What questions do I ask when looking for a pest control company/exterminator?
Most people never think of pest control until they see signs of a problem. We know how stressful this can be after all some pests carry diseases, cause allergic reactions, and some can even damage property. If you are searching for a pest control company in Upstate South Carolina or the Columbia area, stop, relax, and don’t rush into hiring the first company you find. Just as all customers are unique so are pest control companies.
Take your time, do a little research, then talk to several different pest control services. Ask the questions to get the information needed to make the best decision, when choosing a pest control company to take care of your home and family. Finding the right pest professional that will do the job correctly, follow all rules and regulations, and stand behind their work 100% is worth the work involved in researching.
Below we will discuss the questions you should be asking any pest control company or exterminator that you may be thinking of hiring. We will also provide Walker Pest Management’s answers to those questions to help you in your decision making.
How long has your company been in business?
Pest control companies come and go. We see new pest control companies showing up every month. Walker Pest Management has been servicing the Upstate of South Carolina including Greenville, Spartanburg, Anderson, Pickens, Oconee, Cherokee, Union, Laurens, and Newberry counties for over 16 years. A few years ago, we started servicing residents in our state capital Columbia SC, and are now in all of Richland and Lexington counties. We aren’t going away anytime soon. In fact, our goal is to expand to the coast of South Carolina within another 2 years.
A few benefits of working with an established, trusted, local pest control company are:
- Experience and knowledge of the local pests in the area.
- Trust in the long-standing local reputation.
- Reassurance that they will be around to stand behind their work. (Sure! Billy Bob Pest just started out. He’s cheap, has a cool truck, and seems nice but is he going to be there in a year or two or ten if you need warranty work on something like a termite treatment? By the way, your momma knew what she was talking about when she said “Cheaper doesn’t mean better”.)
- Proper equipment for the job. (Most new pest control companies have the basics for general pest, but may not have the larger array of equipment they need for all of the work you need to be done. To give some examples: Bed Bug Heat Treatment Rigs, Termite Control Rigs, Power Spray Rigs, etc.) Our trucks are fully equipped with the latest and best tools for the job.
Do you have referrals, reviews or testimonials I can see before deciding?
If a company hides their reviews or can’t provide referrals and testimonials, do you really want to take a chance on them? It’s important to know how current and past customers of a company view them and their service. Walker Pest Management provides links to most online review sites for people to see how happy our customers are with our service and our employees. We have never tried to block or hide a review because we didn’t like what was said. We try to respond to every review, whether positive or negative. We even include a built-in review system on our website. Click on any of the counties we service on that page to see reviews from neighbors and family members in your area. We have truly been blessed with great customers and of the over 300 reviews, across Google, Angie’s List, Home Advisor, Yelp and our built-in review system we carry a 4.9 out of 5 rating. We believe we can use ALL reviews as a way to continue improving our customer experience. We appreciate all of the positive feedback, but we want to learn from the negative comments as well. Walker Pest Management is a BBB Accredited Business & maintains an A+ rating.
Is your company licensed, and insured?
This question should be a resounding YES! If they can’t answer this question with a big, huge, emphatic YES! just run. Run as far as you can. There is too much liability and risk to take a chance on someone who can not show they are currently licensed and insured according to state minimum requirements.
Walker Pest Management is licensed and insured in the states of South Carolina and Georgia. We hold licenses for all types of pest control work, including structural pest control, termite work, fumigation, public health (which you should have for mosquito work), turf and ornamental (which you need if you are doing any lawn treatments, including fire ants or fleas), and stored product pests. If needed, we can provide copies of these documents for your records. Many companies that perform mosquito work, lawn services, or rodent/wildlife control do not have the proper licensing through the state. You can feel safe that your home & property are safe when you hire Walker Pest Management for your pest control needs.
Do you offer free inspections/quotes?
Walker Pest Management offers free inspections with a quote for the majority of pest-related issues. We do charge a fee for some inspections, including real estate inspections & bed bug inspections. When a house is being bought or sold, often the lender will require a document we call a CL100. It is also commonly called a “termite letter” or a “wood infestation report.” This document is not required by any state or federal law, but if it is issued, it is a legal document that carries a great deal of liability for the inspector. A very thorough inspection with a detailed graph, photos, and moisture readings takes time. If you have already had a CL100 inspection from another company and termites or high moisture are found, you will probably want quotes for treatment from several different companies. In a situation where we are just quoting for the treatment, we do not charge for the quote, but we may charge a fee, in some cases, if another inspection is required. In the case of bed bug inspections, if someone is just wanting an inspection to look for bed bugs there is a charge of $75. This fee will apply as a credit back to the customer for any treatment options purchased. If someone has already called in, reviewed our pricing structure, and agreed to treatment, we do not charge for a verification inspection. This verification is to make sure the customer has identified the pest correctly, as well as, give the inspector a chance to go over the process of treatment and review the checklist to be performed by the homeowner before we can treat. We do not typically charge for rodent, squirrel, or bat exclusion inspections. We do not typically charge for termite treatment or moisture control inspections and quotes in the crawl space. We do not charge for commercial pest control inspections or quotes. Most other services can actually be quoted over the phone without an inspection.
How do you determine what treatment or service is needed?
As a homeowner, you may have done some research on your pest problem but you wouldn’t consider yourself a pest control expert. How can you know if the company or your pest control technician is an expert or not? Here are some great questions to ask them. If they are the experts they say they are, they should know the answers and should be able to explain their answer to you.
- What kind of pests have you found in my home?
- Is this a common pest in our area?
- How would you rate the level of pest infestation?
- Is that insect an adult or is it in another stage of life? (egg, larva, nymph, pupa, instar/immature, worker, queen, alate, or adult)
- How long do you believe the pests have been in my home?
