Most homeowners will have to hire a pest control company at some point in their lives. Unfortunately, many don’t do so until there is a clear infestation of ants, termites, rodents or other pests. And then they want the invaders exterminated quickly and efficiently. This is understandable since 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 the job well. So here are seven things you should ask before hiring a pest control company from our friend Luqman Butter of pestend.ca. He has been a pest control technician for over 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 is important for the pest control company to have the necessary knowledge, skills, and experience to handle the job. Controlling or exterminating pests is difficult. Which means that the technicians not only need to understand the particular pest and the environment they are going to be working in. But that they also must also be willing to do the hard work that is required to solve your pest problem. Because 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 is likely to be around for a long time and the owners will stand behind their work. Yet 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. And don’t be afraid to ask questions until you’re comfortable in the knowledge of the service that you’re going to get. Because pest control can be expensive and you want to get the most value out of the money that you spend on the pest control service.
2. Are the exterminators licensed and insured?
People working in the pest control field need to have a license to operate. The Environmental Protection Agency does offer guidance on the criteria for certification but each state has its own requirements for getting a pest control license. Which you need to keep 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 on-the-job training. Because if these basics aren’t covered, technicians could do more harm than good.
It is also recommended that the pest control company or exterminator you want to hire have varying types of insurance. Including professional liability insurance and general liability insurance. And the company also should have no problems 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 is no need for insurance but if something goes wrong, you could be left with a hefty bill and still a pest-infested home 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. Because this type of recognition lets you know that they really do a good job.
You don’t want to let just anyone into your home to spray chemicals or fumigate without knowing their reputation and that they will do a good job. 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 and if they don’t something must be wrong. So your research and see what you can find out.
4. Do you provide written quotes and do you honor them?
Many companies give you a verbal estimate of costs just to get you to hire them. However, if the reviews say that midway through the job they surprise you with hidden fees or tell you that it’s more work than they anticipated, therefore, it will cost more you should look for other options. Companies that do this usually don’t have a very good reputation and an online search should reveal all the negative reviews.
Also, don’t just accept a quote given to you over the phone or online. It can be wildly inaccurate. Instead, hire a company that will send a technician to your home to conduct an inspection. After they see the extent of the infestation, they will be able to provide you with a written quotation of exactly how much the job will cost. And unless there are extenuating circumstances, this should be the amount you pay after the job’s complete. And a company which does not have this system in place is not one you should hire.
5. Do you know the source of the infestation?
This is also one of the questions 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. Therefore they will be able to identify the source of the problem and recommend the best course of action of how to get rid of it. Removing only the pests they can see is not a long-term solution. And knowing the source of some pests can also indicate whether other pests are likely to be in the area and infest your home.
If the exterminator tells you they don’t know where the pests are coming from or they seem to be guessing, it might indicate that they don’t know what they are 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 of the infestation is key.
6. Are the products you use safe for people, pets and plants?
It is important that the products that the pest control team uses are safe for other living things found in the house. So if possible, hire an exterminator who uses eco-friendly products made from plants or other natural sources. You don’t want your children, pets or elderly family members to be exposed to harmful chemicals if it’s not absolutely necessary. Also, ask the technician if the products are hazardous or toxic. And you might even want to get the names of the products used by your hired pest control service and do your own research if you have doubts.
The exterminator should be able to tell you about the ingredients in their treatments and whether you will need to leave your home during the treatment or not. And if anyone in your household is sensitive to strong smells, you should also ask about low-odor alternatives. However, it should be noted that even products without strong smells can be harmful. And the technician may be tempted to tell you that the product is odorless while ignoring the potential health concerns. So be sure to ask lots of questions to your pest control service provider beforehand.
7. Do you monitor the situation after treatment?
Depending on the type of pest you have and which treatment is used, the length of time your house will stay pest-free will vary. The climate, the way the property is used and the overall environment can also affect the efficacy of the treatment. So pest control companies will often offer a warranty agreement. However, the best companies go beyond this and stay in contact with you. They will check for other pests when they are treating the present problem. And they will also offer tips on how to prevent a re-infestation and 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 you keep this in mind when you are looking at which pest control company to hire.
Pest control is too important of a task to just hire any company to do it. Therefore do your research and don’t be afraid to ask many questions as you have before you hand over your money. And if you’re not sure what exactly to ask, check out our recommendation of the 7 questions you should ask any exterminator you are thinking of hiring.