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 Employee Complaints - 4

The following information was submitted to Terminix - Consumer Alert!, by people stating they are current or former employees or spouses of employees of Terminix, a subsidiary of ServiceMaster.  Although I believe each of them (or I wouldnít post them), the information provided is unverified, and you must judge for yourself if you believe them.

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(TE4-43).  I work for Terminix.  I am giving them a two-week notice.  You might be interested to know that they admit they only keep 61% of their customers.  That was an eye opener for me.  That means over one-third of all their customers wise up each year.  No wonder I canít make any money!  Let me tell you how we get paid:

All pest technicians (at least in our region) have a base pay/commission combination.  Commissions must exceed base pay to make even an extra buck.  That pay varies depending on when hired and how bad they need warm bodies.  The range is from a low of $1400/month to about $1800/month for a pest technician who has no management functions.  This is guaranteed each month... which is fine so far.  Now, sit down!  We answer ads in the newspaper which state, ďYou can make up to $30k/yr as a pest control technician.Ē  Not bad.  How much is $30k divided by 12?  $2500/month, not bad.  So you are supposed to believe that you can make about $1000 a month over your base pay, right?  WRONG!

A good (and by that I mean fast) technician can do about 18 services a day on average - or more than two an hour, plus the paperwork which takes about a half hour, plus calling the clients every evening to set up the next day.  To get 18 live bodies to service, you would need to make twice that many calls because only half of the people are home.  Add to that the fact that you will get calls back at home all evening.  Iíve received calls as late as 11:30 p.m.  So figure about two more hours of calling -- answering machines, kids who donít give mom or dad the message; folks who think they are too good to call a low-life technician back; folks on vacation, sick, shift workers, etc.; and the usual complaint call takes a half hour because the client wants to discuss their bill when you are sitting at home miles away from your company computer and they donít understand why ďyouĒ canít give them credit right then for a billing error that happened last year with another technician, perhaps before you even hired into the company.  I canít do this many!

The average service is about $35/month, so that day turned about $630.  Mind you, this is a top producer, and he/she will have roughly a 30% complaint/cancel rate at that pace, because he/she cannot do a really good job.  The actual commission pay is based on a percentage of production.  That $630 you did, at 30% of cancellations and credits, your pay multiplier would be about 18%, so you would make 18% of $630, which is $113.40.  Now figure five days a week and just two Saturdays at a half day each, that is 272 so-called days to work each year if you donít get sick or take a vacation.  What do you make for the year?  $30,844 80.  That is how hard you must work every day to make $30k/yr!!!  Our best (fastest) tech doesnít even come close.

Now, letís look at what a thorough technician makes; you know, the guy who cares about his clients.  On a typical day, he can make 10 stops.  The average is still $35, so he brings in only $350 in the same day to the company.  He will have a better multiplier though because he does a good job and has fewer problem accounts.  Letís give this guy a real break and say he has only 10% complaint/cancel rate.  His factor will be higher, about 22%, so letís run the numbers.  $350/day x 22% is $77/day x 272 days = $20,944/yr.  Now, you know there is no way a person works every day.  There are holidays, vacation days, truck broken down days, etc.  So letís say that he/she really has 225 actual work days.  The total is now about $17,326/yr.

Now letís look at those figures with the hours worked figured in.  The top producer who turns in 18 stops a day average will really work 10 hours making the stops because of drive time, people not being home, and the extra services he must perform for free (he doesnít get paid anything for that) plus his calls and paperwork.  He will be at it at least 12.5 hours.  What does he make an hour?  $113.40/12.5 = $9.07/hr.  Remember, Terminix pays no overtime on a commission job.  And how about our little buddy who does the good job, but also has a life, make out?  Well, he will work 8 hours doing his 10 stops, plus all the drive time and such, plus at least two hours on the phone each night.  So he will do an average 10 hour day.  $77/10 = $7.70/hr. Our poor service technician must be honest, because he goes into homes alone at times.  What homeowner stays with the tech all the time?  He must resist temptation to take money that is always around, jewelry, and who knows what else.  It really is a tribute to my fellow technicians that they can resist this temptation.  I know of extremely few incidents.

I love my job, but I am going to quit.  I will miss the fine folks that I have serviced.  They are great; but to tell you the truth, I am making only $6.00 an hour for the time I put in.  No, I am not particularly slow.  Terminix uses me as the trainer for our office.  I have had three in the last two months (and two have quit).  It slows me down a lot because I take the time to really explain things.  I donít make even an extra penny for this.  My route customers give me twice the referrals of any other tech in our branch.

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(TE4-44).  I am in month number nine of an ongoing lawsuit of Terminix suing me over a non-compete agreement after only being employed with them for six months.  I saw how they operated and left for another company, then came the lawsuit; and to be honest, it has been hell on me and my family.  I worked with a company that was purchased by Terminix and had a lot of customers that stuck by me.  When I left Terminix, so did they; but I did not solicit any of them.  They were ready to leave with or without me.  PLEASE stay away from Terminix as a customer or an employee.  They will do nothing but lie and cheat.

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(TE4-45).  My husband has been employed by them for many years and both of us have gone through so much stress with them.  For example, Terminix claims that it pays their employees overtime and time and a half.  However, employeesí salaries appear on the check stub in one lump sum.  There is no indication how many dollars one is receiving for overtime and/or time and a half for that two-week period.  When my husband approached this issue, Terminix called him into a meeting with a lawyer sitting by and explained that Terminix does indeed pay overtime and time and a half.  In actuality, Terminix does not pay overtime and time and a half for commissioned jobs, which make up 98% of what most employees handle.  How many companies need a lawyer sitting by when an employee has an employment related question?  This is just another of Terminixís intimidation tactics.

