Making a good decision on which pest control service to hire is more important than many homeowners may realize. Your home, after all, is likely to be the most expensive long-term investment you ever make. And, of course, you and your family have to live there!
While some pests are merely annoying if they invade your home, others can actually do incredible amounts of damage – even to the point of making your home unsafe. For example, heavy termite infestation that goes undetected for years can render a home structurally unsound. This is ultimately why using a good pest control service is not really an option – it’s a necessity.
Pest Control Licensing & Background Checks
The first thing to check out when looking for a pest control service is state or city certification. Most states require pest control companies to register with them and apply for a license. State Departments of Agriculture are most often the government entities responsible for overseeing and issuing licenses to legitimate pest services.
If your state does not have such a department, or if you discover that licenses are issued through the city in which you live instead of the state, be sure to follow-up with the appropriate agency to rule out companies operating without all the proper certifications. Also, make sure to check that the licenses and/or certifications are current.
What often separates excellent pest control services from run-of-the-mill companies is membership in national groups that hold members to high business standards. In pest control, that would mean belonging to the National Pest Management Association. When you find a company in your area that belongs to this group, it’s a big point in their favor.
As a rule, you should always do a quick check with the Better Business Bureau in your location to determine if a pest control service you’re considering hiring has any complaints lodged against it by previous customers. This can often tell you in short order which companies to avoid.
Choosing a Pest Control Service
Once you’ve narrowed your list of potential pest control services to hire, set up times for each to come do an inspection of your home or property. Quality companies will do this at no charge, and they will send a professional (not just anyone who works there). The inspection should be thorough and include crawl spaces, attic, basement, the foundation, and a reasonable amount of the outside vicinity surrounding your property.
The inspector should then take adequate time to sit with you and discuss what he or she has found. If he or she will not completely answer each question you have or seems in any way evasive or vague, thank them for their time and move on to the next candidate company. Rushed inspectors are probably an indication of a company that does not value each customer enough. You’ll likely be just a number to them and get poor service.
Either the inspector or another company employee should provide a written proposal or work order for your perusal. Pay attention to the thoroughness of this proposal, as it can tell you a lot about the professionalism of that pest control service. There should be diagrams of affected areas and specific detailed explanations of proposed remedies.
Better companies will also explain any discoveries they’ve made that might represent on-going problems, such as poor drainage areas or portions of your property that are in some way more susceptible to subsequent infestations.
Price is obviously one of the ultimate determining factors, but keep in mind that you often get what you pay for when it comes to pest control services. If you’ve done your homework and followed the guidelines outlined above, you will have substantially reduced the chances of hiring a substandard company.
Keeping your home pest-free is important enough for your investment’s long-term viability that you should be willing to pay a bit more to get the job done by the highest quality professionals.