Welcome Lakewood Plant and Pest!

IMG_20150611_090301Listen up everyone and reach out to welcome and congratulate the owner of Lakewood Plant and Pest, Shawn Payne for qualifying as a new IBBRA member! He has an impressive background as a horticulturist. He holds the passion and vision to help make a difference for bed bug victims.

Shawn’s interest in horticulture began when he was just 15 years old. Noted as “outstanding student” in his senior year of high school, he earned his certificate in horticulture from the Polaris Career Center. He went on to earn two Associate of Applied Science Degrees — Nursery Management and Landscape Construction and Contracting — from the Ohio State Agricultural Technical Institute.

During his time at college, Shawn studied for dual degrees while tutoring students in entomology and mentored the school’s botany classes. Shawn also traveled abroad to study horticulture at Myerscough College in the United Kingdom.

Since his esteemed education, Shawn landed a position with the Davey Resource Group. He went on to work as an expert gardener for the City of Cleveland. With this position, he honed his skills as he cared for the famous Rockefeller Park Greenhouse and the Cultural Gardens.

For nearly a decade now, he has balanced his family life with caring for the grounds at NASA Glenn Research Center. In 2013 he started his own business. With landscape as his primary focus, Shawn pioneered and built Advantage Landscape Services. His company was responsible for maintaining manicured lawns in Westlake, Ohio City and Fairview Park, Ohio. They also filled many requests to install new landscapes and performed an assortment of maintenance tasks.

In early 2014, he started fulfilling the demand for exterminating services to his customers. By fall, to reflect their new services he changed the name of his company to Lakewood Plant and Pest.
Although he still takes on architectural landscape designing and other jobs occasionally, due to customer demand, they have put their focus into pest control. Being one of the only exterminating companies around Cleveland, he now strives on being the community’s choice for pest control services, by providing top quality, reliable, detailed service to all of their customers.

Like anything else, he has done in life, Shawn’s passion for pest control shines through his understanding of the serious need for education with bed bugs. In 2016, he plans to do only pest control.

When interviewing with Shawn, he revealed having been taught the core principles of IPM, and revealed he noticed that many exterminators still practice conventional pest control. He compares many of them to the plethora of unqualified landscapers who came into the garden center with landscaping questions.

Shawn stated, “Now bed bugs have grown outside the metro area and are attacking my community of Lakewood, OH. There is such a cultural mix of residents in Lakewood, which seems to be very inviting to bed bugs. Lakewood has several thousand-rental properties. The turnover in these rental units are really making it easy for bed bugs to thrive and spread. Having received the training that I did with IPM, and the near decade’s experience managing the pest control at NASA Glenn Research Center, I feel that I have a lot to offer the community and the response we are receiving in exceptional”.

He added, “Bed bugs are not going away. The bed bug population is growing rapidly. This major crisis is greatly affecting our whole community and we intend to provide a valuable service to all. We are proud to have qualified as an IBBRA member and look forward to being part of the cause by providing educational material and reaching out to the community. In the years to come, we aim to be major players in the cause to help remove bed bugs from our community”.

Welcome Shawn, we look forward to working with you!

Shawn Payne, Owner Lakewood Plant and Pest
Phone: (216) 466-2486
Email: lakewoodplantandpest@gmail.com

The Dark Side of Achieving Excellence


Everyone loves a winner yet barely knows the thought process, struggles and sacrifices one goes through in order to achieve that level of excellence. All we see and read about is the glory given for a job well done.

Our basic human attributes scale in comparison across the charts. There are those with big dreams and aspirations of financial greatness, some want to leave a legacy and there are those like Martin Luther King who speech created a defining moment in history that even today influences many people’s lives.

Some people spend their lives searching for answers on how some people can start a business and seamlessly transition and catapult to success; at least, that is what the interpretation is and what their mind sees.

I have sat in numerous auditoriums where achievers called to the podium receive awards for lifetime achievements, scientific breakthroughs and excellence. I’ve even received a few of my own. Some of the recipients were children and some adults. During after parties when one has the opportunity to “mingle”, I have listened to people exclaim on what they interpreted and categorized three types of people and thought processes when after a winner accepts their achievement award.

