How To Choose a Pest Control Company
Hiring the best company for you is the most important step in the pest control process. Some things 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?
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, but providing, maintaining, and revoking licensing is handled at the state level.
Is the company a member of any professional organizations?
Pest control companies have the option to obtain certifications from trade organizations like QualityPro. These are not required, but can help you assess the quality of a company's products. For example, the GreenPro Service Certification recognizes comprehensive and effective pest control treatment that is safer for people and the environment.
Pest control companies can also belong to certain professional organizations. Pest control companies 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 resources, education, and a network of professionals with whom to compare best practices.
Professional Experience and Specialties
The amount of time that a company has been in business can give you some insight into 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 needed to eliminate the particular pests that are plaguing you. If you can't find the information you need online, calling a representative is an easy way to learn about the company's areas of expertise.
Reviews and Recommendations
You can look at a company's rating and reviews on the Better Business Bureau (BBB), read social media and local review sites to find out what other people are saying, or verify its license standing via the California licensing board.
Cost of Services and Guarantees
For many people, cost is one of the main deciding factors when picking a company for pest control. Cost can be determined by factors like the size of your house, the type of pest being treated, and your location.
You can think about whether a particular company offers free on-site estimates (to determine if it fits your budget), and what kind of guarantees are provided. 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
Your preferences regarding safety for yourself, any children or pets, and the environment might influence the provider and the treatment methods you choose.
Ask your pest control technician if they plan on using low toxicity or non-toxic pesticides—if not, ask what precautionary measures they will take. Any pesticide that has been deemed above minimum risk must be registered with the EPA. Your pest control company should provide information about all pesticides to be used, as well as how safe they are around people and pets.
Many companies are now trialing options for more environmentally friendly methods of pest control before employing harsh pesticides.
One common method for making pest control safer and greener is Integrated Pest Management (IPM). The steps of IPM are as follows:
- Identify problem pests and determine if immediate action is needed.
- Determine the best and 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.
- Observe the results and continue with additional pest control as needed.