- How long should it take to eliminate the pest infestation?
- Can/Will the pests come back? If so, how can I prepare or stay ahead of another infestation?
- How frequently should I have an exterminator or pest control professional treat my home?
- Did you see any damage? Where and how extensive? Do you have photos? Did you make a graph?
- Did you take moisture readings? If they were high, what is the normal threshold?
- Are there any items that would make pests more likely in or around my home?
Feel free to take notes while asking your questions. Use the answers to help you research online, or compare answers to other answers you’ve received. They should be generally the same as other trusted professionals. Go with your gut! Most people have good instincts and can sniff out a person trying to “wing it”. Do you feel like you can trust the person you’re speaking with? At the end of the day, if you don’t feel you can’t trust them, why would you want them in your home. Do NOT hire them simply because they were the cheapest!!!
What kind, and how much training do your pest technicians/exterminators receive?
Walker Pest Management’s pest control technicians are required to go through several days of in-office training and studying before they take the South Carolina Department of Pesticide Regulation’s Verifiable Training Test. Once a technician receives the verification certification, we require them to ride along with one of our licensed technicians for several weeks, learning much needed on-the-job training. It doesn’t stop there though. All Walker Pest Management pest control technicians go through continued monthly training in our office. We bring in outside speakers, including industry experts, vendors, and occasionally we even bring in owners or managers of competitor pest control companies (always a good idea to learn everything you can from every angle possible). Throughout the year we receive additional training through attendance at NPMA, SCPCA, NWCOA, Clemson, and other sponsored conventions. We know that knowledge is power, and providing our employees with as much training as possible is very important to our success and customer satisfaction. Walker Pest Management technicians operate under the DCA of Lucas Geer, who is our service manager. By the time an employee reaches their 1 year anniversary we try to get them individually licensed. We have several of our licensed pest control technicians who have furthered their education by attending the Master Pest Control Technician Training as well as Master Termite Technician Training at Clemson University. We are very proud of all our pest control technicians as they strive to better themselves and our company. A tool you may find useful in searching for license verification is here. You can enter the license number directly or enter the last name of the person and search by county. If searching by company name you only want to enter the first part of the name. For instance search “Walker”, not Walker Pest Management.
Is the pest control treatment or service safe for my family and pets?
Pest control products are highly regulated and labeled for specific use. When used by a properly trained, certified or licensed pest control technician, who is following the guidelines of use spelled out on the label, there should be no effect on people or pets. The products made today are designed specifically to target insects and non-mammal pests. It is important to let your pest professional know if you have exotic pets such as birds, snakes or fish. Proper care is needed to avoid the use of certain products around or near these animals because of their biology and metabolism. The use of pesticides in and around the home is much like using common household cleaners. The proper use can make your home much safer and healthier. The misuse can be dangerous. Make sure you hire a company with the right training and personnel to make sure your family and pets are safe.
If the company is trustworthy they should have no problem explaining clearly, in layman’s terms, why their pest control treatments are safe. There are certain pest control applications that will require people and pets to be out of a home. The pest control company should be able to explain when, why, and how long you should be out of the home. Walker Pest Management normally requires customers to be out of the home for certain specialty services like Bed Bug Heat Remediation and Flea Treatments. There is typically no reason to leave the home for other pest treatments.
Will your pest control service get rid of my pest problem and keep them from returning?
This is such an important question and a lot of pest control companies will just say “yes” to both parts of the question without considering all of the factors. It just isn’t possible to guarantee 1 visit will take care of every situation. Walker Pest Management will eliminate your pest control infestation/problem, but some pest problems can take more than one visit to get under control. For this reason, our one-time pest control services include Free followups within the first 30 days. Since there is no way to guarantee that a certain pest will ever come back we have developed our Quarterly General Pest Control Service or maintenance plan. We believe that preventive pest control service is the best way to control pests from getting back into your home. This service is based on the average pest control product life being approximately 90 days. By doing service once every 3 months (4 visits a year) we get the most effective use of products and labor. We offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee with this service. If a problem were to come up between regularly scheduled visits we will retreat and troubleshoot the problem at no additional cost for any covered pest.
Walker Pest Management’s year-round preventive pest control service includes:
- Scheduled quarterly pest control services/treatments at your convenience.
- Protection from most common household pests. (cannot guarantee against flying insects)
- Free followup visits if you ever have issues with covered pests.
- Interior and Exterior treatment, depending on the wishes of the client. (including crawlspace & attic as needed)
- Convenient automated monthly billing.
What if I’m not happy with the service results?
All pest control companies offer some form of guarantee or warranty with their service. Walker Pest Management stands behind our service/treatments completely, with a 100% satisfaction guarantee. If we did not prevent the pests covered by the agreement from entering your home or business, then we will come back at no charge to you and perform the job again. We hope you don’t need to do this often, but you should never feel like you can’t call and ask for another service. It’s what you paid for, so of course, we want it to be done right! In other words, we WANT you to call if there is an issue.
Contact Walker Pest Management Today
“Let our family take care of yours”. That is the Walker Pest Management motto. If you are in the process of finding a pest control service to protect your home and family against pests, we would love the chance to talk to you. We have made the process very easy. Some people are shy or just don’t have time to talk on the phone. In that case, we offer a live chat window on the lower left side of your screen. It is available during regular business hours and there is always someone ready and waiting to answer your questions. You can even set up service without ever picking up the phone. If you prefer to fill out a contact form on this page below, someone will contact you by email or phone ASAP. If you prefer to hear a human voice and want to ask us questions or set up service you can call us Toll-Free (866) 442-7378. We look forward to hearing from you.