  1. You are sincerely happy and excited for the winner and express humble congratulatory praise. You know nothing in life comes easy. These people are confident and secure with who they are as a person. They feel no threat of competition; they embrace it. They may or may not want to achieve great success themselves; they know their own limitations or create their own limitations and have no hidden agendas. They are happy with where they are in life and came to acknowledge the winners.
  2. Then, there are those who are envious and jealous of everyone and anything and will go out of their way to “spitefully- discredit” these achievers. They come with the intention to see and know what this person is up to. They write off any achievement as if it was no big thing. They will point a finger, make up stories, gossip and say bad things in order to bring them down in front of others to make themselves look better. They will go out of their way to find something that is not “right” and display the person for non-perfection. These people are insecure, have big egos and most likely the ones who will put their foot out and trip you, as you got closer to the finish line before them.
  3. And, there are those that will admire you, champion you and reach out and ask how they too can learn to do what achievers do. They will follow your every word and embrace new possibilities. These people are innovators and tomorrows’ achievers that are constantly pursuing improvement and are insatiable learners. They are not “know-it-alls” are not pretentious and ask intelligent questions. They have no hidden agenda and their egos are in tack. They will be the first to lend a hand or ask what they can do to help.

Any way you look at it, those who are achievers (and you know who you are) will be subject to rederick no matter what.

I say, “So what, some will, some won’t, move on”. None of us is perfect, we are human and humans make blunders and mistakes. Embrace the fact that you went a step outside the lines, won an achievement for your work and keep moving because “Yesterday does NOT equal tomorrow”.

Changing the Culture of the “Need to Know”

We live in a world of tons of rules. Some of which are made up from experiences and some out of sheer control. Since I was young, I lived the cultural game of go to school, get a degree, go to work for X Company and get a gold watch when you retire. Bet your laughing right now if you are a senior citizen. Let me see that gold watch…

The entrepreneurial spirt was alive and well, but many were taught by their parents that it was not a secure place for them, or they were not smart enough which stymied their dreams and ambitions and caused them to stay complacent and safe. They in turn lived the learned critical edge that their parents taught them.

I’ve had these conversations with so many people that were convinced that they were not good enough to be anything other than the norm. Up until they grew up did they realize that they actually had dreams that they never pursued. They live with regrets.

When my youngest son was twelve years old, he came to me with a sad face and said, “Mom, I am such a failure”, because he was not good at something the first time he tried it. Of course, a mother never wants to hear that and my heart sank as I too have felt his fears at each crossroad in my life.

Our culture has taught us that we need to “know all” or be an “expert” in order to act. I tried my best not to “tell” my children what to do, but to tell a story and create a possibility and visual for them so that they could take their fears and successes and relate it to a real life story. I wanted them to use my analogies and stories to turn on a burning flame of confidence inside them so they could be anything they wanted to be and not be afraid of trying. Face it, we are all cut out to be something or someone in life, we all have a purpose.

A far cry from the little train that said “I think I can, I think I can”, since my son’s reasoning skills had matured, my story used the analogy of a famous basketball player. I first asked him, “if I handed you a tool that you have never used before, do you think you could use it proficiently? And would he consider himself an expert mechanic or race car driver if he never even drove a car?” He replied, “Of course not mom”.

I told him a story about a young kid that had a dream of being the very best basketball player in the whole world! I explained how this child would go out every day after school and shoot hoops with his friends. He dedicated time and effort, and practiced to improve his skills and soon realized that his failure to get every ball in the hoop was only an opportunity to perfect his skills. That famous player was Michael Jordan. You can bet that the first time he stood in front of a hoop with his basketball he missed!

It doesn’t matter what vocation you choose, each requires hard work and determination in order to become proficient, with sincere dedication, passion and attention to become the best.

In anything we do in life, there will be roadblocks, failures and challenges. And one of my favorite expressions, “bugs on the windshield” of life. Clean em off! Some might be tougher to eliminate, but keep going and don’t let anyone tell you, you can’t! Accept the fact that we are all subject to failures that if you keep going you will only perfect your skills and as you do, you’ll have to grow through the dark side.

Thanks for listening.

We are always looking for those who want to achieve excellence, be of distinction and grow through the dark side with us. Join forces with the winners, reach out to become an IBBRA member today.


Watch out for Bed Bug Savvy Landlords!

20140922_115703Picture credit: ACES PEST SOLUTIONS Bed bugs behind a baseboard

Karen was considering moving into a new complex and has never experienced bed bugs in her life. From recent news articles and apartment horror stories she had read, she had many questions about bed bugs. After a lengthy call, I explained to her what happens in many multi-unit complexes. She needed to know how bed bugs spread, what questions to ask and what to watch out for when it comes to management.

She sat at the leasing agents’ desk and asked to see the paperwork she would be required to sign. She read page after page when she came across “THE BED BUG ADDENDUM” of which we spoke.

She stopped and carefully read a maze of questions, comments and what ifs and a paragraph that was already checked for her that read:

INSPECTION: You agree that you: (check one)

(This one was already checked) Have inspected the dwelling prior to move-in or signing this addendum and that you did not observe any evidence of bed bugs or bed bugs infestation;


Will inspect the dwelling within 48 hours after move-in or signing of this addendum and will notify us of any bed bugs or infestation.

