The Critter Pricker Raccoon Deterrent

the critter prickerJoe Balistreri invented The Critter Pricker to protect people from the sneakiest break-in artists in the world: raccoons. He likes animals, but as a pest control professional, he knows they can pose threats and become a nuisance to people. Joe’s had his own pest control business in Florida since 2010 and he now has Critter Pricker branded businesses in Ohio, Illinois, Massachusetts, Florida and California.

Before he invented The Critter Pricker, he’d often remove nuisance animals from customers’ homes. The biggest pests were raccoons. They get into attics, tip over trash barrels, even poop in swimming pools. These critters are destructive and they can carry rabies. They smell bad too. Joe has nothing against raccoons, he just doesn’t want them screwing up the quality of life for his customers.

The biggest problem was, after removing a nuisance raccoon and letting it go far away from the customer’s home, they’d come back or another would replace it. He knew the best way to keep them away was to make them not want to come around. He knew raccoons have very sensitive feet, so he designed The Critter Pricker to make walking on it unpleasant for the little buggers.

The Product

Each box of Critter Prickers comes with ten strips of rigid plastic with rigid plastic spikes. The spikes don’t harm the raccoons, but they DO NOT like walking on them. They snap together in a variety of shapes so each homeowner can design the perfect barrier for their situation. Once an area is “walled off” with Critter Prickers, the raccoons won’t return.

Joe sells his product on Amazon for $29.95 per box. Depending on how big an area you need to protect, you may need more than one box. He’d like to get into national hardware chains to grow his business and he’s hoping a Shark will help him.

My Take on The Critter Pricker

Back in the nineties, I owned a company called Mighty Duct. I sold it long ago, but it’s still in operation. It’s an air duct cleaning company, but when I owned it, we also cleaned chimneys. We got a lot of calls for removing raccoons from chimneys. They like to nest on the smoke shelf over the fireplace inside the chimney. We liked those jobs because we almost always sold our customer a chimney cap after we removed the raccoon(s). It was a pretty lucrative business.

I’m sure Joe gets decent money to remove a nuisance raccoon, but he (and his customer) probably would rather not have to deal with them at all. I don’t know if he sells or installs chimney caps, but I’ll bet he sells a lot of Critter Prickers. The problem with that is he’s doing it one customer at a time. Unlike chimney caps which require measuring and installation – often at precarious heights, The Critter Pricker can be installed by almost anybody. I think the product would sell through well at hardware stores and I hope he can make it happen.

Will Sharks Pick This?

Hardware items fare well in the Shark Tank. Lori in particular has had a lot of success with them: Paint Brush Cover, ScreenMend and FiberFix come to mind. I see Mark calling this “a product, not a company,” so I don’t expect him to bid, but any of the other Sharks could.

Barbara, with her real estate background, will know the treachery of raccoons, so she may see it as a simple and elegant solution. Kevin, who’s been bidding a lot in season 11, will likely throw out one of his debt/royalty offers. Daymond invested in the Trash Can cover a few years back and may see this as a nice addition to his portfolio.

Lori is still the best partner though. She’ll likely make a very Sharky offer, which Joe should accept. She’ll be a good partner on this one.

About Rob Merlino

Entrepreneur, auteur, raconteur. Rob Merlino is a blogger and writer who enjoys the Shark Tank TV show and Hot Dogs. A father of five who freelances in a variety of publications, Rob has a stable of websites including Shark Tank Blog, Hot Dog Stories, Rob Merlino.com and more.

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