Eventually, pests happen. Whether it’s a rat or rodent infestation, a serious bug problem or something more serious like termites, you will need to hire a professional pest control company. In most cases, you can rely on them to rid your home of a problem, thanks to their expertise.
However, not every professional is trustworthy. How can you be sure you’re hiring the right company, and how can you be sure it knows how to handle a pest problem?
Check for a License
Most states issue pest control licenses to certified individuals who have completed the proper training and authorization requirements. The laws are different for each state, so you’ll need to refer to your local government agency’s portal for more information. A large majority of states maintain a list of licensees, and it can usually be found through your local Department of Agriculture or Department of Pesticides.
Ask to see the company’s license information, and ensure it’s current when applicable. Issued licenses can expire, and you want to be sure the professional you hire has a current and up-to-date license.
Find Out if the Company Has Liability Insurance
Any reputable business will be insured so that it can pay for damage, losses or various problems caused by employees. This includes damages incurred to your house, furniture or belongings during treatment. Insurance also covers company employees should they be injured on your property.
Don’t confuse this with the term bonding or being bonded, they are not the same thing. A bonded company offers a guarantee of performance and completion, and it’s required by law. That means if it causes damage to your home, the company must reimburse you.
One of the biggest differences between the two is that a bondholder must repay the bonding company after a claim is made.
You should never substitute a bond for proof of insurance.
Check for Experience and Work History
A reputable business will have plenty of references to offer. If you’d like some, it’s as easy as asking.
It’s also a great idea to get the contact information for previous customers and get in touch. Ask them how satisfied they were with the company’s service. Did they complete their work in a timely and appropriate fashion? Were there complications along the way from the company itself or any of its employees?
In most states, there’s a regulatory pesticide agency the same that issues licenses so you can contact the agency and find out if the company you’re considering has received any serious complaints or infractions.
Will The Company Review Their Contract With You?
Before signing a contract for work, be sure the proper source reviews the information with you. Company employees should be willing to provide more information about a particular clause or topic that you’re interested in. If they refuse to go over the contract with you, or they’re less than helpful, then be wary.
In addition, be sure the contract explicitly mentions the nature of the pest issue, how bad the problem really is and how the company plans to eliminate said problem. It should detail in full how much work is required of the company to remove the pests from your home.
What Treatment Plans Do They Offer?
Find out as much as you can about the treatment plan the company plans to use. Some of the more important things to look at include:
- What pests will the treatment address?
- How bad is the problem and what will happen if you don’t use treatment?
- What ingredients are used in the pesticide the company uses?
- What adverse effects will there be — if any — from the pesticides?
- How and where will the pesticide be applied?
- Is there a need to avoid contact with the pesticide or leave your home?
- Are there alternatives to the pesticide on offer, and do any of them employ nonchemical forms?
- Are there any special instructions you need to be aware of?
- What can be done to protect your home from future pest infestations and how should you follow up treatment?
- How many times will the pest control company need to visit your home for treatment?
- How long will it take for the treatment to take effect?
How Will They Handle a Botched Job?
Pests are highly unpredictable, even for professionals. In the event that you still have a pest issue after they visit — or the job is botched in some way — it matters how the company handles themselves. A reputable company will always do a follow-up. They will work with you to correct the problem and ensure the pests are eliminated.
Before the job starts, it’s almost impossible to ensure that a company will handle things well, but you can still ensure the company guarantees its work and has the proper credentials. So why let your home value depreciate because of household pest infestations?
Photo Credit: Steve Snodgrass