How To Choose a Pest Control Company
The most important step in the pest control process is hiring the right company for you. The qualifications of and treatment methods used by a company are important to consider, as are its years of experience and reputation in customer reviews. Of course, you will also want to think about cost.
Below, we explore the details of each of these factors.
Does the company have a valid license and permits to perform pest control?
Per the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), all pesticide applicators and those that supervise them need to be certified at the state level. The EPA does set minimum standards of competency, but all pesticide applicators in Texas should be licensed through the proper state regulatory agencies.
Is the company a member of any professional organizations?
A pest control company can obtain optional certifications from trade organizations like QualityPro to verify its methods and standards. One particular certification is the GreenPro Service Certification, which is granted when a company can demonstrate that its methods are more environmentally friendly. These companies also need to maintain certain employee training standards.
Pest control companies can also become members of certain professional organizations. Pest control companies can obtain membership in state-level organizations as well as national organizations like the National Pest Management Association (NPMA). While not mandatory, membership in these organizations helps prove a company's reputability and gives it access to resources, education, 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 long it has been in operation and what type of pests it specializes in eliminating. Local reviews can also give you some insight into a company's experience dealing with specific pests. If you're unable to find this information online, you can try calling the company directly.
Reviews and Recommendations
You can view a company's Better Business Bureau (BBB) rating, read reviews on local review sites or social media, or check the standing of its license via the Texas licensing board.
Cost of Services and Guarantees
For many people, cost is one of the main deciding factors when picking a company for pest control services. Cost can be affected by factors like the size of your house, the type of pest being treated, and your location.
You can take into consideration whether a company offers free on-site estimates (to determine if it fits your budget), and what kind of guarantees it provides. Often, a company will guarantee that if your pest problem isn't fixed by its treatment, it will continue to treat until it is.
Safety and Treatment Methods
When picking a pest control provider, you want to select one that will help keep you, your family, and your pets safe. You'll likely also prefer an environmentally-conscious provider.
Your pest control provider should be able to explain the safety precautions of any and all pesticides that will be used in your home. They should be able to explain whether the pesticides are low toxicity or non-toxic; if they are not, they should explain what safety precautions they plan to use to protect you, your family, and your pets. All pesticides that pose greater than a minimum risk should be registered with the EPA.
Companies looking to reduce their use of chemical pesticides often implement procedures such as Integrated Pest Management (IPM). Using IPM involves a series of steps:
- Figure out what pests are causing the problem and assess whether immediate action is required.
- Determine the best and safest course of action.
- Manage the pest problem using a combination of physical, biological, mechanical, and cultural controls.
- Use chemical controls only if needed, and always along with other techniques for effective long-term pest management.
- Evaluate outcomes and implement additional pest control as needed.