How To Choose a Pest Control Company
When choosing a pest control company, there are a number of factors that you can consider to be sure that you're choosing the best one for you. In addition to a company's qualifications and treatment methods, you might also consider 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?
The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) maintains minimum standards of competency for pesticide applicators, but licensing 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?
One certification that pest control companies can earn is the GreenPro Service Certification, which requires that a company show that its practices are environmentally friendly and that its employee training is up to date. QualityPro and similar trade organizations also offer additional certifications. While not required, these can help show that a pest control company is reputable.
Pest control companies can also become members of certain professional organizations. Pest control companies can join state-level organizations as well as national organizations such as the National Pest Management Association (NPMA). By being a member of these optional organizations, a company helps support its reputability and gains access to education, resources, and a network of other professionals with whom to compare best practices.
Professional Experience and Specialties
The number of years that a company has been in business can give you some insight into its experience dealing with various pests. Customer reviews or the company's own website can also inform you whether it has the skills and experience needed to deal with your particular pests. If the answers to your questions aren't available online, speaking with a representative is a great way to learn about the company's areas of expertise.
Reviews and Recommendations
You can verify a company's legitimacy using the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and local review sites or social media. You can also check with California's licensing board to verify the status of a company's license.
Cost of Services and Guarantees
Pest control costs can vary based on things like the size of your house, your location, the type of pest being treated, and other factors.
When considering the cost of services, you should first look into whether a company offers free on-site estimates as part of its process. This can help determine whether the company fits into your budget. Also consider what guarantees a company offers: If the problem is not fixed, or returns, does the company promise to offer additional treatments until the issue is resolved satisfactorily?
Safety and Treatment Methods
Keeping yourself, your family and your pets safe is an important consideration when choosing a pest control provider. You may also prefer a provider that uses environmentally friendly methods.
You want to ensure that you understand the precautions around pesticides being used in your home, for the sake of you, your family, and your pets. Your pest control technician should supply information about all pesticides they plan to use, whether they are low toxicity or non-toxic, and (if not) what safety measures they plan to take. All pesticides (except minimum-risk ones) should be registered with the EPA.
Many companies are using options for more environmentally friendly pest control techniques before jumping into using harsh pesticides.
One popular way of making pest control safer and greener is Integrated Pest Management (IPM). The steps of IPM are as follows:
- Figure out what pests are causing the problem and assess whether immediate action is needed.
- Decide on the safest course of action.
- Manage the pest problem using a combination of biological, cultural, physical, and mechanical controls.
- Employ chemical controls only if needed, and always along with other techniques for effective long-term pest management.
- Assess the outcome and implement additional pest control as needed.