Thanks to everyone who submitted a Terrible Technician tale. We had over 75 submissions.
The winner is…..
Annmarie Teresa, Owner of Intelligent Pest Control of New York City.
There's almost no free or clean restrooms in Manhattan so one tech got creative.
The tech urinated in his B&G because he couldn't find a restroom, then forgot and used the tank to spray inside a customer's home for odorous ants (no joke). Fortunately, once the tech smelled what he had applied, he pretended to spray the rest of the home and used a gel bait for the rest of the treatment.
Annmarie just started Intelligent Pest Control last month and will receive a new B&G 1-Gallon Sprayer.
The majority of the submissions are attached below for your review & enjoyment.
- Other than cleaning up some of the rough language, I have attached the pest control stories verbatim. It would have taken too much time to fully edit them.
- Some of the stories and language are coarse. If you are easily offended, leave now.
- I have removed the names of people & companies to protect the innocent and the guilty.
Here are some of the takeaways I get from reading these stories. If you have others, please share them.
- Do a thorough criminal and driving background check before hiring
- Where there is smoke, there is fire. Take action at the first sign of trouble. Hire Slow. Fire Fast.
- Make sure employees know that most homes now have video cameras and are watching everything the tech does.
- Have a hygiene policy
- Do periodic ride-alongs with techs. Owner, manager or supervisor should ride with each tech periodically to see how they work and talk with their customers
- Make it easy for customers to contact you or complain. Solicit customer’s feedback so you can take action early before disaster strikes.
- Regularly check employees driving records.
- Make sure techs know you may be willing to do some retraining after an honest mistake, but illegal, immoral or disgusting behavior will result in immediate termination and a police report.
- Touching, using or consuming customer’s property (other than what is absolutely required for job performance) will result in immediate termination.
- All the bad techs seem to work at a different company.
- Men really can be disgusting creatures!
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Here are some of the contest submissions. Happy Reading.
Terrible Tech Submissions:
I worked at a place where the tech was caught on video making his own sandwich while inside a customer’s house. Fired and rehired. Same guy dusted an entire bedroom coating everything with delta dust and told the customers to vacuum it up. Again, fired and rehired
Tech shadows me on a residential bed bug treatment. He steals medication, is caught on camera and arrested. That was terrible to have my integrity questioned and the ensuing headache!
We are in South Carolina. Tech training with me asks male customer..."You from up north huh?!?....that explains why you’re so feminine" had a long heart to heart with him!
Tech was treating a medical office building for ants...totally glass from ground to roof...3 floors...treats inside and out with wettable powder that leaves an extremely white chalky residue. After a $2000 window cleaning bill and a lost account, he was canned! This was a $600 per month account so $7200 per year plus $2000 (window cleaner) down the drain! Should have been a red flag when the guy was kicked out of a hotel during his initial training for "being drunk with his room chair outside the main lobby cussing and falling around".
I was babysitting a xxx branch in Northern CA and we got a call that the tech sprayed the wrong house. When I got there with the service mgr, a man with sores on his arms ran out yelling "agent orange, agent orange". I checked with the tech and he was at the south end of the street instead of north as his ticket said. When the man calmed down enough to be understood he said that he was sensitive to all chemicals and was on two phones at once reporting us to multiple agencies. I told him that the tech had applied Durban LO and if he gave me his doctor we would get him an MSDS sheet. "You can't do that because he's in jail" was his reply. "Well that makes my offer quite difficult" I said. He continued babbling so we made a tactical retreat. He tried to initiate lawsuits for about three years after that. After this we even found a worse screwup that day as one of the techs was seen by a customer picking up a hooker in his company truck. Two job opportunities were available the next day.
A technician at a previous company I worked for was scheduled for a morning bed bug service. He informed the customer that they needed to vacate the property for a few hours during the treatment. Customer returns a few hours later to find the tech laying in his bed watching TV and eating a bowl of cereal.
Termite Tech found the cusotmer’s cat petrified after removing tarp, put it on the hood of their truck as a hood ornament, as they were driving off, customer passed him.
