March 2018



Marty Overlilne
Aardvark Pest Management
Phildelphia, PA
Adam Witt
President Elect
Witt Pest Management
Pittsburgh, PA

Jeff King
Vice President
The Pest Rangers
Hanover Twp., PA

Keith Hamilton
Chairman of the Board
J.C. Ehrlich
State College, PA

Central Division
Gary Lesher
Perry Pest Control
Landisburg, PA
Leland Manuel
Manchester, PA

Keith Jones
Archer Pest Control
Camp Hill, PA
Eastern Division  
Bryan Levengood
Thur-O Pest Mngmt
Elverson, PA

Mike Snyder
Township Pest Control
Warrington , PA
Rob Byer
Mountain Laurel , NJ
Northeast Division
Jeff King
The Pest Rangers
Hanover Twp., PA
Paul Kutney
The Pest Rangers
Larksville, PA
Peter Arnold
K-9 Bed Bug 
Detection Services
Pleasant Mount, PA
Western Division
Adam Witt
Witt Pest Management
Pittsburgh, PA
Scott Grill
Bill Grill Exterminating
Verona, PA
Sean Williams
Bill Grill Exterminating 
Verona, PA
Industry Liaison
Brian Smith
Sharon Hill, PA
Executive Director
Versant Strategies
Harrisburg, PA

Many thanks to these Past Presidents:
Len Bruno
Dana Lown
Harvey Goldglantz
John Morrison
Keith Hamilton
Mike Powers
Dave Hyres
Steve Rubel
Robert Jones
Charles Taylor
Joe Kahn
Ed Van Istendal
Paul Kutney
Rick Voyton

Are we missing someone? Let us know as we work to compile this record.










Dear Friends:

The saying that March comes in like a lion and out like a lamb doesn't seem to be ringing quite true this year. As the busy season nears, don't forget to put a reminder on your calendar to renew your PPMA and NPMA membership in May. It's easy to put that form aside, but we'd hate for you to miss out on the numerous benefits the Association has to offer. Check out the member benefit spotlight below that recognizes technical assistance. If it's a technician's first season, or you encounter something you are unfamiliar with, NPMA is here to help!

This is the last month to participate in the tick survey. Your input as a member is EXTREMELY important. Be sure to click the information below. Answers will be kept anonymous.

If we at the Association's office can ever be of assistance, please feel free to contact us at (800) 842-9090 or cwright@versantstrategies.net.

  Team Versant  
Last chance to act!

Tick Control Services: A Survey of the Pest Management Industry (PA)

As you all know, ticks and the diseases they carry are becoming more and more of a concern for landscape and pest control professionals and their clients, in 2016 Pennsylvania ranked first in the nation with respect to Lyme disease, reporting nearly 9,000 confirmed cases. For more than a decade CDC and its agency partners have been looking at different approaches to this growing problem; now we in PPMA have a chance to add some "boots on the ground" input to help guide the approach for this emerging market.
If you are already encountering tick-related issues, or anticipate someday doing so, we strongly suggest adding your opinion early.

Access the survey here:

PA Representatives at NPMA Legislative Day
Pictured above is some of the Pennsylvania delegation at NPMA's recent Legislative Day, held in Washington, DC. Twenty-five PPMA members attended and visited with members and staff of both the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate. President Marty Overline hopes to have a more representatives from PA in attendance next year!

Small Business Spotlight

Wh at Expenses can I Write-off on My Next Business Trip?

Recently, I've had a lot of inquiries about what may or may not be deductible on a business trip. Frankly, this isn't very surprising due to the passage of the new tax legislation, known as the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act ("TCJA").

The elimination of the entertainment expense and the collateral damage it's wreaking on the meals expenses has many worried about their business travel, and related leisure. Some believe that all of these expenses have left the harbor never to return, and regrettably their concerns are valid.

Let me shed some light on the situation and help provide a little clarity. As usual, the best way to do this may be to use an example of an upcoming business trip common to many.

Example: You are scheduling a trip for an annual conference and training that takes place out of state. The purpose of the meetings will be necessary training, education and networking.

Question: What is deductible and what are the applicable rules I should be concerned about?

First, in order to answer this question, keep in mind that a trip such as this is broken into several expense line items. There will most likely be a mix of travel, auto, meals, supplies, registration fees, or even marketing expenses. Thus, it's important you track your expenses in a detailed manner and understand their differences.

