How To Choose a Pest Control Company
The most important step in the pest control process is hiring the right company for you. Factors you may consider include licensing and qualifications, treatment methods, years of experience, customer reviews, and cost.
Below, we explore the details of each of these factors.
Does the company have a valid license and permits to perform pest control?
While the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sets the minimum competency standards for pesticide applicators, licensure is handled at the state level. All pesticide applicators (and their supervisors) in Michigan must be licensed by all the necessary state regulatory agencies.
Is the company a member of any professional organizations?
A pest control company can optionally apply for additional certifications from trade organizations like QualityPro to verify its standards and methods. One particular certification is the GreenPro Service Certification, which is given when a company can demonstrate that its methods are more environmentally friendly. A company that receives this certification also needs to maintain certain employee training standards.
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 verify a company's reputability. The NPMA gives companies access to education, resources, and a network of professionals with whom to discuss practices and methods.
Professional Experience and Specialties
How long a company has been in business can give you some insight into its experience dealing with various pests. Customer reviews or the company's website itself can also enlighten you about whether it has the skills and experience necessary to deal with your particular pests. If the answers to your questions aren't available online, speaking with a representative is an excellent way to learn about the company's areas of expertise.
Reviews and Recommendations
Resources you can use to check a company's reputation include the Better Business Bureau (BBB), social media, and local review sites. Additionally, you can check the status of a company's license through the Michigan licensing board.
Cost of Services and Guarantees
For many people, cost is one of the most important factors when picking a company for pest control services. Cost can be influenced by factors like the type of pest being treated, your location, and the size of your house.
You can take into consideration whether a certain company offers free on-site estimates (to determine if it fits in your budget), and what kind of guarantees it provides. Often, a company will guarantee that if its treatment doesn't resolve your pest problem, it will continue to come back until it does.
Safety and Treatment Methods
Your choice of pest control company might be influenced by how environmentally friendly a provider's practices are, in addition to how safe its methods are around your family and pets.
You want to ensure that you understand the precautions for the pesticides used around your house, for the sake of your family, your pets, and yourself. Your pest control provider should supply information about the pesticides they will be using, 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 are using options for more environmentally friendly pest control techniques before moving to harsh pesticides.
One popular way of making pest control safer and greener is Integrated Pest Management (IPM). The steps of IPM are as follows:
- Identify the source of the pest problem and assess whether immediate action is needed.
- Decide on the safest course of action.
- Use a combination of biological, cultural, mechanical, and physical controls to manage the pest problem.
- Use chemical controls only if needed, and always in combination with other controls for effective long-term pest management.
- Observe the results and implement additional pest control as needed.