How To Choose a Pest Control Company
The most important step in the pest control process is hiring the right company for you. Some things you may consider include qualifications and licensing, treatment methods, years of experience, customer reviews, and cost.
Below, we dive into detail on each of these factors.
Does the company have a valid license and permits to perform pest control?
All pesticide applicators, as well as those that supervise them, need to be licensed via the appropriate California regulatory agencies. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sets minimum standards of competency, while issuing, maintaining, and revoking licensing is handled at the state level.
Is the company a member of any professional organizations?
Obtaining additional optional certifications can help show that a pest control company is reputable. One of these is the GreenPro Service Certification. For this certification, a company must show that its methods are more environmentally friendly and that its employees receive up-to-date training. Other certifications can be obtained through QualityPro and similar trade organizations.
A pest control company can also belong to professional organizations. A pest control company can obtain membership in state-level organizations as well as national organizations like 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
You can look at a company's years in business to help determine how much experience it has dealing with various pests. You can also look at its website or read customer reviews to decide whether it has the right kind of experience handling the species of pests you are looking to get rid of. If this information can't be found online, speaking with a company representative is a good way to learn more.
Reviews and Recommendations
You can check a company's reputation using local review sites or social media 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 main deciding factors when hiring for pest control services. Cost can be determined by factors like your location, the size of your house, and the type of pest being treated.
You can consider whether a certain company offers free on-site estimates (to determine if it fits in your budget), and what sort of guarantees it provides. Often, a company will guarantee that if its treatment doesn't resolve your pest problem, it will continue to come back until it does.
Safety and Treatment Methods
Keeping yourself, your family and your pets safe is an important consideration when choosing a pest control provider. You may also prefer one that employs environmentally friendly practices.
Your pest control provider should use pesticides that are low toxicity or non-toxic any time they can. If any pesticides they intend to use don't fit into one of these categories, your technician should explain what safety precautions they plan to use to protect you, your family, and your pets. Any pesticides that pose more than a minimum risk are required to be registered with the EPA.
You can ask if your technician will start with lower-toxicity, more natural options before moving on to harsher chemicals.
Many companies have started to use Integrated Pest Management (IPM) to eliminate pests while reducing personal and environmental risks. The steps of IPM are as follows:
- Identify the source of the pest problem and determine whether immediate action is needed.
- Decide on the safest course of action.
- Use a combination of biological, cultural, mechanical, and physical controls to manage the pest problem.
- Use chemical controls only when absolutely necessary, and always along with other controls for effective long-term pest management.
- Evaluate outcomes and provide additional pest control as needed.