How To Choose a Pest Control Company
When hiring a pest control company, there are several things you can consider to be sure you choose the right one for you. Things you may consider include qualifications and licensing, treatment methods, years of experience, customer reviews, and cost.
Below, we discuss each of these factors in more detail.
Does the company have a valid license and permits to perform pest control?
The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) maintains minimum competency standards for pesticide applicators, but licensing is taken care of 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?
An optional certification that may 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 maintain certain training standards for its technicians. Companies can obtain other certifications from QualityPro or similar trade organizations to further support their work.
Pest control companies can also become members of professional organizations. A pest control company can obtain membership in both state-level organizations and national organizations such as the National Pest Management Association (NPMA). While not mandatory, membership in these organizations helps prove a company's reputability and gives it access to education, resources, and a network of other professionals to compare best practices with.
Professional Experience and Specialties
A company's website can tell you how many years it has been in business and what species of pests it specializes in eliminating. Local reviews can also offer some insight into a company's experience dealing with specific pests. If you're unable to find this information online, you can try reaching out to the company directly.
Reviews and Recommendations
You can browse reviews and recommendations on local review sites or social media, view a company's rating on the Better Business Bureau (BBB), or check its licensure status through the California licensing board.
Cost of Services and Guarantees
Things like your location, the size of your house, the type of pest being treated, and other factors can all influence the cost of pest control.
You can look into whether a company offers free on-site estimates (to determine if it fits in your budget), as well as what kind of guarantees it offers. Often, a company will guarantee that if it does not solve your pest problem, it will continue treatment until it does.
Safety and Treatment Methods
It's important to consider safety when deciding on a pest control provider, and you might prefer a provider who uses more natural, environmentally-friendly methods.
Ask your pest control technician if they plan to use low toxicity or non-toxic pesticides, and if not, what precautionary measures they will have in place. Any pesticides that are not minimum-risk chemicals should be registered with the EPA. Your pest technician should be able to provide information about all pesticides they plan on using.
Many companies have begun using more natural treatment methods before, or instead of, harsh chemical pesticides. Some follow a program called 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 required.
- Decide on the safest course of action.
- Manage the pest problem using a combination of physical, cultural, biological, and mechanical controls.
- Employ chemical controls only when required, and always along with other techniques for effective long-term pest management.
- Evaluate outcomes and provide additional pest control as needed.