How To Choose a Pest Control Company
When picking a pest control company, there are a number of factors that you can consider to be sure that you're choosing the right one for you. You might consider a company's qualifications and treatment methods in addition to its customer reviews and years of experience. Of course, there is also the cost of services to consider.
Below, we dive into detail on 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 their supervisors need to be licensed at the state level. The EPA sets minimum standards of competency, and the California regulatory agencies handle the issuing, maintaining, and revoking of licenses.
Is the company a member of any professional organizations?
A pest control company can obtain optional certifications from trade organizations like QualityPro to back up its standards and methods. One particular certification is the GreenPro Service Certification, which is given when a company can demonstrate that its methods are more environmentally friendly. These companies also need to maintain certain employee training standards.
A pest control company can also belong to professional organizations. When a company obtains membership in an organization such as the National Pest Management Association(NPMA) (or a state-level organization), it receives access to resources, education, and a network of other pest control experts with whom to compare methods. This can offer additional peace of mind that a company is following industry 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 various pests. Online reviews or the company's own website can also inform you whether it has the skills and experience needed to deal with your particular pests. If you can't find the information you need online, contacting the company directly is a great way to learn about its areas of expertise.
Reviews and Recommendations
You can browse reviews and recommendations on social media or local review sites, view a company's rating on the Better Business Bureau (BBB), or check the status of its license through the California licensing board.
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 affected by factors like your location, the type of pest being treated, and the size of your house.
You can look into whether a company offers free on-site estimates (to determine if it fits 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
Your choice of pest control company might be influenced by how environmentally friendly a provider's practices are, in addition to how safe its methods are around your family and pets.
Your pest control provider should use pesticides that are low toxicity or non-toxic when possible. If any pesticides used don't fit into one of these categories, your technician should explain what safety precautions will be in place to protect your family, your pets, and you. All pesticides that pose more than a minimum risk are required to be registered with the EPA.
Many companies will start with more environmentally friendly options before using harsh pesticides, following a technique called Integrated Pest Management (IPM). When using IPM, the following steps are taken:
- Identify problem pests and determine if immediate action is needed.
- Decide on the safest course of action.
- Manage the pest problem using a combination of biological, cultural, physical, and mechanical controls.
- Employ chemical controls only when required, and always in combination with other controls for effective long-term pest management.
- Observe the results and provide additional pest control as needed.