How To Choose a Pest Control Company
The most important step is picking the right pest control professional for the job. Factors you might consider include qualifications and licensing, treatment methods, years of experience, customer reviews, and cost.
Below, we explore the details of each of these factors.
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 those that supervise them must be licensed at the state level. The EPA has established minimum competency standards, and the California regulatory agencies take care of the issuing, maintaining, and revoking of licenses.
Is the company a member of any professional organizations?
One certification that pest control companies can earn is the GreenPro Service Certification, which requires a company to show that its practices are more environmentally friendly and that its employees receive up-to-date training. QualityPro and similar trade organizations also offer other certifications. These are not required, but can help show that a pest control company is reputable.
A pest control company can also obtain membership in professional organizations. Joining an organization like the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) or a state-level organization grants a pest control company access to education and resources, plus a professional network to compare best practices with. Membership in organizations like these is not required, but it can help indicate that a company follows industry best practices.
Professional Experience and Specialties
A company's website can tell you how long it has been in operation and what kind of pests it specializes in eliminating. Online reviews can also offer some insight into a company's experience dealing with a certain type of pest. If you're unable to find this information online, you can try reaching out to the company directly.
Reviews and Recommendations
You can look at a company's reviews and rating on the Better Business Bureau (BBB), check out local review sites and social media to hear what other people are saying, or verify its license standing via the California licensing board.
Cost of Services and Guarantees
Cost is an important consideration when picking a pest control company. Cost may be determined by your location, the type of pest being treated, the size of your house, and other factors.
Certain pest control companies offer a free on-site estimate to help you determine if it fits into your budget. You can also check to see if it offers a satisfaction guarantee.
Safety and Treatment Methods
When choosing a pest control provider, you want to choose one that will keep you, your family, and your pets safe. You might also prefer an environmentally-conscious provider.
You should ask your pest control provider if the chemicals they're using are low toxicity or non-toxic, and if not, what sort of precautionary measures they are going to use. Any pesticides that are not minimum-risk chemicals should be registered with the EPA. Your pest control provider should be able to supply you with information about all chemicals they plan on using.
Many companies will start with more environmentally friendly options before employing harsh pesticides, following a technique called Integrated Pest Management (IPM). When using IPM, the following steps are taken:
- Identify problem pests and determine whether immediate action is needed.
- Determine the best and safest course of action.
- Use a combination of biological, cultural, physical, and mechanical controls to manage the pest problem.
- Employ chemical controls only when absolutely necessary, and always with other techniques for effective long-term pest management.
- Assess the outcome and provide additional pest control as needed.