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Choosing a Pest Control Company

By Chris Williams on December 16, 2011.

Q. If I hire your company to take care of my termite problem, how can I be sure that you’ll do a good job and that I’ll be a satisfied customer? What if I’m not happy with your work? Are there any guidelines, besides your own, for choosing a pest control company?

A. We understand that choosing a reputable, reliable company is very important and is not a decision made lightly. And yes, there are guidelines supplied by independent groups. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has come up with this list of questions that you should ask of any pest control company that you are planning to hire:

1. Is the company licensed? Most state or local agencies issue state pest control licenses. Make sure the pest control operator’s license is current. In addition, possession of a city license (where they are issued) is one more assurance that the company you are dealing with is reputable and responsible. You may want to contact your state pesticide agency to find out whether periodic training and recertification is required for pest control operators.

pest-control2. Is the company willing and able to discuss the treatment proposed for your home? Selecting a pest control service is just as important as selecting other professional services. Look for the same high degree of competence you would expect from a doctor or lawyer. Any company, including those advertising themselves as “green,” should inspect your premises and outline a recommended control program.

3. Does the company have a good track record? Don’t rely on the company salesperson to answer this question. Research the answer yourself. Ask neighbors and friends if they have ever dealt with the company. Were they satisfied with the service they received? Call the Better Business Bureau or local consumer office and find out if they have received complaints about the company.

4. Does the company have appropriate insurance? Most contactors carry general liability insurance, including insurance for sudden and accidental pollution. Their insurance gives you a certain degree of protection should an accident occur while pesticides are being applied in your home. Although most states do not require pest control companies to buy insurance, you should think twice before hiring a company that is not insured.

5. Does the company guarantee its work? You should be skeptical about a company that does not guarantee its work. In addition, be sure to find out what you must do to keep your part of the bargain. For example, in the case of termite control treatments, the company’s guarantee may become invalid if you make structural alterations to your home without giving prior notice to the pest control company.

6. Is the company affiliated with a professional pest control association? Professional associations—national, state, or local—keep members informed of new developments in pest control methods, safety, training, research, and regulations. Members agree to honor a code of ethics. The fact that a company, small or large, chooses to join a professional association signals its concern for quality.

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