Prokill: 'One of the best bets for future business growth'

Now in its fifth year of successful operations and a year into its franchise development, Prokill is receiving significant interest in its management franchise. Stuart Anderson reports

Providing an essential service, the demand for which is unaffected by trends and the performance of the economy, Prokill Professional Pest Prevention launched its management franchise opportunity in March last year after five years of operations to finetune its business model. The company describes the response to its offering from prospective franchisees as 'astounding', and with its seventh franchisee Chris Weston just launched in Cornwall, the franchise is looking to maintain its growth as it seeks to complete a national network of 100 franchised territories.

'Pest Control is an ongoing necessity for any business or residence, one that if ignored can multiply into significant or debilitating problems in terms of business efficiency and health,' says Prokill Head of Development Geoff Whittle. 'What we have done at Prokill is revolutionise how the service is provided, elevating the business away from the 'life of grime' approach into a professional identification, prevention and cure scenario that creates a cleaner environment for all concerned. With increasingly stringent EU and government directives regarding health and safety plus the growth in new infestations due to climate change, pest control has to be one of the best bets for future business growth.'

Utilising modern baiting methods and environmentally friendly materials, Prokill operatives increasingly act as surveyors and technicians, as Hertfordshire franchisee Clive Ticehurst explains: 'Prokill treatments are largely at arm's length with rarely a sight of the offending creatures, all of whom can be a severe threat to personal health if not dealt with promptly, becoming a most unwelcome presence to even the most conservation-minded of individuals if allowed to multiply unchecked.'

Prokill has constructed a management franchise opportunity where the franchisee builds a business running a number of employed surveyors and technicians in a substantial exclusive territory. 'Our territories are designed to permit the franchisees the maximum business growth in the future, and we are building a growing portfolio of contractual business that carries through from year to year,' says Geoff. 'After two or three years of successful trading a franchisee should expect at least 40 per cent of the business to be ongoing income that can be relied upon and built upon each year - excellent for cash-flow forecasting and a great comfort for those anxious to avoid a hand-to-mouth business income.'

The franchise package includes thorough training to achieve professional qualifications and recognitions. 'We recognise that in selecting the best applicants in terms of ability and ambition that we will often have to start from scratch in terms of building their knowledge of the pest control industry,' Geoff reveals.

'This isn't a problem as we have created a thoroughly professional training programme covering all aspects of practical, field and theoretical experience - to the extent that we're one of the only places outside of the British Pest Control Association now recognised as a Royal Society for the Promotion of Health examination centre. The franchisee earns credible professional qualifications from day one.'

Following the training, Prokill franchisees benefit from a complete web-based operating system that allows immediate access to all data relating to the operation of the business, provides a centrally managed invoicing and credit control facility and delivers a fully electronic order capture and interpretation facility which makes the business as simple, efficient and profitable as possible.

'Prokill has given me the tools to create a substantial business,' relates Clive, who recently completed his six week training period and launched his franchise. 'Every day I'm surprised at the amount of opportunity that presents itself. My only issue is that I can only be in one place at a time! I secured nearly £7,000 worth of business in my first two and a half weeks. I've always had confidence, but starting a new venture and channelling my energies into what seems to be an outstanding opportunity is rewarding both my character and pocket.'

Prokill is seeking franchisee candidates with a desire to run a business for themselves and the ability to manage others. 'We're looking for self-motivated individuals with the commitment to succeed,' says Geoff. 'We've been particularly pleased that those we've appointed are already performing beyond our initial expectations. It's particularly pleasing for us to be vindicated in our belief in the strength of our system by the performance of our franchisees from day one.'