Jerry Schappert has had a long career as a pest professional, but his life and business has morphed into something much more than that. He has become a global voice and sounding board for the industry, an inspiration to a large number of pest professionals, and even an award winning blogger. Through his blog, pestcemetery.com, Jerry has been having conversations with pest professionals since 2008. The topics cover a hugely broad range of issues from determining the best way to treat a specific pest problem to pricing a job, how to start a business, run a business and more. Most any question from a follower is addressed and Jerry even opens up the comments so others can weigh in with answers.
In his blog Jerry speaks about his lifelong experience: the good, the bad and the ugly. You may think that someone with close to 2,500 followers would be a Top 100 PMP in the country. The truth is that while Jerry’s experience stretches back for over 25 years, and has involved working for a large national pest control firm, Jerry currently owns a medium-sized pest control business based in Ocala, FL known as The Bug Doctor. The business provides well for his family, but is not nationally known nor is it nationally ranked. In fact, Jerry believes his average business is his very key to success in the blogging world. Pestcemetery.com resonates with the industry newcomer and the small-to-medium sized business struggling to make it. Jerry has been there and done that, and is sharing all of the details of how he did it along the way.
Jerry began to see some traction in the online pest control community when he changed the privacy settings on the pestcemetery.com Facebook group page to “closed”. He noticed the number of members quickly grew. In fact, it not only grew, but big names from the pest control industry started to join, and numbers began to swell. These industry superstars were not passive members of the group – they actively engaged in discussions and started to provide advice to those asking questions. Jerry was blown away! He was energized by the response and knew he was onto something. He focused his efforts on pest management and tackling common issues that pest professionals are faced with in their day-to-day work life. This was how pestcemetery.com was born. Instead of focusing on corporate bigwigs and Top 100 firms, Jerry decided to gear the site to the average technician wanting to grow their knowledge, and therefore, their income. At the time, no one else was speaking to this audience, which allowed pestcemetery.com to build a large base of followers, all interested to see what subject Jerry was going to tackle next.
Over time, Jerry started receiving thank you letters from followers attributing their success to his advice and blog. While Jerry’s original plan was to implement a payment process for pestcemetery.com to become added revenue, he was getting so much satisfaction and pleasure in helping pest professionals that he was inspired to keep the blog going – free to his followers. He recognized that he was beginning to provide such an important service, albeit a free one, that he couldn’t let down the many people who visited his blog and Facebook page on a regular basis.
Jerry realized that he had done more than just start a blog – he started a movement, whereby the industry opened itself up to support fellow pest professionals and help them to succeed. Because of Jerry, aspiring entrepreneurs and pest professionals could now get the inspiration as well as the information they needed to make a living in pest control.
Jerry has also shown how vital it is to change with the times, and now uses a number of different channels to get his word out. All of his articles on the blog can be shared to various social media outlets with a simple click of the button. Pestcemetery.com also has a strong presence on YouTube with 142 different videos, and counting, focused on topics as varied as hotel bed bugs to getting rid of cockroaches.
Regardless of the different methods he’s used to promote the site and the high-quality articles he’s penned over the years, there’s one thing above all others that has contributed towards the success of pestcemetery.com, and it’s the fact that Jerry can empathize with his readers. He’s been there in their shoes, looking for pest control solutions and trying to make it in the industry, and he can therefore pass honest and heartfelt answers to his readers. Jerry believes his stories of failure are actually some of the most popular reads on the site.
There is a wonderful lesson to be learned here. Why does Jerry Schappert spend countless hours writing for pestcemetery.com, reading and monitoring comments and offering advice? It’s not because his time and efforts have made him a financially rich man. Instead, it has given him something much larger and more gratifying than money: the pure joy and satisfaction that comes with helping others and giving back.
In his own words, Jerry describes why he goes above and beyond for his fellow pest professionals,
Ours is a big family. We all succeed together. I contribute my insights to add to the industry’s common cause of good. There is strength in numbers, there is wisdom and hope.