How To Choose a Pest Control Company
The most important step in the pest control process is hiring the right company for you. Along with a company's qualifications and treatment methods, you might also look into how long it has been in business and what the reviews are like. Last but not least, you'll likely want to look at the cost of services.
Below, we discuss each of these factors in more detail.
Does the company have a valid license and permits to perform pest control?
All pesticide applicators, as well as those that supervise them, must be licensed via the appropriate Tennessee regulatory agencies. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has established 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?
An optional certification that could be worth looking for is the GreenPro Service Certification. In order to get this certification, a pest control company needs to both show that its practices are more environmentally friendly and maintain certain technician training standards. Companies can obtain other certifications from trade organizations like QualityPro to further support their work.
A pest control company can also hold membership in professional organizations. Pest control companies can join both state-level organizations and national organizations like the National Pest Management Association (NPMA). By being a member of these optional organizations, a company helps support its reputability and gains access to education, resources, and a network of other professionals with whom to compare best practices.
Professional Experience and Specialties
Browsing a company's website can tell you how many years it has been in operation and what species of pests it specializes in eliminating. Online reviews can also give you some insight into a company's experience dealing with specific pests. If you can't find this information online, you can try calling the company directly.
Reviews and Recommendations
You can browse reviews and recommendations on local review sites or social media, verify a company's rating on the Better Business Bureau (BBB), or check the status of its license through the Tennessee licensing board.
Cost of Services and Guarantees
Pest control costs can vary based on things like your location, the type of pest being treated, the size of your house, and other factors.
When considering the cost of services, you should confirm whether a company provides free on-site estimates as part of its services. This can help determine whether the company fits into your budget. Also consider what guarantees a company offers: If the problem is not fixed, or if it returns, will the company provide additional treatments until the problem is satisfactorily resolved?
Safety and Treatment Methods
Your preferences regarding safety for yourself, any children or pets, and the environment may affect the provider and the treatment methods you choose.
All pesticides used by your company (except those that are determined to be of minimal risk) should be registered with the EPA. Your pest control technician should be able to provide information on each pesticide they are using. They should inform you whether these chemicals are low toxicity or non-toxic, and if not, what safety precautions will be taken.
Companies often begin with more environmentally friendly options before employing harsh pesticides, following a technique called Integrated Pest Management (IPM). When using IPM, the following steps are taken:
- Figure out what pests are causing the problem and assess whether immediate action is needed.
- Determine the best and safest course of action.
- Use a combination of mechanical, cultural, biological, and physical controls to manage the pest problem.
- Employ chemical controls only when required, and always with other solutions for effective long-term pest management.
- Assess the outcome and provide additional pest control as needed.