PMM

Now that the AEPMA Conference is behind us, we can return our focus to the projects and initiatives that are at the core of AEPMA’s purpose.

The “big one” that will ultimately make a huge impact on our industry in the future in a positive way, is the review of the ‘training package’ in both the learning content and how the assessments are undertaken and under what conditions.

We are happy with the progress so far, and in talking to some of our industry partners in the training sector, they also see advantages and accept that the current system does have some ‘holes’ that have been exploited by some training organisations and employers, so closing these gaps will ultimately result in better trainers and assessors, and equally as important, better employer engagement with both their trainers and the training organisation.

The membership of AEPMA has been voicing it’s concern for a number of years now, about both the quality of some trainers and assessors and how quickly people, either new the industry, or people not working in the industry and without any experience or mentorship whatsoever, can obtain Units 5, 6 & 18 in as little as 3 days in some instances, and then obtaining a licence without any real experience.

The review of the training package will go part way to addressing these issues. In turn, the new framework is likely not to suit some RTO’s and their existing business model, so they will be faced with the challenge of complying or exiting training and assessment for our industry. This in turn, will mean that the RTO’s that are truly committed to our industry and providing high quality outcomes aligned with the industry’s needs, will succeed.

However, the training and assessment package and the RTO’s that will be entrusted to deliver and meet our training needs, is only half of the solution in meeting our industry’s future needs. The employers, mentors and in-house trainers are as equally important, if not more so.

In fact, anecdotal evidence suggests that in the majority of situations, the employer’s failure to adequately supervise the trainee over an extended period of time, and exposure to a variety of actual in field “real situations” has a direct impact on the quality of the trainee.

So it’s understandable that those that gain entry into our industry via the ‘back door’, so to speak, without any real in field training or supervision, are causing a lot of confusion for the established professionals and those that do the right thing and do it the right way. They are asking, ‘How does this happen?’ And it needs to be stopped.

Hopefully by working together with the RTO’s that support our industry, and the employers, to ensure they do their bit in recruiting better, supervising better, and investing the time into new trainees, we will solve some of these issues and return to an era when a Pest Control Technician “knew his stuff”.

On another issue, but directly relating to skills and technicians, the AEPMA website is building in ‘rankings’ and the number of consumer searches, especially to the ‘Find a Pest Manager’ page, and increasingly in regional and rural areas.

I would strongly recommend that all AEPMA members log on and look at your listing to ensure you are properly represented in the types of service you offer and the area or regions you service (by postcode). Every member has been set a default number of 10 postcodes per technician registered, based on the number of technicians you indicated were working in the business. One of the big features of this lead generation database is that members can change or nominate any postcodes or regions, and even acquire additional postcodes and regions at a very small fee, simply by logging on and editing their profile.

If you are having any trouble with this, or are not confident you can navigate the ‘edit function’ of your profile, don’t hesitate to contact national office and we can guide you through the process.

The more accurate your profile, the more work you are likely to win by consumers either checking that you are a member of AEPMA, or from the increasing number of consumers that find peace of mind and security in only using trades and service providers that are part of, and backed by, an industry association.

As most of us are now looking forward to the next few months and a lead up to Christmas, all the indicators are pointing to a “good season” across all States and I am personally looking forward again to the Summer chaos of trying to fit everyone and everything in.

Good luck!
Until next time.

David Gay
President
AEPMA

Making Sure Your New Home is Pest-Free

When moving house, the last thing you want to be doing is sharing your new home with freeloading pests. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what can happen, with
pests moving in ahead of your schedule or even coming with you during the relocation process.

Luckily, there are a couple of strategies you can employ to make sure your new home is pest-free before and when you move in. Here they are.

1. Book a termite inspection.
If you’re renting or purchasing an existing home that features timber, it is essential to organise a termite inspection. It is recommended to not only do this before you move in, but before you even
decide whether the property is for you at all!

2. Do a personal inspection of your belongings and moving boxes.
You might be surprised by what critters you’ve accumulated in your old home. Do a thorough inspection of your linen, clothing, mattresses, curtains,
furniture, and pretty much everything not bolted down. This way you lessen the risk of bringing your old friends to your new home.

