2024’s Best Metro Areas to Start a Pest Control Business

A map of the U.S. highlighting metropolitan areas with the best and worst markets for starting a pest control business

Which U.S. markets are ideal for entrepreneurs looking to launch a pest control venture? 

Marking April as National Pest Management Month, Pest Gnome ranked 2024’s Best Metro Areas to Start a Pest Control Business.

We compared over 230 of the biggest U.S. metro areas based on 5 categories. More specifically, we looked at the number of common pest species, average hourly pay, and access to pest control training programs, among 10 total metrics.

Explore our ranking below. To learn how we ranked the metro areas, see our methodology.

Contents

Metro Rankings

See how each metro fared in our ranking:

Top 5 Close Up

Check out the slideshow below for highlights on each of our top 5 metro areas.

The skyline of downtown Jacksonville, Florida, along the St. John’s River
No. 1: Jacksonville, Florida | Overall Score: 72.93

Average Monthly Google Searches for Local Pest Control: 6,000 | Rank: 1
Number of Common Pest Species: 28 | Rank: 54
Average Hourly Wage for Pest Control Workers: $19.77 | Rank: 106
Number of Statewide Pest Control Training Programs: 18 | Rank: 97
Cost of Pest Control Business License: $300 | Rank: 182 (tie)

Local Tips:
How to Get Rid of Mosquitoes in Jacksonville
Everything to Know About Bed Bugs in Florida
Everything to Know About Termites in Florida

Photo Credit: Trevor Neely / Unsplash / Unsplash License
People picnic and bike on a park with Houston’s skyline in the distance
No. 2: Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, Texas | Overall Score: 69.79

Average Monthly Google Searches for Local Pest Control: 5,800 | Rank: 2
Number of Common Pest Species: 18 | Rank: 121
Average Hourly Wage for Pest Control Workers: $17.86 | Rank: 184
Number of Statewide Pest Control Training Programs: 21 | Rank: 41 (tie)
Cost of Pest Control Business License: $300 | Rank: 182 (tie)

Local Tips:
How to Get Rid of Mosquitoes in Houston
Everything to Know About Bed Bugs in Texas
Everything to Know About Termites in Texas

Photo Credit: CY / Unsplash / Unsplash License
The skyline of Dallas glimmers at night
No. 3: Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, Texas | Overall Score: 58.16

Average Monthly Google Searches for Local Pest Control: 4,180 | Rank: 3
Number of Common Pest Species: 24 | Rank: 76
Average Hourly Wage for Pest Control Workers: $18.12 | Rank: 174
Number of Statewide Pest Control Training Programs: 21| Rank: 41 (tie)
Cost of Pest Control Business License: $300 | Rank: 182 (tie)

Local Tips:
How to Get Rid of Mosquitoes in Dallas
Everything to Know About Bed Bugs in Texas
Everything to Know About Termites in Texas

Photo Credit: Pixabay / Pexels / Pexels License
Skyscrapers dominate the New York City skyline at dawn
No. 4: New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA | Overall Score: 57.64

Average Monthly Google Searches for Local Pest Control: 3,480 | Rank: 4
Number of Common Pest Species: 89 | Rank: 1
Average Hourly Wage for Pest Control Workers: $23.85 | Rank: 15
Number of Statewide Pest Control Training Programs: 10 | Rank: 171
Cost of Pest Control Business License: $900 | Rank: 228

Local Tips:
What to Do About Rats in New York City
Everything to Know About Bed Bugs in New York City
Everything to Know About Termites in New York

Photo Credit: Roberto Vivancos / Pexels / Pexels License
The Gateway Arch sticks out above mid-rise buildings that make up the St. Louis skyline
No. 5: St. Louis, MO-IL | Overall Score: 54.85

Average Monthly Google Searches for Local Pest Control: 2,880 | Rank: 8
Number of Common Pest Species: 24 | Rank: 76
Average Hourly Wage for Pest Control Workers: $20.62 | Rank: 75
Number of Statewide Pest Control Training Programs: 2 | Rank: 205
Cost of Pest Control Business License: $65 | Rank: 39

