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Important Things to Know When Choosing a Pest Control Company

Kalicia Bateman
Kalicia Bateman | Contributor

While the ant hill in the backyard and a few more spiders crawling around the basement might not seem like cause for panic, they could actually lead to bigger problems if not taken care of.

While it might be tempting to take care of the pest problems yourself, this can often have little effect on the unwanted pests and critters. Pest problems are common and there is no shame in seeking help from a professional pest control company. However, there are many factors to take into consideration before signing a contract. This comprehensive guide will provide answers to frequently asked pest control questions and help you choose a pest control company in your area that’s right for you.

How to choose a pest control company

When a pest problem arises it can be intimidating to choose a pest control company. However, don’t rush your decision. There are plenty of pest control companies out there and we recommend speaking with several companies before making a final decision. Look for a knowledgeable company with a good reputation in the industry.

As you’re researching pest control companies, be sure to consider these questions:


  • Are the technicians currently licensed?
  • What kind of licensing do they have? Does it match the services you need?
  • What kind, if any, of education is provided to the staff?
  • Is there a certified entomologist on staff?
  • Does the company use Integrated Pest Management (IPM) techniques?


  • How long has the company been in business?
  • How much experience does the company have treating pests in the area?
  • What kind of training is available to newly hired employees?


  • Does the company offer a free estimate?
  • What kind of contracts are available? Long-term? One time services?
  • Will the company take care of returning pest issues?
  • What guarantees are there for their work? What are the terms?


  • Are their products environmentally safe?
  • What “green” options do they have?
  • Do they offer insurance to cover your property and their employees?
  • What measures do they take to prevent accidents and exposures?

Customer service

  • Do the technicians listen to your concerns and address them promptly?
  • Can employees identify the pests, provide details about the pest's behavior and clearly explain the best course of action?
  • Are the technicians willing to talk about the products and details of the treatment?
  • How quickly can the company send a technician? Either for an estimate or re-treatment.


  • Have your neighbors used this company? Would they recommend them?
  • Can the company provide customer references?
  • What do online reviews say about the services, technicians, and customer service?

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Average pricing

According to a HomeAdvisor, the national average costs for the following pest control services are as follows:

  • Average cost of pest control: $100-$300
  • Beehive removal cost: $0-$1,500
  • Ant extermination cost: $100-$500
  • Rats or mice extermination cost: $150-$500
  • Termite treatment (chemical or fumigation): $2,000-$8,000
  • Mosquito extermination cost: $100-$500
  • Spider extermination cost: $100-$200
  • Cockroach extermination cost: $100-$400
  • Wasp extermination cost: $100-$1,300
  • Flea extermination cost: $75-400

The average cost for a general pest control spray is $150 to $400. These treatments aren't intended for infestation control, but to stop one from starting in the first place.

Keep in mind that much of pest control depends on your home and location. Most pest control companies require an inspection before providing a quote because they need to consider the following:

  • Size of the home
  • Location of the home
  • Type of pests to eliminate
  • The extent of any existing problems
  • Type of plan or service required

Getting an estimate and determining the needed services

Many pest control companies will offer potential customers a free estimate but by the end of the visit, they’ve been sweet-talked into a contract they didn’t plan on. While there is nothing wrong with signing a contract, just be sure it’s what you want and that the company provides the right kind of services you need. Ask what areas of the house and what kind of pests they are capable of treating. You don’t want to hire a company to get rid of squirrels only to find out it only treats insects.

If you are only looking for a quote be sure to mention that at the beginning of your chat with the technician.

Don’t be afraid to voice any questions or concerns you have. It will save you time and money.

What you can expect on your first pest control service visit

If you’ve never hired a pest control company before, you might not know what to expect from the first visit. Generally, there is nothing to worry about, but we do recommend that you chose a pest control company you feel you can trust, as the technician will need access to the inside and outside of your home.

Interior treatments

Generally, when a pest control company treats the inside of the home, a service representative will enter the home and spray along the baseboards to ensure that no bugs crawl through. The technician may also check areas of entry — this includes checking around windows, doors, garages, pipes, attics, etc. These areas are typically where pests and rodents enter the home and may need special attention. This will also include an inspection for pantry pests in the home. 

Exterior treatments

When treating the outside of a home, many pest control companies will first knock down spider webs, wasp nests, and any other hanging bugs so they won’t drop down and crawl through the roof. Next, they will go around the base of the home, and spray a thick layer of pesticide to stop the bugs from coming into the house. Lastly, the company might use granules (dry products that pour like sugar or salt) around the yard to prevent insects such as ants, crickets, cockroaches, etc. from moving indoors.

Pest control technicians may also do a moisture control check. Moist areas are more likely to attract and house common pests.

If for any reason you are unsure of the company’s methods or have any specific areas of concern, ask the service technician if they wouldn’t mind walking around the property and explaining which areas they are treating and why.

Precautions to take

Homeowners with children and pets will need to take some extra precautions when having their home treated for unwanted pests and rodents. Many companies advise homeowners with young children to have them out of the house for at least an hour or two. Some children are allergic to the chemicals and should not be present while the company is spraying.