3. Clean your new property.
Moving is a huge process, and cleaning your new home (on top of your old one) can seem a little less than appealing. However, if you want to eradicate
potential pests from the get go it’s a great technique. On the bright side, your property is never going to be easier to clean than it is before you’ve
moved in, when it’s still an empty shell.

4. Arrange for a pest inspection in your new property.
It seems like an obvious one, but organising for a pest control specialist to come to your home is definitely
an important step. You can do so after you’ve settled in; just make sure to do it early on to avoid spending too much time sharing space with unwanted
pests.

Follow these guidelines and you’ll be able to easily make sure your new home is pest-free! To help with the entire relocation process, why not check out
these moving house tips as well.

AEPMA Presidents Report February 2014

As we move into 2014 most Pest Managers are wondering why the phone is not ringing as much as they would like with the type of work and clients that best suit their business and their business expertise. Whilst at the same time, consumers are looking for qualified and reputable Pest Managers and are unable to contact or connect with one that suits their specific needs. It is often heard said that ‘consumers are more informed now’ because of the internet, however it should be said that, ‘consumers are now more confused’ because of the internet. This leads to uncertainty, and in some cases, a lack of trust when selecting a pest management company.

Since the launch of the new AEPMA website we have been able to extract much more specific data and analytics on how and what consumers are searching, and even in this short period of time we are seeing a trend in consumers looking for pest management providers that are association members and verified by the industry association as suitably qualified and reputable.

In talking to other industry groups, consumers, and digital marketing organisations, this trend is across many trades and service providers, especially from the domestic or home services sector.

Some of the reasons for this, are that a lack of trust exists with a lot of websites, in that, they can be really professional looking and present a particular image or claims of expertise to consumers that is often vastly different to the actual company service delivery and overall experience, leaving consumers wary. Whilst well established companies with high levels of expertise and service skill often have under-performing websites and do not invest in SEO or Google advertising, as they largely rely upon word of mouth to gain new business. These companies are often not found by new consumers until they are called to “fix a problem” created by another service provider. Sound familiar?

So I urge all AEPMA member companies to log on to your profile page on the AEPMA website and update your details and technician numbers or secure additional ‘service area’ postcodes at minimal cost if the ones listed don’t fully represent your area of service coverage. AEPMA membership and listing on the AEPMA website should be a part of any pest management company’s marketing and brand strategy, at least for the businesses that qualify and are accepted as AEPMA members.

AEPMA’s national office activities for the first half of this year will focus toward establishing and revising the new training and assessment criteria, with a good start already under way. This initiative and opportunity for AEPMA to take back some control and set the direction for training and our national competencies for the pest management industry, has proved popular with our members and the industry in general. National office and myself, personally, have received many messages of support with the underlying message of, ‘Enough is enough of the poor training and the loopholes to gaining a pest control licence, or shortcutting “the system”’.

The truth is, no one benefits from the current system except maybe those selling franchises and sub-standard training. Even then, they will find they end up with very low skilled operators representing their brand, resulting in high recall rates and low job prices because they don’t have the skill or reputation for referrals and high paying, loyal, regular customers.

This is also true for the independent “start up” operator that gains “a licence” without the necessary training, experience and mentoring necessary to be successful in this industry.

AEPMA believes that, for our industry to grow and be sustainable, and to have the ability to adapt in the future, we need to continuously improve the service and skill levels of both Technicians in the field and the business owners or operators. If we don’t, as an industry, continue to develop our skills and look forward to the future, the “value” to consumers of selecting a professional Pest Manager will diminish and selection will be based on “price only” – not unlike lawn mowing or cleaning.

PestCert is still alive and well, and is an initiative originally designed to address these issues, by offering a system to assist in continuous improvement and industry best practice. So please, if you are serious about your business and professionalism and the sustainability of your industry, re-visit the PestCert section on the AEPMA website and sign up.

Until next issue.

