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How to Get a Job as an Exterminator

Bruce Wren first saw a job advertisement for a Terminix exterminator in 1992 while he was working in customer service at Wal-Mart. Wren got the job and moved up the ranks from termite technician to pest technician to service manager, then branch manager and eventually region manager of Dallas, his current position. He says hard work, a positive attitude and the ability to multitask are important skills that helped him prove himself on the job, and seeing similar qualities in his employees and recruits plays into his hiring decisions today. “Experience doesn’t play that big of a role. If a person is licensed, they’re out in the field and move up quickly, but sometimes the more experienced people can pick up bad habits,” Wren says. “At some companies, people aren’t taking their shoes off before they walk in the house, and they’re not making calls before you get there or before you leave.”

Exterminators must communicate with customers in their own homes, which makes the business more personal and requires good people skills. “They need a big smile, positive attitude and be someone who likes to talk. If I have to pry answers out of them, that’s a red flag,” Wren adds.

Job Satisfaction

Upward Mobility fair Average
Stress Level poor Above Average
Flexibility fair Average

What is the Job Like?

This job is not for people who can’t balance their work schedules, make quick decisions or crawl into small spaces. If you specialize in exterminating termites, it is especially important to be comfortable working in small spaces. But even if you are ridding a home of rodents, you may have to work inside an attic, Wren says. Termites are a bigger issue in the southern U.S., whereas rodents and bed bugs are the worst offenders in the northern part of the country.

“If you’re trying to finish a job at Ms. Smith’s house, and you see a text from another customer and it may be 4 p.m., you can’t shortchange that customer even though you have one more stop,” Wren says of multitasking. “You may be assisting a customer, and a customer on your route changed it to another day, and you need to schedule someone into that day without getting frustrated.”

Wren lets his employees work on a rotation and come in later if they are scheduled to work later, to better balance work and family life, since many of the appointments occur after people get home from work and on the weekends. Exterminators, no matter what company they work for, have to be prepared to work on weekends and in the evenings when the bulk of the work is scheduled.

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Last updated by Casey Quinlan.

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