Pest control costing firms billions

September 25th, 2015 Category: Commercial

Pest infestation is costing businesses billions, according to new findings.

A study conducted by the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr) on behalf of Rentokil Pest Control showed that in the last year alone, pest infestations cost British businesses £1.2 billion in revenue.

In fact, pests were a global problem for firms, with the business impact across the world totalling £5.8 billion in operating costs and a further £11.8 billion in lost revenue.

The costs are mainly due to things such as negative customer reviews, closure of premises and reputation damage.

It was found that animals such as rodents were by far the most troublesome pest, for UK PLCs, with over half (52 per cent) of businesses having suffered a mouse infestation over the past five years.

A further 39 per cent had suffered problems with rats, while 15 per cent had problems with flies and 14 per cent had issues with cockroaches.

Additionally, ants were reported by 11 per cent of respondents, while bed bugs were the most problematic intruders for ten per cent of people.

When it came to the total number of people that were impacted by pest infestations, it was revealed that the vast majority (92 per cent) of British firms had suffered with pest problems over the past five years and typically experienced three infestations.

These have caused no end of problems for business owners, with more than 60 per cent of those polled believing that their pest problems had impacted their revenues, while even more (82 per cent) stated their problems had increased their operating costs.

Indeed, one third of business owners saying that they had affected staff morale, 20 per cent that they had damaged goods and 18 per cent that they had caused increased maintenance and repair costs.

Speaking about the research, David Cross, head of the technical training academy at Rentokil Pest Control said: "Pests can have both a direct and indirect effect on a company’s finances. Dealing with a serious infestation will of course bring with it increased costs, but potentially more damaging and long-lasting are the effects it can have on a business’ reputation. 

"In the digital age, one negative review or bad employee experience can potentially be seen or read by thousands of people, so it’s more important than ever to keep pests at bay."

The study also showed that many business owners reported that pest problems also negatively impacted the productivity of their workforce.

According to the data, an average of 55 per cent of firms suffered a loss of at least one working day and over a quarter (26 per cent) suffered a loss of at least five working days each year. 

But how can firms get rid of the pests that blight their businesses?

Rentokil said that a clean and healthy workplace environment can help to combat problems with pests.

It also recommended blocking gaps, windows and proofing doors and windows that may provide an entry route for pests.

Rentokil also recommended that firms conduct regular checks and monitoring to spot any early signs of pest activity.

Mr Cross added: "There are simple, practical steps that all businesses and workplaces can take to discourage pest activity, but in the event of a serious problem it’s always best to call in the professionals."

A separate study published by Ibis World found that the UK pest control market is worth £389 million with annual growth of 4.4 per cent forecast from 2010-15.

In addition, the National Pest Management Association showed that nearly all pest professionals (99.6 per cent of those polled) have treated bed bugs in the past year.