David Gay, W.R Gay Pest Control

AEPMA Presidents Report December 2013

Now that we are into our busy season, most pest management businesses will be reviewing their position as employers and the choices they have made, or should have made, in relation to employment of Technicians. Under-skilled and under-performing Technicians will be struggling with the increased pressure and workload. Smaller businesses or one man operators may be considering hiring a Technician or Trainee to help out as they grow and struggle with the increased work load at this time of the year. Mid-sized companies that have traditionally relied upon seeking out and employing trained and experienced Technicians are also finding that the quality, experience and suitability of candidates is less than satisfactory, or they simply do not receive any applicants for the positions.

At National office and at State branch level, we are constantly hearing from members about totally inexperienced ex-employees starting businesses and offering services to consumers they are not qualified or assessed as competent to deliver, and the problem seems compounded by our various licencing departments that appear to “make exceptions” or a minority few rogue RTO’s that are lax in their assessment of these trainee technicians against the required competency for licencing.

As a result of this situation some confidence by our industry and AEPMA has been lost with “the system”.

AEPMA has identified that this issue was not in the best interests of our industry and has elevated this as a priority project.

This comes timely, as we have been notified that early in 2014 all of our competencies will be reviewed and that a consultation process will take place between AEPMA (representing the entire industry) and the consultant responsible for implementing any changes that we wish to include. In other words, any changes, improvements or loopholes that AEPMA want to close can be and will be, and AEPMA will not compromise on any point that lowers the standard or is not in the best interest of the industry in the long term.

To this end AEPMA arranged a private meeting in Sydney in early November for a select but broad cross section of member pest management companies only, that are concerned with the current training and assessment system, to find out exactly what the industry wants and needs.

In the afternoon of this meeting, we invited the key RTO’s and trainers from our industry to attend and discuss or hear from us as an industry and consumers of training, and to share our “vision” for industry training.

The good news is that both AEPMA and the quality RTO’s are all on the same page and have already commenced the review, re-writing and strengthening of both the key competencies and assessment criteria as a collaboration project, and we expect this part to be close to completion in early 2014.

However, probably the biggest conclusion that came from the meeting, both from the select pest managers and the RTO’s, is the importance of the Employer in the entire process of training.
The Employer is actually the most important element in the training of pest management technicians, and the person responsible for poorly trained technicians in our industry, whether this is from poor initial recruitment, in field training, supervision, monitoring, access or leave to attend training, and/or continually tolerating sub-standard employees, that we do not act in the best interests of their companies or the industry.

AEPMA’s vision and mission on this is to both develop and assist members to create a “Training Culture” and assist members in any way they can in the employment and training of new or trainee technicians.

This is a ‘turning point’ issue for our industry and I believe that as Employers and an industry we need to get our act together and share some of the elements and lessons learned in recruiting, training and retaining quality Technicians for the benefit of the industry as a whole and make a stand to not tolerate the low quality and inappropriate training and recruitment that is common in our industry.

Anyone wishing to assist in this area or anyone that has sound, well thought through ideas, we would love to hear from you, so don’t hesitate to contact us via National office or your State Branch.

Until next edition,

David Gay W.R. Gay Pest Control

AEPMA Presidents Report September 2013

Now that Spring is finally with us, our pest management season is off to a start. Many Pest Managers around the country are optimistic and enthusiastic about the season, especially after, for many, successive quieter than average Summers.

Continuing low home loan interest rates, along with investor confidence now that the election is over, and we should have political stability for at least the next four years. Hopefully this will kick start the domestic building and renovating sector that much of our industry relies upon and is a good indicator of how the domestic economy is really performing.

At national office, the business of administering AEPMA is running smoothly and to plan. Our biggest internal task for this last 12 months has been the new website and industry” hub” that will merge all of our associated websites and online assets into one place that is easier for consumers and Pest Managers alike to find and use. The hub will also create more value for AEPMA members by allowing them to find information on industry issues or events fast, book and pay for everything from membership to events and conferences online using credit card facilities; create accurate company profiles for consumer services and sales leads, along with clearly identifying members as businesses that operate to the highest levels of professional industry standards and integrity, and that have the backing and resources of a national organisation for technical support, dispute resolution and consumer protection through mandatory insurance and compliance to the industry operating code of ethics. This can be summed up to consumers as “Buy with confidence from an AEPMA member”, a stark contrast to the old industry image of the past.

