How To Choose a Pest Control Company
When selecting a pest control company, there are several things that you can consider to make sure that you're choosing the best 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 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 established minimum competency standards for pesticide applicators, but licensure is handled at the state level. All pesticide applicators and supervisors in California must be licensed through the proper 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 is given to companies that use comprehensive and effective pest control methods that are safer for people and the environment.
There are various professional organizations that pest control companies can be members of. While not required, membership in organizations like the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) or state-level organizations help to prove a company's reputability. In the NPMA and other organizations, pest control companies have access to education, resources, and a network of other professionals with whom to discuss best practices.
Professional Experience and Specialties
The number of years that a company has been in business can give you some insight into its experience dealing with various pests. Customer reviews or the company's own website can also enlighten you about whether it has the skills and experience needed to eliminate the particular pests that are plaguing you. If you cannot find the answers to your questions online, speaking with a representative is an excellent way to learn about the company's areas of expertise.
Reviews and Recommendations
You can browse reviews and recommendations on social media or local review sites, verify a company's Better Business Bureau (BBB) rating, or check its licensure status through the California licensing board.
Cost of Services and Guarantees
Pest control costs can vary based on things like the size of your house, the type of pest being treated, your location, and other factors.
When considering the cost of services, you should verify whether a company includes free on-site estimates as part of its services. This can inform you whether the company fits into your budget. Also consider a company's guarantees: If the problem is not fixed, or if it returns, will the company provide additional treatment until the issue is satisfactorily handled?
Safety and Treatment Methods
When picking a pest control provider, you want to choose a company that will keep you, your family, and your pets safe. You might also prefer an environmentally-conscious provider.
Ask your pest control provider if they plan to use low toxicity or non-toxic pesticides, and if not, what kind of precautionary measures they will have in place. All pesticides that are not considered minimum-risk chemicals should be registered with the EPA. Your pest technician will be able to provide you with information about all pesticides that they plan on using.
Many companies have begun using more natural treatment methods before, or instead of, harsh chemical pesticides. Some use a program called Integrated Pest Management (IPM). The steps of IPM are as follows:
- Identify problem pests and determine whether immediate action is needed.
- Determine the best and safest course of action.
- Use a combination of biological, cultural, mechanical, and physical controls to manage the pest problem.
- Employ chemical controls only when required, and always in combination with other controls for effective long-term pest management.
- Assess the outcome and continue with additional pest control as needed.