Interview With William Mosley
We sat down recently with Will Mosley, general manager of Green Earth Pest Control’s (GEPC) New York office to find out what drew him to Green Earth and what it’s like running an office in one of the most competitive pest management markets in the country.
GEPC: You spent eight years in the U.S. Army before joining Green Earth Pest Control. What attracted you to the pest management industry?
Will Mosley (WM): Well, that’s actually a funny story. Truthfully, pest management, pest control, exterminator — those words never crossed my mind at all. Never even thought about it. I left the Army with dreams of being an air-traffic controller, but the current state of the FAA at the time didn’t allow that to happen. So I spent the better part of two years after getting out being either unemployed or going from one crazy job to another, doing what I had to just to get by.
GEPC: So how did you end up with Green Earth Pest Control? What attracted you to them, and how did they find you?
WM: I was about to turn 30, I think it was three or four weeks before my 30th birthday, and I told myself if I’m not hired and on my way to a career or at least on the path to something better, I was going to go home where I knew it and knew that I had a place to work and everything, and kinda go from there.
Over the course of the two years, I must have sent out upwards of 5,000 different resumes to different career fields, explaining how trainable and experienced I was at different aspects of life, and I got absolutely no hits, save for a few job interviews for a hotel here, a kitchen there, and I was told multiple times that they wouldn’t hire me because I would probably have their job too soon. So I got stuck with that, and I made one last-ditch effort on, of all places, Craig’s List. I made a post basically explaining who I am, what I’ve done, what I can do, I’m limited to do, what I’m not limited to do, and how trainable I am, and I got one response from that post, and that was from Josh Alpert, the owner of Green Earth Pest Control.
He told who he was and what he does, and if I was interested to send in my resume — so I did. Shortly thereafter we spoke on the phone. He explained again what he does and what he was looking for. I told him I was thoroughly interested. He set up an interview a couple of days later — I think it was a Wednesday — and I went up there. We sat in the office and talked. They actually hired me on the spot. I think I either started the next day or the day after. The funny thing I remember most was that before Josh and I got off that first phone call, I said, “Look: You found me on Craig’s List, so I have to ask this. Is this a scam?” Josh snickered a little and said, “I guess we’ll have to wait and see.” He eventually said no.
It made me feel better about the whole thing. After I started working and had been there for a while, he said, “So, do you still feel like this is a scam?” I think I said something like, “We’ll see.” (laughter) It’s a good story about how I got such a good job like this.”
GEPC: Obviously, you’re now the general manager of the New York office, but you didn’t start out at that level. How DID you start?
WM: Well, I started out as a regular old technician. I got trained by the previous field supervisor and went around on all the jobs. They kind of threw me into everything, so let me learn about everything pretty quickly. I thought I did pretty well.
I took it upon myself to start reading up on bugs because short of knowing that that was an ant, and that was a cockroach, that was about the extent of my knowledge at the time. Did my own research, learned some more things, habits, and got into some really funky bugs. Then once I starting learning what we really deal with — like the normal and the average — I learned a lot more.
It really helped me in the long run. I was able to do these jobs and training went pretty quickly. I was even able to help optimize a lot of the ways we do things. The paperwork is now all digital, whereas when I started it was all on paper. We were going through 1,000 pieces of paper a month or so. Now we get to do it all digitally. So like we always said: You put three heads together [Editor’s Note: The other two heads are owner Josh Alpert and Vice President Kery Bruzzo.] with completely different lifestyles and experiences, you can come up with a plan that works 100% better.
That’s pretty much what we did. Over time, companies move and shift, and people go and people come, and it came time where they eventually made me the field supervisor. I would still do jobs for the most part, but I also went out to supervise and train and make sure things were going right. If there was a problem, I would go and fix it — or at least determine what happened. Then I stopped doing jobs and just simply started checking up on technicians out in the field. Around that time I got my upgrade from technician to applicator. And then around December 2015, a spot opened up in the office and they pulled me in and I started working in the office as the general manager.
GEPC: How many techs are you managing now?
