For New Jersey-based Bug Doctor Termite & Pest Control, expanding its services to new states means growth in employees as well as fleet. With 32 vehicles and counting, Bug Doctor now serves customers in five pest control divisions, each with specific fleet needs.
Stuart Aust, owner and president, started Bug Doctor Termite & Pest Control with his wife as a mom-and-pop operation in Paramus, N.J., in 1992.
As the business grew, Aust expanded his company’s reach into other pest control divisions. In 1996, Bird Doctor was born. Three divisions soon followed: Mosquito Doctor, Animal Doctor (trapping of skunks, raccoons, squirrels) and Bedbug Doctor.
In 2009, Bug Doctor took one of its divisions nationwide. With its other pest control divisions mainly serving customers in New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania, Bird Doctor Nationwide now has customers as far as Texas and California.
Currently, Bug Doctor is averaging a revenue increase of 10% to 12% each year, says Aust. In the face of such growth, how does Bug Doctor manage the challenges of fleet?
A Diverse and Customized Fleet
With an expanding reach, Bug Doctor needs a reliable and up-to-date fleet. Aust decided to start leasing his vehicles instead of buying them. Cycling fleet every three years not only keeps maintenance costs in check, “We found that gives our brand a clean and fresh look,” he says.
Although each fleet vehicle wears the color white, Bug Doctor’s fleet is made up of several different types of vehicles. The trucks are broken down by division: 13 trucks for Bug Doctor, 10 trucks for Bird Doctor Nationwide, one for Animal Doctor and one for Bedbug Doctor.
Of the 32 vehicles, the fleet includes several field service trucks — a mix of Ford F-150s, Ford Rangers, Toyota Tacomas and Chevrolet Silverados — along with four Ford Transit Connect vans used by the sales team for inspections, two Nissan Maximas and one VW Beetle for the management team.
With the company’s brand growth, Tim Periard — the branch manager in charge of fleet operations — must monitor mileage while considering additions to fleet. For pest control, most of Bug Doctor’s business comes from New York City, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Those trucks average a considerable 50,000 to 70,000 miles per year.
Officially changing the Bird Doctor division to Bird Doctor Nationwide garnered new business from national retail chains in different regions — while forcing some decisions with fleet. “Driving as far south as North and South Carolina, we put a lot of miles on the bird vehicles,” says Aust, who has done the math in travel distance to best manage vehicles and drivers and still be profitable.
Bird Doctor Nationwide has even done work internationally.
“We bird-proofed a building in New York City for the king and queen of Qatar. Then they asked me to take a look at two of their palaces in the Middle East. We may need to change our name again to Bird Doctor International,” Aust muses.