Wildlife Training: Is It Worth It?

If you are in need of wildlife services, would you pick someone who doesn’t update his or her knowledge? Or would you prefer someone who undergoes regular training to serve customers better? The answer is so simple, yet most wildlife companies are not taking continuous education seriously.

I just ran into a couple of related instances, both of which were troubling to me. I felt it was important enough to write about it.

The first was in September, down in Carmel, Indiana. Every year, the DNR hosts a day long class to give Nuisance Wildlife Control Operators a chance to earn some continuing education credits. The class was a couple hours away. It took all day. Most of it I knew already, but guess what: I also learned some things. Things that will help me serve my customers.

At the end of the training there was some discussion about upcoming legislation changes. One of the topics was that the continuing education requirements were being reduced to 16 hours per four years instead of 40 hours. There was further discussion about whether continuing education was necessary at all. Some people felt very strongly that continuing education was unnecessary.

The next instance was a couple of days later when I showed up at a customer’s home to give an estimate for a bat exclusion. In the driveway was a competitor to do the same thing. That’s fine. It happens. There is usually camaraderie among nuisance guys and I had not met him before, so great. After speaking a couple minutes of small talk I asked if he had gone to the class downstate. He said that at his company, they just retest every four years instead of doing continuing education; saves time, he said.

Maybe I shouldn’t be shocked but I am just not sure how companies can be run like this. I have to believe that a customer would want a company servicing them that is constantly improving their systems and procedures, staying up to date on law changes, etc.

Our industry is typically composed of two different types of operators. The first is as a service business with similar business models to your service plumber or electrician who comes out to your house. We have overhead, insurances, company vehicles, employees with wages and benefits, and thousands of $$$ in traps and equipment. The other type is the part timer, maybe a trapper who likes the outdoors who is looking for some side money in the off season. May or may not be insured, may or may not be taking this seriously at all.

Since I belong to the first group, I am going to take every opportunity to learn something that will help me run my business better. My family and my customers depend on my expertise.

Now let me ask those wildlife removal agencies who take training for granted. If you were given a chance to make your services better, to make your customers happier, and to add more value to your company for business continuity, would you take it? If you answered yes, then wildlife training is definitely worth it!

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