When things look dire, find the right hire
Ants, roaches, and bedbugs—oh my! These insects can turn a pleasant home into an anxiety-filled mess in no time, leading homeowners to add their favorite exterminator on speed dial. So, how do you find the best local pest control company for your needs, what common scams should you look out for, and how do you prepare for an exterminator’s visit? Keep reading to find out.
How to Find a Pest Control Company
Every part of the country has plenty of exterminators, but where to start finding the right one is the question. Start by performing a quick web search and asking friends and family for recommendations. If you’re actively looking for an exterminator, you’ll find companies everywhere you look, from branded trucks on the street to advertisements in local print publications. Make a list of potential contractors and get ready for the next step.
Before Hiring an Exterminator
Before you officially make any hires, there are some worthwhile considerations to maximize the chance of a positive experience.
Plan Your Insect Removal Project for Accurate Quotes
As you gather quotes, match your pro to your specific issue. For instance, some exterminators specialize in killing roaches or bedbugs, while others may not have much experience with insects like termites. Gauge their experience level by chatting them up on the phone or perusing their website.
On average, hiring a pest control company costs $200 to $600, but this price varies depending on how large your home or yard is and the severity of your insect problem. Gather several estimates before choosing the best candidate, but don’t automatically go for the most inexpensive company. Expertise matters here, and a lowball offer often can indicate inadequate experience.
Check Your Exterminator’s Qualifications and References
Look for potential red flags via the Better Business Bureau database or negative online reviews. A few bad ones aren’t a huge deal, but many subpar testimonials indicate a pattern. There are also plenty of common pest control scams out there worth avoiding.
Hiring Your Exterminator Tips
Here are some tips worth considering before you pick your pro.
Interview Your Pest Control Pro
Call up your potential hires to discuss the job. This gives you an overall idea of their expertise and their attitude and excitement for the job. While talking to the pro, keep an ear out for any potential red flags, like upsells and possible scams.
Also, get customer referrals to contact them about their experience and if the exterminator got rid of the bugs for good (and in how many visits).
Ask for a Background Check
Check and double-check their license, as some companies rent a license from another exterminator, leaving the actual employees untrained. Also, verify their liability insurance. In many cases, pest control involves potentially harmful chemicals sprayed throughout the home, so liability insurance is a must.
Get a Contract and Arrange Payments With Your Pro
Before entering into any service contract, get everything down in writing. Spend some time talking with your pro about payment plans, the number of visits required to handle the problem, and any other pertinent information. Most exterminators accept payment after a service call, but it varies.
After getting an estimate and settling on a pest control pro, read the contract thoroughly to avoid contract renewal scams. Year-long service contracts often auto-renew, whether you use them or not.
Keep Records of Your Pest Control Visits
Keep records of anything and everything when the pro visits for a service call. Mark down the hours they worked, the progress made in eliminating bugs, and any comments the technician makes regarding your service needs. This information isn’t always needed but could come in handy down the road if there’s a dispute.
Preparing for a Pest Control Visit
So you settled on a technician and eagerly await their visit—and an end to your bug problem. What should you do before the appointment to ensure a successful outcome? Follow these general guidelines.
Clean and Organize
Clean and tidy up your home, especially impacted areas. Getting rid of clutter allows the exterminator to easily reach any nooks and crannies to better spray your unwanted houseguests. Plus, certain insects, like roaches, thrive in messy homes, a common problem that can lead to pest infestations.
Different Bugs Require Different Prep
Dealing with termites? Most local termite control pros recommend moving furniture and appliances away from the wall for better access. Exterminators coming for a bedbug visit tell homeowners to remove and wash linens before a visit. For ants, store food items in airtight containers. Each bug is different.
Make Plans for Children and Pets
Keeps kids and animals away from the treated area, especially if the pest control operator uses strong chemicals. Keep your fur babies and human babies somewhere safe before the visit, and ask the pro how long they should stay away. The same goes for adults who suffer from allergies.
After Your Exterminator Has Finished
The job is done, so now what? Here are some steps worth taking after your exterminator lays down their sprayer.
Give It Time
Rome wasn’t built in a day, so give your treatment some time to do its thing. Some pest control sprays, gels, and traps take a week or two before adequately servicing the area. Contact sprays work immediately but only kill bugs that contact the chemical directly. Other types of pesticides require insects to carry them back to the nest, and some don’t kill at all, interrupting reproductive rates instead. If you’re still seeing bugs after a week or two, call your exterminator to let them know.
Don’t Clean Immediately
Resist the impulse to give your home a deep cleaning after the exterminator’s visit. Why? Many residual chemicals continue working for up to two weeks before losing steam, so wiping these away with a cleaner negates efficacy. If you’re unsure about cleaning, talk to your pest control company, as each treatment type requires unique post-care procedures.
Finalize Your Payment
Make sure to hold up your end of the bargain and complete payment arrangements on time. Also, if you received above-average service, consider leaving a positive review online since these reviews help exterminators attract future customers. On that note, if you had a really positive experience, give them a call and agree to be a reference for prospective clients.