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How to Choose an Exterminator

Naturally, we think you should pick us.  But just in case you can't, this is what to look for: First of all, you want an exterminator that has been in business for awhile - pick your own standard.  You should probably make sure he belongs to the National Pest Control Association, and if he belongs to state and local pest control organizations, that's a plus. The best kind of inspector would be an Accredited Wood Destroying Insect Inspector.  This inspector has been trained, through special courses, to recognize problems of this sort.

Personally, I think that company generation of references are silly.  Do you think they are going to give you a BAD reference?  More than likely, this reference list would be carefully screened to eliminate anyone that might submit a bad reference.

If you make your pick from the Yellow Pages, BE SURE to check your choice with your local Better Business Bureau.  They can either give you a recommendation of a company close to you, or tell you if they have had any complaints on the one you propose to use.  Listen to them.  They know the best and the worst.  And instead of using their website for communication, phone the local office and talk to a live person. There are still many instances where personal contact is much better than the Internet.

The Exterminator's Vehicle

should be

lettered professionally....

(No magnetic signs!)
Make sure your exterminator has a physical office in your geographical area.  You would be wise to make sure he is a full-time exterminator and not working out of the back of his private car or truck after his regular job.

Your exterminator should guarantee to use the methods specified in the National Pest Control Association's Approved Reference Procedure Manual, and not use, charge for, or propose any unapproved, duplicate or dubious methods.  He should supply you with a guarantee for a finite time period, (forget lifetime guarantees) and be able to quote you a reasonable annual cost for the maintenance of that guarantee.  That fee should provide free annual termite renewal inspections, free termite treatment of any sort, which should also include pre-treatment for any new construction to your home. He should also be able to supply you with an insurance certificate if so asked.  This would not be an unusual request, certainly if you expect to spend a few hundred dollars on his services.

That's just about the minimum.  It is always a good idea to get recommendations from your friends and relatives,  The realtor that handled the sale of your house might also be able to give you a name or two.  If you have discovered a termite problem, you should definitely contact the exterminator that supplied the original termite certificate for your settlement.  He will have a history on the structure and might therefore supply the cheapest alternative.

The man you will see, and the one that actually shows up to do the service will probably be someone else, the service technician, and he may, or he may not, have any idea of what the salesman told you.  Make sure he understands everything in the agreement you and the salesman worked out.  You should make sure that this procedure is exactly what you need to do. A professional, ethical exterminator will want to help you as economically as he can.  A salesman won't always have the same work ethic, so you'll almost always pay more.

I realize, of course, that an exterminator often acts as a salesman, even profiting from his sales.   To me, that kind of exterminator is a salesman first, and an exterminator second.   A TRUE, ethical exterminator, in my opinion, just gets the job done the most efficient, economical way, using the least amount of chemicals.  It's also my opinion that you won't find too many 'rich' ethical exterminators...

It also helps to remember that exterminating is an expertise, not an exact science, so each exterminator will have his own way to do the job, and of course, a different price. Inform your exterminator that you expect the cheapest, most effective treatment without the proposal of any of those unnecessary or dubious treatment procedures, no matter how "non-toxic" they may be.   Actually, in a perfect world, with perfect exterminators, you shouldn't have to tell him this.  It should be a given.

On the occasion of the exterminator's visit, to give you an estimate for any kind of termite control, make sure you are there, to talk with him face-to-face, and get the answers to all the questions you have regarding your termite problem.  Your final estimate will be higher if you don't deal directly with him, letting the wife, (or husband) babysitter or maid do the job.  Your relationship with this exterminator will be a continuing one, make sure you are satisfied that he can answer your questions satisfactorily.

Naturally, if your exterminator is called and comes to your home because you have a termite problem, you should expect a quotation, perhaps in person, immediately, certainly by return mail.  Remember to take plenty of time to make your decision.

And if you wanted to pick me, and I don't go to where you are, you can check my Good Guys Page, it has a listing of exterminators from all over the world, all of them personal friends that I know will treat you right.  Same goes for the IPCO guys, you can't go wrong there, either.

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