- Large Companies – $45,000 – $70,000 per year
- Regional Companies – $30,000 – $50,000 per year
- Small Companies – $10/hr – $15/hr
The salary of a pest control tech greatly depends on a few factors. The employer, workload, experience, and location of employment all contribute to the size of an exterminator’s paycheck. In addition, the pest control industry often uses benefits such as a company vehicle and sales commissions to recruit talent.
Base Salary Factors
Other Benefits and Bonuses
Larger Companies Usually Pay More
For the most part, employees of larger pest control companies earn more money than those that work for smaller companies. In addition, most large employers allow their technicians to drive the company vehicle home at the end of the workday. They also offer medical and life insurance, 401k, and (sometimes) the use of a company phone.
Smaller Companies Have Better Retention
While the pay and benefits aren’t quite as robust with smaller companies, techs typically stick around longer with the little guys. If forced to guess why that’s the case, I’d guess it has to do with predictability of the day and workload. This is because techs employed with smaller companies can expect a more structured day with less unexpected “curveballs”.
Many companies pay their exterminators on a “production” pay structure. Each pest control job has a production amount assigned to it. The employee receives a percentage of the production amount. So if a job has a production of $100 and the tech receives 20 percent, the tech is paid $20 for the job. Whether the tech completes the job in 15 minutes or one hour, the tech is paid 20 percent of $100 (provided federal, state, and local laws are in compliance). Employers often use a goal-oriented sliding scale when determining the percentage paid to the tech.
Most folks are familiar with the concept of hourly and salary wages. A predetermined rate of pay per hour, week, or month is agreed upon between the employer and employee. Depending on federal, state, and local laws, this amount may change after a certain number of hours have been worked per day or week.
Although it’s not always the case, you’ll usually make more money by working more hours. I’ve worked at two pest control locations that posted help wanted ads advertising a starting salary range, but given the location’s workload, the average technician made 30-50% more than the advertised pay rate. Of course, the average tech also worked 50-60 hours per week.
Location of Employment
The cost of living is much higher in Los Angeles than in places like Omaha. That being said, a California-based company is going to pay an exterminator a higher salary than a Nebraska-based company would.
Experience may or may not carry much weight when determining a starting pay rate. It all depends on the pay structure. For hourly or salary positions, experience can be an important factor in a tech’s starting wage. For companies that pay by production, experience barely plays a direct factor at all. That’s not to say experienced techs won’t make more, because they usually will. But if, however, a new pest control operator can work as efficiently as a twenty-year veteran, their pay will reflect it.
Technicians have an incredible opportunity to boost their salaries through sales commissions. If a pest control operator is responsible for acquiring new customers or adding additional services to current customers, that PCO will usually receive a percentage of the sale. That percentage ranges depending on the company, the amount of the sale, and the techs total involvement/contribution in making the sale happen. Pest control companies usually give technicians between 5-20% of the sale.
While many pest control companies allow managers and sales professionals to use work vehicles for personal matters, few (if any) of those same companies extend that same benefit to pest control technicians. This is primarily due to liability concerns. Many companies do, however, permit technicians to take their vehicles home at the end of the workday. Depending on technician’s commuting distance, this could be a large savings in fuel cost. When applying for a PCO position, be sure to ask about the company’s policy on vehicle usage.