Since 1991, my husband has not received one single pay raise.  Terminix also does nothing to build employee morale.  Besides not giving pay raises, employees are not given yearly performance appraisals, nor are the EVER given a pat on the back or a thank you for doing a good job.  Instead, they are told to work harder and longer hours and make the company richer.  Terminix employees are told to look honest customers in the eye while they know they are ripping them off by doing unsufficient chemical applications.  Terminix is a shady little organization, as is ServiceMaster.  They are only interested in money had care not at all about their customers or employees.  My husband puts in 12 hour days, but the pay he gets from Terminix doing those long hours, he can get in an 8-hour day elswhere.  Terminix is nothing but a nightmare company.

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(TE4-46).  I am a Terminix employee in the state of California.  While I enjoy the work I do and can afford to live in the Silicon Valley, I must agree with some of the letters you have posted; but not all of Terminix or its employees are to blame.  At the branch I work at, my managers are hard working family men who are unfortunate to have accepted their positions at this company.  My fellow workers are for the most part honest individuals who take pride in the work they do.  In my 10 years at Terminix, I have been embarrassed and victimized by upper management decisions more than once.  I treat my customers with respect and sincerity and strive to exceed their expectations.  While I may not make every single customer happy, I honestly try to.  In a perfect world, I would own my own company and not have to take orders from fools.  But I do care for my co-workers and my customers.  I sleep with a clear conscience every night, and I am proud to work an honest day to support my family.

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(TE4-47).  I have been a valued employee at Terminix for the better part of a year.  I have been working under the misconception that I was supposed to take care of my customers.  I donít get paid for overtime worked.  This is the first job I have ever had where I have not gotten at least two raises by now.  My work ethic has not changed.  I am still a hard worker.

I was going to e-mail the company and complain about poor management at our branch.  I just happened to stumble onto your site, which I found very enlightening.  I thought there was some mistake why I wasnít getting any overtime.  Now I understand.   I hesitate to give too many details about my situation on account I am still an employee.  I will tell you that I wholeheartedly believe everything on your site to be true.  I donít understand how they can still be in business.  One of my customers told me they were going to cancel before I started treating them.  I believe they will be looking for a new pest control service in the very near future.  I am going to quit without any notice.  I donít need Terminix for a reference when I can provide a whole list of satisfied customers.  Iím being forced out of the company for doing a good job.  Iíve realized a lot lately, mostly thanks to you.  I tell everyone I see about your site.  I thought it was just our branch.

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(TE4-48).  I once worked for Terminix in Virginia.  The regional manager was trained to do whatever it took to talk his way out of paying for termite damage.  The customer had to go to the local television stations or tell him they would go in order for him to even consider paying for the damage.  There were occasions when he would pay for the damage without delay.  Of course, the less money he paid out, the more the company made and the bigger his salary became.  Itís a shame that the corporate world has become this way.

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(TE4-49).  Here I sit now, three weeks on the job, waiting for my first pay check.  Whatís so funny about Terminix is they send me out for the last three weeks to collect on delinquent customers and suspended accounts but when it comes time to pay my salary, I get nothing!  I have been told numerous times that my pay was on the way; and lo and behold, it never arrives.  First, I was told it will be there on the 4th, next I was told, ďOh, it will be the l1th that you get your pay.Ē  Then on the 11th while helping answer the phones, I took a call from the payroll people in Memphis and was told to let the branch manager know, ďThe new hire packet that was lost has been found, and we will send out a check as soon as the branch manager faxes a request.Ē  I had the office page the branch manager and have him come back to the office so I could give him a piece of my mind for lying to me.  When he arrived, he made one excuse after another and then phoned Memphis to determine if I could get a check.  After speaking to Memphis, he told me he had to fax a request to them and my check would be overnighted to me on Saturday.  Well, here it is Saturday, and my check has still not arrived.  Well, to make my point, I must say this company cares more about their profit and not enough about their employees and customers.

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(TE4-50).  I am considering suing Terminix for sexual discrimination.  It broke my heart to read all the deceit that is within the parent company.  The Terminix I work for is a franchise that apparently runs the same horrible practices as its parent company.  The funny thing is, shortly after reading all of your suits and employee complaints, I found several of my customers referring to your web site, telling about the suits that are out there in the world.  The company I work for is comprised of a bunch of butt-heads.  Even my attorney asked me if they are ďreally that stupid.Ē  One of my former bosses said it isnít stupidity, it is arrogance... that was perfectly said.

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(TE4-51).  My husband has been with Terminix for several years now; and up until recently, we have had little complaints.  Recently, however, my husband witnessed a heartbreaking scene and was then told to keep his mouth shut when he tried to tell someone.  They were doing a fumigation on a house and didnít properly clear the house before they turned on the gas.  Unfortunately, the ownerís cat was still in the house.  The cat was suffocated.  This is unfortunate and is very sad, but the actions taken by the managers was awful.  They were told to put the cat in a bucket and throw it in the dumpster.  When the owner asked about the cat, he was told they hadnít seen it.  I tried to file a complaint with the State Pest Control Board here in California but was told it is not a crime to be negligent and kill an animal.  The owner is probably still wondering where his poor beloved pet is.

Note:  Since when are only ďcrimesĒ reportable to the California Structural Pest Control Board?

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