How To Choose a Pest Control Company
There are several things you can consider when selecting the right pest control company for you. A company's qualifications and treatment methods are important to consider, as are its years of experience and what other customers have said. 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?
The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has set minimum competency standards for pesticide applicators, but licensing is handled at the state level. All pesticide applicators and supervisors in California need to be licensed through the proper state regulatory agencies.
Is the company a member of any professional organizations?
One certification that pest control companies can earn is the GreenPro Service Certification, which requires that a company 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 demonstrate that a company is reputable.
Pest control companies can also belong to certain professional organizations. Pest control companies can join state-level organizations in addition to national organizations like 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 to compare best practices with.
Professional Experience and Specialties
How long a company has been in business can tell you something about its experience dealing with various pests. Customer reviews or the company's own website can also help you figure out whether it has the experience needed to handle your specific pest problem. If you cannot find the answers to your questions online, contacting the company directly is a great way to learn about its areas of expertise.
Reviews and Recommendations
You can check a company's reputation using the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and local review sites or social media. You can also check with California's licensing board to verify the status of a company's license.
Cost of Services and Guarantees
For many people, cost is one of the most important factors when picking a company for pest control services. Cost can be determined by factors like your location, the type of pest being treated, and the size of your house.
You can think about whether a certain 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 your pest problem isn't fixed by its treatment, it will continue to treat until it is.
Safety and Treatment Methods
When it comes to picking a pest control provider, you want to choose a company that will keep you, your family, and your pets safe. You'll likely 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 precautionary measures they will have in place. Any pesticides that are not minimum-risk chemicals need to be registered with the EPA. Your pest control provider should be able to provide information about all chemicals that they plan on using.
Companies often start with more environmentally friendly options before using pesticides, following a framework called Integrated Pest Management (IPM). When using IPM, the following steps are taken:
- 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 biological, cultural, physical, and mechanical controls to manage the pest problem.
- Employ chemical controls only if needed, and always with other methods for effective long-term pest management.
- Assess the outcome and implement additional pest control as needed.