How To Choose a Pest Control Company
The most important step in the pest control process is hiring the right company for you. A company's qualifications and treatment methods are important to consider, as well as its years of experience and reputation in customer reviews. Of course, you will also want to think about cost.
Below, we explore the details of each of these factors.
Does the company have a valid license and permits to perform pest control?
While the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has established minimum competency standards for pesticide applicators, licensing is taken care of at the state level. All pesticide applicators (and those who supervise them) in California need to be licensed by all the necessary state regulatory agencies.
Is the company a member of any professional organizations?
One optional certification that might be worth looking for is the GreenPro Service Certification. To earn this certification, a pest control company must both show that its practices are more environmentally friendly and uphold certain training standards for its technicians. Companies can also earn other certifications from QualityPro or similar trade organizations to further back up their work.
There are certain professional organizations in which pest control companies can hold membership. Membership in organizations like the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) or state-level organizations is not required, but helps verify a company's reputability. Membership in the NPMA gives companies access to resources, education, and a network of professionals with whom to discuss practices and methods.
Professional Experience and Specialties
In general, a company displays information like specialities and years of experience on its website. Online reviews can also help you figure out if a company has experience dealing with a particular pest in your area. If you're unable to locate the information you need online, you can reach out to the company directly to get the answers to your questions.
Reviews and Recommendations
Resources you can use to check a company's reputation include the Better Business Bureau (BBB), local review sites, and social media. You can also confirm the status of a company's license via the California licensing board.
Cost of Services and Guarantees
Cost is important when hiring a pest control company. Cost can be affected influenced by the size of your house, your location, the type of pest being treated, and other factors.
Many companies 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 company offers a satisfaction guarantees, meaning that it will continue to treat your pest problem until it is solved.
Safety and Treatment Methods
Your preferences regarding safety for yourself, any children or pets, and the environment can affect the provider and the treatment methods you choose.
Be sure to ask your pest control provider if they plan on using low toxicity or non-toxic pesticides, and if not, ask what precautionary measures they plan to use. Any pesticide that poses greater than minimum risk must be registered with the EPA. Your pest control company should be able to supply information about all pesticides to be used, as well as how safe they are around people and pets.
Nowadays, many companies are exploring greener and cleaner pest management that can be implemented before (or instead of) chemical pesticides. Many are following the practice of Integrated Pest Management (IPM), which goes as follows:
- Identify the source of the pest problem and determine if 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 in combination with other methods for effective long-term pest management.
- Evaluate outcomes and implement additional pest control as needed.