Bed bug removal is a booming industry, and for good reason. Bed bugs are on the rise and conventional pest control methods aren't as effective as they used to be.  If you're already an exterminator looking to expand your business, or if you're looking to start a business from scratch, then bed bug removal might be right for you. If you're thinking about how to start a bed bug removal business, or how to start a bed bug heat treatment business this blog post will help you get started!

What is a Bed Bug Removal Company?

A bed bug removal company specializes in removing bed bug infestations from homes and businesses. They are usually hired when people notice bites on their skin or suspect they have an infestation at home. Bed bugs can be difficult to get rid of without the proper knowledge, which is why hiring someone who knows how to get rid of bed bugs is important.

Using a professional service often allows people to limit the number of pesticides used and increases the likelihood that the problem is eliminated completely.

How is Bed Bug Removal Done?

Bed bugs are difficult to get rid of as they have been recorded giving humans trouble as early as 400 BC in Ancient Greece. They can also survive up to 70 days without eating.

Still, there are several different ways to get rid of bed bugs. Most people will start by cleaning up the area where the infestation occurs since this is often how they spread from room to room. Bed bug removal services might use heat treatments or pesticides in order to kill off an existing infestation, but it may take multiple visits before all bugs and eggs are eliminated.

Professional bed bug removal is a process that requires time and attention to detail, which is why professional services are recommended.

What Equipment is Needed to Remove Bed Bugs?


According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, there are more than 300 products used to kill bed bugs.

These products fall under 6 categories:

From breaking down the bed bug's exoskeleton to making the bug's nervous system go haywire, these chemicals can get rid of the investigation in multiple ways. It's often recommended to use multiple chemicals at a time to prevent the infestation from developing immunity.

Bed Bug Heat Treatment:

Heat has become an increasingly effective measure for dealing with a bed bug infestation because of the lack of pesticides used. Especially when you're dealing with someone's home, kids, and pets, using as little chemicals is a big selling point.

It works by increasing the temperature of an area above 145 degrees Fahrenheit,  and ensuring that any bugs present are killed. It also prevents eggs from hatching and reinfesting your home once you've killed the adults.

The bed bug removal service will help a client remove heat-sensitive items from the room, seal the room, and heat the area for several hours.

While this method can be effective and limit the use of pesticides, it's normally recommended to use pesticides as a preventative precaution after the heat treatment.


Freezing is another pesticide-free alternative to dealing with bed bugs. It works by freezing the eggs and nymphs below -17 degrees Fahrenheit, which kills them before they can hatch.

However, most commercial freezers cannot get cold enough to kill bed bugs. Additionally, you can't put an entire room inside of a freezer - so this method is normally reserved for bedding, clothes, and smaller items.

How to Become a Licensed Bed Bug Exterminator?

Each state has different licenses and regulations for who can perform bed bug removal services, how they are allowed to do it, and what certifications they need.

Almost every state requires a license and certification process for using pesticides. Approximately have the states require a license when using heat treatments, even if you don't use pesticides.

In California:

A Pest Control license is required in order to apply pesticides or heat treatment commercially inside of a home. A business must be registered with the State Department before conducting any pesticide application; after that, a permit from the local Department of Public Health is required.

In order to legally perform bed bug removal services in California, you have to be registered with both agencies and complete an approved course on how to properly use pesticides and/or heat treatment.

It's best to look up your specific state and find the local and state laws. The certification process will often be the most time-consuming part of starting up your new business.

How Much to Charge for Bed Bug Removal Services

The average cost for bed bug removal services is around $200 per room. However, it's important to note that larger homes will require more than one treatment and can be as much as $1500 or higher depending on how many rooms need attention. Additionally, both heat treatments and pesticides are limited in what they can address - so there may be additional fees for items that need to be removed, or if you have to retreat your home.

Doing competitive research is an important step in determining how much to charge for your services. Not only do you need to cover the costs of your staff, equipment, and time, you also need to be competitive in your area.

As with any business, how much you charge for your bed bug removal services will depend on the unique needs of each client. However, it's important to note that quality and service are also factors in determining how much a customer is willing to pay - so make sure to provide both when pricing out your costs.

What Business Insurance is Required?

Once your business is up and running, you'll need to get insurance to protect yourself.

There are two main types of insurance that have different requirements for how they're obtained: general liability and workers' compensation.

