How To Choose a Pest Control Company
When picking a pest control company, there are a number of things that you can consider to make sure you choose the best one for you. Along with a company's qualifications and treatment methods, you might also consider how long it has been in business and what the reviews look like. Last but not least, you'll likely want to consider the cost of services.
Below, we dive into detail on 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 taken care of at the state level. All pesticide applicators and supervisors in California need to be licensed through the proper state regulatory agencies.
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 earn this certification, a pest control company needs to both show that its practices are more environmentally friendly and uphold certain technician training standards. Companies can earn other certifications from QualityPro or similar trade organizations to further back up their work.
Pest control companies can also become members of certain 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 education and resources, and a network of professionals with whom to compare best practices. Membership in one of these organizations is not required, but it can help show that a company follows industry best practices.
Professional Experience and Specialties
Looking at how long a company has been in business can help determine how much experience it has dealing with various pests. You can also look at its website or peruse customer reviews to figure out whether it has experience eliminating the species of pests you are dealing with. If this information can't be found online, contacting a representative directly is a great way to learn more.
Reviews and Recommendations
You can look up a company's rating on the Better Business Bureau (BBB), browse 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 determined by factors like the type of pest being treated, your location, and the size of your house.
You can look into whether a certain company offers free on-site estimates (to determine if it fits in your budget), and what kind of guarantees are provided. Often, a company will guarantee that if its treatment doesn't resolve your pest problem, it will continue to come back until it does.
Safety and Treatment Methods
Your preferences regarding safety for yourself, your children, your pets, and the environment can affect the provider and the treatment methods you choose.
You will want to understand the precautions around pesticides being used around your home, for the sake of your family, your pets, and yourself. Your pest control technician should supply information about the pesticides they will be using, whether they are low toxicity or non-toxic, and (if not) what safety measures will be in place. All pesticides (except minimum-risk ones) should be registered with the EPA.
You can ask if your technician will begin with more natural and lower-toxicity options before employing harsher chemicals.
Many companies have begun to use Integrated Pest Management (IPM) to eliminate pests while reducing personal and environmental risks. The steps of IPM are as follows:
- Identify the source of the pest problem and determine if immediate action is required.
- Decide on the safest course of action.
- Manage the pest problem using a combination of mechanical, cultural, biological, and physical controls.
- Use chemical controls only when required, and always with other controls for effective long-term pest management.
- Observe the results and continue with additional pest control as needed.