I had a tech I'll call BG. Everything happened to him. He was treating a gay/leather bar when the owner stopped the jukebox and told everyone that he was off limits because he was straight and doing his job. One night I get a call at 1AM from the Burlingame PD telling me that BG was just beaten up in a whorehouse. As it was first Monday it must have been (name deleted) Massage Parlor. The girls left at midnight and he came in to spray. About 12:15 two young gentlemen with raging hormones came pounding on the door. Instead of just completing his job, he shouted "there's nobody here". Big mistake. They kicked in the door and when they discovered that the nubile young ladies had left, they did a tap dance on his head. He took a couple of days to recover from that "injury". I just found a way to pay him as the workmans comp paperwork would have been an issue at home office.
We had a tech who serviced a large office building on a Saturday. Only one staff member was there and would not be with him, they would be outside at the guard station. The building was going to be closed mon and tues. The tech went through the company fridge cooked and ate a bunch of food. Before leaving he left the freezer and fridge open and when they came back on Wednesday the entire 1st floor smelled of rotting food. He was fired.
Customer called and said tech made her nervous. Let it slide as it was the only time anybody said anything. Tech serviced customers home the next time, nobody was home. He broke in through a window, went to the bedroom, started sniffing her panties! Called said customer as he was doing it, told her what he was doing! All caught on camera..
We had a tech still in training who would often use restrooms he shouldn't, to (defecate). Probably all hotels have lobby restrooms, but he would use a one in a guest room on several occasions, even after I told him multiple times he shouldn't do that. Not to mention he obviously didn't wash his hands afterwards. He serviced a nice hotel downtown for another tech, one that's pretty luxurious. Later that afternoon my manager gets a call from the GM of said hotel, pissed off, wanting to cancel, and wanting payment for their VIP suite, who upon checking into their room, the guest walked in the restroom, and there was (defecation) floating in the toilet. The checked the card reader on the door, and he was the last one in the room before the guest. The guest checked in to another hotel, costing them a few thousand dollars. The tech was terminated that afternoon. Here's the kicker, he was terminated from his previous job as a jailer, for discharging his firearm, get this, while he was on the toilet (he was playing with his gun).
Sister office had a technician who had turned in his two weeks, and immediately went (bad). I mean ghosting accounts, and when he did show up, just didn't care. The whole thought process in the situation was "What am I going to do, fire him?" Well, on his last day he pissed off a customer and the customer followed him out to his truck telling him to go back inside and finish his job. The tech whipped his little friend out right then and there and pissed on the customer's driveway. He was arrested that afternoon for public urination and indecency. From then on, we called pissing off a customer off "Pulling a Mike".
When I was a commercial tech in Houston, we had a tech who's truck was "broken into". They made off with his Stinger flashlight and B&G. Well, that month while I was servicing his accounts, including a national chain of pawn shops, I happened upon his B&G and Stinger. He got the pink slip. Same tech in Houston was doing regular service at a nice hotel in Downtown Houston. The kind of place W and famous folks stay in when they're in town. Service was common areas, food areas, and vacant rooms. Well, he was taking an extremely long time to finish the service, so the manager on duty went up and found him asleep in one of the vacant rooms. And I'm not talking like sitting in a chair taking a quick nap. Dude had stripped down to his skivvies and was in the bed.
Had a tech plow into the back of someone at 45 MPH at 11pm on the other side of town (Houston). He gave some sob story about getting done with pretreats late and using a headlamp and blah blah blah. I wanted so badly to let him go because I saw through every bit of bullshit, but my director kept him on. He had a felony when he was 18, and some joker in Florida got busted stealing jewelry from a customer's home. Directive came down from corporate to let everyone go in their 6 month probationary period with a background.
Ulv machine stopped working in the middle of a job. Tech reported ulv broke down and a smaller ulv machine was sent to him to finish the job but instead, Tech told client not to agree with using a smaller ulv as he(the client) is paying for a job using a big ulv. Tech was fired and we lost the client.
Had a tech granulate an entire interior room carpet for ants with talstar ca. In addition there was a very thick band along the entire base board of the room. Worst thing was there were still ants.
Coworker goes to customer’s house, with cameras everywhere. Customer calls and says she has something for us to see and is extremely pissed. Come to find out he's sprays in the direction of her barking dog even though he knows the cameras are there. No longer employed by us.
