How To Choose a Pest Control Company
The most important step in the pest control process is hiring the right company for you. You may take into consideration a company's qualifications, methods, years of experience, customer reviews, and price of services.
Below, we explore the details of each factor.
Does the company have a valid license and permits to perform pest control?
The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) maintains minimum standards of competency for pesticide applicators, but licensure is overseen at the state level. All pesticide applicators and their supervisors in California must be licensed through the proper state regulatory agencies.
Is the company a member of any professional organizations?
An optional certification that may be worth looking for is the GreenPro Service Certification. To get this certification, a pest control company needs to both show that its practices are more environmentally friendly and maintain certain technician training standards. Companies can earn other certifications from trade organizations like QualityPro to further support their work.
There are various professional organizations that pest control companies can be members of. A pest control company can join state-level organizations in addition to national organizations such as the National Pest Management Association (NPMA). While not mandatory, membership in these organizations helps prove a company's reputability and gives it access to education, resources, and a network of professionals to compare best practices with.
Professional Experience and Specialties
You can get some insight into a company's level of experience by seeing how long it has been in business. The company's website and local reviews can also tell you whether a company has experience dealing with the specific species of pests invading your home. You can reach out to a representative directly to learn this information if you can't find it online.
Reviews and Recommendations
You can look up a company's Better Business Bureau (BBB) rating, explore reviews on social media or local review sites, or check the standing of its license via the California licensing board.
Cost of Services and Guarantees
It's important to think about cost when hiring a pest control company. Cost can be affected influenced by your location, the size of your house, the type of pest being treated, and other factors.
Companies will often offer free on-site estimates at the beginning of their process, to help you decide whether it fits into your budget. You can also ask whether a provider offers a satisfaction guarantee, meaning that it will continue to treat your pest problem until it is solved.
Safety and Treatment Methods
When picking a pest control provider, you want to choose a company that will keep you, your family, and your pets safe. You might also prefer a provider that is environmentally-conscious.
Your pest control provider should be able to explain the safety precautions of any and all pesticides that they're going to use. They should be able to explain whether the pesticides are low toxicity or non-toxic; if they are not, they should explain what safety precautions they plan to use to protect you, your family, and your pets. Pesticides that pose more than a minimum risk should be registered with the EPA.
Pest professionals looking to reduce their reliance on chemical pesticides often follow practices such as Integrated Pest Management (IPM). Using IPM involves a series of steps:
- Identify the source of the pest problem and determine whether immediate action is needed.
- Decide on the safest course of action.
- Use a combination of mechanical, physical, biological, and cultural controls to manage the pest problem.
- Employ chemical controls only when absolutely necessary, and always along with other techniques for effective long-term pest management.
- Evaluate outcomes and provide additional pest control as needed.