How To Choose a Pest Control Company
When choosing a pest control company, there are a number of things you can consider to make sure you choose the right one for you. You may consider a company's qualifications and treatment methods as well as its customer reviews and years of experience. Of course, there is also the cost of services to consider.
Below, we discuss each of these factors in more detail.
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 their supervisors need to be licensed at the state level. The EPA sets minimum competency standards, 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 may be worth looking for is the GreenPro Service Certification. To receive this certification, a pest control company must both show that its practices are more environmentally friendly and uphold certain technician training standards. Companies can also obtain other certifications from QualityPro or similar trade organizations to further back up their work.
Pest control companies can also be members of various professional organizations. Membership in an organization such as the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) or a state-level organization grants a pest control company access to education and resources, as well as a network of professionals with whom to compare best practices. Belonging to one of these organizations is not mandatory, but it can help indicate that a company follows industry best practices.
Professional Experience and Specialties
In general, a company displays information like its specialities and years of experience on its website. Online reviews can also help you figure out if a company has experience dealing with a specific pest. If you're unable to find the information you need online, you can speak with a company representative directly to get the answers to your questions.
Reviews and Recommendations
You can check a company's reputation using social media or local review sites as well as the Better Business Bureau (BBB). You can also check with California's licensing board to see the status of a company's license.
Cost of Services and Guarantees
For many people, cost is one of the most important factors when looking for pest control. Cost can be influenced by factors like your location, the size of your house, and the type of pest being treated.
You can take into consideration whether a particular company offers free on-site estimates (to determine if it fits in 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.
You want to ensure that you understand the precautions for the pesticides used around your home, for the sake of your family, your pets, and yourself. Your pest control technician should be able to supply information about the pesticides they plan to use, whether they are low toxicity or non-toxic, and (if not) what safety measures they have in place. All pesticides (except minimum-risk ones) need to be registered with the EPA.
Many companies have started making the switch to using more natural treatment methods before (or in place of) harsh chemical pesticides. Some use a program called Integrated Pest Management (IPM). The steps of IPM are as follows:
- Identify the source of the pest problem and assess whether immediate action is required.
- Determine the best and safest course of action.
- Use a combination of physical, cultural, biological, and mechanical controls to manage the pest problem.
- Employ chemical controls only if needed, and always in combination with other controls for effective long-term pest management.
- Assess the outcome and implement additional pest control as needed.