We had a guy paint the side of the company Taurus with house paint and act like nothing happened. I asked him first thing Monday morning " Keith what happened to the car" he replies what are you talking about. I reply the $2500 in damage to the side of the vehicle that you crudely painted with house paint. Last day.
We had a salesman break down in our smartcar, worst part was he thought we would be smart and not need a gas can so he used his B&G. He called the manager and said you wouldn't believe I broke down in the smartcar but I was smart and didn't need to spend 7 dollars for a can I just used my B&G. The manager didn't miss a beat when he laughter and say you just bought the most expensive gas can of your life. Needless to say salesman didn't stay very long after with the company's as he became the talk for a while.
This particular tech was ultimately fired for sleeping with a customer, who happened to be another employee wife. This same employee was also previously found on camera in a customer home who was supposed to be doing a brown recluse treatment instead he was in their high dollar massage chair then once the home owner found this he went back and check camera to see his feet staying at crawl space entrance during termite renewal. The SAME tech after investigating was found going in on naked customers at apartments after being told to wait and then was caught going thru apartment customer porno magazines and was also accused of stealing pain medicine and also multiple times accused of stealing costumer cigarettes. Icing on the cake is this tech is son of the owner of a huge company. Who can top this horrible tech??? This tech was actually eventually rehired after being jailed for stealing Ipod and laptop from apartment but was soon fired after he was arrested again and truck towed from driving on suspended.
Hired a licensed operator back around 2004. Nice guy, always well dressed, and very knowledgeable about the pest control business. Had good references. Worked for me for about a year , and then one day he disappeared, along with my power sprayer, B&G can, and various other tools supplies. After a few months I started getting calls from a town about 50 miles away stating they still had termites. I told them I did not service that area, and had no idea who they were. They read me the paper work and name on contract, and yep, that was mine. Turns out he was soliciting termite work in that area, doing the jobs, using my paper work, and having the customers write him a check as he claimed he was part owner. There were four jobs total that I knew about, and I did go and take care of the problems at my expense. I was looking for him as was the state inspector, but we never found him. I did learn that he had went to work for a builder in another town, and had unloaded my power sprayer and equipment on his property. When I contacted the builder to get my equipment, he would not let me have it because the guy owed him $2,000 so he would not let me have my equipment because my past employee had told him that we were partners, and the builder thought I was there with a made up story to get equipment back. According to the sheriff, I could not get it back unless I could prove, in someway that we were not partners. At that point I just let it go. Still have never heard what happened to him or where he went. Oh, and the paper work contracts he used were what he had printed up so I would not miss any, and bought chemical for his stolen jobs, and paid cash for chemical.
I worked for a company that hired a car salesman to be our new service manager. 1 month into his new career, he tried to coach me into scattering ZP Trac under the seats of a public dining area. He believed the company protocols dictated there was a threshold met that demanded this action. I tried showing him the label, but he wasn't interested. I mentioned that often times children dropped crayons and hot wheels and would retrieve dropped items from under the seats, I wanted him to see the danger. Even though not certified, he unlawfully obtained ZP Trac (a RUP) and applied it himself. To make matters worse, he had the electronic ability to generate a service ticket with my profile and licensure. The jerk broke the law with my name! I was horrified. I followed that company’s grievance policy with zero interest from above. That's when you know you're on the wrong team and I promoted myself to another employer.
I was serving as the Assistant Manager in the Pasadena CA Branch. I received a call from a customer saying that he has not seen or heard from his tech in months. He said probably like 6 months. Now our company policy is that all techs call their customers the night before service and after the service is done as well if the customer is not home. Also, they are to place a date sticker in the meter box as proof of service. If a customer has bait stations there is a dated punch card in each bait stations for proof of service as well. So I asked the customer if he would mind if I go to visit his property. He agrees. Now I was sure that our Tech had followed our protocol call and was going there to prove that we have been there and this was just a big misunderstanding. Well, I met the customer and he gives me the tour around his house. I find the date sticker. The last time it was dated was 8 months ago from the time. I was embarrassed and sad. I really liked my coworker. Next was the bait stations. It was the same thing. None of the cards were updated. All were 8 months of no punches. He took me to his barn where there was a bait station that was hack buried in mud. Needless to say the customer cancelled and we refunded him 8 months of service not rendered and we fired the Tech. Let this be a lesson that short term again for long term pain will catch up. Pay day some day. Bait stations just don't mitigate a rodent population. Bait stations are first and foremost accountability. Character is what you do when no one is looking. Will you still do right? In this bad tech story the tech lied, falsified documentation, stole from his/our customer and put our company at risk. Moral...Be a person of character and integrity.
