Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Estimating the size of the pest control workforce in the United States

I've been frustrated over the years by the lack of hard numbers on estimates on the size of the US workforce for pest control. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that there were 74,100 pest control workers in 2014 (link). This seems low to me, based on some analysis of the PCT Top 100 list.

The 2016 list (which recorded 2015 sales) showed total revenue of $6.3 billion for the top 100 North American firms. The list also includes numbers of employees. Nearly a quarter (24) of those on the list did not list employee counts. However, using annual revenue divided by employee counts, we find that the average employee = $111,273 in revenue. NOTE: this does not mean that if you hire someone new you'll earn another $111,273, I only use this as a means to estimate the number of employees for those firms that don't list it on the PCT list. For example, if a firm lists sales of $49,000,000 (Company 17 on the list) and we know that the average revenue per employee is $111,273, then we can estimate that Company 17 employs 440 people. This is imperfect, but serves as a useful tool nonetheless.

Using this formula, we see that in 2015 that there approximately 57,098 individuals employed by the top 100 firms, or about 77% of the total in the full marketplace, according to BLS. By some estimates, the U.S. business sector for pest control operations includes about 20,000 firms. So even if every other firm not on the PCT list was a single owner-operator (which we KNOW) is not true, then the BLS number is off by over 2,500 people.

I know we're basing this on some estimates, so it's possible that my analysis (below) could be flawed, but this should highlight that we need more data.

Is it time for a new and complete pest control marketplace survey?

Add caption