How To Choose a Pest Control Company
The first step is hiring the right pest control professional for the job. You may take into consideration a company's qualifications, methods, years of experience, customer reviews, and cost of services.
Below, we discuss each factor in more detail.
Does the company have a valid license and permits to perform pest control?
Per the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), all pesticide applicators and those that supervise them must be licensed at the state level. The EPA maintains minimum standards of competency, 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 might be worth looking for is the GreenPro Service Certification. To get 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 earn other certifications from trade organizations like QualityPro to further back up their work.
There are several professional organizations that a pest control company can belong to. While not required, membership in organizations such as the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) or state-level organizations help to prove a company's reputability. After joining an organization like the NPMA, a company receives access to resources, education, and a network of other professionals with whom to compare best practices.
Professional Experience and Specialties
The amount of time that a company has been in business can tell you something about its experience dealing with pests in your area. Online reviews or the company's own website can also enlighten you about whether it has the experience necessary to deal with your particular pests. If you can't find the information you need online, reaching out to the company directly is an easy way to learn more.
Reviews and Recommendations
You can look up a company's Better Business Bureau (BBB) rating, look for 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
The cost of pest control can vary based on things like the type of pest being treated, the size of your house, your location, and other factors.
When thinking about the cost of services, you should first look into whether a company includes free on-site estimates as part of its services. This can help determine whether the company fits into your budget. Also take into account what guarantees a company offers: If the problem is not fixed, or returns, does the company promise to offer additional treatments until the problem is handled satisfactorily?
Safety and Treatment Methods
It's important to consider safety when choosing a pest control provider. You might also prefer a provider who uses more natural, environmentally friendly methods.
It's important to understand the precautions for the pesticides being used in your home, for the sake of your family, your pets, and yourself. Your pest control provider should be capable of providing information about all pesticides they intend to use, whether they are low toxicity or non-toxic, and (if not) what safety measures will be used. All pesticides (except minimum-risk ones) should be registered with the EPA.
Companies looking to reduce their reliance on chemical pesticides often implement procedures such as Integrated Pest Management (IPM). Using IPM involves a series of steps:
- Identify problem pests and determine whether immediate action is needed.
- Decide on the safest course of action.
- Manage the pest problem using a combination of mechanical, physical, biological, and cultural controls.
- Use chemical controls only when absolutely necessary, and always along with other methods for effective long-term pest management.
- Evaluate outcomes and implement additional pest control as needed.