Only female ‘rat catcher’ in North West takes over from the ‘Rat man’

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Derry ‘Rat man’ and founder of North West Pest Control, Charlie Page, has passed ownership to his daughter Patricia, after celebrating over 40 years as Derry’s No. One rat catcher.

A business built from the ground up and at a time subsidised by a homemade toffee-apple venture, Patricia has big boots to fill following in the footsteps of her father. With less than five per cent of female pest control technicians in the UK, and even fewer female owners, Patricia vows to make her mark in the male-dominated industry.

“Being a female pest technician in the beginning is a novelty for customers and proves a good icebreaker.It’s a horses for courses type of job and one deemed ‘too dirty’ for a woman, but I love it. North West Pest Control prides itself in being a local family business and it would have been a sin in the eyes of God for it to be sold to an outsider.

“Our 40 year success is testament to dad’s dedication who has very much ingrained himself in the community. He’s a popular guy and his knowledge is a real asset to the company; he may have taken a backseat but he’s still very much the kingpin.”

With over 100 years experience among staff, who are fully insured, qualified and members of the National Pest Control Association, North West Pest Control assures their clients are in safe hands.

According to Patricia their personal touch puts them ahead of the game and sets them apart from the corporate giants.

“The job is 20 per cent pest control and 80 per cent counsellor. We deal with so many nervous customers who appreciate the one-to-one and it’s rewarding in the sense that we can walk away knowing we’ve helped someone rest that bit easier in their home.

“We have long-term clients and many who have been with us since our inception; if anything, it proves the high quality of service we provide. We want to acknowledge and extend our gratitude to those existing customers and look forward to welcoming new ones.”

Charlie and Patricia have seen it all, from wasps eating through nursery walls to an infestation of rats scurrying under a foot of concrete flooring. What they don’t know about pest control isn’t worth knowing. Patricia’s leadership brings a modernising influence with hopes to expand the business in 2018. For the first time in its history they are now using marked vehicles and take over-the-phone card payments and have chip and pin facilities on call-outs.

“If I do even half as good as ‘Charlie Page the rat man’, I’ll be happy,” she laughed.