How To Choose a Pest Control Company
When picking a pest control company, there are a number of things you can consider to make sure you choose the right one for you. A company's qualifications and treatment methods are important to consider, as well as its years of experience and reputation in customer reviews. Of course, you will also want to think about cost.
Below, we dive into detail on 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 licensing is handled at the state level. All pesticide applicators and their supervisors in Iowa 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 a company to show that its practices are more environmentally friendly and that its employee training is up to date. QualityPro and similar trade organizations also offer additional certifications. While not required, these can help show that a pest control company is reputable.
There are certain professional organizations in which pest control companies can hold membership. While not mandatory, membership in organizations like the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) or state-level organizations help to prove a company's reputability. After joining an organization like the NPMA, a company receives access to education, resources, and a network of professionals with whom to compare best practices.
Professional Experience and Specialties
A company's years in business can indicate how much experience it has handling pests in your area. You can also browse its website or read customer reviews to decide whether it has the right kind of experience handling the species of pests you are dealing with. If this information can't be found online, contacting a representative directly is a great way to learn more.
Reviews and Recommendations
You can look up a company's rating and reviews on the Better Business Bureau (BBB), explore social media and local review sites to see what others in your area have to say, or verify its license standing through the Iowa licensing board.
Cost of Services and Guarantees
The cost of pest control can vary based on things like the size of your house, your location, the type of pest being treated, and other factors.
When thinking about the cost of services, you should confirm whether a company provides 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 returns, does the company provide additional treatments until the problem is satisfactorily resolved?
Safety and Treatment Methods
Your preferences regarding safety for yourself, your children, your pets, and the environment may affect which provider and treatment methods you choose.
You want to ensure that you understand the precautions for the pesticides being used in your house, for the sake of you, your family, and your pets. Your pest control provider should be able to provide information about any pesticides they intend to use, whether they are low toxicity or non-toxic, and (if not) what safety measures they plan to take. All pesticides (except minimum-risk ones) need to be registered with the EPA.
Many companies have started offering options for more environmentally friendly pest control techniques before moving to harsh pesticides.
One common way of making pest control safer and greener is Integrated Pest Management (IPM). The steps of IPM are as follows:
- Figure out what pests are causing the problem and determine if immediate action is needed.
- Decide on the safest course of action.
- Use a combination of physical, cultural, biological, and mechanical controls to manage the pest problem.
- Use chemical controls only if needed, and always with other controls for effective long-term pest management.
- Evaluate outcomes and provide additional pest control as needed.