How To Choose a Pest Control Company
When choosing a pest control company, you want to be sure to find the right one for you. A company's qualifications and treatment methods are important to consider, as well as its years of experience and customer reviews. Of course, you will also want to consider 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) sets the minimum competency standards for pesticide applicators, licensure is handled at the state level. All pesticide applicators (and those who supervise them) in California must be licensed by all the necessary state regulatory agencies.
Is the company a member of any professional organizations?
Pest control companies can obtain optional certifications from trade organizations like QualityPro. These are not required, but can help you evaluate the quality of a company's products. For example, the GreenPro Service Certification indicates comprehensive and effective pest control treatment that is safer for people and the environment.
Pest control companies can also become members of professional organizations. A pest control company can obtain membership in state-level organizations as well as national organizations such as the National Pest Management Association (NPMA). By being a member of these optional organizations, a company helps support its reputability and gains access to resources, education, and a network of other professionals with whom to compare best practices.
Professional Experience and Specialties
Looking at a company's website can tell you how many years it has been in business and what kind of pests it specializes in exterminating. Online reviews can also provide some insight into a company's experience dealing with a certain type of pest. If this information isn't available online, you can try calling the company directly.
Reviews and Recommendations
You can look up a company's rating on the Better Business Bureau (BBB), explore reviews on social media or local review sites, or check the standing of its license via the California licensing board.
Cost of Services and Guarantees
Cost is probably high on your list of priorities when hiring someone for pest control. Cost can be affected influenced by the type of pest being treated, your location, the size of your house, and other factors.
Companies will often offer free on-site estimates at the beginning of their process, to help you determine whether it fits into your budget. You can also ask whether a provider offers a satisfaction guarantee, meaning that if your pest problem is not solved by the initial treatment, it will continue returning until it is.
Safety and Treatment Methods
Your preferences regarding safety for yourself, any children or pets, and the environment might influence the provider and the treatment methods you choose.
You should ask your pest control technician if the chemicals they're using are low toxicity or non-toxic, and if not, what precautionary measures they will have in place. All pesticides that are not considered minimum-risk chemicals should be registered with the EPA. Your pest control provider should be able to provide information about all of the pesticides they plan to use.
Many companies are now exploring greener and cleaner pest management that can be implemented before (or instead of) chemical pesticides. Many follow the practice of Integrated Pest Management (IPM), which goes as follows:
- Figure out what pests are causing the problem and assess whether immediate action is needed.
- Decide on the safest course of action.
- Use a combination of mechanical, cultural, biological, and physical controls to manage the pest problem.
- Employ chemical controls only when required, and always in combination with other methods for effective long-term pest management.
- Evaluate outcomes and provide additional pest control as needed.