Most services advise keeping pets inside and waiting 30 minutes to an hour after a backyard treatment.

If homeowners have fish in a fishpond or free-roaming birds, those are likely to be affected by the chemicals and the company may advise only doing an interior or exterior treatment, instead of the entire yard.

The Environmental Protection Agency suggests that you be willing to ask questions and turn to professional pest control services if you are unable to take care of your pest infestations quickly by yourself. 

Location limitations

Where you live will determine the kind of pests you deal with daily. That’s why we recommend looking at local pest control companies. Because pest control companies send representatives to provide an in-house service, many companies only service local areas. While there are several large pest control companies that cover areas throughout the United States and even other countries, they are less common. This may seem inconvenient, but it could actually benefit you. Keep in mind that local pest control companies likely understand the specifics of pest control in your region. After all, pest control needs in the desert regions of the Southwest will differ greatly from pest control in the humid East Coast.

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Green pest control

A few pest control companies can boast green pest solutions or certification with the National Pest Management Association’s GreenPro program. GreenPro requires that companies focus on integrated pest management strategies, provide thorough pest inspection and monitoring services, regular communication with clients about pest infestations, conducive conditions, and ways they can prevent pests, as well as GreenPro training for all company employees who sell or perform GreenPro services.

The following companies are GreenPro Certified:

Re-treatment guarantees

Before settling on a company, ask if it offers a re-treatment guarantee. Many companies will offer to come back if a pest problem arises in between treatments. Some will even do it for free.

Commercial pest control

The majority of pest control companies offer their services to businesses. Commercial pest control helps businesses stop pests and rodents from disrupting their daily operations, causing time-consuming repairs, and damaging the company’s reputation.

Small animals such as mice, rats, and squirrels, can chew through drywall, wood, product containers, insulation, and wires.

Insects will often find their way into food containers and contaminate products with bacteria and diseases.

Rodents and pests can spread contaminants through their droppings and may even bite someone if they get close enough.

It’s best for companies to hire a pest control expert to take care of the problem as soon as it is noticed. That way a service technician can conduct regular inspections. The inspections will identify and eliminate pests before they become a serious problem.

Consider hiring a professional pest control service if you are in these industries:

  • Healthcare facilities (senior living centers, clinics, etc.)
  • Hospital
  • Food services (restaurants, grocery stores, etc.)
  • Multi-family housing
  • Other services

As you’ve been researching, you may have noticed that most companies don’t only offer pest control. Companies offer a range of services, including bed bug treatments, termite inspections, rodent control, bee and wasp removal, lawn care services, and more. After hiring the company to clear your home of pests, you may want to check out the other services they provide.

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Pest Control Frequently Asked Questions

Why should I hire a professional pest control company? Can’t I do it myself?

Most of the time DIY pest control products are quick fixes that don’t solve the root of the problem. Additionally, the majority of homeowners lack the time or expertise.

Pest control experts are trained to handle pests and pesticides in a safe and proper manner.

A service technician will identify the type of pest, determine the cause of the infestation, provide a solution, and treat the problem.

How are mice getting into my home?

Unfortunately, rats can fit through an opening the size of a quarter, and mice through a hole the size of a dime. If they see a point of entry, you can bet they’ll try to fit through it.

Why is it so hard to get rid of roaches?

Roaches can be one of the most difficult pests to treat. These insects can fit into tiny cracks and crevices, giving them plenty of hiding spaces, they can eat just about anything, they can live for up to a week without water, and they reproduce about every 30 days (producing 30-50 babies).

Do I need to leave my home while they are spraying?

In most cases, you won’t need to leave your home. However, it is recommended that children less than a year old are not on the premises (as they might be allergic). And most companies advise waiting two to four hours before letting young children in the house. If your house needs more extensive services like fumigation, expect to be out of the house for three to four days.

Be sure to let your technician know if there are any sensitive persons, pets, plants around your house.

How soon should I expect results?

Whether you’re treating an ant problem or a serious termite infestation will determine how long it will take to see results. Some pest problems can take as little as one to two days to treat, while others could take up to two weeks.

How can I protect my home against pests?

After receiving treatment, homeowners and businesses should do everything in their power to prevent pests from coming back.

Keep your home as clean as possible. Nothing says, “welcome to your new home” to a bug or rodent, like a mess. Most bugs are drawn into homes to look for food, so keep the kitchen and pantry clean and free of crumbs. Second, check for openings in your doors, windows, chimneys, vents, pipes, and so on. If you own an older home, pests could creep in through the cracks of your windows and doors, so make sure to close them firmly and repair any damage. Third, don’t let water linger. Just like humans, pests need water, but not just for drinking. Water is often a breeding ground for pests, so fix your leaky faucets and dry up your bathroom floors.

Where can I go to find the best pest control company for my home/business?

Here at Best Company, we’ve reviewed over 100 pest control companies and listed the pros and cons of each company. Simply filter the companies by state and look at what each company has to offer. Take your time and read our verified customer reviews to see what other consumers are saying about the company.

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