She thought to herself, hum, if I were to sign this Addendum, it says I have already inspected the dwelling and I did not find any signs of bed bugs. I’ve only seen the model and I don’t even have the keys to the apartment I am moving into!

This is a warning sign!

Then again, what if I don’t agree with the one they pre-checked and check the other one saying I will inspect the dwelling within 48 hours? After a unit has been cleaned, even a top-notch professional would have a hard time finding bed bugs unless they have a scent dog.

This causes a dilemma for most.

48 hours? Where does that leave me as far as being responsible? What exactly is a bed bug? What do they look like? Where do they hide? What are the signs of bed bugs? How would I know, I am no expert in bed bugs! What if maintenance cleaned up all the signs and they are hiding in the walls? What if the people upstairs, downstairs, or next-door have bed bugs? What happens if they start moving through the walls and I get them?

This happens every day when the new tenant is sitting in the leasing office signing papers as the moving truck sits outside patiently waiting and charging by the hour. Pressure is on! People sign away under this pressure not realizing what they just did.

I warned Karen before she went in to sign her lease of the types of addendums that are out there and to be careful before she signs away.

Most of the time, property management will clean a place and prepare it for a new tenant without having a proper inspection for bed bugs. And, because of the cryptic nature of bed bugs, they will find a place well-hidden where they can’t be easily found by a simple visual inspection.

Karen stopped and asked the pertinent questions of the leasing agent about bed bugs in their particular property and asked to see their report to ensure her that the apartment and the building had been inspected for bed bugs before she moved in. She also wanted to be assured her new apartment was clear of any bed bugs whatsoever. Of course, they refused any help in that matter and stated they had not received any “reports” from any of their tenants before.

Karen knew that there are people not affected by the bites of bed bugs and can have them for many months without anyone knowing. What if the person that lives above the apartment she is proposing to move into has them and the management doesn’t know? It would only be a matter of time, when she would get them as well. What then happens if she should complain of a problem? Is she automatically held financially responsible?

Karen was one of the smarter lessors that got up and walked away from signing. It was obvious to her that the property owner wasn’t educated enough about bed bugs and she did not want to deal with a possible problem with them in the future. She also spent time online and found several complaints from tenants telling their stories about bed bugs found in their apartments and how the property owner responded which was not good. Several people threw away their belongings, lost their security deposits and had to move.

These property owners and management wonder why people attempt self-treatments!

Face it, moving is an emotional task that when working full time leaves you little to no time on the weekend to move, unpack and be ready for work on Monday morning. Not many people have their apartment completely unpacked and everything in its place before returning to work. It may take weeks, meanwhile bed bugs or their eggs may be hidden in the walls ready to hatch or build up an appetite.

Last night I received a call from a man who was moving into a sight unseen home in another state because of a corporate transfer. All he had seen is pictures, which he said looked good.

He did a search online to see if there were any bed bugs issues and found a report stating there were bed bugs when the last tenant moved in. Of course, when the man brought up the article to the new property owner, the property owner replied it was a disgruntled tenant that doesn’t know what he is talking about.

The man wanted to know whether to believe the new property owner or the report stating there were bed bugs in the dwelling.

When bed bugs are not addressed appropriately upfront, these scenarios are common.

Let’s think about the “what if’s”

What if, the man believed the property owner and took him at his word and after a week, his family began to receive bites. If the property owner were then approached, he would say, “You must have brought them with you, not my problem” and would hold the new tenant responsible. Know that when renting a single-family residence most of the time the tenant is responsible for pest control. This gets the property owner off the hook for a previous problem unless of course the tenant can prove that the bed bugs were there before they moved in.

Like life isn’t hard enough.

Listen up folks, if you are considering moving into an apartment or a single-family dwelling, have a long conversation about bed bugs with your new property owner BEFORE you make the decision to move into that complex or home. Get a history, if they are ignorant or make excuses, won’t discuss or hand you an addendum that isn’t equally fair, run! (Of course unless they are willing to learn, and then send them to me or an IBBRA member)

Seek out properties that have proactive bed bug protocols in place with plenty of educational materials to show you their policies, procedures, concern and understanding. Find those who have regular dog scent detection and inspections so that infestations are outdated.

You never know what’s lurking behind those baseboards or walls!

Stay away from “savvy” property owners that ignore the problem and try to pass it on to the next victim.

We are always here to help!

Package Your Bed Bug Services to Attract Loyal Clients

giftThe average person does not know much about bed bugs. Matter of fact, out of the thousands of pest control companies, many don’t treat for bed bugs and are hanging back waiting for the industry to perfect their skills before entering that realm of the industry.

