Most homeowners will have to hire a pest control company at some point in their lives. Unfortunately, many won’t do so until they have a clear infestation of ants, termites, rodents, or other pests. Then they want these invaders exterminated quickly and efficiently. This is understandable since these pests can destroy your property and spread disease.
However, you shouldn’t hire the first pest control company you come across. You need to ask some questions beforehand to make sure that the company can actually do their job well. So, here are 7 things you should ask before hiring a pest control company, according to our friend Luqman Butter from Pestend Pest Control. He’s been a pest control technician for more than 20 years and is passionate about solving people’s pest and wildlife control problems through innovative, eco-friendly, and humane methods.
1. How much experience and training do your technicians have?
It’s important for the pest control company to have the necessary knowledge, skills, and experience to handle the job.
Controlling or exterminating pests is difficult. Technicians don’t only need to understand the particular pest and the environment they’re going to be working in.
They also must be willing to do the hard work that’s required to solve your pest problem. Quick fixes can result in pests returning sooner rather than later. So, hiring a pest control company with experienced technicians means you can benefit from both their local knowledge and skill.
An established company will have been around for a long time and the owners will stand behind their work. If the pest control company’s management or staff are reluctant to tell you about the technicians’ training, you should see this as a red flag. Be especially careful with very new companies or those with inexperienced staff.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions. You need to be comfortable and knowledgeable about the service that you’re going to get. Pest control can be expensive and you want to get the most value out of the money that you spend on your pest control service.
2. Are your exterminators licensed and insured?
People working in the pest control field need to have a license to operate. The EPA does offer guidance on the criteria for certification, but each state will have its own requirements for getting a pest control license.
You need to keep this in mind when you’re looking into which pest control company to hire because exterminators need to understand safety practices, application methods, and cleaning protocols to be able to provide you with the best service. So, they should have taken the relevant courses and have had on-the-job training. If these basics aren’t covered, the technicians could do more harm than good.
The pest control company or exterminator you want to hire should have various types of insurance, including professional liability insurance and general liability insurance.
The company should also have no problem answering your questions about licensing and insurance. If the company representatives say that they don’t have insurance, you should definitely not hire them. They may attempt to convince you that there’s no need for insurance. But if something goes wrong, you could be left with a hefty bill and a home that is still pest-infested – or worse.
3. Where can I find testimonials or reviews of your business?
Any reputable pest control company should be able to point you to online reviews of their services. They should have Facebook reviews, comments on their website, or even testimonial videos. Trustworthy and competent businesses should also have ratings from the Better Business Bureau, five-star reviews on Yelp, or awards from Angie’s List. These types of recognition will let you know that they really do a good job.
You don’t want to let just anyone into your home. Whether they’re going to spray chemicals or fumigate, you want to know their reputation beforehand.
If the company can’t show you any reviews, it probably means that their services aren’t the best. After all, everyone likes to show off awards and A+ ratings, so if they don’t, something must be wrong. Do your research and see what you can find out.
4. Do you provide written quotes and do you honor them?
Many companies will give you a verbal estimate of costs just to get you to hire them. Companies that do this usually don’t have a very good reputation and an online search should reveal all the negative reviews.
If the reviews say that midway through the job, they surprised the reviewer with hidden fees or told them that it was more work than anticipated, you should assume this company will charge you more than quoted and you should look for other options.
Also, don’t accept a quote given to you over the phone or online. These can be wildly inaccurate.
Instead, hire a company that sends a technician to your home to conduct an inspection. After they see the extent of the infestation, they’ll be able to provide you with a written quote of exactly how much the job will cost. Unless there are extenuating circumstances, this should be the amount you pay after the job’s complete. Any company that doesn’t have this system in place is not one you should hire.
5. Can you identify the source of the infestation?
This is another question you should ask when the exterminators come to your home. A competent pest controller should know things like how termites breed, where rodents like to hide, and what attracts cockroaches.
This means they’ll be able to identify the source of the problem and recommend the best course of action to get rid of it. Removing only the visible pests isn’t a long-term solution. Knowing the source of some pests can also indicate whether other pests are likely to be in the area and infest your home, too.
If the exterminator tells you they don’t know where the pests are coming from or they seem to be guessing, this could indicate that they don’t know what they’re doing. So, ask them to investigate further or simply seek a second opinion.
A pest control service is supposed to result in a long-lasting solution, so finding the cause behind the infestation is key.
6. Are the products you use safe for people, pets, and plants?
It’s important that the products that the pest control team uses are safe for the other living things in your home. So, if possible, hire an exterminator that uses eco-friendly products made from plants or other natural sources. You don’t want to expose your children, pets, or elderly family members to harmful chemicals if it’s not absolutely necessary.
Also, ask the technician if the products are hazardous or toxic. You might even want to get the names of the products used by the pest control service and do your own research if you have any doubts.
The exterminator should be able to tell you about the ingredients in their treatments. They should also let you know whether you’ll need to leave your home during treatment or not. If anyone in your household is sensitive to strong smells, you should ask about low-odor alternatives.
However, you should note that even products without strong smells can be harmful. The technician may be tempted to tell you that the product is odorless while ignoring any potential health concerns. So, be sure to ask your pest control service provider a lot of questions beforehand.
7. Will you monitor the situation after treatment?
Depending on the type of pest you have and the treatment used, the length of time your house will stay pest-free will vary. The climate, the way you use the property, and the overall environment can also affect the efficacy of the treatment. So, pest control companies will often offer a warranty agreement.
The best companies go beyond this and stay in contact with you. They’ll check for other pests while they’re treating the present problem, will offer tips on how to prevent a reinfestation and will schedule a yearly inspection.
If a pest control company says that they only treat the problem and move on, you should look elsewhere. Even though your first contact with the company will be when you have an actual pest problem, pest control is about ongoing maintenance, not just a one-off treatment. So, make sure to keep this in mind when you’re looking at which pest control company to hire.
Pest control is too important of a task to just hire any company to do it. So, do your research and don’t be afraid to ask any questions you have before handing over your money. If you’re not sure what exactly to ask, check out our recommendation of the 7 questions you should ask any exterminator you’re thinking of hiring.