Spray Tanks for Trucks Case Study
Lessons from America’s Top Terminix Franchisee
New information to drive innovation
A perfect example of taking in new information and then creating meaningful innovation was Scott Fortson, President, and COO of TSI, listening to an idea from his brother, Nelson. Being a firefighter, Nelson had noticed that every firetruck was configured differently. He also saw that each water tank had been custom design and fitted to match each truck’s dimensions. The custom design had the goal of safely carrying as much water as possible. His lightbulb went on, and he approached Nelson with an idea to increase long-term profits for TSI and reduce injury risks for their service personnel.
While we write this case study using a possibly overly modest headline, an online article from 2016 suggested that Terminix Services Incorporated (TSI) may be the largest Terminix franchise in the entire world. After learning about the long history and deep familial ties within the top management of their successful company, we began to see why and how they rose to the top.
In this case study, we’re hoping you will benefit from learning about how they approach business. In addition, they shared a couple of ways they think outside the box.
The biggest surprise for us was their desire to bring in ideas from outside the rather closed community of franchising. One of the biggest draws of buying a franchise is that the new entrepreneur isn’t required to figure out the intricacies of marketing, advertising, selling, and then delivering a service (or products). However, since TSI is now operating in its seventh decade, innovation was a natural evolution.
Nelson knew that the standard, round, roto-molded pesticide tanks took up a majority of bed space and had filler tubes far from the edge of the truck. This caused employees to have to extend way over for daily filling and create long-term, lower-back issues for their dearly valued employees.
Nelson tracked down CPF’s parent company, United Plastic Fabricating, the same company that built custom water tanks for the firetrucks he used in his previous career. UPF worked with Nelson, and together they came up with an effective rectangular design positioned against the front of the bed. The new shape still carried the same 50 gallons of liquid but greatly reduced sloshing and was far easier to fill.
Nelson and Scott put pencil to paper and quickly realized that the additional initial investment (about $200/tank) would equate to only about 20¢/day while reducing stress on the employees. Moreover, the custom pesticide tanks freed up most bed space. Thus, allowing for more tools and other equipment to make each pest control truck setup more efficient.
They agreed that custom-fabricated pesticide tanks would create many long-term benefits for their company.
This is just one example of how retrofitting trucks could create more long-term profitability. In addition to reducing employee turnover and missed days, adding driver stability to smaller trucks, and demonstrating to the field service team how much management cares about their well-being.