So you have a pest control problem and are in need of a pest extermination service. Okay, what’s next. Do a Google search and select the first exterminator that shows up on the search, right? 

Wrong, if you are not prepared to ask the right questions when you get a pest control service on the line, you may be in for a big and disappointing surprise. Not all pest extermination services are equal. Not even close.

So here are some of the questions you must ask. 

#1. How long have you been in business, and do you have any certifications? 

You really do not want to hire a pest control company that has not been in business for at least 3 to 5 years, because those in business for a while have generally proven themselves.

In addition, they should have a certification from a national pest extermination agency such as the National Pest Management Service. 

Most states require at a minimum pest extermination technicians attend a short EPA-approved training course and obtain passing scores on a state licensing exam, and in California, an operator must have experience in fumigation of wood-destroying pests such as termites, the control of household pests without using poisonous gas and the control of wood-destroying insects without using gas.

There are further requirements for field representatives who visit your home, and operators or owners of pest control businesses. 

 #2. Ask if employees are not only licensed but screened for background checks.

This is very important because the pest applicator will likely be totally unsupervised in your home. 

#3. Ask what kind of liability insurance your pest extermination company carries on their employees? 

You should avoid any company that does not give you a positive response to the insurance question, and before signing any type of contract, be sure and obtain a copy of their insurance certificate. 

#4. Ask for the names and phone numbers of at least 5 local references 

If a company will not provide them, then run. No legitimate pest control company will refuse to provide you with references.

Once you obtain them, actually call all 5 or more. When you call, ask what kind of experience they had with the pest control company, and would they hire them again?

Hopefully, you’ll get great, positive responses, but you will be amazed at how much you can learn, good and bad, from a few phone calls.

#5. Ask for the credentials and also what pesticides would likely be used 

Ask for a copy of the owner’s pest control license, and a copy of the license for the pest applicator. 

You can verify the credentials by calling the Licenses may be verified by calling the State Departments of Agriculture. Ask if the licenses are valid and also check for any complaints from consumers. Then call the local Better Business Bureau and ask about complaints as well.

In addition, ask for labels of the pesticides that will likely be used, and also the rate of application. If you have the labels before you call the Department of Agriculture, they can also tell you if those are the appropriate pesticides. 

#6. Ask if the pesticides or chemicals they use are safe for children and pets 

Good pest exterminators welcome these questions and will be happy to answer them for you. Those that dance around it are not reliable. 

#7 Ask if their quotes are firm, or just an estimate? 

You want a firm figure of how much the pest control will cost you, and you should also know what kind of guarantee they provide.

For example, if you have termites, you want a contract that states they will come back free of charge and do additional applications of pesticides for around 5 years.

This is another reason you want to hire an exterminator who has been in business for several years. What good is their guarantee if they will be out of business in a year?

#8. Ask if they are experienced in your type of pest? 

We have heard of stories where people have had squirrels or bats in their attic for example, and the exterminator has told them they don’t go into attics, or they have no experience with removing squirrels. 

#9. Be wary of long term contracts 

Long-term, monthly contracts for a continued application of chemicals are rarely a good deal for consumers. Avoid them.