How To Choose a Pest Control Company
The most important step is hiring the right pest control professional for the job. You may consider a company's qualifications, methods, years of experience, customer reviews, and price of services.
Below, we discuss each factor in more detail.
Does the company have a valid license and permits to perform pest control?
The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has set minimum competency standards for pesticide applicators, but licensing is handled at the state level. All pesticide applicators and supervisors in Tennessee must be licensed through the proper state regulatory agencies.
Is the company a member of any professional organizations?
An optional certification that may be worth looking for is the GreenPro Service Certification. In order to earn this certification, a pest control company needs to both show that its practices are more environmentally friendly and uphold certain training standards for its technicians. Companies can also earn other certifications from QualityPro or similar trade organizations to further back up their work.
Pest control companies can also join various professional organizations. Membership in organizations such as the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) or state-level organizations is not mandatory, but helps verify a company's reputability. Membership in the NPMA gives companies access to resources, education, and a network of other professionals with whom to discuss methods and practices.
Professional Experience and Specialties
A company's years in business can indicate how much experience it has handling various pests. You can also explore its website or read customer reviews to determine whether it has adequate experience with the type of pests you are dealing with. If this information is not available online, speaking with a company representative is a great way to learn more.
Reviews and Recommendations
Resources you can use to check a company's reputation include local review sites, social media, and the Better Business Bureau (BBB). Additionally, you can confirm the status of a company's license through the Tennessee licensing board.
Cost of Services and Guarantees
Things like the size of your house, your location, the type of pest being treated, and other factors can all influence the cost of pest control.
You can learn whether a company offers free on-site estimates (to determine if it fits in your budget) and what type of guarantees it offers. Often, a company will guarantee that if it does not eliminate your pest problem, it will keep coming back until it does.
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.
All pesticides (except those that are determined to be of minimal risk) need to be registered with the EPA. Your pest control technician should be able to supply information on all the pesticides that they are using. They should be able to tell you whether these chemicals are low toxicity or non-toxic, and if not, what safety precautions will be in place.
Many companies will begin with more environmentally friendly options before using harsh pesticides, using a framework called Integrated Pest Management (IPM). When using IPM, the following steps are taken:
- Identify problem pests and assess whether immediate action is required.
- Determine the best and safest course of action.
- Manage the pest problem using a combination of mechanical, physical, biological, and cultural controls.
- Employ chemical controls only if needed, and always along with other controls for effective long-term pest management.
- Assess the outcome and provide additional pest control as needed.