I came back from work after being off for vacation. One of my stops was a follow up service on and extra service performed by another technician while I was gone. Customer still had ants. When I arrived at the home there was a 6" trench around the home. I asked if he was having a termite treatment done. He said no... the last tech who cam out told him to do it. The tech told him ants don't go "down hill". I laughed, I'd never heard anything so ridiculous.
I was in manager training the first two terrible tech decisions. The manager at a commercial key account called us asking for us to come to his establishment to view the previous nights tape. We should have known it was bad when he chuckled on the phone. Sure enough we are watching the tape and the tech was actually very thorough and detailed. Until he went to the office to fill out his report... He received a phone call & the next thing we know he drops his pants and skibbies to his ankles and "takes care of him self" in the GM office chair. Needless to say it was an awkward termination and exit interview. A couple weeks later (at the same account) we get another call. Of course they are watching our every move after the first situation was handled. The newly assigned tech aware of the situation she was walking into decided to fire up the grill and treat herself to a $60 bone-in filet. Two technicians in two weeks, just how I wanted to start my management career. The final terrible decision happened awhile later. The pest division of xxx at that time had a little over 2200 service specialist. All of which had vehicles and gas cards. This particular tech stole $4500 worth of gas over the course of a year. The best part is that the gas he stole was all diesel, not one of the 2200+ vehicles in the pest division took diesel. And of course his excuse was "well hell, you can't tell me that everyone else isn't stealing gas" I had to inform him that nobody in their right mind would risk there job for $86 a week worth of gas.
We hired a guy who went to the same Church that I did, he use to take home a truck during the week. One weekend he came to the office, thinking he had keys to the truck he attempted to get in but it wouldn't start, because my mechanic took of the distributor cap. So, when the truck wouldn't start he broke into the office, setting off the alarm and he stole two hammer drills and ran before getting caught. He now resides in prison.
I had a technician who decided he knew his product well enough that he didn't need to read the label anymore. He was mixing his tank and grabbed glyphosate instead of our selective broad leaf herbicide we use on lawns. He then went out and finished his day. The next morning he realized what he had done and called me in tears to inform me of the mistake. We then had to replace $40,000 worth of lawn. The tech spent the next couple of weeks preparing lawns and laying down sod with the landscape crew. This event was pretty well known among my other technicians and become somewhat of an ongoing joke. A week or so after we had got all the lawns replaced I received a call from another technician informing me that he had mixed weed spray in his pest tank! Never in over 20 years of business had I had a technician mix the wrong product and within a month we had 2 incidents. Lucky for us he only killed the flower bed this time.
I had an apartment complex for many years and decided to expand and hire my first technician. I walked him through the complex side by side many times and the company had built the relationship well enough that I decided it was time for me to step of to bigger and better. I began to get minor complaints that he was thorough as I was. Well that's kind of a given. I own the company and we take pride in ownership. Complaints begin to get worse. The apartments demand I come back and take the route back. Me wanting what we all want said give me one more chance I'll handle him. We have a small company meeting and try to resolve the issues. One day about a week later the police get called out for a domestic dispute and park their squad car behind his truck. He sees this and as the police are going in my tech proceeds to get vulgar with the officer (never mind the reason they are there). The confrontation gets to the point of cussing and swearing back and forth about police disregard and doing what they want. I don't agree with the tech one bit. Shy of the police moving the squad car from the rear of his truck a 20 minute ordeal and him dang near in hand cuffs. The police go in to find out the real problems and my technician fills his backpack and goes back to work on the other side of the complex. Yes you read correctly. He was not even close and probably had 2-3 hours worth of work left. Needless to say the owner of this complex owned 4 other. Called me in with the police officers there. Come to find out they were drinking buddies. Proceeded to fire my company and pay out their final bill. I went through the budget and that one company paid out $63,000 the prior year to me for 3 days a weeks work and not a full day. I tried my best to not rip him a part. I had to let him go.