There are those who have taken a few courses or attended a few seminars, but they do not specialize in bed bugs so some clients need to reach outside their regular pest control company to find professional help.

  • So what does your bed bug service package look like?
  • Do you have a service contract that is pages of “covering you butt and legal what’s if’s” that your client can’t understand and blindly signs?
  • Why would a client pick you over the next person online or in the Yellow pages?
  • Do you advertise on inferior, cheep or free online centers like Craig’s list that makes your company look cheesy?
  • What do you have to offer that makes you different from everyone else?
  • Are your techs dressed appropriately and show up on time?
  • Are they as professional as they need to be to represent your company?
  • Do you have educational materials for your clients that leave little open for questioning about the pest in question and the extent of your services?
  • Do your clients know what to expect next?


I receive calls from bed bug victims all the time telling me of their experiences with companies they have used to treat for bed bugs. When listening to their experiences and asking questions, I wonder sometimes how some of these companies stay in business. People state they would never call that particular company ever again. Now maybe that doesn’t matter to most but as far as I see it, they just lost a future loyal customer to their competition.

In most scenarios, the client is greeted the companies’ technician and after a quick look around is handed a piece of paper with a superfluity of items that need to be addressed by the client before the treatment can commence. They are told to get everything on the list done and someone will be back in three days to start treatment; and out the door, they go.

This is when I receive calls asking what about this and that.

Of course, if the person has already contracted with a company I never step out of line and tell them what to do because I have no idea what the companies requirements are. But, if it is a person who has not yet made a decision, I explain what they are up against and give them questions to ask of those who they call for service. This changes the game field for them because they now know the difference between the good, the bad and the ugly.

What I am finding is that most leave too many open questions and do not educate the client well enough. It is no wonder so many techs show up and the prep work isn’t finished.

Now I am not saying that even after a complete education that some people just plain ignore their responsibility because that too does happen all the time. It is the cases where people would literally jump through hoops if they had to, to do anything required that are not given the proper tools needed and that is education.

Same goes for proprietors of multi-unit properties. Most that have never dealt with bed bugs in the past haven’t a clue what the future holds. They just react whenever a situation should occur and in many cases they just don’t understand anything past “just get rid of the bug” mentality.

Our future holds wide-open territories of insects that will grow and plague more and more households. Your company needs to prepare your clients to trust their call to you knowing they can fully depend upon you creating a solid solution and not just show up to do treatments.

I’ve spoken about how the face of pest control is changing and it is time to pay attention to what the customer/consumer needs, wants and requires.

Don’t leave it up to them to get their information online.

Anyone can go online and find out all you are not telling and showing them but, is that what you want? Do you want your client to feel lost and unprepared or call another for answers because you can’t and don’t fulfill their basic needs? It leaves them wondering why they hired you. They ask themselves, what am I paying for?

What “if”, you were to satisfy the needs of your client by fully educating them, prepare them, do an amazing treatment with follow-up surveys and leave them breathing a sigh of relief and trust? These people are your future business. Those who had such an amazing experience that they now tell all their friends, family and will always count on you for any possible insect situation in the future. They clean out there content books to include only your business card and wouldn’t dream of call anyone else.

Be the ONLY business card in your client’s book. Concentrate on the client and not the money – your customer base will grow and the money will follow, just watch and see.

Now I don’t know about you but if I hire a company to do a service for me and they exceed the normal business standards, do a great job and make me feel all warm and fuzzy afterwards; I will hire them in the future and refer them to others. Of course my standards and the questions I ask up front are probably more than most would ask but I think that is from years of buying into bad services and experience.

Now go out there and make a difference!

We are always here to help.



RugerIf you’ve ever seen tears weld up in a man’s eyes, I have (yes, even big guys cry)

Sadly, as I’ve shared with some of you, this past summer Kent lost one of his detections dogs to a horrible mishap. It broke his heart.

Although his other dog Alphy is a “well-seasoned veteran” in the bed bug arena, Kent’s business has grown to the point that having two dogs is mandatory to provide for his growing customer list.

This past week, he added this gorgeous beagle named Ruger to his arsenal and immediately sent me his picture while he was picking him up. He’s pretty excited and I’m sure Kent is smiling now.

Ruger just completed his training, is young and impressionable and will learn lots working alongside of his new friend Alphy.

What a cutie – Could you just eat him up???

Kent believes there are three good reasons for K9 detection that include:

Proactive to prevent infestations from building; targeted to confirm presence of bed bugs and for post-treatment to ensure effective treatment results.

Included in his services, his dogs pinpoint and target all areas that may need a little extra attention while also clearing post treatment that all bugs are gone.

Congratulations Kent! I know Ruger will all you expect from him and may he bring you lots of good business and many satisfied customers.