Deductible Travel

This is the 'low hanging fruit' regarding the expenses on the business trip, and certainly the easiest issue to grasp and discuss. Assuming the trip is entirely for business (something I'll discuss further below), the good news is that all of the following expenses are 100% deductible:

Train or any public transportation expenses
Uber, Lyft or Taxi
Rental car, gas and any related fees
Hotel, Airbnb or Vrbo
Valet, tips
Parking fees at the conference and tolls driving in the area
Parking fee at the airport while your on the road

Potential for Auto Expenses

Let's say you decide to drive to the conference rather than take a plane, train or bus (if you want to subject yourself to such misery), then your standard auto deduction rules apply. Thus, if you drive an SUV or a truck (and throw the cost of gas to the wind), then you can deduct all of your out pocket costs for your auto and continue to depreciate your vehicle.

However if you are like 90% or more of my clients, you are on the 'mileage method' your allowed to deduct 54.5 cents per mile all the way there, running around town as needed at the conference and the entire drive back. Essentially, the mileage expense takes the place of your airfare and rental car, but all the other travel expenses above would still apply.

DON'T FORGET, if you still went to the airport and flew to the conference, you can deduct the business mileage on your own car to drive to the airport for your trip.

Meals while on the trip

Yes, dining out has been a confusing matter after the TCJA, but meals while traveling survived. Thus, don't fret and enjoy the food. Again, assuming the trip is 100% business (see below), then ALL of your food is deductible, BUT limited to 50%. Thus, if you pay for a $40 steak dinner and a $10 tip (don't be cheap), then your total meal cost is $50, BUT the actual write off is $25. ($50 x .50%)

Nevertheless, meals all the way there and during the conference are a write-off and remember it includes your coffee in the morning, Rockstar at lunch (my Achilles heal), and even the bar tab in the evening.

Two points of CAUTION: Room Service is still 50% (don't try and bury this in the hotel bill, it's still 50%), and if you buy someone else dinner on the trip, it probably isn't a write-off. Now, I'm not talking about traveling with your board of directors, business partner, or employee...these meals are still part of the traveling meals expense. What I'm saying is that if you were to take a prospect or client out to dinner while on your trip, until further IRS Regulations that meal would probably be considered an entertainment expense and NOT a write-off. Be careful about this one. More on the dining expense here.

Entertainment while at the conference

This is the killer. Basically this entire expense has been gutted from the Code under the TCJA. More about the entertainment expense here. So here is the list of what you CANNOT write-off while on your next business trip:

Golf with client, prospect, partner, employee or ANYONE
No spa, pedicures or manicures with your shareholders or ANYONE
Baseball, basketball or football games
Movies in the hotel room (even the unlisted titles)
Theatre tickets, concerts, or events
Basically anything fun!!

Conference fees and related expenses

It may go without saying, but I do so anyway. All of the conference registration fees, supplies, and related promotional or educational material you buy at the conference is 100% deductible. This is of course assuming the conference is directly related to the production of income in your business and not a self-help or marriage enhancement retreat your attending.

Also, keep in mind that if while attending this powerhouse business conference you decide to sponsor a booth and do some advertising, give out some promo material and capture contacts, all that should be deductible 100% as a marketing expense.

Rules I should be aware of

Making sure the trip qualifies for as many days business as possible is key. Essentially, you want the trip to be 100% business. There are really 3 important factors:

Factor 1 - The day of travel there, and the day of travel back are considered business.

Factor 2 - In order for each day to count as business, you must do at least 4 hours of business, OR attend a required meeting that couldn't be combined or taken care of on another day during the trip,

Factor 3 - Remember, weekends don't count. If you can do valid business on Friday and Monday, essentially requiring you to be there over the weekend, then the entire weekend qualifies as business too.

For example, if you fly on Thursday, do required business on Friday or work for 4 hours, get stuck there on the weekend, and then attend another required meeting that couldn't have been handled on Friday, THEN travel on Tuesday, the entire 6 days are a write-off and qualifies as a 100% business trip.

Also, I hate to say this, but I can't write off your speeding ticket on the way there or the parking tickets you got outside the conference center because you were lazy- Sorry.

One last word of caution as a fellow business owner - "Don't let the tail wag the dog". Just because it's a good write-off doesn't mean you can throw caution to the wind and rack up a big credit card bill on the trip. Be cautious, be on a budget and don't overdo it. Remember, a penny saved is a penny earned. Business travel can truly cut into your profit. Be cautious and wise.

