When searching for a company to come to your home or business to get rid of invading ants, mice, cockroaches, or other pests, you are likely to come across a vast array of company names and descriptions that may leave you wondering ...
- What is the difference between a company whose name is XY Pest Control, YZ Pest Management, ZX Pest Elimination, YX Pest Solutions ... ?
- How can you know which is best?
- Does anyone even use the term exterminator anymore?
Like any industry, pest control has its buzzwords and jargon. Although services will vary company to company, the words in the company's name are not usually the best way to make your selection. Rather the words elimination, management, solutions, etc. are often selected as much as a marketing tool as any indication of the company's service program.
From Extermination to Control to Management
In fact, the industry's national association has changed its name three times since its founding for that very reason:
- The industry association was founded in 1933 as the National Association of Exterminators and Fumigators.
- Its name was changed to the National Pest Control Association (NPCA) in 1937 to promote a more professional feel.
- In 1999, the association voted to again update its name to the National Pest Management Association (NPMA), for a more positive and consumer-friendly image.
Many newer pest "management"/"elimination" companies selected their names for the same reasons, while older companies have sometimes opted to update their names to these more current tags. Other long-time companies, however, have chosen to retain their names, maintaining terms such as "control" or "exterminators," despite others seeing them as outdated.
Selecting a Service Provider
Thus, to get back to the first question: While some companies may want consumers to believe that they are different because their name has a higher connotation, consumers are best to follow a slight spin on the age-old adage: "Don't judge a company by its title."
Instead, in answer to the second question, the best way to select a company is to conduct research prior to allowing anyone into your home, and, especially, before signing any sort of contract:
- Ask trusted friends and neighbors for referrals. These companies have proven their value to someone you know, providing
- Check out the company's website. Although this, too, is a marketing tool, most companies will include information about their general services, pest-specific options, history, and, of course, contact information.
- Contact the company and ask questions. Describe your problem and listen to what they say. If you are not comfortable with the answers, or feel that any of your questions are being dodged, you should check around with other companies to get at least a couple other opinions and options.
- Ask the company is they are licensed, bonded, and insured. All technicians must also be state certified and licensed, and should carry these documents with them as well.
- Prior to starting any service (and generally prior to quoting anything more than a "ballpark" price), a company associate should come out to your home or business and conduct an inspection, identify the pest(s), and explain what the service will entail and why.
A great place to start in selecting any company is the NPMA website, which includes a number of tools for consumers, including "Find a Pro," pest facts, and tips for selecting a service provider.