WM: Right now, there are seven in New York and there’s the one in California. The California one is pretty much split managed so whoever picks up the phone, but I do typically deal with primarily the New York technicians.
GEPC: The pest problems in New York — everyone has heard of them. Even if they don’t live anywhere near New York, the pest problems are legendary. You go to a website to find an pest management company and there are literally HUNDREDS to choose from. What is it like running the New York office in that kind of environment and what makes Green Earth Pest Control stand out from the rest?
WM: It’s the customers that make Green Earth stand out from the rest. We like to attract as many different people as we can. When I talk to a customer for the very first time, I often get the feeling it’s my fault they have a problem with X bug — whatever bug their dealing with. And I understand their thought process because if someone just lives in a house or in an apartment, and they have an exterminator or their building has an exterminator, they blame the exterminator when they have bug problems because the exterminator is supposed to keep them from having bug problems.
What we like to do is to educate customers as much as we like to serve them. There’s often times when a customer is doing something wrong that contributes to the problem, and they don’t even realize they’re doing anything wrong. They don’t realize that because there are 300 people or more living within 100 feet of you, if you leave dishes in the sink and there’s a roach problem in one of the other units, roaches are going to find their way to you.
So we spend a lot of time on educating customers to make them aware of why things happen and what could be contributing to that. And then we tell them how they can change their habits to help alleviate the problem — simple changes, too, nothing drastic. We’re not asking them to steam-clean their entire home repeatedly. We’re just asking them for simple changes — take your trash out, do your dishes, don’t leave food on the counter — things like that. And they’re usually really receptive to that and it often leads them to buy a service anyway. And then they come back, and it’s great — sometimes we don’t hear from them for a year, and the problem happens again.
And sometimes they’re dealing with a much bigger issue, and it’s not necessarily their fault, but they’re feeling the effects of it. And we explain to them why it’s happening. With that style of talking to customers instead of being that random person who says, “Yeah, OK, I’ll come out there for this amount of money.” and then you don’t tell them what they’re doing, you don’t tell them what to expect, you don’t tell them why it could be happening — we attract a different kind of customer and it really does help our reputation and our image and how we portray ourselves, even online. We have a huge online presence with great customers and great online reviews. I can point out 75% of them that I’ve talked to personally. I know what their issues are and why they’re happy. It has really changed the way I think about pest control companies now than the way I did years ago.
With the market being so competitive, when you stand out like that, it really bodes well for everyone — especially because we require rigorous training for everyone in the company. There’s not a person who can call us and not be able to get an answer from them. We want everyone we work with to know about everything as well. I think that really helps us in the long run.
GEPC: What’s the toughest pest problem you face in New York?
WM: Can we include cab drivers in that?
WM: Well, those are the toughest. [laughter] But if we really stick to the bug and rodent world, I would say it’s truly hard to limit it to one pest. I would say the biggest problem in pest control is the stigma still associated with having a pest. People who have a problem — maybe they are hoarders, maybe they are dirty. Or maybe they’re not — maybe they have a cleaning lady that comes every single day and they still have a problem.A lot of people are still really afraid to talk about it.
Bed bugs are a hot issue — bed bugs are on the rise. And the biggest problem is when we are able to do our program fully and inspect a building and see what’s really going on, we can typically find what we call Ground Zero and deal with it. But when people are afraid to talk about it and they want to try to do it on their own, they use all these crazy internet recipes to get rid of them that it really hinders the service. So I think not wanting to talk about it is actually the biggest pest problem in New York.
GEPC: If someone wants to get in touch with Green Earth Pest Control in New York and inquire about getting serviced by the company, what’s the best way for them to do that?
WM: We’re set up for everything. You can to our website, where there’s a lot of information and a contact link, and we’ll reach out to you, discuss the problem and give you options and start out that way. You can always call our New York number at 212-444-1034, and you’ll get a friendly voice and a willingness to talk through issues. And you can reach us at the email address if you need to discuss something in more detail. The email is firstname.lastname@example.org, and that goes to all of us here in the office. As soon as it comes in, someone will grab it and get right back to you.
GEPC: Thanks, Will.