KANSAS CITY, Mo. — 41 Action News is excited to launch a new series, "We're Hiring," with morning anchor Lindsay Shively at the helm.
Thousands of people have filed for first-time unemployment benefits in Missouri and Kansas due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
"We're Hiring" seeks to help those job seekers look for a new career — possibly one they've never considered before — with companies currently looking to hire.
In this first installment, Shively looked at pest control, an industry which those involved describe as an important, rewarding, fun, and flexible career.
Pinnacle Solutions and Blue Beetle Pest Control are two area companies looking to add new members to their teams.
The owners of the two different pest control companies said qualities such as humility, good people skills and good character are more important than prior experience in the industry and they are willing to train you.
Keeping pests outside is a crucial job.
A senior commercial route specialist with Pinnacle Solutions checked bait stations on the ground on the perimeter of a building the day Shively caught up with him. One by one, he unlocked them, checked the rodenticide, cleaned them, and scanned them. This is just part of how Pinnacle Solutions works to keep facilities pest-free.
“We protect many different facilities whether its health care, food manufacturing, restaurants,” said Jason Harris, a service supervisor for Pinnacle. “If one bug gets in that facility, there’s an extreme risk.”
The commercial pest control company's owner said his workers guard people in unexpected ways.
“We see our job as keeping children safe, making sure hospitals are fully operational seamlessly, and then protecting the food chain of society,” Owner Bryan Kasselman said.
The company is growing and right now has two operational positions and a commercial sales specialist position open in the Kansas City area.
Kasselman said starting pay for the operational positions ranges from $24,000 to $45,000 and applicants don’t need prior pest control experience.
In fact, they embrace those without experience.
“We love to bring people in that don’t have any experience,” Kasselman said. “So what we’re going to do is love on them. We’re going to build them up. We’re going to encourage them. We’re going to work on their mindset so they believe that they are a part of something that is important, and then we’re going to get them on-site, hands-on training."
Kasselman said Pinnacle also helps its new employees earn licensing and certification, and within about two years consider promoting the employee.
“Then, as we promote and we have trained and highly educated and you’re a professional within our industry, our senior commercial route specialists are anywhere from $50,000 to $80,000 a year,” Kasselman said.
Blue Beetle Pest Control is growing, too, and looking to add five technicians as well as hiring for their call center.
Owner Mitch Shipman said after including benefits such as a company car, 401(k), and more, the pay for technicians averages $21.00 per hour with nights and weekends off.
The name of the company was inspired by a comic book hero and that’s also what he calls his employees.
“We have customer care heroes. We have technician heroes because every day they’re out there protecting people’s livelihoods, the restaurants, whatnot, or protecting their number one investment, which will be their house, right? They’re protecting their health,” he said.
Shipman said that like Pinnacle, a lack of experience is OK at Blue Beetle.
“Inexperience is no problem, we’re really just looking for people with good character,” Shipman said.
Shipman had a Blue Beetle employee come to his home to show 41 Action News what the residential side of pest control can look like while demonstrating a preventative treatment, spraying baseboards and more around the home.
“Soaks in all the cracks and crevices where spiders might be hiding,” he said. “Right now is spider season. All the spiders are gigantic because they’ve been eating all summer.”
Shipman and Kasselman said people who have never thought about a career in pest control should do so.
“It’s something different every day and it's very exciting,” Shipman said. “You’re kind of going on a hunt, like Sherlock Holmes, to try to figure out little problems.”
“Don’t let the thought of a spider crawling on you scare you off because there is so much more to it,” Harris, from Pinnacle, said.
“I love it. I’m very thankful for it and it's very fulfilling to our families,” Kasselman said.
41 Action News also reached out to Orkin, which has six openings in the Kansas City area including in Independence and Lenexa for pest control technicians, a wildlife technician, a termite sales inspector, a branch manager and a residential sales inspector.
Orkin also offers on-the-job training to all employees.
Thousands of people are filing for first-time unemployment in Kansas and Missouri every week due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
If you are looking for a new career, 41 Action News is here to help.
Each week, morning anchor Lindsay Shively will show you a career you may have never considered — and with companies that want to hire right now.
Be sure to check out our Job Search section for more open positions, too.