How To Choose a Pest Control Company
Hiring the right company for you is the most important step in the pest control process. You may consider a company's qualifications, methods, years of experience, customer reviews, and price of services.
Below, we dive into detail on each factor.
Does the company have a valid license and permits to perform pest control?
All pesticide applicators, as well as those that supervise them, need to be licensed via the appropriate Florida regulatory agencies. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sets minimum standards of competency, but providing, maintaining, and revoking licensure is handled at the state level.
Is the company a member of any professional organizations?
Pest control companies can obtain optional certifications from QualityPro or similar trade organizations. 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 treatment that is safer for people and the environment.
Pest control companies can also be members of various professional organizations. Membership in organizations like the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) or state-level organizations is not required, but helps confirm that a company follows industry best practices. The NPMA gives companies access to education, resources, and a network of professionals with whom to discuss methods and practices.
Professional Experience and Specialties
The amount of time that a company has been in business can shed some light on its experience dealing with pests in your area. Online reviews or the company's own website can also inform you 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, reaching out to the company directly is an easy way to learn more.
Reviews and Recommendations
You can view a company's rating on the Better Business Bureau (BBB), look for reviews on social media or local review sites, or check the standing of its license via the Florida licensing board.
Cost of Services and Guarantees
The cost of pest control can vary based on things like the type of pest being treated, your location, the size of your house, and other factors.
When thinking about the cost of services, you should try to determine whether a company provides free on-site estimates as part of its process. This can inform you whether the company fits into your budget. Also take into account a company's guarantees: If the problem is not fixed, or if it returns, does the company promise to offer additional treatments until the issue is resolved satisfactorily?
Safety and Treatment Methods
Your preferences regarding safety for yourself, your children, your pets, and the environment can influence the provider and the treatment methods you choose.
Your pest control provider should be able to explain the safety precautions of all pesticides that they're going to use. They should be able to answer questions about whether the pesticides are low toxicity or non-toxic, and if not what safety precautions they plan to use to protect your family, your pets, and you. 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 framework called Integrated Pest Management (IPM). When using IPM, the following steps are taken:
- Identify problem pests and determine whether immediate action is required.
- Decide on the safest course of action.
- Manage the pest problem using a combination of physical, biological, mechanical, and cultural controls.
- Employ chemical controls only when required, and always with other solutions for effective long-term pest management.
- Observe the results and continue with additional pest control as needed.