One of our clients that was serviced on a weekly basis had a bed bug issue. The building was a multi level facility and required the tech to be there 5 days a week. As owners we need to trust the techs to be able to work independently and efficiently. One day I stopped in unannounced to check with the facility manager to see how things were progressing when he mentioned the tech was leaving for 3 hours every day for lunch and would smell like alcohol when he returned. I confronted the tech on the accusation when he mentioned it was true, did not think it was a big deal (never mentioned on his time card about the long breaks or booze) and he would only have a beer, which he thought was no big deal either. Since releasing the employee we now have GPS trackers in the vehicle along with a tracker on the phone app they have to sign in with every day. Alcohol on any job can mean a disaster waiting to happen, not only to the tech and the company he represents but also to the facility and all the people that could be effected by carelessness or intoxication.
I had a customer who had a surveillance camera recording my technician going through their bedroom drawers on a spray job inside their apartment, and then take a laptop that was laying out into the bathroom along with some paper towels. You can guess what he was up to. The technician had a pornography problem, but I never imagined this would happen. Though nothing was stolen (thankfully), the technician was immediately dismissed and we settled out of court for $15,000. It was a nightmare! Lesson learned - techs need to know they are likely being watched at all times these days, so behave accordingly ... AND be careful about hiring ANYONE with an addiction!
We had a technician that was treating this multi-unit complex. The tech had this account has his for monthly treating for quite a while. One day a tenant in the building was complaining that beer and sandwich meat and bread were missing out of his frig. He also complained that he had certain suggestive videos he had in his collection of tapes were being used and watched. The customer knew this because he had put everything in alphabetical order and never left them unwound. They set him up one day and set up hidden cameras. The complex was an eighty unit apartment complex. Technicians were trusted with keys and suppose to leave a service ticket in each unit serviced. Turned out this particular tech was unlocking doors going inside not servicing the units dropping a service ticket and leaving in a hurry to get to this one unit. He would then enter this particular unit was seen on camera entering turning and locking the door. He was then seen making himself at home making a sandwich and taking a beer, sitting in the living room recliner after popping a video (X) into the recorder. After eating and drinking the beer he decided to treat himself.
I had a technician who refused to wear deodorant and would hit the gym on his lunch break. He also had a head cold and would blow snot rockets, which, because he went to the gym so much, he had a big chest and they would land on his shirt. I sat him down one day to talk to him about his appearance/smell and his response was - "dude, they want a real man coming to kill their bugs, not some sissy that smells like peaches!" That's when our hygiene policy was born.
While performing routine maintenance on equipment recently used by a past employee, I noticed that his B&G sprayer wouldn't hold pressure. Upon closer inspection, and to my dismay, I discovered that he had recently pumped his B&G up so far that he caused the pump cylinder to fracture -- in 6 places! I have never seen this happen in 26 years of being in pest control. The reason the tech was no longer with us? He previously destroyed 2 Birchmeier backpack sprayers, 1 power rig, and fell through 2 ceilings all in 3 months. We have since imposed strict standards on equipment, including spontaneous and random inspections, strict rules about attic safety, and a zero tolerance policy on wiping boogers under your trucks seat -- don't ask.
Had a technician not show up for work then he called about 2 pm. Said boss I'm sorry but I went and bought cocaine and got 2 hookers in company truck. The police caught me and truck is now impounded. I take my partner to pick up the truck there is pair of panties in the seat. Then it starts to rain and my partner wrecks the truck totaling it!
I hired a female technician who had 8 years experience with a well-known company in our area. She showed she could do anything any tech I had ever hired could do. Was very happy for about 5 weeks when she suddenly had over $500 cash not turned in from the previous weeks work. My office manager questioned her and to our surprise admitted she was a cocaine addict and invested my money into her habit, we gave her a week to return the money or we would notify the police. Well she never returned the money and we did file a report with the police, which never came of anything. So I lost a good tech and $500, live and learn!
