Let’s be honest...
People don't wake up in the morning and say to themselves, “I think I will call a Pest Exterminator and have them spray pesticides around my family, pets and house today!”
Funny, but that's not usually how it goes.
Typically, pest treatments are not something you plan on, put in your budget, or spend time thinking about.
Well, not until you wake up one morning to see a fat rat on the kitchen counter or find bed bugs in your son or daughter’s bedroom…
… “Great,” you think yourself.
After the initial shock, the typical home-owner will take to the internet and consume as much information about their pest problem as humanly possible, (that’s where Pest Strategies comes into play!).
This article will focus on how pest control companies and exterminator, more specially, how to go about picking one.
If that's you then let's get started because there's a lot to cover...
This article was written by Rusty Markland, Technical Director at PestNow.com. He's a regular contributor for Pest Strategies with over three decades of experience in the pest control industry. As a writer, certified instructor and technical director in the industry he has used his experience to promote safety and education in the pest industry. For the last twenty years, he has been the Operations Officer and Corporate Technical Director at PestNow, one of the fastest growing pest control companies in the United States.
If you need an exterminator you’ll probably be looking to answer a couple key questions, like:
- Should you call an exterminator or just "do-it-yourself"
- If you decide to treat the pest problem yourself, what will you use and how safe and effective are "do-it-yourself" pest treatments?
- If you do decide to call a pest control company, who should you call? A big company like Orkin or Terminix or a small local company?
When should you call an exterminator and when should you NOT call an exterminator?
In order to answer this question, we need to know what pest you’re dealing with (ants/bedbugs/mosquitoes) and where exactly you’re having the problem (inside/outside).
For some pests, you can have great success with a “do-it-yourself” treatment and save a ton of money in the process. In other cases, you should really leave it to the professionals.
How to pick an exterminator?
When it's time to call an exterminator, should you go with a big, medium or small company?
My best advice is to NOT react on impulse when trying to decide!
Unless you are infested with Zombies or possibly a life-threatening situation like yellow jackets in your walls, the majority of your pest problems should be inspected by at least three companies. Have proposals submitted before you select a treatment option. Research the company, the treatment plan and the products they intend to use.
The decision now is do you call big company, a mom and pop or a mid-sized company?
Should you pick a big pest control company (Orkin/Terminix)?
The biggest companies you’ll probably have heard from is Orkin and Terminix. These companies are huge global enterprises. They spend millions on marketing and branding during peak pest pressure seasons and they have operations in almost every area.
But is bigger better?
Should you pick a smaller/local exterminator?
With smaller pest control companies, you'll benefit by getting a more personal touch to your treatment plans. Prices tend to be more negotiable and you can expect a family owned brand nine times out of ten.
Should you pick a medium/regional sized exterminator?
The mid-sized companies tend to have the best of both worlds. They don’t have the large overhead, marketing costs, and employee turnover as the big companies, nor do they lack time and personnel for training and education. Mid-size companies can stretch operations between three or four states, which make them much larger than the small local operations, but nowhere near the national or global scale of an Orkin or Terminix.
So what exterminator should you pick?
To help you out with this, we actually did some of the legwork for you by creating a handy search tool that provides free quotes from highly reviewed and trusted exterminators in your local area.
You just need to punch in your zip and a few details to start getting quotes sent to your email.
Alternatively, you can research the internet for ratings, BBB, Yelp, Angies List, and even Nextdoor.com are all review resources to help you do a bit of research on the best exterminators in your area.
If you have the time and understand the information above information, go the DIY route. Just make sure you read all the labels, and practice safe pest control methods such as:
If you need a pest professional make sure you do the following:
Other Pest Guides
Still have questions about pests? We recommend checking out our article on DIY pest control and diatomaceous earth. Two very important things to know when trying to eliminate bugs and rodents from your house.