How To Choose a Pest Control Company
There are several factors you can weigh when selecting the right pest control company for you. Along with a company's qualifications and treatment methods, you might also look into how long it has been in business and what the reviews are like. Last but not least, you'll likely want to look at the cost of services.
Below, we explore the details of each of these factors.
Does the company have a valid license and permits to perform pest control?
According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), all pesticide applicators and those that supervise them need to be licensed at the state level. The EPA has established minimum standards of competency, and the California regulatory agencies handle the issuing, maintaining, and revoking of licenses.
Is the company a member of any professional organizations?
An optional certification that might be worth looking for is the GreenPro Service Certification. In order to obtain this certification, a pest control company needs to both demonstrate that its practices are more environmentally friendly and uphold certain training standards for its technicians. Companies can earn other certifications from trade organizations like QualityPro to further back up their work.
Pest control companies can also obtain membership in professional organizations. Becoming a member of an organization like the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) or a state-level organization grants a pest control company access to resources and education, and a professional network to compare best practices with. Joining organizations like these is not required, but it can help indicate that a company follows industry best practices.
Professional Experience and Specialties
The number of years that a company has been in business can tell you something about its experience dealing with various pests. Online reviews or the company's website itself can also enlighten you about whether it has the skills and experience necessary to eliminate the particular pests that are plaguing you. If you can't find the information you need online, reaching out to the company directly is an excellent way to learn more.
Reviews and Recommendations
You can look up a company's rating on the Better Business Bureau (BBB), read reviews on local review sites or social media, or check the standing of its license via the California licensing board.
Cost of Services and Guarantees
For many people, cost is one of the main deciding factors when hiring for pest control services. Cost can be affected by factors like the type of pest being treated, the size of your house, and your location.
You can look into whether a specific company offers free on-site estimates (to determine if it fits your budget), and what kind of guarantees it provides. Often, a company will guarantee that if your pest problem isn't fixed by its treatment, it will continue to treat until it is.
Safety and Treatment Methods
Safety is an important consideration when selecting a pest control provider, and you might prefer a provider who employs more natural, environmentally friendly methods.
All pesticides used by your company (except those that are classified as minimum-risk) need to be registered with the EPA. Your pest control technician should be able to supply information on all the pesticides that they plan to use. They should be able to tell you whether these chemicals are low toxicity or non-toxic, and if not, what safety precautions will be in place.
Companies often start with more environmentally friendly options before using harsh pesticides, using a technique called Integrated Pest Management (IPM). When using IPM, the following steps are taken:
- Identify problem pests and determine whether immediate action is required.
- Decide on the safest course of action.
- Manage the pest problem using a combination of biological, cultural, mechanical, and physical controls.
- Employ chemical controls only when required, and always along with other techniques for effective long-term pest management.
- Observe the results and provide additional pest control as needed.