What to look for when hiring a pest control professional

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Sometimes it is better to hire a pest control specialist. This is especially true if pest problems persist, infections are high, or if the products needed for control are only approved for use by certified professionals. When hiring a specialist, keep the following considerations in mind.

Technician

Before you let a pest control technician into your home, check your credentials, licenses and certifications and make sure they are up to date. In almost all areas, technicians must be certified and receive annual training to keep their licenses up to date.

The company

Is the company insured? This may be important to protect your assets and indemnify you for liability. Visit the company’s website. Does it look professional? Do you have the knowledge you need? Is the cost of services appropriate for your needs?

Knowledge

The technician or sales representative should have a fair amount of knowledge about pest control. There may be a few issues he doesn’t understand, and if so, he’ll say he’ll figure it out and let you know, and you should be prepared for that. It’s better to hear back. “I don’t know, but I’ll figure it out” is better than getting an incorrect or structured answer.

Professional Appearance

When technicians come to you, their uniforms and appearance should be clean and professional. The trucks, equipment, and chemicals should also create a sense of professionalism.

Literature to use

Before calling a pest control company, ask friends and neighbors for recommendations. Contact a pest control association in your area or visit the Internet to get a list of vendors in each area. If you don’t have a personal recommendation, you can ask the vendor for a recommendation and try calling a customer who has been offered one.

Price

The lowest price is not always the best deal. If a company says that one service for X dollars will solve your problem, and the problem still exists after you’ve paid for that service, you haven’t saved anything. Instead, you will have to start with another service provider and pay more than if you had chosen quality over price first.

Contract

If you hire a company for ongoing maintenance, discuss your options with a technician or sales representative. Can quarterly maintenance solve the problem? Or do you need monthly maintenance? You will likely start with monthly or more frequent maintenance to fix pest problems and then move to a less frequent maintenance schedule when the problem is resolved. Read the contract carefully, read everything in the fine print, and ask more questions before you sign.

Service Delivery

Before the service begins, the professional should ask leading questions to help you discuss exactly what the problem is, find out where and what you saw, and fully understand the pest problem. After the discussion, the pest control professional should inspect the home or building through the eyes of a professional, identify any pests or infestations, and develop a treatment plan.

Chemistry

In most cases, the technician will use chemicals for removal, but he or she should be prepared to discuss the chemicals used, possible side effects, and non-chemical options. All chemical containers should be labeled and have a clean, professional appearance. Upon request, professionals should be able to provide material safety data sheets and sample labels for each chemical used.

Documentation

Upon completion of the service, the technician should provide a report detailing the service performed, any necessary follow-up actions and recommendations for customers. The report should also include the cost of the service.

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At some point during maintenance, a technician should make recommendations for future preventive maintenance. Depending on the service being performed, this may occur before, during, or after the service begins. For example, if an inspection reveals a potential pest infestation area, the technician should notify you and recommend immediate cleaning. If a structural problem is found, the technician may wait until it is corrected and recommend maintenance such as screen replacement or hole repair.

Guarantee

Many pest control companies offer warranties, even if it’s just “guaranteed satisfaction.” You should read that fine print, know what your responsibility is, and how to call in a guarantee if needed.

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