How To Choose a Pest Control Company
When hiring a pest control company, there are several things you can consider to make sure that you're choosing the best one for you. The qualifications of and treatment methods used by a company are important to consider, as well as its years of experience and reputation in customer reviews. Of course, you will also want to consider cost.
Below, we explore the details of each of these factors.
Does the company have a valid license and permits to perform pest control?
While the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has established minimum standards of competency for pesticide applicators, licensure is handled at the state level. All pesticide applicators (and their supervisors) in Washington need to be licensed by all the necessary state regulatory agencies.
Is the company a member of any professional organizations?
Pest control companies have the option to obtain certifications from trade organizations like QualityPro. These are not required, but can help you assess the quality of a company's products. For example, the GreenPro Service Certification is given to companies that use comprehensive and effective pest control treatment that is safer for people and the environment.
Pest control companies can also belong to certain professional organizations. Membership in organizations like the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) or state-level organizations is not mandatory, but helps verify a company's reputability. The NPMA gives companies access to education, resources, and a network of other professionals with whom to discuss practices and methods.
Professional Experience and Specialties
Looking at how long a company has been in business can help determine how much experience it has taking care of various pests. You can also explore its website or read customer reviews to figure out whether it has experience eliminating the type of pests you are struggling with. If this information can't be found online, getting in touch with a company representative is a great way to learn more.
Reviews and Recommendations
You can view a company's rating and reviews on the Better Business Bureau (BBB), read social media and local review sites to learn what homeowners near you think, or verify its license standing through the Washington 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 try to determine whether a company provides free on-site estimates as part of its process. This can help determine whether the company fits into your budget. Also look into a company's guarantees: If the problem is not fixed, or returns, does the company provide additional treatments until the issue is handled satisfactorily?
Safety and Treatment Methods
Keeping yourself, your family and your pets safe is an important concern when choosing a pest control provider. You might also prefer a provider that employs environmentally friendly practices.
All pesticides that will be used (except those that are classified as minimum-risk) need to be registered with the EPA. Your pest control technician should be able to supply information on every pesticide they are using. They should inform you whether the pesticides are low toxicity or non-toxic, and if not, what safety precautions they plan to take.
Many companies have started making the switch to using more natural treatment methods before, or in place of, harsh chemical pesticides. Some follow a program called Integrated Pest Management (IPM). The steps of IPM are as follows:
- Figure out what pests are causing the problem and assess whether immediate action is required.
- Determine the best and safest course of action.
- Use a combination of biological, cultural, mechanical, and physical controls to manage the pest problem.
- Employ chemical controls only if needed, and always along with other methods for effective long-term pest management.
- Observe the results and implement additional pest control as needed.