Hello, let me introduce myself. My name is Gerrod Walker, owner of When Nature Calls Pest Control, Inc. I have been involved in the pest control industry now for over 16 years. In 2004 I worked at a mental health center in Illinois after working in social services for about four years. Paid at a Masters Degree level (I have a degree in law enforcement and social services from Western Illinois University), I was making under 24k a year, with plenty of student loan debt. At one point, I had over 65 severely mentally ill folks on my caseload and I couldn’t tend to them all. I had to pick and choose. That was difficult for me to do. I still to the day when traveling back to Illinois, I see many of them on the same streets they wandered when I worked there. I needed a change.

My girlfriend, at the time, had a cockroach come in after buying some groceries. The pest control operator was there for about 30 minutes and it cost over $300 at the time. In and out. Gosh that seemed like a great gig to a guy that made the equivalent of less than $6 for that amount of time worked. And you know what? He fixed it. Granted, this was an isolated single cockroach that we never saw again, so it wasn’t a bad problem by any means. Nonetheless, $6 compared to $300…hmmm. I so flippantly thought, I could do that for a while. So I took a correspondence course through Purdue University to prepare for my testing process for the State of Illinois. I think the course cost around $300 back then. I thought to myself, here I went to college for close to 6 years (post high school) and the cost was astronomical (It’s much worse today), to graduate and make less than 24k a year ($11/hr basically).

Off to the races with a simple inexpensive, online correspondence course I was well prepared to test in the State of Illinois for my pesticide applicator license. I took the course and was done in record time for the general portion. The proctor offered for me to take the restricted use pesticide tests at the same time. I had not prepared for these, but decided to give it a go. I chose several additional licensing categories and passed all of them. I was then licensed to apply pesticides in Illinois. I applied and received my business license after securing insurance. I was all legal. TO BE CONTINUED…