of fumigation experts can help your company and team members be successful in 2023, contact your Douglas Products representative.