How To Choose a Pest Control Company
The most important step in the pest control process is hiring the right company for you. Important decision-making factors include a company's qualifications, its treatment methods, experience and reviews, and of course the cost of services.
Below, we discuss each of these factors in more detail.
Does the company have a valid license and permits to perform pest control?
All pesticide applicators, as well as those that supervise them, must be licensed via the appropriate Florida regulatory agencies. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has established 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 can earn 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 additional certifications. While not required, these can help demonstrate that a company is reputable.
There are several professional organizations that pest control companies can be members of. When a company becomes a member of 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 experts with whom to compare methods. This can give you additional peace of mind that a company is following industry best practices.
Professional Experience and Specialties
Browsing a company's website can tell you how long it has been in business and what type of pests it specializes in eliminating. Online reviews can also give you some insight into a company's experience dealing with a certain type of pest. If this information isn't available online, you can try reaching out to the company directly.
Reviews and Recommendations
Resources that can help you verify a company's reputation include the Better Business Bureau (BBB), local review sites, and social media. You can also verify the status of a company's license via the Florida licensing board.
Cost of Services and Guarantees
Cost is important when hiring a pest control company. Cost can be affected influenced by your location, the type of pest being treated, the size of your house, and other factors.
Often, companies will offer free on-site estimates before starting work, to help you decide whether it fits into your budget. You can also ask whether if your company has a satisfaction guarantee, meaning that if your pest problem is not solved by the initial treatment, it will continue returning until it is.
Safety and Treatment Methods
When it comes to picking a pest control provider, you want to choose one that will keep you, your family, and your pets safe. You'll likely also prefer a provider that is environmentally-conscious.
Be sure to ask your pest control provider if they plan to use low toxicity or non-toxic pesticides, and if not, what sort of 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 pesticides they are going to use.
Companies looking to reduce their reliance on chemical pesticides often follow practices such as Integrated Pest Management (IPM). Using IPM involves a series of steps:
- Identify the source of the pest problem and determine whether immediate action is needed.
- Determine the best and safest course of action.
- Use a combination of mechanical, physical, biological, and cultural controls to manage the pest problem.
- Use chemical controls only when absolutely necessary, and always in combination with other techniques for effective long-term pest management.
- Assess the outcome and continue with additional pest control as needed.