How To Choose a Pest Control Company
When hiring a pest control company, there are several things that you can consider to be sure you choose the best one for you. You may consider a company's qualifications and treatment methods in addition to its years of experience and customer reviews. Of course, there is also the cost of services to consider.
Below, we dive into detail on 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 their supervisors must be certified at the state level. The EPA sets minimum standards of competency, but all Virginia pesticide applicators must be licensed through the proper state regulatory agencies.
Is the company a member of any professional organizations?
There are additional optional certifications that can help prove that a pest control company is reputable. One example is the GreenPro Service Certification. To receive this certification, a company must show that its methods are more environmentally friendly and that its employees receive up-to-date training. Additional certifications can be obtained through QualityPro and similar trade organizations.
Pest control companies can also belong to certain professional organizations. When a company joins an organization such as the National Pest Management Association(NPMA) (or a state-level organization), it gets access to resources, education, and a network of other pest professionals with whom to compare methods. This can give you extra peace of mind that a company follows industry best practices.
Professional Experience and Specialties
The number of years that a company has been in business can shed some light on its experience dealing with the pests that live in Richmond. Customer reviews or the company's website itself can also help you figure out whether it has the experience needed to eliminate the particular pests that are plaguing you. If you can't find the information you need online, contacting the company directly is a great way to learn about its areas of expertise.
Reviews and Recommendations
Resources that can help you verify a company's reputation include the Better Business Bureau (BBB), local review sites, and social media. Additionally, you can verify the status of a company's license through the Virginia licensing board.
Cost of Services and Guarantees
Cost is often a deciding factor when choosing a pest control company. Cost may be determined by the type of pest being treated, the size of your house, your location, and other factors.
Certain pest control companies offer a free on-site estimate to help you determine if it fits into your budget. You can also see if it offers a satisfaction guarantee.
Safety and Treatment Methods
When choosing a pest control provider, you want to choose one that will keep you, your family, and your pets safe. You may also prefer a provider that is environmentally-conscious.
Your pest control provider should be able to explain the safety precautions of any and all pesticides that they're going to use. They should be able to clarify whether the pesticides are low toxicity or non-toxic, and if not what safety precautions will be in place to protect your family, your pets, and you. Pesticides that pose above a minimum risk must be registered with the EPA.
Many companies are making the switch to using more natural treatment methods before (or instead of) harsh chemical pesticides. Some utilize a program called Integrated Pest Management (IPM). The steps of IPM are as follows:
- Figure out what pests are causing the problem and determine whether immediate action is required.
- Determine the best and safest course of action.
- Use a combination of physical, biological, mechanical, and cultural controls to manage the pest problem.
- Employ chemical controls only if needed, and always with other methods for effective long-term pest management.
- Assess the outcome and provide additional pest control as needed.