How To Choose a Pest Control Company
Hiring the right company for you is the most important step in the pest control process. Things you may consider include qualifications and licensing, treatment methods, years of experience, customer reviews, and cost.
Below, we explore the details of each of these factors.
Does the company have a valid license and permits to perform pest control?
According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), all pesticide applicators and those that supervise them need to be licensed at the state level. The EPA maintains minimum competency standards, and the Texas regulatory agencies handle the issuing, maintaining, and revoking of licenses.
Is the company a member of any professional organizations?
Pest control companies also have the option to obtain additional certifications such as the GreenPro Service Certification. This certification is given once a company has proven that its treatment methods are more environmentally friendly and demonstrated that it also holds itself up to certain other standards, such as up-to-date training for employees. A pest control company can also earn other certifications from QualityPro or similar trade organizations to further support its practices and methods.
Pest control companies can also hold membership in various professional organizations. Pest control companies can obtain membership in both state-level organizations and national organizations such as 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
The amount of time that a company has been in business can tell you something about its experience dealing with various pests. Customer reviews or the company's website itself can also help you figure out whether it has the experience necessary 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 be used to verify a company's legitimacy include social media, local review sites, and the Better Business Bureau (BBB). Additionally, you can verify the status of a company's license via the Texas licensing board.
Cost of Services and Guarantees
For many people, cost is one of the most important factors when looking for pest control services. Cost can be determined by factors like the size of your house, the type of pest being treated, and your location.
You can look into whether a certain company offers free on-site estimates (to determine if it fits your budget), and what sort of guarantees it provides. Often, a company will guarantee that if its treatment doesn't resolve your pest problem, it will continue to come back until it does.
Safety and Treatment Methods
Keeping yourself, your family and your pets safe is an important consideration when choosing a pest control provider. You may also prefer a provider that employs environmentally-friendly practices.
All pesticides used by your company (except those that are determined to be of minimal risk) need to be registered with the EPA. Your pest control provider should supply information on all the pesticides that they plan to use. They should be able to tell you whether these chemicals are low toxicity or non-toxic, and if not, what safety precautions they plan to take.
You can ask if your technician will begin with lower-toxicity, more natural options before using harsher chemicals.
Many companies have started to use Integrated Pest Management (IPM) to eliminate pests while reducing personal and environmental risks. The steps of IPM are as follows:
- Identify the source of the pest problem and assess whether immediate action is required.
- Decide on the 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 techniques for effective long-term pest management.
- Assess the outcome and provide additional pest control as needed.