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) maintains minimum standards of competency for pesticide applicators, but licensing is taken care of at the state level. All pesticide applicators and their supervisors in Washington need to be licensed through the proper state regulatory agencies.
Is the company a member of any professional organizations?
Pest control companies can earn the GreenPro Service Certification, which requires that a company show that its practices are environmentally friendly and that its employee training is up to date. Trade organizations such as QualityPro offer other certifications. These are not required, but can help show that a pest control company is reputable.
There are several professional organizations that a pest control company can belong to. When a company obtains membership in an organization like the National Pest Management Association(NPMA) (or a state-level organization), it receives access to education, resources, and a network of other pest experts with whom to compare treatment methods. This can give you extra peace of mind that a company is following 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 various pests. Customer reviews or the company's website itself can also inform you whether it has the skills and experience needed to handle your specific pest problem. If you can't find the information you need online, contacting the company directly is an excellent way to learn about its areas of expertise.
Reviews and Recommendations
You can look at a company's rating and reviews on the Better Business Bureau (BBB), check out social media and local review sites to see what homeowners near you think, or verify its license standing via the Washington 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, your location, the size of your house, and other factors.
Certain pest control companies offer a free on-site estimate to help you match services to your budget. You can also see if it offers a satisfaction guarantee.
Safety and Treatment Methods
It's important to consider safety when choosing a pest control provider, and you might prefer a provider who uses more natural, environmentally friendly methods.
Your pest control provider should be able to discuss the safety of the pesticides they plan to use. They should be able to clarify whether the pesticides are low toxicity or non-toxic, and if not what safety precautions they plan to use to protect your family, your pets, and you. Any pesticides that pose greater than a minimum risk must be registered with the EPA.
Organizations looking to reduce their reliance on chemical pesticides often follow practices such as Integrated Pest Management (IPM). Using IPM involves a series of steps:
- Identify the source of the pest problem and determine if immediate action is required.
- Decide on the safest course of action.
- Manage the pest problem using a combination of physical, biological, mechanical, and cultural controls.
- Employ chemical controls only if needed, and always along with other controls for effective long-term pest management.
- Evaluate outcomes and provide additional pest control as needed.