What does the service cover?
Your expectations might be different from what the exterminator able to provide. Even though most people don’t like to read contracts, a contract or agreement is the best way to make sure that each party, consumer and exterminator, have documented roles. Agreements are usually available for regular service or a long term commitment such as a termite contract. Makes sure that you read the contract and make sure that you understand the fees, whether it is renewable, how long it lasts, which pests are to be controlled, what services the exterminator will provide, and what your responsibilities are. For example, for bed bug work, consumers may be required to remove sensitive items, pull back carpet, etc. The value to an agreement or contract is that it reduces the chances of surprises by either party.
You also should know if there is a guarantee. Exterminators control pests that can reinfest quickly. Any agreement should specify whether the exterminator will come back at no charge if a reinfestation occurs or if there is a nominal charge for a call back. Also, the agreement should note if there is a time limit on the call backs.
University websites can help you understand the biology of the pests in your area. Education is the best tool to prepare you to work in tandem with your exterminator to make sure that you have a pest free domain. Some universities also offer pest identification in case you are wondering whether a pest is one of concern.
How long have you been in business?
While number of years in business is no guarantee of the best service, experienced companies are less likely to go out of business or to disappear before the work is done. A long term experienced company with a known name is less likely to perform lower quality work. After all, they have a reputation to uphold.
Isn’t all exterminating service the same?
While it might be surprising, there are many details that can be customized for the needs of the customer. For example, if a customer is concerned about exposing children or pets to pest control products, the company can design a program which will minimize chances of children and pets being exposed. If a customer wants a long term contract, the services might vary for those needs. Exterminating is quite different from other services like plumbing where repair of a pipe is the same. Exterminating, though, can be designed specifically for the needs of the customer, especially when pest prevention services are sought.
Do you utilize Integrated Pest Management?
Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is a process where the exterminating professional assesses the pest pressure and potential, implements control or prevention measures, and then monitors the effectiveness of the controls. Today’s best exterminators utilize IPM methods in all accounts. IPM takes the place of the old days of spraying in broad areas and today targets specific sites and pest situations.
Does your exterminating company have insurance?
Virtually all states require general liability insurance to cover bodily injury and property damage which might occur during extermination services. This insurance includes any damage such as breaking a window to injury of occupants if they trip over equipment. While claims are very rare in any extermination services, the company must be able to provide proof of insurance. Feel free to ask for a copy of the declarations page to make sure that the company is named specifically, and that coverage limits are listed. Don’t forget to make sure that the dates reflect that the policy is current. The only time that proof of insurance should be waived is if the company is self insured at which point there is no insurance policy but rather a statement of self insurance. Self insurance is utilized by the larger more financially stable companies. The advantage of self insurance is the there is no third party insurance policy which may expire or be cancelled.