Local Tips:
5 Common Missouri Rodent Pests and How to Control Them
Rodents in Illinois: How to Identify and Control Them
Everything to Know About Termites in Illinois

Photo Credit: Brittney Butler / Unsplash / Unsplash

The Upshot

Three Texas metros — encompassing Houston (No. 2), Dallas, (No. 3), and San Antonio (No. 11) — finished near the top of our ranking with high Demand for pest control services and numerous training programs for novice technicians. Residents of Jacksonville, Florida (No. 1), buzz up the largest Demand, indicated by local Google searches seeking pest control providers. 

Wages are highest among West Coast metros like those encompassing Seattle (No. 54) and California metros San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward (No. 93), and Santa Cruz-Watsonville (No. 201). Pest control workers in these three regions make over $25.76 per hour on average.

Big cities deal with plenty of rats and roaches, but they are already home to numerous companies and technicians for small pest management businesses to compete with. The New York (No. 4) metro has high Earning Potential and Demand with the most common pest species89 — but also claims the most competitive pest control industry in our ranking. 

Small metros in California and Georgia landed toward the bottom, with Madera, California, in last place. Places like San Luis Obispo-Paso Robles-Arroyo Grande, California (No. 231), and Albany, Georgia (No. 226) have high hourly wages but already have abundant pest control workers per 10,000 households and low Demand overall. 

Behind the Ranking

First, we determined the factors (metrics) that are most relevant to rank the Best Metro Areas to Start a Pest Control Business. We then assigned a weight to each factor based on its importance and grouped those factors into 5 categories: Demand, Earning Potential, Statewide Training Programs, State Requirements, and Competition. The categories, factors, and their weights are listed in the table below.

For each of the 238 biggest U.S. metro areas, we then gathered data on each factor from the sources listed below the table. We eliminated 5 metros lacking sufficient data in a single category, resulting in a final sample size of 233 metros.

Finally, we calculated scores (out of 100 points) for each metro to determine its rank in each factor, each category, and overall. A metro’s Overall Score is the average of its scores across all factors and categories. The highest Overall Score ranked “Best” (No. 1) and the lowest “Worst” (No. 233). Note: The “Worst” among individual factors may not be No. 233 due to ties.

Sources: Beyond Pesticides, Census Business Builder, Finturf, Google Ads, Individual State Departments of Agriculture, National Pest Management Association, Pest Gnome, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, and U.S. Census Bureau

Final Thoughts

Pests are everywhere — even in the cleanest U.S. cities

Some cities have big rat, roach, and bed bug problems. Other regions contend with common pests like mosquitoes, spiders, and termites. Wildlife species like groundhogs, rabbits, and armadillos can also pose issues for homeowners.

Because pests will always be around, pest management is effectively a recession-proof industry. 

Some homeowners may opt to DIY their pest control, but pesticides can be dangerous when improperly handled. That’s why experienced exterminators and regularly scheduled pest control services are so vital to public health and safety.

What is Pest Gnome?

Pest Gnome — part of the Home Gnome family of home service sites — puts local pest control experts at your fingertips. We connect you to the best local pros to get the job done quickly.

Media Resources

  • Iowa has the cheapest pest control business licenses$25. Licenses are most expensive in New York, at $900
  • New Jersey has no pest control certification fee, while it’s most costly in Colorado at $350.
  • Out of our top 25 metros, Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI (No. 22), offers the highest Earning Potential, with an average hourly pay of $25.54.
  • Nevada boasts the most pest control training programs, 26. However, it is also among 6 states with no preemption laws for local restrictions on pest treatments, meaning local governments may have stricter regulations than the state on pesticide use.

High-resolution images of cities

Sav Maive

Sav Maive is a writer and director based in San Antonio. Sav is a graduate of the University of Virginia and is a loving cat and plant mom.