We had a technician that has a key account. He would go in and service the home and leave the service ticket. But one day he pounds a video of the husband and wife having sex. So you can only imagine what he did with the video. The husband got suspicious thought that somebody was looking through his private collection. So he set up a camera in the house to see if somebody was watching his private collection. The technician decides to watch the video remove his pants and enjoy himself. All this while being videotaped without him knowing. How would you like to be the manager having to go out and meet with the customer and watch the video of your technician taking care of himself. This was one of the worst days in my career to stand there and be subjected to watching the video with the husband and wife.
It was Sunday morning, 31st August 1997. The morning that Diana, Princess of Wales died. Three of us were doing a varied carpet beetle job in Richard Branson’s offices in Holland Park, London. There was me, another tech and our supervisor at the time. The housekeeper (it was in the house next to his house) had let us in and we had the run of the place, was told to help ourselves to any food or Virgin coke that we wanted. Did the treatment (4 hours worth) and we went and sat in the basement kitchen to write the report. At this time the other tech disappeared. Half of the enormous basement was a kitchen and utility room, the other half was an indoor swimming pool. As we looked through the glass we could see him in his underpants doing lengths! 5 minutes later we heard the front door upstairs go and think 'Oh F***!' Richard Branson's come back because he heard Diana has died. Thankfully our fish/tech had finished and was out of the pool, we scooped up our paperwork and said hi-bye to Richards friends and walked passed them out. Followed by our tech that had left wet footprints through the kitchen and had a soggy pair of underpants hanging out of his back pocket.
Had a technician at a previous company go to a customer's house for regular service. It was a female at home by herself. Technician asked where husband was (away for work). Technician states if he was married to her he would never leave for work. Technician takes top off half full B&G and places it inside customers kitchen sink to fill it up. Technician asks female customer to make him a sandwich. Technician didn't work for me much longer. Same tech now owns his own business in my service area. I don't worry about him too much.
Recently I terminated what is possibly the second worst tech in our company history. Aside from doing poor quality work and forgetting to do things he cost us a ton of money. First day on the job, he goes to drive the truck out of our shop and takes out the garage door rails. $2400 fix because it not only broke the railing but busted the bearings on the garage door. 2 weeks later he backs into a customer’s retainer wall, breaking it. $1200 fix, truck undamaged thankfully. Same tech, final straw... Got pulled over and arrested for illegal carry of a firearm and our truck was towed... We got our truck out of the impound but left him rot.
Few years ago I had a Termite Technician that did great work but a few customers that complained about the smell after he left (like something died). I assured my customers that our termiticides have very little odor and certainly didn't last days on end. So I told them I would come inspect for dead animals. I thought maybe I received a bad batch of termidor or something. So anyways I go checking behind him. I smell this rotten odor, but absolutely no dead animals or mice. I bought air freshners and let them go in the crawlspace, I called the manufacturer and complained that our termiticide had a horrible smell, so they had me send it back. Well, they found nothing conclusive and said the product was fine. I asked him about it and he said it might be his cologne, sometimes he puts it on after he smokes. I thought this was a terrible excuse at best, and decided to put a night vision camera in someones crawlspace prior to my technicians arrival. The results horrifying... This frickin guy was in people’s crawlspaces pulling the vapor barrier back, trenching tiny little holes and taking a dump and covering it back up with the dirt and vapor barrier. I drove all the way out to his next job after seeing the results and terminated his employment, he then calls the Health Department and Department of Agriculture on me for putting "Feces in the spray" and even gave them 2 exact address of the houses he took a dump at. $5000 fine, civilian lawsuits for months...
We had customers complaining about money and pills missing after one of our techs serviced their house. I sat him down and asked him to tell me the truth. He denied it all so I decided to see for myself. I asked one of the customers he serviced if we can set a camera up in the house and they gladly agreed. I set it up and made an extra service ticket for him the next day. After his appointment I went to pick the camera up to view the footage and the customer stated their pills were missing again...luckily they only left a few in there and not all of them. We reviewed the camera and immediately contacted the cops after watching him go thru the medicine cabinet. After they reviewed it they asked me to call him and meet at the office so they could detain him. I guess he found out because he didn't answer his phone and he left my truck in his driveway and no one has seen him since.