If you want to increase your revenue stream in the new year, becoming a licensed (or certified) pesticide applicator is a great way to expand your business operation. Pests cause damage or harm to plants, animals, and even humans, making this a lucrative and beneficial industry to work in. However, pest control also requires the use of hazardous chemicals, and you don’t want to cut any corners when it comes to using them properly.
Here’s what you need to know if you want to become a certified pesticide applicator.
What Does a Certified Pesticide Applicator Do, Exactly?
A commercial applicator is someone who applies or oversees the use of any pesticide on any property (outside of private applicators). This could be ongoing, on a for-hire basis, or as part of a project with a government agency. If you’re using or supervising the use of any pesticide on a property other than your own, you’ll almost always need to be licensed – whether you’re getting paid or doing it out of the kindness of your heart.
Examples of commercial applicators include weed and/or pest control companies, landscapers and lawn care providers. These services may be provided to a municipality, apartment or motel chain, restaurant, school system, or any other non-residential property.
What Does the License Guarantee?
A license guarantees that that the applicator has been professionally trained on the regulations and laws, sampling and application techniques, and management of pesticides, amongst other things.
Since states are typically stricter then the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), you’ll want to plan ahead of time if you want to become licensed to oversee or apply pesticides. Each state has a required number of CEUs hours, or certification units, you’ll need to complete in both core areas and specific categories like turf, seed treatment, sterilization, and water sanitization.
You should also be prepared to take exams and, if available, do some on-the-job training. Training manuals can typically be purchased online or through a county entity.
Check Insurance Requirements
License holders also need to carry a certain amount of general liability insurance under state law. In New Jersey, for example, pesticide applicator businesses must carry $300,000-$500,000 of liability insurance for bodily injury and property damage. The difference depends on whether or not that business is engaging in fumigation pest control and also includes chemical liability coverage. In short, be sure that you have amble coverage on top of proper training.
Train Your Employees
If you’re a licensed pest applicator and bring on new employees, you assume full responsibility of their use and management of pesticides. The only way to defer that responsibility is to have your employees go through the licensing process on their own.
That being said, it’s critical that you train your staff or anyone you manage for a one-off project on proper use, handling, and application. This specialty training should be hands-on and done in-house to avoid any oversights or gaps in communication.
Invest in the Right Equipment
In a time defined by safety requirements and social distancing, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is everything – and being an applicator is no exception. Check the labels of the pesticides you’re working with for minimum PPE requirements, then invest in the equipment you need to do your job safely and effectively. Protecting your employees is a must as well!
Tip: Several product labels can be viewed directly on our website. Many of our pesticides are Minimum Risk Pesticides, which do not require a Pesticide Applicator License in many States.
Create a Calendar Reminder
So, after you pass the exam and get licensed, are you good to go? Not quite. In most states, commercial applicators are required to submit their license registration and pay any corresponding fees on an annual basis. You may also need to complete new courses if you wish to maintain your certification in a specific area like turf or ornamental.
Simply put, becoming a licensed pesticide applicator is a proven way to bring in additional revenue for your commercial business, but it’s not an overnight process. Since pesticides can have an effect on human health, wildlife, and our landscapes, it is imperative that the applicator has gone through proper training to fully understand the long-term effects of their use.
Even if you’re not personally applying a pesticide, becoming licensed can be highly value to your business operation. One of our top priorities is to provide landscapers, schools, and the agricultural industry at large with the knowledge and products needed to help their business grow while protecting the environment and our overall health.
Tech Terra Environmental specializes in application products to improve plant and soil health for lawn care providers, landscape contractors, and municipalities & schools in the tree and turf care industry. Contact us today to learn more about our selection of wholesale products.
And remember, everything is connected to everything else!