The new “clean, safe, reliable and professional” image of our industry did not just happen by itself. It’s been, and continues to be, a long slow path with many miles yet to go. However the ground we have covered is clearly a joint venture between AEPMA and our associate members, along with professional members working together and generally all getting along. The recent Rapid Solutions conference on the Gold Coast was testament to this behaviour.

Our industry is lucky to have Pest Managers, suppliers and manufacturers all putting in an effort to make the event a success. The speaker line up that Rapid Solutions delivered this year was new, relevant, interesting and professional, with many delegates commenting “I could have watched that speaker again,” or “He was so interesting, I wish he had more time.”

This last Rapid Solutions Conference is clearly up there with some of the best pest management conferences or events Australia has produced. But in saying that, and not taking anything away from the organisers of the event – so it should be – because we are a professional industry with a professional association (AEPMA) that is non-political and non-commercially influenced and now have many, many years working together to better this industry. One of the things that we often forget is that the speakers we invite to speak at our events have influence outside of our industry or amongst our customers. As an example, a speaker on food safety, or someone from a government organisation, or a consultant to the food industry or fast food outlets. Fortunately in recent times I believe our industry has presented ourselves in a professional manner in which the events are organised, the quality of the speakers, the design and layout of the trade exhibits, but mostly and importantly as how the delegates interact with invited guests, down to how well everyone is dressed. Gone (thankfully) are the days of Pest Managers attending events in work clothes and dirty boots. So all those that have attended pest management industry events in the last few years deserve to be congratulated and reminded that you are a part of making this industry better. For those that don’t attend events or are not members of AEPMA, let me remind you – you’re freeloading.

Until next issue.

David Gay, W.R Gay Pest Control

The Pest Management Industry

The Pest Management Industry in Australia continues to stay strong, experiencing only a slight but predictable downturn in eastern States due to Winter. Demand for pest management in the manufacturing and hospitality sectors is also strong and growing with a higher requirement for more systemised pest management programs that are incorporated into ISO Quality Systems or GMP (Good Manufacturing Practices) policies in many businesses, from top tier multi-national brand businesses, down to small niche businesses servicing a small local market. This growth reassures us as an industry that the ‘value’ of professional pest management and pest management services to a business or government sector is being noticed and considered essential.

Recently I caught up with our association Executive, Ms Catherine Yan, in Hong Kong to discuss the progress of FAOPMA since the change over, and particularly for the last 12 months. I am delighted to report that we are on schedule with all of the projects and tasks that FAOPMA hopes to achieve this year.

The main project has been the redesign and re-launch of the FAOPMA website. The site is now more ‘user friendly’, relevant to our needs, and has some extra features, like incorporating Google’s translator on the site that allows it to be viewed in almost any language.

This now allows FAOPMA to communicate to a larger audience within our membership, so I encourage all member associations and associates to get onto the website and have a look at your new FAOPMA website.

One of the other key issues that Catherine and I discussed, was growing FAOPMA membership by inviting the countries in our region that have an established professional pest management industry association to become a part of FAOPMA and sharing their experience with us all.

As we approach the FAOPMA conference in Korea, now only a few months away, the Exco members of FAOPMA need to start thinking forward as to how and what FAOPMA will look like, and what it would like to implement or achieve over the next few years. It’s also the time of our AGM and the time to elect our future Vice Presidents and the future President Elect, the Exco etc, for the next term under Mr Park’s presidency.

I encourage any and all member countries to consider supporting your nominated delegate to continue their involvement with FAOPMA or become more involved and nominate for an Executive Committee (Exco) or office bearer position, and continue FAOPMA’s momentum and growth in our important industry.

Until next issue.
David Gay