How To Choose a Pest Control Company
There are a number of things that you can weigh when choosing the right pest control company for you. The qualifications of and treatment methods used by a company are important to consider, as are its years of experience and reputation in customer reviews. Of course, you also want to consider cost.
Below, we discuss each of these factors in more detail.
Does the company have a valid license and permits to perform pest control?
The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) maintains minimum standards of competency for pesticide applicators, but licensure is handled at the state level. All pesticide applicators and supervisors in Florida must be licensed through the proper state regulatory agencies.
Is the company a member of any professional organizations?
There are additional optional certifications that can help show that a pest control company is reputable. One of these is the GreenPro Service Certification. For this certification, a company must show that its methods are more environmentally friendly and that its employees receive up-to-date training. Other various certifications can be earned through QualityPro and similar trade organizations.
Pest control companies can also become members of various professional organizations. A pest control company 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
You can look at a company's years in business to help determine how much experience it has handling various pests. You can also look at its website or peruse customer reviews to figure out whether it has experience eliminating the species of pests you are dealing with. If this information is not available online, getting in touch with a company representative is a great way to learn more.
Reviews and Recommendations
You can browse reviews and recommendations on local review sites or social media, view a company's Better Business Bureau (BBB) rating, or check the status of its license through the Florida licensing board.
Cost of Services and Guarantees
Cost is probably high on your list of priorities when hiring someone for pest control. Cost can be affected influenced by the type of pest being treated, your location, the size of your house, and other factors.
Companies will often offer free on-site estimates at the beginning of their process, to help you determine whether it fits into your budget. You can also ask whether a provider offers 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
It's important to consider safety when selecting a pest control provider. You might also prefer a provider who uses more natural, environmentally friendly methods.
All pesticides used by your company (except those that are classified as minimum-risk) should be registered with the EPA. Your pest control provider should be able to provide information on each pesticide they are using. They should be able to tell you whether the pesticides are low toxicity or non-toxic, and if not, what safety precautions will be taken.
It is now common for companies to begin with more environmentally friendly options before using pesticides, following a technique called Integrated Pest Management (IPM). When using IPM, the following steps are taken:
- Identify the source of the pest problem and determine whether immediate action is needed.
- Decide on the safest course of action.
- Manage the pest problem using a combination of physical, cultural, biological, and mechanical controls.
- Employ chemical controls only if needed, and always along with other methods for effective long-term pest management.
- Assess the outcome and implement additional pest control as needed.