Mark J. Kohler is a CPA, Attorney, Radio Show host and author of the new book "The Business Owner's Guide to Financial Freedom - What Wall Street Isn't Telling You", and "The Tax and Legal Playbook- Game Changing Solutions For Your Small Business Questions". He is also a partner at the law firm Kyler Kohler Ostermiller & Sorensen, LLP and the accounting firm K&E CPAs, LLP. For more information visit him at www.markjkohler.com.
Member Benefit Spotlight

Written by Jeff King, PPMA Vice President and Northeast Division Governor.

The foundation of an effective Integrated Pest Management Plan is a comprehensive Monitoring Program. As Professional Pest Management Professionals (PMPs), we understand that the results of our Monitoring Program will determine our next steps; Assessment, Action, Record Keeping, Communication & Education, Evaluation. The key element of a Monitoring Program is correct and accurate Identification. 

Understanding proper identification is at the core principle of an effective Integrated Pest Management Plan, where can we turn to ensure that we accurately diagnose our customer's pest problems?

Fortunately, through a joint-state partnership our Pennsylvania Pest Management Association Membership also enrolls us as members of the National Pest Management Association (NPMA). The NPMA many expanded benefits to ensure that member PMPs are able to properly identify pest pressures. 

NPMA has staff available that are Board Certified Entomologists. These staff members are available to membership at no additional costs. These individuals are available for pest identification and treatment strategies. Insects in question for identification can even been shipped to NPMA headquarters for positive identification. These on-staff Board Certified Entomologists also maintain the "Ask the Expert" segment of PestWorld Magazine and NPMA's website. Current topics and previously submitted questions are clearly organized by insect and can be found directly on the NPMA's website. 

Technical assistance is also available through the NPMA Mobile Field Guide App. This unique tool can be installed on the mobile devices of each technician. The NPMA Mobile Field Guide App is a direct source for identification, biology, habits, and control strategies for structural pest species. The technical information available in the NPMA Mobile Field Guide provides an immediate resource for the technical and service individuals. While in the NPMA Mobile Field Guide App the user can share the information to another's email or even reach out to the NPMA's Board Certified Entomologists for further questions. 

Please feel free to check out these technical assistance resources as well as all of our NPMA Benefits at the following website. 
News From NPMA

Celebrate the Industry During National Pest Management Month

National observance celebrates the critical role of pest professionals in protecting our health, homes and property
The  Professional Pest Management Alliance (PPMA), which serves as the consumer marketing and public outreach arm of the National Pest Management Association (NPMA), is working to spread awareness about the importance of partnering with a licensed pest control professional during National Pest Management Month in April. For more than 40 years, this annual designation has acknowledged the pest management industry's ongoing commitment to the protection of health, food and property from common pest threats. PPMA will spend the month educating consumers about the essential role pest professionals play in protecting the quality of life here in the U.S. while also promoting the importance of proactively protecting homes from pests all year long.
"Pest control professionals don't just get rid of pests, they work to keep us safe from all the potential health and property risks that pests bring along with them. Informing the public about these threats is critical and it shows the real value pest control services provide well beyond just removing an infestation," said Cindy Mannes, executive director of PPMA. "PPMA works to share these important messages with consumer audiences all year long, but we also hold this observance every April to urge the industry to join the conversation and to participate in this special awareness initiative."
National Pest Management Month is recognized by Chase's Calendar of Events and PPMA has some exciting things planned. "We are dedicating our media relations and social media campaigns to the topic throughout the entire month and we're rejoining our good friend, home improvement expert Bob Vila, for a satellite media tour on April 3," said Mannes. "Mr. Vila will share his own tips for pest-proofing homes this spring and will communicate the importance of working with a licensed pest control professional."
Industry members can join in the month-long celebration by devoting their social media pages to National Pest Management Month and using the hashtag #NPMM in all posts and interactions on social properties including Facebook and Twitter. PPMA is also offering an exclusive toolkit for Mainframe subscribers to utilize as a resource during their own publicity efforts. The toolkit is available for download on  PPMAMainframe.org and contains a customizable press release, suggested social media content, and other materials to help companies communicate to their customers about National Pest Management Month.
For more information about PPMA and all its marketing programs, please visit  http://www.NPMApestworld.org/PPMA.
About the Professional Pest Management Alliance
The PPMA was founded in 1997 to defend, protect and grow the pest management industry.  As the voice of the professional pest management industry, PPMA continues to proactively provide the public with information on the value of professional pest management through its media relations, public service announcement, advertising and online communications programs it conducts on behalf of the National Pest Management Association. For more information, please visit  PPMAMainframe.org
About the National Pest Management Association
The NPMA, a non-profit organization with more than 7,000 members, was established in 1933 to support the pest management industry's commitment to the protection of public health, food and property. For more information, visit  NPMAPestWorld.org .
Upcoming Meetings          

The Meetings and Events section of the website is always the most up-to-date resource for happenings of the Association. Be sure to check it out!

