Making sense of how to work in a pandemic at Senske Services


Senske Services in Kennewick, Wash., is still running its pest control, lawn care and landscape maintenance services — for now.

“We’re an essential business, and our customers need and want us to be there,” says Chris Senske, president. “We’ll continue to operate as long as and until someone tells us that we can’t.”

In the meantime, the company has implemented stringent hand-washing measures; eliminated paper; staggered start times for its crew members in the field; instructed almost all of the 50 employees in its headquarters office to work from home; and encouraged employees to self-isolate if they’re sick or have come into contact with someone who is sick or who has been tested for the coronavirus.

The company has also introduced a “knock and walk” policy where a crew member knocks on a customer’s door before they begin servicing the property and only talks with the customer if it’s requested.

Overall, Senske says the general attitude within the company’s ranks has been relatively upbeat.

“Everybody knows that we’re doing everything we can to keep them in a job and paycheck, and they all like the work they do so it is kind of a win-win on that front,” Senske says.

However, he adds that even though the company is still operating, the company has taken a hit with a spike in cancellations and a drop in leads compared to this time last year.

“This is the prime selling time for our company, and it’s going to take a while to recover those customers fully,” Senske says. “We’re hopeful that we can get over this before we get too far into the season, and we can recover as many selling opportunities as possible so we can continue on our growth path … This may be like 2009 and we just have to operate as cleverly as possible so we can make a buck.”

Sarah Webb

Sarah Webb

Sarah Webb is Landscape Management's former managing editor. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Wittenberg University, where she studied journalism and Spanish. Prior to her role at LM, Sarah was an intern for Cleveland Magazine and a writing tutor.

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