Five Attorneys Take a Look at Tough Issues
By Jerry Mix
Usually when you consult with a lawyer, a bill arrives in the mail not too long after the consultation.
Well in this issue of the Florida Pest Management Association’s (FPMA’s) PCO magazine, we ask five well-known lawyers, who are active in the pest control industry, some of the questions you might want to ask and their answers are now offered in this issue for free (unless of course, you would like to make a generous contribution to the FOMA or to the author for the information that is contained in this article).
We recently interviewed five lawyers, Greg Crosslin, from Crosslin & Associates, Destin, Fla.; Dan Gerber, from Rumberger, Kirk & Caldwell, Orlando; Howard Hochman, Miami; Mark Furr, from Alvarez, Sambol, Winthrop & Madson, Orlando; and Cliff Slaten, from Slaten & O’Connor, Montogmery, Ala.
Here is just a small sample of what the five lawyers told PCO magazine:
Crosslin sees the number of claims filed by homeowners against PCOs decreasing due to the increased use of the new termiticides, Termidor, Permis and Boracare, by PCOs. Crosslin said that “these three products are having a huge impact on the marketplace.”
Gerber states that PCOs need to keep a sharp eye on their state’s regulatory framework, looking for regulatory changes that might significantly have a negative impact on their businesses.
PCO insurance was the theme of Hochman’s remarks. “A lot of companies may not have the type of insurance coverage they think they have,” Hochman said.
“The face of litigation in the pest control industry has changed in the last six years, especially when Dursban was taken off the market,” Ruff stated. He agreed a lot with Crosslin.
Slaten advised PCOs to keep good records and make sure that work is documented. “A lot of pest control technicians don’t date paperwork so no one can say when the work was done,” Slaten said. He also stated that PCOs need to follow label directions very closely.
So, there you have it. There is just a sample of the lawyers’ remarks. Want to know more? Well, then read on because there is more, a lot more.
Crosslin on Termiticides
As part of his discussion, Crosslin said that, “Claims are decreasing due to the new termiticides, Termidor, Premise and Boracare. Before, with many more products available, we had many more claims.“I’m not a scientist by any means, but the vast number of claims that have come across my desk do not involve these two products, Termidor, Premise and Boracare. This has had a direct impact on claims.“
PCOs also need to keep up with technology and not just rely on the manufacturers,” he said. “PCOs need to have their own independent source of training. Premise will soon be off patent so PCOs can expect generic Premise products and because of this, PCOs will need to understand what is on these generic labels. Not all generics are labeled the same.
“PCOs need to be careful to stay abreast of technology and not two or three steps behind it,” Crosslin said. “PCOs don’t want to fall into the trap of buying a cheaper product, improperly using it, and then getting zapped by the Department of Agriculture.”Crosslin reported that he holds one, tow and three-day seminars discussing policies and procedures that PCOs need to follow in order to avoid litigation. Crosslin reported that these seminars are a rapidly growing part of his business and that “they are a recognition by PCOs that outside help is good.
“Overall, for the honest PCO, who is in business utilizing a proper model for the long run, times are good,” Crosslin said. “Insurance rates are decreasing, claims are dropping and the marketplace is more responsive to PCOs than ever before. The opportunities to provide a higher level of service at lower costs exists, which should mean increased profits for PCOs. However, it is imperative that PCOs maintain adherence to a proper business model that includes adequate resources for training, retraining, and constantly focusing on the technological advances as they develop.”
OK, there you have it, five lawyers thoughts on what PCOs need to do to keep their businesses active and competitive. Your thoughts?