General Liability Insurance

General Liability Insurance will protect both the home owner from any accidents or injuries caused by your employees, as well as cover any damage done during the treatment. Whether it's a pesticide spill or knocking over an expensive vase, you don't want to be stuck with a bill you can't afford.  

Worker's Compensation

Worker's compensation is a state-mandated insurance that covers your staff in case they are injured on the job. This will cover medical costs, lost wages, and partial disability payments for employees who are unable to work due to an injury sustained while working.

Depending on how many people you have working for you at worker's compensation may not be mandated - but it's a good idea to check with your business attorney about how they're obtained, the requirements for each license, the certification you have, and how much coverage is required.

How to Register Your Business

Before you can legally do business, you'll need to register your name with the state. The process is relatively quick and painless - but it's important that all of the information provided is correct. You should also make sure to check how much it will cost every year to keep your registration active, as well as any other requirements for keeping your business in good standing.

In some states, a franchise tax may be required to do business. California for example has an annual franchise tax of $800. Meanwhile, other states don't require a franchise tax at all.

Most states have outlined their registration process and what information is required making this process relatively straightforward.

What are the Startup Costs to a Bed Bug Removal Service?

The average cost of starting up a bed bug removal service is around $4000-5000 depending on how much equipment and training you wish to purchase. You can find most of the necessary tools at local hardware stores - but if you're looking for professional quality, then there are some additional costs.

If you'll be using pesticides to treat your clients' homes, then it's important that the person who treats the home has a specific pest control license. These licenses can be obtained from the state and will generally cost around $200-$300.

Pest Control Certification - $150 per certification (and training)

If you're using heating equipment, a single machine could cost $1500 - $5,000 depending on the size and strength.

If you'd like to go the franchise route, you can expect to pay anywhere from $15,000- $150,000 in startup fees.

How Do You Acquire Your First Customers?

Once you've got all of your licensing and certification requirements met, it's time to market yourself.

The best and cheapest way to start marketing yourself is to get referrals from friends and family. Discovering you have bed bugs can be a traumatic experience and being able to provide immediate peace of mind will be huge.

Going door to door with fliers can also help you get your name out there. Facebook groups, LinkedIn, and local business directories can also be great options.

Once you get your first few customers, you'll have the advantage of customer referrals and word of mouth!

Marketing Your Bed Bug Removal Business

Local Business Listing  

Local business listings can be a great way to get your name out there. Yelp, Google My Business, and local small business directories will give you an opportunity to get your name online.  You can have your own page with all of the necessary information on how to contact you, what services you offer, and how much it will cost.

They are typically free but some local business listings may charge a monthly fee for having an enhanced listing that includes features like custom images or additional links.

Website and SEO

Like any business website and paying attention to SEO is critical. A website will help your business build trust with your customer, while also providing valuable information about your business and process.

Your website should also have an "about me" section where potential clients can learn more about who they are working with, how long they've been in the industry, and how many projects or jobs they've completed. It will also be good to include service pages showing how much each service costs and how long it will take to complete the job.

The website should also include contact information and how potential customers can get in touch with you regarding their projects or needs.

Digital Marketing

Digital marketing will also be critical for the success of your business. There are many ways to market your business, and how you go about it will depend on what stage of growth you’re in.

Social media is a great place to start if your budget allows for this type of marketing. With Facebook ads, there is the ability to create custom audiences based on customer demographics including age, location, and income.

Google Ads are great because you will show up in front of people who are actively looking for your services in your area.  

Other methods can include content creation, email marketing, and public relations.

Sales Process

Optimizing your sales process will also be a key factor in the success of your business.  This includes how you speak to your customers and how they experience the process.

The sales process should be simple, straightforward, and informative. You need to give them all of the necessary information that will allow them to make an educated decision about whether or not this is their best option when it comes to getting rid of any bed bugs in their home.

Whether it's having a free consultation or home walk-through, or simply making sure someone is always there to pick up the phone, your sales process will be critical in securing your new business.

Separating Yourself from the Competition

It’s important to make sure you are differentiating yourself from your competition.

This includes how many years of experience you have in the industry, your certifications, your techniques, how long it takes them on average to complete a bed bug job.

Bed Bug and Pest Removal services can be competitive, but if you follow digital marketing best practices and have spectacular customer service make your customers happy.

If you're interested in learning more about how to grow your bed bug business or would like resources access to resources and agencies, contact Small Business Mentor today.