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Your Money: Do your homework when hiring pest control professionals

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When your pest problem gets too pesky for a flyswatter, a mousetrap or a do-it-yourself spray, it’s time to call in a professional service.

Take the time needed to select a reputable business, and make sure it’s a business you can trust.

In 2013, more than 850,000 people turned to Better Business Bureau for information on pest control services. The BBB and the National Pest Management Association recommend the following tips for finding a qualified pest management professional:

CHECK THEM OUT. Evaluate pest control professionals and companies that are members of national, state or local associations. Ask friends and neighbors to recommend companies they have used and ask how satisfied they were with the service. Always check out the business’ review at bbb.org. Also remember that the company that buys the most advertising isn’t always the best choice.

ALWAYS DEAL WITH A LICENSED COMPANY. Ask to see the license or other credentials of the pest control professional who comes to solve your pest problem.

DON’T RUSH. If a sizable amount of money is involved, get bids from several pest management companies. Since you are paying for professional knowledge and skillful application of pesticides, look for someone whose judgment you can trust.

UNDERSTAND BEFORE YOU SIGN. Before signing a contract, be sure to fully understand the nature of the household pest to be exterminated, the extent of the infestation and the work necessary to solve the problem.

Find out if the pest control company has liability insurance to cover any damages to your house or furnishings during treatment. If a guarantee is given, know what it covers; how long it lasts; what you must do to keep it in force; and what kind of continued control, prevention and management are necessary. Make sure all promises are listed on the contract.

BUY VALUE, NOT PRICE. Don’t fall for high-pressure sales tactics, and beware of companies that offer bargains that sound too good to be true. Be wary of companies that come to your home uninvited and offer to give your house a free inspection and press you for immediate or costly treatments. If the price offered requires an immediate decision, walk away.

Homeowners can also call state pest control regulatory agencies for information regarding the status of pest management companies. In most states, the regulatory agency is the State Department of Agriculture.

REACH KELVIN COLLINS, THE PRESIDENT/CEO OF THE BETTER BUSINESS BUREAU OF CENTRAL GEORGIA AND THE CSRA INC., AT (800) 763-4222 OR WWW.BBB.ORG.


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