Online Exclusives

Terminix Targets Consumers

By Christine Esposito, Associate Editor | August 5, 2009

Armed with 80 years of feedback on what bugs consumers about pest control, Terminix rolls out its first direct-to-consumer product, a natural insect spray.

Terminix—the pest control provider that sends out trained professionals when bugs come in—is telling consumers they can do it themselves (well, sometimes).

A unit of The ServiceMaster Company, the Memphis, TN-based firm is entering the DIY market with a new eco-friendly pest control formulation called Terminix SafeShield. Engineered to target common household pests like ants, roaches, flies and spiders, the product is the company’s first foray in to the direct-to-consumer market.

“We realized a lot of consumers have harsh, indoor pest sprays tucked away under their sinks. Why not give them a natural, eco-friendly product that is not only effective, but is safe to use where children and pets play,” said Valerie Sherman, Terminix’s vice president of communications.

Terminix, however, won’t compete with some of the biggest names in pest control, such as S.C. Johnson.According to Information Resources Inc., sales of pest control products sold in supermarkets, drugstores and mass merchandise outlets (excluding Wal-Mart) were $426.8 million for the 52 weeks ended July 12, 2009. Leading the $85.9 million indoor insect/rodent control chemicals category was S.C. Johnson’s Raid, which tallied sales of $20.3 million, according to IRI. The brand also led the insect/rodent control device and multi-purpose insect/rodent chemical subcategories.

Instead, SafeShield—which is being offered as a complementary product to use along with the Terminix’s professional treatments—will be sold via a special website, not in brick ‘n mortar shops. According to Ms. Sherman, other distribution channels are being explored and considered, however for the “foreseeable future,” SafeShield will be available at www.safeshield.com.

“We’ve been working on a direct-to-consumer product like this for years,” she told Happi. “We could have put a product on the market sooner, but we wanted to make sure we got it right. Our product had to meet certain expectations. It had to be safe, fast and effective, and with Terminix SafeShield we’ve accomplished that. For more than 80 years, our company has exclusively done professional applications, but we didn’t think twice about entering the direct-to-consumer market with a product like Terminix SafeShield.”

According to Terminix, most customers want to eliminate pests the most environmentally-responsible way possible. To that end, SafeShield was produced in partnership with TyraTech Inc., an independent pesticide company based in Melbourne, FL. The formulation features TyraTech’s Nature’s Technology, which is made from 100% natural active ingredients, according to Terminix, which is selling a 16oz. non-aerosol spray bottle for $9.99.The brand will also benefit from the company’s established service operation. In most areas of the country, Terminix SafeShield is “embedded” in professional pest control service,” Ms. Sherman said, noting that customers in California, Florida, Georgia, Oklahoma and Texas are getting a complimentary bottle of the product after their first pest control service.

Terminix operates 450 service centers and serves more than 3 million customers in 45 states.
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