The Eastern Division continues to hold its monthly meetings with varying topics of discussion on the second Thursday of every month at the Crowne Plaze in Trevose.  For more information on monthly topics and speakers, contact Sue at (215) 331-1121.
Legislative Update

The information below represents legislative activity (including bill introductions) that has occurred since the last newsletter.  For a full listing of legislation that Versant is tracking for PPMA, please contact us at (717) 635-2320 or cwright@versantstrategies.net.  Activity marked HCO or SCO indicates a co-sponsorship memo which precedes the actual introduction of legislation and is designed to secure the support of other legislators prior to introduction as a bill.

Both the House and Senate met in March. The Senate passed a notable set of bills geared towards domestic violence. Both chambers are set to meet in the month of April. Versant Strategies is paying close attention to the following legislation on your behalf:

HB 1001- Helm, Susan (R) - Act regulating home inspectors; establishing the Home Inspection Licensing Board; providing for licensure & practice, for disciplinary action, for remedies & for penalties; making an appropriation; & repealing provisions.

The bill has passed the Senate Labor and Industry Committee and awaits further action in the Senate.
Increase Your Business Opportunities; Update your Find a Pro Listing Today
To update your company's service area, please follow the steps below:
  1. Log on to the Manage My Group area of the NPMA websitePlease note: in order to access the "Manage My Group" area of the NPMA website, you must be a company administrator. 
  1. Click on "Company Information" from the drop down menu.
  1. Scroll to the bottom of the page to find the Service Area section.
    1. Download the excel template found on this page.
    2. Update this template to include all of the zip codes that you service.
    3. Save the file on your computer.
    4. In the Service Area section click Choose File.  Locate the excel template file that you just saved. Click open.
    5. Click Upload file.
Once you've completed these steps your service on Find-a-Pro is instantly updated to include these new zip codes. 
If you are having problems accessing please contact NPMA at (703) 352-6762 or npma@pestworld.org.

Request for Proposals
Pennsylvania Pest Management Association
Website Design and Hosting
The Pennsylvania Pest Management Association, the professional trade association of the structural pest industry in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, seeks proposals for full-service website design and domain hosting services. Including the content currently on the Association's site ( www.papest.org), leadership of the Association would like to increase member engagement and website visits by the following:
  • Updating content on a more frequent basis
  • Managing event registrations through the site (with the use of Wild Apricot software)
  • A member portal (with the use of Wild Apricot software)
Interested parties should submit a letter of interest, a formal proposal including the cost for these services monthly, and an outline of qualifications to:
Caleb Wright
PA Pest Management Association, Executive Director
116 Pine Street, Floor 5
Harrisburg, PA 17101
Emailed and hard-copy submissions will be accepted. Proposals must be received by Thursday, April 26 th at close of business for consideration. Questions can be directed to the contact information listed above.

Articles of Interest

03-20-2018 Officials say spotted lanternfly jeopardizes Pennsylvania agricultural products
Crawford County residents should be vigilant to prevent the spread of a major pest that was destructive in more than a dozen Pennsylvania counties last summer. The spotted lanternfly caused a quarantine, or restricting the movement of materials, to prevent transporting insects in 13 counties in the state in... - Meadville Tribune

03-16-2018 County urged to be on the lookout for invasive pest
If a BOLO alert could be issued across the state for an insect, residents would be urged to be on the lookout for a funny-looking pest that threatens local crops and the economy. Instead, Tim Abbey of Penn State Extension briefed Franklin County Commissioners Thursday on the invasive insect that has made its way to... - Waynesboro Record Herald

03-16-2018 Fear of invasion by lanternflies kills Maryland bill to ban a pesticide
Fearful that President Donald Trump's environmental regulators weren't taking action against a harmful pesticide, Maryland lawmakers vowed to step in this year by proposing a state ban on the chemical. But then along came the spotted lanternfly - that terrifying invasive... - Baltimore Sun

03-08-2018 After EPA Flip, a Push to Block 'Harmful' Pesticide
A month after Scott Pruitt began leading the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the former Oklahoma attorney general rejected an Obama-era recommendation from agency scientists to ban a widely used pesticide from use on food crops. That means farmers can continue to spray chlorpyrifos on crops ranging from... - Stateline.org